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.

Download full-text


Available from: Gisela Wilcox
  • Source
    • "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]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Introduction: The use of unlicensed food and herbal supplements to enhance sexual functions is drastically increasing. This phenomenon, combined with the availability of these products over the Internet, represents a challenge from a clinical and a public health perspective. Methods: A comprehensive multilingual assessment of websites, drug fora, and other online resources was carried out between February and July 2013 with exploratory qualitative searches including 203 websites. Additional searches were conducted using the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN). Once the active constitutes of the products were identified, a comprehensive literature search was carried out using PsycInfo and PubMed. Results: The most common sexual enhancement products available on the Internet were identified. Their active ingredients included yohimbine, maca, horny goat weed and Ginkgo biloba. These four substances were reported with the occurrence of adverse events and the induction of psychological symptoms, such as mood changes, anxiety, and hallucinations as well as addictive behaviours. Conclusions: Uncontrolled availability of sexual enhancement products that contain potentially harmful substances is a major public health concern. The possible impact on population health, particularly among subjects with psychiatric disorders, usually at risk for sexual dysfunction, may be significant. This new trend needs to be extensively studied and monitored.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · BioMed Research International
  • Source
    • "After 14 days maca exctract supplementation improved 40 km cycling time trial performance and sexual desire in trained male cyclists (Stone et al., 2009). Two randomized controlled trials suggested a significant positive effect of maca on sexual dysfunction and sexual desire in healthy menopausal women and healthy adult men (Zenico et al., 2009; Brooks et al., 2008). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Maca (Lepidium meyenii Walp., Brassicaceae) is a Peruvian tuberous crop cultivated in the Andes mountains at altitudes above 3.500 m. It is grown for consumption of its nourishing hypocotyl and it is extensively used for nutritional and medicinal purposes. Maca is normally used to increase physical energy, support the immune system, and is traditionally considered to be an aphrodisiac which enhances fertility in humans and in domestic animals. The purpose of the study was to reveal how maca responds to diverse climatic conditions and what the prospects of its cultivation are out of its original area. The macamide (main quality marker of maca) content has been analyzed by HPLC-UV in plant material of various samples of maca of Peruvian origin and it was compared to content in samples of maca cultivated in the Czech Republic, under field conditions and in a greenhouse. There was a significantly lower concentration of macamides in the sample grown in the Czech Republic compared to the Peruvian samples. There were no macamides found in samples cultivated in the greenhouse. If we admit that macamides are responsible for fertility enhancing properties of maca, we can conclude there is no possibility of maca cultivation in the Czech Republic for this use.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · Boletin Latinoamericano y del Caribe de Plantas Medicinales y Aromaticas
  • Source
    • "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]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Show more