With age, stress, reduced vitamin and mineral content in the foods we eat, along with weight gain… it’s no wonder why testosterone levels are dropping globally.
By the age of 30, your testosterone is already beginning to take a sharp decline. And if you’re one of the unlucky ones, then you’ve possibly researched testosterone replacement therapy.
I’m sure you’re aware by now, testosterone (or any hormone treatment) is costly, and a lengthy procedure. And it’s not just our testosterone we should be worrying about.
With increasing work and life stressors, numbers of depression and the feeling of isolation is beginning to increase worldwide. Leading to poor lifestyle choices and a lack of motivation to ‘get up and go’!
The good news is… we can use ayurvedic herbal medicine to help alleviate some of these issues!
Not only that! Mucuna Pruriens also hold benefits for Alzheimer’s patients. Helping to alleviate motor-neuron complications within the illness. More on how this works below, keep reading to learn more!
Quick Overview: Mucuna Pruriens
Mucuna Pruriens (MP) contains a healthy supply of L-DOPA (also known as levodopa – the precursor to dopamine production). (I) Levodopa is the key ingredient to the benefits surrounding this ancient plant.
It’s been shown that levodopa stimulates dopamine production, and with it, a cascade of hormonal, cognitive and mood-boosting benefits. (II)
The use of this adaptogenic plant is classed under ayurvedic medicine. This means that it heals the ‘whole-body’. And it’s thought to have been recorded in use some 3000 years ago in India. Along with other, numerous types of herbs and plants such as ashwagandha.
Inside Mucuna Pruriens you’ll find a number of alkaloids, fatty acids, amino acids. Along with vitamins and minerals.
So, apart from it increasing ‘feel-good’ hormones with L-DOPA. It will also detoxify and heal your body with the supply of essential elements needed for optimal health.
Mucuna Pruriens Facts:
- It’s a tropical legume known as velvet bean, and it’s also referred to as cowitch and the dopamine bean. Main research suggests that it has positive effects on mood and well-being.
- Originally, the plant came from Eastern India and Southern China. During its early use in history, it was widely used as a cooking ingredient in soups. (III)
- Mucuna Pruriens hold anti-neoplastic, anti-microbial, aphrodisiac effetcs. Along with increasing learning and memory. Hence its popular use with Alzheimer’s patients and neurohackers. (IV)
- Studies also show that MP can ‘switch on’ hormone production in the endocrine glands for those suffering from low testosterone – thanks to its anti-oxidant, adaptogenic qualities and potent nutritional elements. (V)
- It’s also been reported to be an anti-diabetic supplement – lowering blood glucose levels after eating. Which is positive news for dieters, or diabetics wanting to control blood sugar levels.
Main benefits Using Mucuna Pruriens
Testosterone and Sex Hormones
When testosterone is low, it could be due to a number of issues. From higher cortisol levels, to lack of HGH and Leutenizing Hormone production as we age.
Mucuna Pruriens are shown to help the endocrine glands increase the production, and release, of Gonadotropin-releasing hormone GnRH.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone releases follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Along with luteinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary glands responsible for hormone release.
This is thought to be possible as Mucuna Pruriens increase dopamine. Which is connected to the increase and stimulated release of GnRH – which then triggers LH, and FSH production. It’s then, that testosterone can be created. (VI)
Mood and Energy
As previously discussed, one of the main benefits to MP, and why it’s most commony used is thanks to its mood-enhancing properties.
Over several weeks supplementing with Mucuna Pruriens, you’ll begin to feel less stressed with increased alertness and more day-to-day energy.
These benefits are linked to L-DOPA (levodopa), the precursor of dopamine. L-DOPA being in high amounts inside Mucuna Pruriens. (VII)
Therefore, when you ingest Mucuna Pruriens, you’re supplying your mind with more ‘raw’ dopamine creating material – thus increasing your mood and your feeling of happiness.
It’s been reported that Alzheimer’s patients have been successfully treated to lessen the effects of their illness with Mucuna Pruriens.
This is thought to be in the way L-DOPA increases mood and well-being – ultimately increasing levels of dopamine. It’s dopamine which is the neurotransmitter that is lacking in Alzheimer patients.
Therefore, Mucuna Pruriens can lessen the effects of motor-neuron degeneration from Alzheimer’s. Such as lessening tremors, handshakes and the reduction of unconscious movements.
Mucuna Pruriens are that old, around 500 BC to be exact, there was even a reported treatment with l-DOPA (levodopa) containing seeds from the Mucuna Pruriens to treat someone with the desease.
Blood Sugar Control
Whether you’re diabetic, or you’re looking to control your weight, mood, and blood sugar levels – Mucuna Pruriens could help thanks to the way it reduces blood triglycerides.
It’s true that Mucuna Pruriens can suppress a rise in urinary albumin levels, which is linked to diabetes. It may not be able to prevent kidney-related hypertrophy connected to diabetes.
However, it still shows to be beneficial for controlling blood sugar levels. This is thanks to the D-chiro-inositol content.
It’s D-chiro-inositol that can lower blood triglyceride, along with blood sugar and blood pressure . It’s also referred to as vitamin B8, and also a type of sugar which the body uses from the foods you eat. (VIII)
Sport Nutrition Expert Recommendation?
I can highly recommend using Mucuna Pruriens if you fall into the categories of having high-stress levels or low testosterone.
Or even perhaps if you’re looking for a safe ingredient to enhance learning (neuro-hacking) with improved mood and an ‘uplifted’ libido and sperm mobility.
It seems like there’s nothing this ancient plant can’t do. It regulates our mood, and therefore correcting hormonal production. As our mood is directly linked to our sex hormones such as testosterone.
The main element inside Mucuna Pruriens is known as L-DOPA, which reduces reactive oxygen species (ROS) that causes degradation to our DNA and hormoen production.
And yes, L-DOPA increases our natural production of chemicals in the brain, leading to increased feel-good hormone release.
Therefore, when looking at the studies (both human and rat models), we can see that it recovers spermatogenic loss, reduces stress on the boxy whilst improving mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and apoptosis. Along with peripheral hormone levels and testicular germ cell amount (sperm amount).
Therefore, and to close this article, let me leave you with this summary:
Mucuna Pruriens increase dopamine. Dopamine increases mood, therefore our hormone production. The better we feel, the more in-balance our entire body and mind become. This is why Mucuna Pruriens is high on my list of supplements I use on a frequent basis.
In summary, using Mucuna Pruriens helps to increase dopamine levels in the brain. This then cascades positive effects throughout your entire body – hence its classification as ayurvedic medicine.
(I) “L-DOPA.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 1 Jan. 2020. (source)
(II, III, IV, V) Singh, Akhand Pratap, et al. “Mucuna Pruriens and Its Major Constituent L-DOPA Recover Spermatogenic Loss by Combating ROS, Loss of Mitochondrial Membrane Potential and Apoptosis.” PloS One, Public Library of Science, 2013. (source)
(VI, VII) Shukla, Kamla Kant, et al. “Mucuna Pruriens Improves Male Fertility by Its Action on the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Gonadal Axis.” Fertility and Sterility, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2009. (source)
(VIII) Rathi, S S, et al. “The Effect of Momordica Charantia and Mucuna Pruriens in Experimental Diabetes and Their Effect on Key Metabolic Enzymes Involved in Carbohydrate Metabolism.” Phytotherapy Research : PTR, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2002. (source)