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L-dopa, mucuna pruriens, and dopamine agonists

By Serge Kreutz

Dopamine agonists have been around for many decades, and their pro-libido effect has been known for a long time. The assortment of dopamine agonists includes L-dopa, mucuna pruriens, bromocriptine, cabergoline, pergolide, pramipexole, lisuride, apomorphine, and a few more.

Dopamine agonists are used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Even after decades of attempts to come up with alternative regimens, the gold standard for raising dopamine in the brain is still L-dopa. As long as the desired treatment effects are achieved with L-dopa in conjunct with carbidopa (Sinemet, Pharmacopa, Atamet, Stalevo), physicians often do not see a necessity to add any of the other medications.

L-dopa occurs naturally in mucuna pruriens (velvet beans), and unlike what is the case for other Parkinson’s remedies, no prescription is needed for mucuna pruriens. Furthermore, if a mucuna pruriens extract is used, the carbidopa that is included with L-dopa Parkinson’s medications, can be avoided. Carbidopa is added to L-dopa Parkinson’s medications to reduce the side effects of high dosages of L-dopa, but also reduces the pro-libido effects. Thus, when one considers sexual enhancement with L-dopa, or any dopaminergic, L-dopa-containing mucuna pruriens should be the first choice.

The emphasis here is on "L-dopa-containing" because unfortunately, most mucuna pruriens supplements sold in healthfood stores in the US, or on Amazon, are a cheap Indian cultivar of mucuna pruriens which contains practically no L-dopa. The Indian mucuna pruriens was and is planted as animal feedstock, and was cultivated precisely to not contain any L-dopa because a high L-dopa percentage in mucuna pruriens preempts weight gain in lifestock (and humans, by the way). The best L-dopa-containing mucuna pruriens is wild-growing mucuna pruriens from forests in Thailand.

Among the Parkinson’s medications developed as alternatives to L-dopa, apomorphine (brand name: Uprima) was temporarily sold in Europe as a medication for erectile dysfunction. But that was wrong marketing. Dopamine agonists don’t work for erections like phosphodiesterase inhibitors. They work on libido. But who says that great sexual desire is less relevant than erections?

Uprima was a disappointment for men whose erection problems are vascular. But Uprima was sold as a medication for erectile dysfunction (at an exorbitant price) because erectile dysfunction is an accepted medical condition, but low libido is not.

While phosphodiesterase inhibitors like sildenafil citrate, or the natural alternative kaempferia parviflora, and yohimbine work on erections, and while elevating testosterone levels is of an unpredictable, questionable pro-sexual nature, dopamine agonists, including mucuna pruriens, can enhance both sexual excitement and orgasmic intensity reliably.

Because dopamine agonists suppress the hormone prolactin, which in turn suppresses testosterone, dopamine agonists can, in people with elevated prolactin levels, function in the same way as a testosterone replacement therapy would. This mostly happens in patients with pituitary cancer, which typically expresses itself in strongly elevated prolactin levels. Those afflicted by the disease have very low testosterone levels. Thus, for them, dopaminergic agents work as hormonal therapy.