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

School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Victoria University, St. Albans, Victoria, Australia.
Menopause (New York, N.Y.) (Impact Factor: 3.36). 10/2008; 15(6):1157-62. DOI: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181732953
Source: PubMed


To examine the estrogenic and androgenic activity of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) and its effect on the hormonal profile and symptoms in postmenopausal women.
Fourteen postmenopausal women completed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. They received 3.5 g/day of powered Maca for 6 weeks and matching placebo for 6 weeks, in either order, over a total of 12 weeks. At baseline and weeks 6 and 12 blood samples were collected for the measurement of estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and sex hormone-binding globulin, and the women completed the Greene Climacteric Scale to assess the severity of menopausal symptoms. In addition, aqueous and methanolic Maca extracts were tested for androgenic and estrogenic activity using a yeast-based hormone-dependent reporter assay.
No differences were seen in serum concentrations of estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and sex hormone-binding globulin between baseline, Maca treatment, and placebo (P > 0.05). The Greene Climacteric Scale revealed a significant reduction in scores in the areas of psychological symptoms, including the subscales for anxiety and depression and sexual dysfunction after Maca consumption compared with both baseline and placebo (P < 0.05). These findings did not correlate with androgenic or alpha-estrogenic activity present in the Maca as no physiologically significant activity was observed in yeast-based assays employing up to 4 mg/mL Maca extract (equivalent to 200 mg/mL Maca).
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.

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    • "The studies with maca on human subjects were reviewed in 2010 [44]. Four randomised clinical trials met the authors' inclusion criteria: two trials suggested a significant positive effect of maca on sexual dysfunction or sexual desire in healthy postmenopausal women [45] or healthy adult men [46], while the other trial failed to show any effects on healthy cyclists [47]. A further trial assessed the effects of maca in patients with erectile dysfunction using the International Index of Erectile Function Questionnaire and showed significant effects [48]. "
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    BioMed Research International 06/2014; 2014(5). DOI:10.1155/2014/841798 · 2.71 Impact Factor
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    • "In fact, previous studies showed that red maca specifically affects prostate size without altering testosterone or estradiol levels either in mice or in rats with prostatic hyperplasia induced by TE [14, 20, 45]. Also, it has been published that maca has no effect on androgen receptor [48, 49]. The latter supports the hypothesis that red maca effect is at a postandrogen receptor action level [14] or that RM exerts an inhibitory effect at a level postdihydrotestosterone conversion [45]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lepidium meyenii (maca) is a Peruvian plant of the Brassicaceae family cultivated for more than 2000 years, which grows exclusively in the central Andes between 4000 and 4500 m altitude. Maca is used as a food supplement and also for its medicinal properties described traditionally. Since the 90s of the XX century, an increasing interest in products from maca has been observed in many parts of the world. In the last decade, exportation of maca from Peru has increased from 1,415,000 USD in 2001 to USD 6,170,000 USD in 2010. 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.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 01/2012; 2012(1741-427X):193496. DOI:10.1155/2012/193496 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    • "Four RCTs met our inclusion criteria, and their key data are summarised in Table 1[21-24]. Of the four studies, one RCT was conducted in Italy [21], one in Peru [23], one in Australia [22], and one in the UK [24]. One RCT adopted a two-armed parallel group design [21], one employed a three-armed parallel group design [23], and the other two used a crossover design [22,24]. "
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