Studies around the effectiveness of Maca
Among the Incas, the positive effect of the maca root on health had long been known. It is said to make you alert and fit. It promoted thinking performance, libido, increased fertility and could thus help with the desire to have children. It can also help athletes perform at their best.
In the meantime, several studies have been conducted on the efficacy of maca root in view of its alleged effects.
Studies on the effect of Maca on the performance of athletes
At Northumbria University, a study was carried out with eight men on the effect of maca on their performance during a bicycle tour. First, the men were asked to complete a 40-kilometer bike ride before use, after which the subjects’ performance was evaluated. Two weeks later this tour was repeated under.
The test persons took Maca powder since the last tour. After the tour, another study was conducted using the same evaluation scheme. The result: the men were faster and stronger, performance was improved. (1)
Studies on the effect of Maca on sexual dysfunction in women
A study investigated the effect of Maca on patients with SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. In women just over 40 years of age, taking maca powder over a three-month period showed an improvement in scores on standardized sexual function scales.
It has been shown to be particularly effective in post-menopausal women. The researchers found that there was a slight increase in testosterone. This androgen ensures a functional libido. (2)
In another similar study with fewer subjects, it was also found that the dosage also had an influence on efficacy. Thus, 1.500 milligrams showed no noticeable changes, while a dose of 3.000 milligrams increased sexual desire. (3)
Study on the effect of Maca on menopausal women
Maca was tested in several studies with women during as well as after menopause. Some of the studies were financed by maca manufacturers and therefore had a higher number of participants.
In an Australian study, for example, 160 women took 2.000 milligrams of Maca. Lowered estradiol and increased FSH levels were seen before taking it, as is typical for menopause. Hormone replacement therapy with estradiol is usually given after menopause.
The study showed an improvement in the values: Estradiol increased, cholesterol levels improved, and some characteristic symptoms of menopause subsided. There were fewer hot flushes, improved mood and increased physical performance.
In addition, an improvement in bone density and a lower release of stress hormones were observed in an additional study. In contrast to conventional hormone replacement therapies, however, there was no weight gain; instead, the intake of Maca was accompanied by a reduction in weight. (4)
Studies on the effect of Maca on potency and libido in men
In another study, Peruvian researchers found that Maca can also increase sexual desire in men. As in the case of women with sexual dysfunction, two different daily doses were also used here. In addition, there was a control group. The study was conducted over a period of eight weeks.
Although no change in hormone levels was found, subjects taking Maca powder showed increased libido activity and also an increase in potency. (5)
In addition, there is an indication that Maca may also positively influence sperm quality. In a study of nine men between the ages of 24 and 44, a study was conducted in Lima on this subject.
Maca powder was taken over a period of four months. Regardless of dosage, it was shown to increase semen volume, increase sperm count per ejaculation, and also improve sperm motility (6). The significance of this study is still quite low due to the small number of participants and the lack of a placebo group, but there are certainly grounds for further investigations.
Studies on the beneficial effects of maca on health
In the “Journal of endicrinology” there was a study of subjects in whom the mood was significantly improved by the use of Maca. The subjects reported suffering significantly less anxiety and depression than before. However, the control group did not show any changes. (7)
In 2011, the American Society for Nutritional Sciences also studied the effects of maca on stress patients. In the test, Maca was shown to reduce oxidative stress.
(2) Dording, C. M., et al., “A double-blind, randomized, pilot dose-finding study of maca root (L. meyenii) for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction,” CNS Neurosci Ther. 2008 Fall;14(3)), S. 182 – 91
(3) Brooks, N. A., et al., “Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content”, Menopause. 2008 Nov-Dec;15(6), S. 1157 – 62
(4) Meissner, H. O., A. Mscisz, H. Reich-Bilinska, W. Kapczynski, P. Mrozikiewicz, T. Bobkiewicz-Kozlowska, B. Kedzia, A. Lowicka, and I. Barchia. “Hormone-Balancing Effect of Pre-Gelatinized Organic Maca (Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon): (Ii) Physiological and Symptomatic Responses of Early-Postmenopausal Women to Standardized Doses of Maca in Double Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Multi-Centre Clinical Study”.” Int J Biomed Sci 2, no. 4 (Dec 2006): 360-74. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23675005
(5) Gonzales, G. F., A. Cordova, K. Vega, A. Chung, A. Villena, C. Gonez, and S. Castillo. “Effect of Lepidium Meyenii (Maca) on Sexual Desire and Its Absent Relationship with Serum Testosterone Levels in Adult Healthy Men.” Andrologia 34, no. 6 (Dec 2002): 367-72. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12472620
(6) Gonzales, G. F. , et al., “Lepidium meyenii (Maca) improved semen parameters in adult men,” Asian J Androl. 2001 Dec;3(4), S. 301 – 03