Also known as Lyon bean, Yokohama velvet bean, Florida velvet bean, and Bengal velvet bean. Mucuna Pruriens is a popular herbal plant that grows natively in Asia and Africa. Although skin contact causes extreme itchiness, it is widely grown for agricultural and medicinal purposes. In fact, a publication in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine states that Mucuna Pruriens was widely used in Ayurvedic Indian medicine between 1500 BC and 1000 BC (Vedic times) to treat a wide range of diseases including arthritis, male infertility, and nervous disorders.
Does Mucuna Pruriens Impact Testosterone Levels?
To start with, a study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that Mucuna Pruriens is a rich source of L-dopa metabolites including epinephrine and norepinephrine metabolites (study).
These metabolites raise dopamine levels in the brain leading to the activation of sexual behavior, as well as causing an increase in plasma testosterone levels. What’s more, L-dopa stimulates the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) from the forebrain and hypothalamus. High GnRH levels stimulate the anterior pituitary gland to produce the luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which in turn enhances testosterone synthesis.
Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Movement Disorders found that levodopa (L-dopa) enhances free testosterone levels substantially. A group of researchers who published the results of their scientific study in the journal Toxicology came to the same conclusion after investigating the effect of L-dopa administration on serum luteinizing hormone in male rats.
More precisely, they found that prolonged administration of high levels of L-dopa leads to high levels of luteinizing hormone. Finally, Mucuna Pruriens treatment increases noradrenaline, dopamine, T, and LH levels in infertile men, according to research published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.
Other Benefits of Mucuna Pruriens
On the medical front, Mucuna Pruriens extracts have been shown to possess aphrodisiac, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, antiepileptic, anti-venom, antihelminthic, antiviral, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, neuroprotective, and anti-neoplastic properties. This is according to an article appearing in the Journal of traditional and Complimentary Medicine.
Mucuna Pruriens seed aqueous extract (MPE) offers protection against the toxic effects of snakebite venom. Surprisingly, a study published by the National Institutes of Health (BIH) found that Mucuna offers both short (24 hours) and long-term (one-month) protection against snakebite venom. This is because MPE contains a multiform glycoprotein that stimulates the production of antibodies, which bind to specific venom proteins making them ineffective.
2. Parkinson’s disease management
According to a study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, Mucuna Pruriens contains L-dopa, a compound that is effective in the management of Parkinson’s disease. Results from this study show that the L-dopa found in Mucuna seed powder formulation is more effective in the long-term management of Parkinson’s disease than conventional L-dopa alternatives.
3. Depression treatment
The hydro-alcoholic extracts of MPE have potent anti-depressant properties. This is according to a study published by AYU (An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda). Researchers involved in this study found that MPE alkaloids, amino acids and carbohydrates have dopaminergic properties that reduce acute and chronic depression symptoms substantially.
4. Diabetes treatment
A clinical study published in the journal Fitoterapia found that the aqueous extract of Mucuna pruriens seeds has effective anti-diabetic properties. To be specific, MPE lowered blood glucose levels from 127.5 ± 3.2 to 75.6 ± 4.8 mg% two hours after oral administration. In diabetic study subjects, administration of MPE daily for 21 days caused blood glucose levels to fall from 240.5 ± 7.2 to 90.6 ± 5.6 mg%.
5. Phenolic Antioxidants
Mucuna produces substantial amounts of phenolic antioxidants including polyphenols, flavonoids, and phenolic acids that bind onto free radicals such as lipid peroxyl, peroxide and hydroperoxide.
6. Skin disease treatment
A study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine states that it produces compounds that are effective in treating skin diseases including dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.
Mucuna Pruriens Dosage
Mucuna Pruriens dosage typically varies depending on the desired goal. In the management of Parkinson’s disease, for example, data from the study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry shows that 30g of Mucuna is the optimal dose. To treat diabetes, the right dose is 200mg of Mucuna per kg of body weight, whereas a dose of 100-200mg per kg of body weight works well for people diagnosed with depression. Finally, a higher Mucuna dose ranging from 500 to 1,000mg per kg of bodyweight increases testosterone levels, thereby treating male infertility.
Mucuna Pruriens Side Effects
Unfortunately, Mucuna pruriens has several adverse side effects including headaches, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating, confusion, and delusions according to WebMD. In addition, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use it. The same is true for people suffering from heart disease because L-dopa can cause dizziness, fainting and orthostatic hypotension.
Mucuna Pruriens does have an impact on testosterone levels for sure. As with any supplement, it should be stacked with other supplements such as D-aspartic acid, magnesium, vitamin D and zinc for maximum impact. Dosage levels should be around 300 – 500mg should do the trick.
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