The idea of maximizing male hormone activity on the spot sounds like science fiction. Because, for the most part, it is—even anabolic steroids take some time to fully do their dirty work.
So, what then are the advantages of taking natural testosterone boosters immediately before working out? Can these natural supplements actually encourage an anabolic metabolism just like that, or do their exercise advantages come later with consistent use?
In the case of Mucuna pruriens, a well-known testosterone and mood booster, the question of pre-workout supplementation is worth exploring, given the wide array of health and fitness benefits supplied by this natural ergogenic.
What are the exercise advantages of supplementing Mucuna pruriens?
Should you take Mucuna pruriens before working out?
In this article, we address these questions and more. But before diving into all of that, let’s cover the basics, starting with:
What is Mucuna Pruriens and What Does It Do?
Known by its colloquial name “velvet bean,” Mucuna pruriens is a tropical plant of the legume family native to South Asia that’s been used for millennia in the ancient Ayurvedic health tradition.1 Traditionally, Mucuna pruriens’ roots, leaves, pods, and seeds have been used for a wide variety of conditions, including male infertility, cognitive impairment, low vitality, animal bites, and infections.
Today, Mucuna pruriens is primarily used for two reasons: Parkinson’s and athletic performance enhancement, both physical and mental.
Much of today’s interest in Mucuna pruriens is narrowly focused on one of this herb’s bioactive constituents: L-DOPA, or levodopa, a precursor compound to catecholamine neurotransmitters, namely dopamine, which plays several important roles in cognitive health and physical performance.
Research suggests L-DOPA may help regulate the following hormonal pathways:2,3
- Testosterone – the primary sex hormone for male health and fitness;
- LH and FSH – key signaling hormones in reproductive health;
- GH (Growth Hormone) – a peptide hormone that stimulates anabolic growth;
- Dopamine – the “pleasure” neurochemical involved in reward, motivation, memory, attention, and even body movement regulation.
And possibly more. By stimulating the hypothalamic release of signaling hormones, L-DOPA initiates a cascade of anabolic hormonal processes that are conducive to healthy male metabolism and muscular performance.
L-DOPA’s role in Parkinson’s, a condition associated with dopamine deficiency, helps highlight Mucuna pruriens effectiveness as a physical performance enhancer. However, due to dopamine’s role in cognition and mental performance, Mucuna pruriens also seems to possess nootropic advantages for both athletes and academics—bodybuilders and book-readers.
Should You Take Mucuna Pruriens Before Working Out?
Because Mucuna pruriens is one of the richest sources of L-DOPA, the precursor to dopamine, many view Mucuna pruriens as a sort of “motivation booster.” And, as such, Mucuna pruriens is often recommended as a pre-workout supplement for on-the-spot enhancement of exercise-related mood and motivation.
Not to mention the testosterone- and GH-related anabolic benefits of Mucuna pruriens, which are obviously important to muscle-building exercisers and athletes.
But does this mean it’s important that you take Mucuna pruriens immediately prior to exercise? It’s hard to say. While one study has noted significant improvements in circulating GH (growth hormone) in exercise-trained men supplementing a combination of Chlorophytum borivilianum and Mucuna pruriens,4 there isn’t much of a conclusive consensus on the pre-workout benefits of supplementing Mucuna pruriens.
Popular use dictates that, instead, simply consuming Mucuna pruriens on a daily basis is sufficient to gradually accumulate the testosterone-related health and fitness benefits of Mucuna pruriens.
However, even so, taking Mucuna pruriens before working out not only won’t hurt you but may potentially provide acute mood and anabolic advantages to your exercise.
Mucuna Pruriens Benefits for Exercise (and More)
Whether taken before exercise or simply on a daily basis, Mucuna pruriens may help boost exercise performance (and other measures of performance) by improving:
Muscle and Strength Gains
Via the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonad (HPG) axis, Mucuna pruriens may help indirectly elevate the productivity of testosterone and other anabolic hormones for improved anabolic muscle and strength gains.5
If you’re looking to micro-target on-the-spot protein synthesis with intra-workout BCAAs for maximum lean muscle growth, taking Mucuna pruriens as part of your exercise routine may assist with this project by enhancing anabolic hormone activity.
Mood and Motivation
Typically discussed in terms of effects on noradrenergic and serotonergic systems, mood imbalances, such as depression and anxiety, also overlap with the dopaminergic system, which Mucuna pruriens’ L-DOPA helps regulate.6
By mediating the dopaminergic system (i.e., dopamine), Mucuna pruriens may help elevate mood and motivation, and all-around emotional stability, for better exercise performance—not to mention better life quality.
Libido and Reproductive Health
Mucuna pruriens’ engagement with the HPG axis, namely with LH and FSH, is of obvious interest to male fertility experts, considering the importance of LH and FSH to libido and reproductive health.
But Mucuna pruriens also seems to improve semen quality by reactivating the body’s natural antioxidant defense mechanisms, helping to combat T-diminishing, sperm-diminishing oxidative stress (free radicals) for an all-around improvement in sex drive and male fertility.7
When to Take Mucuna Pruriens
For general testosterone boosting, a daily dose of Mucuna Pruriens matters more than anything. However, to ensure your body fully absorbs all of your T-booster, it may help to evenly distribute that dosage into multiple sub-servings—e.g., half the dosage in the morning, the other half in the evening.
For exercise benefits, in particular, it’s not necessarily important to take Mucuna pruriens immediately before exercise, considering that the benefits of the herb tend to build up with consistent daily use.
However, taking one of your Mucuna pruriens servings early in the day—with breakfast, lunch, or as part of a morning pre-workout stack—may help acutely boost exercise performance and anabolic strength gains.
The recommended dosage for Mucuna pruriens tends to vary, namely because there’s a fairly high variety of Mucuna pruriens extract concentrations.8
However, the optimal Mucuna pruriens should be considered in the context of the optimal Mucuna pruriens extract: 15% levodopa (L-DOPA)
- 300mg Mucuna pruriens extract (std. 15% L-DOPA) daily (or per workout) is sufficient to not only incur the pre-workout advantages of L-DOPA but also the herb’s more long-term benefits for male sex hormone status.
Other extracts may range anywhere from a low 2% L-DOPA to upwards of 90% L-DOPA, which are too low and too potent, respectively. To reduce the risk of adverse side effects, look for a more moderate, yet still bio-effective 15% L-DOPA extract.
In this daily dosage range, cycling Mucuna pruriens “on” and “off” shouldn’t be necessary.
Mucuna pruriens, the testosterone booster. Mucuna pruriens, the mood booster. And, yes, Mucuna pruriens, the performance enhancer. This multipurpose botanical plays many roles and serves many diverse functions for male health and fitness, especially when taken as part of a comprehensive male-boosting formula, such as Testo Lab Pro®.
Pairing Mucuna pruriens with several more natural, research-backed testosterone boosters, Testo Lab Pro® naturally, safely, and legally enhances male health and fitness. These steps establish a solid nutritional foundation for healthy hormonal activity while actively promoting a more androgenic, anabolic male metabolism for increased muscle gains, strength, and libido.
Like Mucuna pruriens, Testo Lab Pro® is 100% all-natural, vegan-friendly, and synthetic-free. Only clean, green gains here.
- Lampariello LR et al. The Magic Velvet Bean of Mucuna pruriens. J Tradit Complement Med. 2012 Oct-Dec; 2(4): 331-339.
- Chihara K et al. L-dopa stimulates release of hypothalamic growth hormone-releasing hormone in humans. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1986 Mar; 62(3): 466-73.
- Singh AP et al. 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.
- Alleman RJ et al. A Blend of Chlorophytum Borivilianum and Velvet Bean Increases Serum Growth Hormone in Exercise-Trained Men. Nutr Metab Insights. 2011; 4: 55-63.
- Tavares RL et al. Androgenic and Anabolic Possibilities of Mucuna Pruriens. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2017; 5(12): 925-927.
- Rana DG, Galani VJ. Dopamine mediated antidepressant effect of Mucuna pruriens seeds in various experimental models of depression. Ayu. 2014 Jan-Mar; 35(1): 90-97.
- Shukla KK et al. Mucuna pruriens Reduces Stress and Improves the Quality of Semen in Infertile Men. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2010 Mar; 7(1): 137-144.
- Soumyanath A et al. Analysis of Levodopa Content in Commercial Mucuna pruriens Products Using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography with Fluorescence Detection. J Altern Complement Med. 2018 Feb 1; 24(2): 182-186.