Sex and Deprenyl
by David Jay Brown
Deprenyl (selegiline hydrochloride) is a moderate-level stimulant and antidepressant that has been shown to improve memory, protect the brain against cell damage, alleviate depression, extend the life span of laboratory animals, and heighten sexual desire in both men and women. This impressive substance is available by prescription in the U.S., and it is primarily prescribed to help people with Parkinson’s disease, memory disorder problems, and sometimes depression.
However, a lot of healthy people also use deprenyl to improve their mental performance. It is considered by many people to be a “cognitive enhancer”, or a “smart drug.” Along with drugs such as hydergine and piracetam, and herbs like Gingko Biloba, these substances have a reputation for enhancing memory, accelerating intelligence, and improving concentration. There is also a good deal of scientific evidence to support these claims. (For an excellent summary of the scientific studies in this area see John Morgenthaler and Ward Dean’s book “Smart Drugs and Nutrients“. To read an interview on this site with John Morgenthaler click here.)
Many people report that smart drugs often have sexually-enhancing “side-effects”, and deprenyl has one of the leading reputations in this area. According to Ward Dean, M.D., a gerontologist that I spoke with in Pensacola, Florida, “anything that improves brain function is probably going to improve sexual functioning.” This is probably because sexuality and health go hand-in-hand, and sexual vitality is a pretty good indicator of overall health.
Deprenyl is a selective inhibitor of the dopamine-destroying enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO) in the brain. Because deprenyl inhibits this destructive enzyme, levels of the excitatory neurotransmitter dopamine rise in the brain, which generally causes people to feel more pleasure and become more physiologically aroused.
Interestingly, unlike most other MAO inhibitor drugs (like the antidepressant Nardil), there are usually no dietary restrictions necessary when one takes deprenyl. When taken at moderate levels (under 10 mg.), deprenyl only inhibits the action of a specific type of MAO–MAO B–which doesn’t interfere with the body’s ability to metabolize the amino acid tyrosine, like a broad-spectrum MAO inhibitor does. This is why most other MAO inhibiting drugs carry the serious danger of triggering a hypertensive reaction if one eats tyrosine-rich foods, like cheese. Deprenyl has been described by researchers as working with great precision in this regard, and the physicians that I spoke with agreed that it was unusually safe.
Deprenyl is better than safe; this truly remarkable drug has also been shown to significantly increase the maximum lifespan of laboratory animals. To fully appreciate how significant deprenyl’s life extension potential is, one has to understand the difference between maximum life span and average life span. Many factors can affect the average lifespan (or the “normal life expectancy”) that an animal lives–genetics, diet, exercise, nutritional supplements, mental attitude, etc. However, even under the very best of conditions, there is an upper limit at which the longest-lived animals of a particular species can survive, and that is the animal’s maximum life span.
The average life span of a human being is approximately 70 to 80 years. However, the maximum life span of a human being is around 115 to 120 years. The laboratory animals in the deprenyl studies showed a 40% increase in maximum life span, the human equivalent of living 170 years. Since deprenyl’s primary effects work the same in all mammalian brains, it stands to reason that deprenyl’s life extension effects are likely to carry over to humans, just as the mental benefits do. Many people have certainly verified that the increase in sex drive occurs in both humans and laboratory animals.