slow-timeThe aging process is often perceived as an unavoidable decline in mental health and overall physical strength and well-being. While this can be a stark reality to some people, especially those that have neglected their health throughout their lives, this doesn’t have to be the case for the rest of us. In fact, certain lifestyle modifications and natural alternatives may help you avoid, and possibly reverse, age-related health decline. One natural anti-aging tool is Mucuna pruriens, a well-known therapeutic plant that is quickly gaining popularity in the anti-aging research field.

Native to Africa and India, this tropical legume has been long recognized as an important healing herb. Used in Ayurvedic medicine for brain health, science is beginning to reveal potent properties in this plant and how it can protect the aging body and brain. Not only does Mucuna pruriens contain powerful antioxidant properties helpful for combating free radicals (nasty compounds that speed up the aging process), it also contains L-dopa, a precursor to dopamine. [1][2]

Benefits of Mucuna Pruriens for Aging

Although the fountain of youth has yet to be found, and there isn’t a magic pill to reverse or eliminate the aging process, Mucuna pruriens may be a natural solution for slowing down the rate at which your body ages. Here are a few health benefits of Mucuna pruriens that may help delay the aging process.

1. Supports Cognition

Dopamine is highly recognized for its role in learning and absorbing new information. Considering that dopamine levels can decrease with age, it’s no wonder why so many people are on the lookout for natural methods that will support this neurotransmitter. [3]Mucuna pruriens contains dopamine’s natural precursor, L-dopa, which has been shown to promote long-term memory retention. Dopamine is also responsible for generating a speedier memory formation, suggesting that Mucuna pruriens may have a protective effect on memory in aging adults[4]

2. An Ancient Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative brain disorder caused by the insufficient production of dopamine. Age is a risk factor for developing Parkinson’s disease, with statistics showing that the majority of patients with the disease are 60 years or older. Now, let’s be clear — Mucuna pruriens is not a cure or treatment for Parkinson’s. That said, studies indicate that Mucuna pruriens may worth a look for supporting dopamine levels. [5][6]

3. Promotes Vitality

Mucuna pruriens has been traditionally used as an aphrodisiac, and researchers are beginning to learn why. Fertility decreases naturally as the body ages, possibly connected to the decreased production of dopamine and various sex hormones. Animal models have shown that L-dopa in Mucuna pruriens can increase sperm count by balancing hormone levels, and one study found that fertility was positively affected following supplementation with the plant. [7][8]

One Final Thought

When it comes to delaying the aging process, Mucuna pruriens is only one piece of the puzzle. Other effective, natural approaches for keeping the body young and vital include a proper dietadequate exercise, stress reduction, sunlight exposure, and toxin elimination and reduction. Mucuna pruriens can provide that extra boost. Have you tried Mucuna pruriens? Please leave a comment below and share your experience!

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References (8)
  1. Uma S, Gurumoorthi P. Dietary antioxidant activities in different germplasms of Mucuna. J Med Food. 2013 Jul;16(7):618-24. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2012.2697.
  2. Luthra PM, Singh S. Identification and optimization of tyrosine hydroxylase activity in Mucuna pruriens DC. var. utilis. Planta. 2010 May;231(6):1361-9. doi: 10.1007/s00425-010-1140-y.
  3. Miho Ota, Fumihiko Yasuno, Hiroshi Ito, Chie Seki, Shoko Nozaki, Takashi Aasada, Tetsuya Suhara. Age-related decline of dopamine synthesis in the living human brain measured by positron emission tomography with L-[β-11C]DOPA. Life Sciences. Volume 79, Issue 8, 17 July 2006, Pages 730-736.
  4. Knecht S, Breitenstein C, Bushuven S, Wailke S, Kamping S, Flöel A, Zwitserlood P, Ringelstein EB. Levodopa: faster and better word learning in normal humans. Ann Neurol. 2004 Jul;56(1):20-6.
  5. Nagashayana N, Sankarankutty P, Nampoothiri MR, Mohan PK, Mohanakumar KP. Association of L-DOPA with recovery following Ayurveda medication in Parkinson’s disease. J Neurol Sci. 2000 Jun 15;176(2):124-7.
  6. Katzenschlager R, Evans A, Manson A, Patsalos PN, Ratnaraj N, Watt H, Timmermann L, Van der Giessen R, Lees AJ. Mucuna pruriens in Parkinson’s disease: a double blind clinical and pharmacological study. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2004 Dec;75(12):1672-7.
  7. Singh AP, Sarkar S, Tripathi M, Rajender S. Mucuna pruriens and its major constituent L-DOPA recover spermatogenic loss by combating ROS, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and apoptosis. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54655. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054655.
  8. Gupta A, Mahdi AA, Ahmad MK, Shukla KK, Bansal N, Jaiswer SP, Shankhwar SN. A proton NMR study of the effect of Mucuna pruriens on seminal plasma metabolites of infertile males. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2011 Jul 15;55(5):1060-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpba.2011.03.010.

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