Clams are Good for Mood

Unleashing the aphrodisiac power of the clam

In 2005, a study by a group of Italian and American scientists released the findings that amino acids found in bivalves, (oysters, mussels and scallops as well as clams), have the potential to raise sexual hormone levels. (The study was conducted on a Mediterranean species of mussels. It showed that these amino acids, D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartic acid, induced sexual hormone production in rats.) No follow-up studies measured the impact on humans, but the news was certainly encouraging to seafood lovers. (There was a study conducted in 2015 on the impact of D-aspartic acid on men actively involved in resistance training. Its results demonstrated no measurable difference in testosterone levels in this group.)

So although we’re not sure what these amino acids really do for us, we do know that clams are a good source of vitamin B12. And B12 is involved in the production of dopamine and serotonin. In fact, a deficiency in B12 is linked with depression. So yes, what we do know is that clams can make you feel happy as a clam.

But clams earned a reputation as aphrodisiac long before modern science put a sexy spin on shellfish. One odd but amusing belief is that their plump flesh is reminiscent in appearance to testicles. Suggestive, yes, but appetizing? Maybe not.

Clamato, a rather strange combination of clam and reconstituted tomato juice is an underground aphrodisiac in Hispanic American culture. Although it benefits from the addition of lycopine, Clamato certainly does not reap the nutritional benefits of fresh clams scooped straight from the shell.

But a single serving of clams provides more than 100% of the daily allowance for iron, a mineral important for sexual health. These shellfish are also a lean source of protein, excellent for sustained energy.

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