Mucuna Pruriens is a bean-like climbing herb belonging to the Fabaceae family that can grow up to 15 meters in length. This plant is found in India and other tropical and sub-tropical climates.
This tropical legume is also known as cowage, cowitch, and velvet bean. Concerning macronutrient profile, one-third of the bean is protein and is similar to lima bean and soya bean.
Mucuna Pruriens has been used since centuries for its health and sexual benefits. It is known to improve sexual performance and testicle size.
Health benefits of Mucuna Pruriens
Mucuna Pruriens is extensively used in supplement form for the wide variety of health benefits it offers. These include:
• Increase in sperm quality and volume particularly in infertile men
• Activation of androgen receptors
• Reduced oxidative damage and level of cortisol
• Increased dopamine production
• Decreased prolactin levels
• Increased testosterone levels
Lately, Mucuna Pruriens has been in the limelight for its testosterone boosting abilities. Let us check out if there is sufficient scientific evidence to prove that Mucuna Pruriens is really a testosterone booster.
How does Mucuna Pruriens work?
Mucuna Pruriens bean is the most abundant known source of levodopa or L-DOPA, which is a precursor to the brain hormone/neurotransmitter dopamine. Several trials have shown that administration of L-DOPA will convert into active dopamine.
This dopamine boost is responsible for the health benefits Mucuna Pruriens offers. Higher dopamine levels can:
• Suppress prolactin
• Upregulate androgen receptors
• Stimulate GnRH release in the hypothalamus
• Boost growth hormone
Additionally, the high antioxidant activity of this bean leads to reduced cortisol levels and improved sperm quality.
L-DOPA helps increase testosterone levels by the following mechanisms:
• Increasing luteinizing hormone, which in turn signals for the synthesis and release of testosterone
• Increasing Follicle Stimulating Hormone that helps with sperm production and testicle growth
• Suppressing the female hormone Prolactin that can otherwise bring down the testosterone levels
Mucuna Pruriens and Testosterone Studies
Several animal and human trials have been conducted to understand the effect of Mucuna Pruriens supplementation on testosterone levels. Most of the studies have shown a positive correlation. Here is a summary of some of these studies.
Study: Effect of chronic L-dopa administration on serum luteinizing hormone levels in male rats
In this study, researchers administered high doses of L-DOPA in 0.5% carboxymethyl cellulose to male rats.
• Increased luteinizing hormone levels 4 hours after a single administration of 1000 mg/kg L-DOPA
• Increased serum LH levels and decreased serum prolactin levels 24 hours after administration of L-DOPA at 500 or 1000 mg/kg daily for 7 or 14 days
• Higher serum testosterone levels in treated rats compared to control group
• Higher dopamine levels in treated rats
Study: Mucuna Pruriens Reduces Stress and Improves the Quality of Semen in Infertile Men
The study was conducted to investigate the effects of Mucuna pruriens in infertile men who were also under psychological stress. It included 60 participants who were undergoing infertility screening and were also found to be under psychological stress.
Stress levels were measured through both a questionnaire and tracking serum cortisol levels. Another group of 60 healthy and fertile men was used as the control group. Infertile participants were administered with 5 gm/day M. pruriens seed powder for three months. Semen parameters were measured before and after the study period.
• Lower sperm count and motility in participants who were under psychological stress. Increased serum cortisol levels were elevated, and seminal plasma glutathione (GSH) was lower in this group.
• Treatment with Mucuna pruriens reduced psychological stress.
• Treatment also improved seminal plasma lipid peroxide levels as well as sperm count and motility.
• It was also noted that Mucuna pruriens can help increase testosterone levels through various mechanisms.
Study: Mucuna pruriens improves male fertility by its action on the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis
The study included 75 males undergoing infertility screening and 75 healthy males. Their serum testosterone and Luteinizing Hormone levels, as well as seminal plasma and blood levels of adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine were measured before and after the treatment.
• Improved Testosterone, Luteinizing Hormone, adrenaline, dopamine and noradrenaline levels in infertile men
• Improved sperm count and motility
Potential Side Effects of Mucuna pruriens
Some side effects associated with Mucuna pruriens include bloating, nausea and vomiting. In rare cases, it can also cause a headache, confusion and even hallucinations. However, supplement forms of Mucuna pruriens are safe with few reported side effects.
Available Forms of Mucuna pruriens
Supplements are typically available as seed extract with a certain percentage of L-DOPA in capsule form.
Can Mucuna Pruriens Boost Testosterone Levels?
There is sufficient scientific evidence to prove that Mucuna pruriens is an effective testosterone booster. It is particularly beneficial for men with fertility problems.