Oysters have been considered a natural aphrodisiac for hundreds of years and are widely used to increase sex drive and desire.

In fact, the 18th-century Italian author Giacomo Casanova reportedly ate large amounts of oysters for breakfast each day due to their stimulating properties.

However, oysters’ effect on libido remains a subject of controversy.

This article examines the evidence to determine whether eating oysters boosts your sex drive.

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Oysters are an excellent source of zinc and contain a higher amount per serving than any other food (1, 2).

For example, a 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of raw oysters packs 33 mg of zinc, which is more than 300% of the recommended Daily Value (DV) (1).

Zinc is essential for male sexual function and fertility. Low levels of this mineral may negatively affect testosterone levels and cause abnormalities in sperm quality (3).

According to a 2009 study in rats, zinc supplements raised testosterone levels and improved sexual competence (4).

However, human research is needed.

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Oysters are rich in zinc, which is essential for male sexual function and fertility. Low levels of zinc may decrease testosterone levels and impair sperm quality.

Zinc is necessary for maintaining levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in male sexual health (5, 6).

Some research suggests that increasing dopamine production increases sexual arousal. It may also help treat erectile dysfunction and other sexual symptoms caused by medications such as antidepressants (7).

Other studies indicate that dopamine — along with several other neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine — may also play a key role in promoting women’s sexual function and desire by regulating pathways in the brain that are activated by sexual cues (8).

Because oysters are rich in zinc, they may help maintain healthy levels of dopamine to enhance sexual function.

Still, additional human studies are needed to evaluate whether foods rich in zinc, such as oysters, directly affect dopamine levels and libido.

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Though more research is necessary, oysters’ zinc content may help maintain levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that may increase sexual desire in women and treat issues such as erectile dysfunction.

Oysters are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which play a central role in many aspects of health (9).

In particular, omega-3s have been shown to help reduce inflammation, improve heart health, and protect against heart disease (10).

They may likewise boost blood flow, which may help treat erectile dysfunction (11, 12).

In a study in rats, omega-3 supplements increased blood flow and improved erectile function (13).

What’s more, a study in 1,679 young men associated omega-3 supplements with improved testicular function and increased semen volume (14).

All the same, further studies are needed.

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Oysters are high in omega-3s, which may increase blood flow and aid erectile and testicular function.

Oysters are a good source of many nutrients that may help support sexual health.

In particular, the zinc in oysters may increase testosterone levels and help maintain healthy levels of dopamine. Their heart-healthy omega-3 fats may furthermore increase blood flow to prevent issues such as erectile dysfunction.

However, additional research is needed to understand whether eating oysters as part of a healthy, well-rounded diet directly increases libido and sexual function.