Mucuna pruriens: Cure Depression Using Beans
DISCLAIMER: CONSULT WITH A DOCTOR BEFORE DECIDING ON A TREATMENT PLAN FOR ANY DISEASE OR INJURY.
If depression were a landscape, it would be a desert, or perhaps Antarctica. If you’re one of the millions of individuals who suffer from depression and you’ve tried the various anti-depressant prescription medications on the market, you’re probably ready to try something with few side effects. While many Americans and Europeans are familiar with St. John’s Wort as an herbal anti-depressant, comparatively few have heard about the miraculous healing effects of Mucuna pruriens.
Mucuna is a bean, not unlike black beans or pinto beans. It’s eaten as a staple food item in certain parts of Central America and Asia. In some Central American communities, Mucuna is brewed like coffee and locals call it Nescafe. Mucuna does, after all, have similar neurological properties as caffeine. Caffeine causes the rapid RELEASE of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the brain. The RELEASE of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin by caffeine depletes the stores of these neurotransmitters though, which is why people often feel strung out after they drink a lot of coffee.
In contrast to caffeine (which causes the prolific RELEASE of neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin), Mucuna supports the production of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. This is an important difference. If your brain is fully loaded with dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, it has a full store that can be released when it would be natural for the brain to release these neurotransmitters.
Depression can be caused by low levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, or serotonin or a combination of all three. It can also be caused by a release of these neurotransmitters that’s too slow, or re-uptake of the neurotransmitters too quickly by the brain. Prescription anti-depressants often slow the re-uptake of these neurotransmitters, but Mucuna works differently. It contains the amino acid and peptide precursors to make sure the brain can produce plenty of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine which are then stored until they’re needed.
Often, taking Mucuna pruriens supplements at 6,000-15,000 mg per day is enough to cure depression. However, in some cases, it might be necessary to add St. John’s Wort into the natural depression treatment protocol to get the desired effects. St. John’s Wort changes the speed at which the brain releases dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine or the speed at which re-uptake occurs.
In addition to Mucuna, St. John’s Wort, you can also add 5-HTP to your natural depression treatment. Like Mucuna, 5-HTP is a serotonin precursor. When you take it, the body is able to make plenty of serotonin that can be released on demand. Serotonin works quite a bit differently in the body than dopamine though, so try out a protocol without it first and see if you really need it. If Mucuna and St. John’s Wort don’t cure depression for you, add 5-HTP into the mix in 30 mg doses taken 4 times per day. This dose can be increased to 150 mg taken 4 times per day, if needed.
If you experience anxiety in addition to depression, add N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) to your depression treatment. NAC is an anti-oxidant that helps people overcome nervous anxiety related to phobias, obsessive compulsive behaviors, or even repetitive “picking” type behaviors. It should also be taken 4 times per day at between 500-1500 mg per dose (up to 6000 mg per day) for best results.
To treat depression using these remedies, follow the dosing guidelines below:
1. Mucuna pruriens (L-Dopa) – 6,000-15,000 mg daily, taken in divided doses, 1500 mg 4 times per day
–Take 25 mg of vitamin B6 daily so that your body can properly metabolize Mucuna
–Take 200 mg of Magnesium daily so that your body can make Mucuna into dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin
2. St. John’s Wort – For the first 4 weeks of treatment, take St. John’s Wort two times daily in 300 mg doses (300 mg in the AM and 300 mg in the PM). Then, increase the dose to 600 mg twice per day. It typically takes 4 to 6 weeks to really experience the benefit of taking St. John’s Wort.
3. 5-HTP – Take 30 – 150 mg of 5-HTP per day, only as needed.
4. N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) – Take 1000 – 4000 mg per day in divided doses (1000 mg per dose, 4 times per day)
Once you get started on a Mucuna protocol for depression, set the date on your calendar for 5 months later and check in with yourself. This protocol is designed to help heal dopamine and serotonin receptors in your brain and it takes about 5 months to do that. After 5 months of this treatment, you may be able to slowly take less and less Mucuna and the other medications.
Mucuna pruriens is often labeled as L-Dopa and this creates a lot of fear and confusion around this food-medicine. Many people believe that the Mucuna pruriens L-Dopa is identical to Levodopa (also called L-Dopa) that’s used as a Parkinson’s Disease treatment. Levodopa, the pharmaceutical brand, has a reputation for causing serious side effects. But the pharmaceutical version of Levodopa/L-Dopa is actually a combination of L-Dopa and Carbidopa. When you take Mucuna pruriens, the L-Dopa on the label is a naturally-occuring peptide that’s present in meats, dairy products, and other items that contain protein. Our brain requires a certain amount of L-Dopa or L-Dopa precursor molecules in order to produce dopamine. But the thing you need to know is that it isn’t the L-Dopa molecule that’s responsible for causing negative side effects associated with Levodopa, but rather Carbidopa, a completely different molecule that’s packaged in with the L-Dopa in this medication.
Remember, people eat Mucuna beans daily in various parts of the world. They’re beans and you can cook them and put them in chili. You can make Mucuna burritos with the beans. If you grow Mucuna pruriens in your garden, they’ll make the soil healthier and more fertile.
Contrary to popular belief, Mucuna is not addictive. In fact, Mucuna pruriens can be used to cure addiction. Because it provides adequate levels of dopamine, people find that they’re able to quit just about any habit from methamphetamines to social media addiction. I have personal experience with Mucuna as both an anti-addiction medicine and as an anti-depressant. I take it every day though, ironically, I sometimes forget because this bean actually helps people question their own behaviors and forget to engage in addictive processes. So people who take Mucuna often question the use of the bean and take breaks from it unintentionally.
NOTE: The Mucuna pruriens protocol minus 5-HTP and St. John’s Wort mixes very well with Methylene Blue, another potent antidepressant that works by scavenging for free radicals in the brain. Methylene Blue is a powerful antidepressant and it works through different mechanisms that 5-HTP and St. John’s Wort to modulate serotonin levels and levels of other neurotransmitters in the brain that become imbalanced during depression and bipolar depression. Methylene Blue is an over-the-counter product and you can read more about how to use Methylene Blue for Depression in this article.
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Kamkaen, N. et al. (2022). Mucuna pruriens Seed Aqueous Extract Improved Neuroprotective and Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitory Effects Compared with Synthetic L-Dopa. Retrieved September 22, 2022 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35630617/