Best Mucuna Pruriens Supplements (and How to Take Them for Maximum Bioavailability)

best mucuna pruriens supplements

Mucuna pruriens contains levodopa, a dopamine precursor. Levodopa is best known for treating Parkinson’s disease but has many other health benefits which range from treating depression to reducing wrinkles.

Because it has so many health benefits, there are numerous mucuna pruriens supplements available. As expected with any natural remedy, not all of these mucuna pruriens supplements are created equally.

Here is what you need to look for when choosing a mucuna pruriens supplement, how to take them to increase bioavailability (absorption) and a list of the best mucuna pruriens supplements available.


Quick Pick: Nutricost Standardized Mucuna Pruriens Extract
It is made by a reputable company, third-party tested and contains over 19,000mg of L-dopa per container yet is still very affordable.


How to Choose a Mucuna Pruriens Supplement

When looking at which mucuna pruriens supplement to buy, there are five many factors to consider: form, levodopa content, processing method, third-party testing and cost.


Mucuna Pruriens Supplement Forms


This is the most common form of mucuna pruriens supplements.  It is made by drying the seeds and then grinding them into a powder.  Sometimes the powder is put into a capsule.  Powders typically contain 4-6% levodopa content.  They are the cheapest option but not the most potent.


Powdered Extracts (Not Recommended)

True extracts are made by first soaking the plant in a liquid solvent.  The active ingredients dissolve into the liquid.  Then the liquid portion is evaporated, leaving behind a powder containing a high concentration of the active ingredients.

Unfortunately, a lot of mucuna pruriens “extracts” are not true extracts.  They are often just dried powders which may have been dehydrated further.  Manufacturers will then advertise these products as having a “5:1 concentration” or even a “20:1 concentration.”

Further, extracts of mucuna pruriens aren’t recommended because the extraction process can actually reduce levels of levodopa – especially if alcohol or heat is used.

There are some methods of extracting mucuna pruriens which preserve levodopa (such as using ascorbic acid during extraction or microwave assisted extraction).  But, unless the extract is standardized (see below) or the company is very open about the methods it uses, there is no way of knowing how much levodopa is actually in the supplement.


Standardized Extracts

Standardized mucuna pruriens extracts have been made with a true extraction process and are tested for potency.   These supplements guarantee a specific amount of levodopa content, usually around 10% (which is twice as potent as most mucuna pruriens supplements).

The downside is that standardized mucuna pruriens extracts are pricier.  However, because they are usually twice as potent, it is arguably worth paying twice the price for them compared with powdered forms.


Tinctures (Not Recommended)

Mucuna pruriens tinctures are made by soaking the seeds in a solvent, such as glycerin or alcohol.  Healthy compounds dissolve into the solvent.  The seeds are strained, leaving behind a highly-potent liquid.

While tinctures are very good at dissolving antioxidants, they may not be as effective when it comes to dissolving levodopa.


Levodopa Content

Standardized mucuna pruriens supplements will list how much levodopa they contain.   Some brands will also test their mucuna pruriens powders for levodopa content.  Mucuna pruriens typically contains 5% levodopa naturally. With this in mind, anything above 15% should be considered a high levodopa content.


Raw vs. Roasted vs. Boiled Mucuna Pruriens Powder

With many natural remedies, you should choose the raw form.  This is because heat can degrade the healthy compounds in the plant.  However, this is NOT the case with mucuna pruriens.  Powders made from roasted mucuna pruriens are the best choice.

The reason for this is because mucuna pruriens seeds contain many antinutrients such as phytic acid and tannins.  These antinutrients can interfere with the absorption of nutrients in the body.

Roasting helps break down these antinutrients.  Further, research shows that roasted and raw mucuna pruriens have similar levodopa content (5.29% versus 5.3%).   In other words, you aren’t losing any levodopa by choosing a roasted mucuna pruriens powder but are getting fewer antinutrients. On top of that, roasted mucuna pruriens is also safer from a hygienic point of view and is easier to standardize.

However, you should avoid boiled mucuna pruriens. Research shows that, while it does reduce antinutrient content, boiling decreases levodopa content in mucuna pruriens by as much as 70%.  Thus, any boiled mucuna pruriens product is going to be less potent.


Country of Origin Doesn’t Matter (Much)

Mucuna pruriens is found in many parts of the world including India, China, the Caribbean and parts of Africa.

In terms of potency, country of origin doesn’t matter: an analysis of mucuna pruriens from different countries found contain similar amounts of levodopa worldwide.

However, country of origin can matter when it comes to purity.  You don’t want mucuna pruriens which was grown in areas where there are toxins in the soil, for example.  This is why buying from a reputable brand which does third-party testing is important.


Third-Party Testing

The best brands of mucuna pruriens will send their products to outside laboratories for testing.  This helps ensure their products are free of contaminants like heavy metals.  Because each batch has to be tested separately, you usually have to request the test results from the company directly.   Unfortunately, this testing does add to the cost of the supplement.



When looking at the cost of mucuna pruriens supplements, make sure to factor in the amount of L-dopa in the supplement.  For example, if two supplements may cost the same, the one with the higher L-dopa content will be the better value.


Best Mucuna Pruriens Supplements

All of the mucuna pruriens supplements below are from reputable brands which do third-party testing.  Some of them are powders whereas others are standardized extracts.


1. Nutricost Mucuna Pruriens – Best Overall

This mucuna pruriens supplement is my top pick because it is a good balance of quality and value. It is standardized and third-party tested, so you know you are getting a good product.  Nutricost is a well-known brand which is very transparent about their manufacturing processes

The price is affordable, especially considering that each serving has 320mg of L-dopa.  That adds up to 19,200mg of L-dopa per bottle.


  • 800mg per serving (2 capsules)
  • 60 servings per bottle
  • Standardized to 40% L-dopa
  • =320mg L-dopa per serving (19,200mg per bottle)
  • Vegetarian and GF
  • Third-party tested
  • Buy Here


2. Zazzee Mucuna Pruriens – Best Overall

This mucuna pruriens supplement is also a good value.  It is standardized so each serving has 200mg of L-dopa, which adds up to 22,000mg of L-dopa total per bottle.  When you analyze it this way, you see that it’s actually costs almost the exact same as the Nutricost supplement, even though it has many more servings.


  • 1000mg mucuna pruriens per serving (2 capsules)
  • 110 servings per bottle
  • Standardized to 20% L-dopa
  • =200mg L-dopa per serving (22,000mg per bottle)
  • Third-party tested
  • Made in USA
  • Vegan and GF
  • Buy here


3. Adaptogen Research DopaLift – Best for Brain Support

DopaLift by Adaptogen Research is a pricier supplement, especially considering the lower amount of L-dopa it contains per bottle.  However, it also contains several other nutrients which are shown to support brain health. Note that their products are third-party tested, even though they fail to mention this on their Amazon page.


  • Also contains B6, N-acetyl-L-Tyrosine, green tea extract and quercetin
  • 425mg mucuna pruriens per serving (2 capsules)
  • 30 servings per bottle
  • Standardized to 60% L-dopa
  • =255mg L-dopa per serving (6,750mg per bottle)
  • Vegetarian and GF
  • Made in the USA
  • Third party tested
  • Buy Here


4. Cadane Mucuan Pruriens Powder – Best Powder

This is a bulk bag of dried mucuna pruriens bean powder.  It comes in a 1lb bag.  Assuming that the L-dopa content is approximately 5%, this would mean that the package contains 22,680mg of L-dopa.   When looked at this way, the Nutricost capsules are actually a better value.  However, a lot of people prefer loose powders because it gives you more flexibility to adjust the dosage.  Unfortunately, this brand doesn’t say whether it is raw or roasted.


  • Not standardized
  • 1lb package
  • Vegan and GF
  • Certified organic
  • Buy Here


How to Take Mucuna Pruriens (for Maximum Bioavailability)

If you want to get the most of your mucuna pruriens supplement, you should make sure you are taking it to maximize bioavailability – or doing things which can increase the absorption of the levodopa in the supplement.


Take with a Fat

The L-dopa in mucuna pruriens is a fat-soluble compound, meaning it dissolves in fat. Consuming mucuna pruriens with a source of healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, or avocado, may improve its absorption and bioavailability.

Taking L-Dopa with a meal that contains some fat can increase its absorption and bioavailability. This is because the fat in the meal can help solubilize and transport L-Dopa across the gastrointestinal tract.


Also Take with Black Pepper

Black pepper contains piperine, a compound that has been shown to increase bioavailability of many healthy compounds – including the levodopa in mucuna pruriens.

Piperine inhibits certain enzymes in the liver and gut that break down levodopa, allowing more of it to be absorbed and utilized by the body.  By inhibiting the breakdown of levodopa, its health benefits can also last for a longer period of time.

Further, piperine enhances the integrity of the intestinal lining, which allows for greater absorption of levodopa into the bloodstream.


Avoid High-Protein Meals

Consuming mucuna pruriens with a high-protein meal may reduce its absorption and bioavailability. This is because protein can compete with L-dopa for absorption in the small intestine. To enhance its bioavailability, take mucuna pruriens with a low-protein meal.


Image credits:
Mucuna pruriens” (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) by b. inxee♪♫
Mucuna pruriens seeds” (CC BY 2.0) by Jungle Garden


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