Most legumes contain toxic lectin that is bad for men.
But now studies show this one special type of bean can have incredible benefits…
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The one bean that’s really good for men
Dopamine is central to proper brain function.
This is a primary neurotransmitter synthesized from the amino acid tyrosine – and just like the other catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine) it facilitates the function of the nervous system.
Dopaminergic neurons ending at the pituitary gland are directly responsible for regulating prolactin, causing its release as dopamine levels decline.
Low dopamine generally means high prolactin…
This pituitary hormone often leads to increased growth everywhere that we have prolactin receptors – mostly in the breast and visceral area.
Even though tyrosine will increase dopamine and the other catecholamines, one amino acid is even better for this…
The amino acid L-dopa is more efficient in this regard, as this one bypasses a step in tyrosine to dopamine synthesis.
Besides the low amounts of it that we eat from natural foods, we also make L-dopa in our bodies – in preparation for the catecholamines epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine.
A few plants contain high concentrations of levodopa.
But it’s mostly in legumes.
First, they found that it is in fava beans, naturally.
Then they found higher amounts in a few other legumes.
In Mucuna pruriens (velvet bean), levodopa is generally found to range between 5–8% by mass.
The L-dopa in this bean occurs in concentrations higher than tyrosine and represents the third most prevalent amino acid behind glutamate and aspartate.
And it even works a bit better than purified L-dopa.
When an amino acid is found as a whole protein, or incorporated into a peptide chain, absorption is delayed – provided there is a time-release source of L-dopa.
And the velvet bean is also a food – it’s eaten in large amounts in several parts of the world – it provides vitamins and minerals.
Without sufficient dopamine, both cognitive and physical abilities are at a lower level.
The catecholamine neurotransmitters are important to both intellectuals and athletes.
Everyone must think and be active to some degree.
Low brain dopamine is an impairment…
And lower dopamine is actually a pathology.
There are two conditions where this is involved:
(1) Parkinson’s disease (in older people)
(2) “Minimal brain dysfunction” (in schoolchildren)
In the 1970s, impaired learning was termed “minimal brain dysfunction.”
This diagnosis fell out of use in the 1980s in favor of others…to maintain the impression that psychiatrists are actually doing something.
This slow-mindedness is correlated with dopamine metabolite homovanillic acid (HVA).
Probenecid had been thought to block the removal of metabolites from cerebrospinal fluid, thus giving a more accurate value.
After correcting for probenecid, the learning-disabled kids had 41% lower brain dopamine metabolites.
“In our group, however, the reduced HVA relative to probenecid in CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) suggests a reduction in cerebral turnover of dopamine.”
This does seem to be the general trend…
As the related norepinephrine is known for providing nerve energy peripherally, dopamine is known to provide brain energy.
Norepinephrine is also found in the brain at about half the concentrations.
But levodopa is the precursor to both of them.
Parkinson’s disease probably best highlights dopamine’s essential role by showing us what can happen with very low levels.
And to raise brain dopamine in that condition, the more efficient L-dopa is given – instead of tyrosine.
And only recently, powdered velvet bean (Mucuna pruriens) was found to be even better at raising dopamine than purified levodopa itself…for a number of reasons.
The study recruited two groups of human Parkinson’s subjects.
They gave one group standard L-dopa tablets and they gave the other group Mucuna pruriens, adjusted for L-dopa concentration.
This was a double-blind, so the researchers did not know which group was given what.
“Chromatographic analysis demonstrated an L-dopa content of 4.86% or 250 mg per sachet.”
The researchers found increased performance in the group given the velvet bean powder, as measured by standardized tests.
There was no real difference in side effects.
Of course, both groups improved whether they had the drug or the bean.
But the improvement for the Mucuna pruriens group lasted longer – and had a quicker onset:
This is somewhat surprising since they both contained the same amount of L-dopa.
To account for this observation, they hypothesized that Mucuna pruriens also had some other molecule that was responsible – perhaps a monoamine oxidase inhibitor.
But whatever the case may be, the greater effect of L-dopa from the velvet bean is apparent.
And there was very little difference in methyldopa levels between groups…
This is the L-dopa metabolite responsible for the side effects seen in Parkinson’s, a form of dyskinesia formerly taken to be part of the disease progress itself.
Since both groups had the exact same amount of L-dopa, you’d probably have to assume the velvet bean (Mucuna pruriens) must either include an MAOI-inhibiting L-dopa breakdown…
Or the other amino acids present compete against that.
(MAOI = monoamine oxidase inhibitors)
Either way, this bean is safe enough for Indians to eat daily in high amounts…
And there is no reason why an average person would need to take a Parkinson’s-sized amount (30 g).
“In contrast, our findings indicate that mucuna formulation may actually have a higher bioavailability than standard levodopa which may not be explained by dose alone.”
…unless, of course, that person is at risk for Parkinson’s.
The world’s leading aluminum health researcher, Daniel Perl, was absolutely convinced by the 1990s that both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are caused by the same metal ion (Al³⁺ –> aluminum).
He presents a good case – and newer evidence supports him.
The only difference between Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s is the part of the brain most affected, or aluminum’s specific distribution (Perl, 1998).
The dopamine-producing region of the brain is right behind the sinus cavity, making inhaled aluminum a big risk factor.
Metals atoms have been demonstrated to pass into the brain through inhalation, and then through the sinus cavity.
“When aluminum enters the brain via the nasal-olfactory pathway, the olfactory bulb and pyriform cortex seem to be targets.”
In the case of aluminum, scientists have studied workers of all types.
Most commonly investigated is the “potroom palsy” of aluminum smelters…
And then comparisons between iron and aluminum welders – and aluminum electrolysis after that.
The groups inhaling vaporized aluminum invariably have the worst symptoms.
And cocaine contains significant amounts.
When they add crushed limestone during the extraction stage to raise the pH level, that’s when aluminum gets into the end product.
A recent meta-study on the topic compiled the results of seven other studies.
There have been many more studies, of course, but the researchers could only directly use comparable data:
In every study and by almost every parameter tested, reduction of ability was correlated with urinary aluminum concentrations.
Aluminum is a powerful neurotoxin.
Even the drug they use experimentally to induce Parkinson’s in rats (MPTP) does not cause lasting effects – you need something near impossible to metabolize (such as aluminum) to cause long-term damage.
Aluminum displaces iron from binding sites.
This leads to spontaneous free radical damage.
It also binds and crosslinks phosphorylated proteins such as tau (τ)… and that forms tangles in the brain.
People in many occupations are at a higher risk for dopamine depletion – due to substantia nigra damage via aluminum.
(Substantia nigra is a part of your brain.)
Think about even a hobby such as rock climbing – when you rappel down ropes using lightweight aluminum devices, you cause quick wear and tear on those aluminum devices.
This attrition and the high friction temperatures could lead to some volatilized aluminum.
“An inferior performance of workers exposed to aluminum was noticeable in almost all tests…”
Even without aluminum exposure, other things can decrease dopamine levels.
One of the classic effects of opiates is their ability to lower dopamine – and that leads to increased prolactin release.
Although most people don’t use small-molecule opiate drugs, most Westerners do eat opiate peptides every day (exorphins).
And because L-dopa is more reliable than tyrosine at increasing brain dopamine – and natural is always better – the “velvet bean” Mucuna pruriens appears to be one of the few supplements worth taking.
“This study and others in humans and animals support the existence of a syndrome characterized by incoordination, poor memory, impairment in abstract reasoning, and depression. Aluminum exposure in the potroom seems the most likely cause.”
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