In general, oysters are a type of shellfish. Not only is it important for ecosystems since one of its functions is to filter pollutants out of the water and provide habitats for other species, like barnacles and mussels, but it is also an excellent source of zinc, copper, iodine, iron, potassium, and selenium. Since oysters are rich in nutrients, they are also used in the supplement product for various reasons.
Oyster supplementation (1, 2, 3)
When it comes to oyster supplementation, people always thought that it came from its shell and not the meat, but the truth is, it comes from its creamy flesh meat!
The creamy flesh of oysters is cleaned and depurated. It is then processed and made into capsules, powder, and tablets. This is actually good news for those who cannot consume slimy, meaty food and thus can take it in tablet or capsule form.
Many people have started to consume oysters for their known ability to increase testosterone levels in men. It is also well known for its benefits in supporting men’s reproductive health as it contains a high level of zinc.
Since oysters are high in zinc, oyster extraction supplementation is highly recommended for those who are deficient in this nutrient. This is a very important nutrient that can help your immune system and improve your body’s metabolism as well.
Zinc is a trace mineral that is essential for various body functions, such as protein synthesis, collagen formation, wound healing, and healthy immune function. Apart from that, it is also needed to support prostate and reproductive health, especially for males. Individuals who have digestive disorders such as Celiac Disease and Chron’s Disease and/or are on a vegan diet are at higher risk of being zinc deficient and thus require zinc supplementation.
Zinc deficiency can lead to fatigue, impaired senses of taste and smell, poor appetite, slow wound healing, poor immunity, and hair loss as well.
What do the study's findings say? (4,5)
In 2003, a study in Japan used oysters, which contain a significant amount of zinc, to investigate whether they could improve the reproductive health of mice. This study was conducted on three groups of mice, where the first group was supplemented with a diet rich in zinc from oysters, the second group was supplemented with zinc from zinc carbonate, and the third group was fed a diet deficient in zinc.
This study found that mice supplemented with zinc either from oyster extraction or zinc carbonate had improved serum levels of zinc, improved sperm motility and maturation, increased successful pregnancy rates, increased maternal weight gain, increased the number of live fetuses, increased fetal body weight, and had better embryonic development as compared to mice fed a diet deficient in zinc. Thus, this study suggested that oyster extraction is a useful supplement that can prevent reproductive defects from zinc deficiency, and the bioavailability of zinc may be identical to zinc carbonate.
Another recent study that was conducted in 2018 with regards to men’s reproductive health and oysters is the review article that concluded that zinc is vital in men’s reproductive health since the adequacy of zinc content in seminal plasma is needed for men’s germination, normal sperm function, and fertilization. The review also noted that seminal fluid deficiency causes infertility, and many studies prove the association of the seminal plasma zinc concentration with the physiology and pathogenesis of sperm and its quality. The study also indicates that men who are smokers have a higher possibility of becoming infertile, as the toxin in cigarettes can lead to oxidative stress that can hinder the efficacy of seminal fluid and sperm parameters.
To date, there has been no meta-analysis or systematic study with regards to oysters specifically and men’s reproductive health. However, randomised controlled trials and review articles from a few studies, such as the two above, are able to portray that zinc deficiency may hinder sperm quality and fertility in men. Since oysters have a significant amount of zinc, they can be used to treat or prevent men’s reproductive health problems. Furthermore, the study also noted that the content of taurine and glycogen will also help alleviate this problem.