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Maca Studies and Research

The Pubmed database contains hundreds of scientific articles on Maca.    We’ve taken the most relevant research on Maca and categorized them by the type of results discovered.   Use the links to read more about each article.

General Maca Research

Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands. Gonzales GF.  Department of Biological and Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy and High Altitude Research Institute, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Honorio Delgado 430, Lima 31, Peru.

Summary:   Experimental scientific evidence showed that maca has nutritional, energizer, and fertility-enhancer properties, and it acts on sexual dysfunctions, osteoporosis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, memory and learning, and protects skin against ultraviolet radiation. Clinical trials showed efficacy of maca on sexual dysfunctions as well as increasing sperm count and motility. Maca is a plant with great potential as an adaptogen and appears to be promising as a nutraceutical in the prevention of several diseases.

Influence of colour type and previous cultivation on secondary metabolites in hypocotyls and leaves of maca (Lepidium meyenii Walpers).  Clément C, Diaz Grados DA, Avula B, Khan IA, Mayer AC, Ponce Aguirre DD, Manrique I, Kreuzer M.

Summary:  Colour type has to be considered in maca production, as colour associates with variations in concentrations of distinct bioactive metabolites. Leaves may be interesting for animal nutrition purposes as they contain essentially the same secondary metabolites as the hypocotyls but in clearly lower concentrations.

Lepidium meyenii (Maca): a plant from the highlands of Peru–from tradition to science. Gonzales GF, Gonzales C, Gonzales-Castañeda C.  Instituto de Investigaciones de la Altura, and Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru

Maca and Athletic Performance

A pilot investigation into the effect of maca supplementation on physical activity and sexual desire in sportsmen. Stone M, Ibarra A, Roller M, Zangara A, Stevenson E. School of Psychology and Sports Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK

Summary: 14 days ME supplementation improved 40 km cycling time trial performance and sexual desire in trained male cyclists. These promising results encourage long-term clinical studies involving more volunteers, to further evaluate the efficacy of ME in athletes and normal individuals and also to explore its possible mechanisms of action.

Maca and Bone Health

Effects of different varieties of Maca (Lepidium meyenii) on bone structure in ovariectomized rats.
Gonzales C, Cárdenas-Valencia I, Leiva-Revilla J, Anza-Ramirez C, Rubio J, Gonzales GF. Biological and Physiological Science Department, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru

Summary:   Red and black maca have protective effects on bone architecture in OVX rats without showing estrogenic effects on uterine weight.

Influence of Lepidium meyemii walp on lipid and bone mass in ovariectomized rats. Wang Z, Yang J, Wang G, Bian L. Institute for Nutrition and Food Safety, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing 100050, China.

Summary:  Dietary supplementation with Maca may have potential effects on prevention of poatmenopausal lipid abnormality and bone metabolism via a different mechanism from estrogen.

Maca and Brain Function

Neuroprotective effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca).
Pino-Figueroa A, Nguyen D, Maher TJ.  Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

Summary:  The neuroprotective activity of the plant Lepidium meyenii (Maca) was studied in two experimental models: in vitro and in vivo. Crayfish neurons were pretreated with vehicle or the pentane extract from Maca, subjected to H(2)O(2), and their viability determined microscopically and chemically. A significant concentration-neuroprotective effect relationship was demonstrated.

Maca and Emotions (Depression, Anxiety)

Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen contentBrooks NA, Wilcox G, Walker KZ, Ashton JF, Cox MB, Stojanovska L. School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Victoria University, St. Albans, Victoria, Australia.

Summary: Preliminary findings show that Lepidium meyenii (Maca) (3.5 g/d) reduces psychological symptoms, including anxiety and depression, and lowers measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women independent of estrogenic and androgenic activity.

Effect of three different cultivars of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on learning and depression in ovariectomized mice.  Rubio J, Caldas M, Dávila S, Gasco M, Gonzales GF.  Department of Biological and Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy and Instituto de Investigaciones de la Altura, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima,

Summary: Black Maca appeared to have more beneficial effects on latent learning in OVX mice; meanwhile, all varieties of Maca showed antidepressant activity.

Maca and Fertility

Effect of maca supplementation on bovine sperm quantity and quality followed over two spermatogenic cycles.  Clément C, Kneubühler J, Urwyler A, Witschi U, Kreuzer M. ETH Zurich, Institute of Plant, Animal and Agroecosystem Sciences, Zurich, Switzerland.

Summary: Supplementing maca in the first 10 wk period increased the number of sperms in the second 10 wk period, i.e., when the animals no longer received maca. The DNA fragmentation index and the visually assessed motility of the sperms of bulls, that initially showed a borderline sperm quality, were significantly improved with early maca supplementation.

Maca and Memory

Dose-response effect of black maca (Lepidium meyenii) in mice with memory impairment induced by ethanol.
Rubio J, Yucra S, Gasco M, Gonzales GF.  Department of Biological and Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy and Instituto de Investigaciones de la Altura, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia , Lima , Peru.

Summary:  BM improved experimental memory impairment induced by ethanol in a dose-response manner due, in part, to its content of polyphenolic compounds.

Aqueous Extract of Black Maca (Lepidium meyenii) on Memory Impairment Induced by Ovariectomy in Mice.  Rubio J, Qiong W, Liu X, Jiang Z, Dang H, Chen SL, Gonzales GF.  Research Center for Pharmacology and Toxicology, Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100193, China.

Summary: Finally, black maca improved experimental memory impairment induced by ovariectomy, due in part, by its antioxidant and Ache inhibitory activities.

Maca and Menopause

Maca (Lepidium meyenii) for treatment of menopausal symptoms: A systematic review.
Lee MS, Shin BC, Yang EJ, Lim HJ, Ernst E. Division of Standard Research, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon, South Korea.

Summary: We searched 17 databases from their inception up to June 2011 and included all randomized clinical trials (RCTs) that compared any type of maca-based intervention to a placebo for the treatment of menopausal symptoms. All studies were assessed for methodological quality using the Cochrane ‘risk of bias’ assessment tool. Four RCTs met all inclusion criteria. These RCTs tested the effects of maca on menopausal symptoms in healthy perimenopausal, early postmenopausal, and late postmenopausal women. Using the Kupperman Menopausal Index and the Greene Climacteric Score, all RCTs demonstrated favorable effects of maca.

Maca and Prostate

Effect of red maca (Lepidium meyenii) on prostate zinc levels in rats with testosterone-induced prostatic hyperplasia.
Gonzales C, Leiva-Revilla J, Rubio J, Gasco M, Gonzales GF.  Department of Biological and Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy and Instituto de Investigaciones de la Altura, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru.

Summary: In conclusion, RM administered from day 1 to day 14 reduced prostate size and zinc levels in rats where prostatic hyperplasia was induced with TE.

Antagonistic effect of Lepidium meyenii (red maca) on prostatic hyperplasia in adult mice. Gonzales GF, Gasco M, Malheiros-Pereira A, Gonzales-Castañeda C.  Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy, Instituto de Investigaciones de la Altura, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru.

Summary: The plants from the Lepidium gender have demonstrated to have effect on the size of the prostate.  Red Maca reduced prostate weight at 21 days of treatment. Weights of seminal vesicles, testis and epididymis were not affected by RM treatment. The reduction in prostate size by RM was 1.59 times.

Maca and Sexual Function

Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systematic review.
Shin BC, Lee MS, Yang EJ, Lim HS, Ernst E. Division of Clinical Medicine, School of Oriental Medicine, Pusan National University, Yangsan, South Korea.

Summary: Two RCTs suggested a significant positive effect of maca on sexual dysfunction or sexual desire in healthy menopausal women or healthy adult men, respectively, while the other RCT failed to show any effects in healthy cyclists. The further RCT assessed the effects of maca in patients with erectile dysfunction using the International Index of Erectile Dysfunction-5 and showed significant effects.  More rigorous studies are warranted.

Subjective effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) extract on well-being and sexual performances in patients with mild erectile dysfunction: a randomised, double-blind clinical trial.  Zenico T, Cicero AF, Valmorri L, Mercuriali M, Bercovich E. Department of Urology, Morgagni-Pierantoni Hospital, Forlì, Italy.

Summary:   In conclusion, our data support a small but significant effect of Maca supplementation on subjective perception of general and sexual well-being in adult patients with mild ED.

A double-blind, randomized, pilot dose-finding study of maca root (L. meyenii) for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction.  Dording CM, Fisher L, Papakostas G, Farabaugh A, Sonawalla S, Fava M, Mischoulon D.  Depression Clinical and Research Program, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.

Summary:  Maca root may alleviate SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction, and there may be a dose-related effect. Maca may also have a beneficial effect on libido.

Maca and Skin Protection

Photoprotection against the UVB-induced oxidative stress and epidermal damage in mice using leaves of three different varieties of Lepidium meyenii (maca).  Gonzales-Castañeda C, Rivera V, Chirinos AL, Evelson P, Gonzales GF.  Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy, Department of Biological and Physiological Sciences, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Herediam Lima, Peru.

Summary: Mice treated with black maca showed the highest superoxide dismutase levels, and mice treated with black and yellow maca showed higher catalase levels in skin, whereas red maca protected the skin and liver against significant increases in the lipid peroxidation activity observed in the unprotected animals.

Hypocotyls of Lepidium meyenii (maca), a plant of the Peruvian highlands, prevent ultraviolet A-, B-, and C-induced skin damage in rats.  Gonzales-Castañeda C, Gonzales GF.  Department of Biological and Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru.

Summary:  Maca extracts protect the skin of rats against UV irradiations and can be suggested as an alternative means of solar protection.

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