Maca herb information, studies, review and use for fertility and sexual benefits - the extract helps restore sexual health to those on SSRI drugs such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft

Maca is a root-like vegetable shaped like a radish. It grows in the harsh climate of the Andes Mountains in South America at elevations from 11,000 to up to 15,000 feet. It is traditionally used in the Andean region for its supposed aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing properties. Muira puama is another herb found in South America, particularly in Brazil.

Maca for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction
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. Depression Clinical and Research Program, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.We sought to determine whether maca, a Peruvian plant, is effective for selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. We conducted a double-blind, randomized, parallel group dose-finding pilot study comparing a low-dose maca herb (1.5 g/day) to a high-dose (3.0 g/day) maca regimen in 20 remitted depressed outpatients (mean age 36+/-13 years; 17 women) with SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. Subjects on 3.0 g/day maca had a significant improvement, but subjects on 1.5 g/day did not. Maca root may alleviate SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction, and there may be a dose-related effect. This herb may also have a beneficial effect on libido.

Maca Root, 500 mg, 60 Capsules - This supplement was produced at NHK Laboratories in California
Developed by Ray Sahelian, M.D. and Passion Rx, a potent sexual enhancer

Supplement Facts - Highest Quality
Maca Root - 500 mg
(Lepidium meyenii)

Suggested Use:  1 maca capsule in the morning, or as recommended by your health care professional.



Aphrodisiac benefit
In one study, researchers fed high dosages of maca extracts to male mice. As a result, the frequency with which they coupled with female mice tripled.  In rats with erectile dysfunction or difficulty in getting a lasting erection, the time needed between successive couplings was reduced by half. Maca, alone, is not enough to lead most users to have a hard penis. It works better when part of a formual. There are many plant aphrodisiacs including the following: Cistanche plant for sexual enhancement and Cnidium plant which is a Chinese sex booster. You will find this herb added to many such formulas. Saw palmetto often used for prostate health has only a mild influence.

Energy enhancement
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a mystery gradually being understood better, exercise helps a great deal including yoga positions. Perhaps this Andean root can be of benefit in the short term leading to more energy, but we do not think it is a long term solution.

Mental energy and memory
Mind Boosters: A Guide to Natural Supplements that Enhance Your Mind, Memory, and Mood is an excellent book, however it does not discuss this herb because it does not have much of mental enhancement effect, at least not as clearly as the other brain supplements mentioned in the book such as SAM-e.

Maca prevents prostate enlargement in mice
Antagonistic effect of Lepidium meyenii (red maca) on prostatic hyperplasia in adult mice.
Andrologia. 2008. Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru.
The present study was designed to determine the effect of red maca in the prostate hyperplasia induced with testosterone enanthate in adult mice. Our results show maca has an anti-hyperplastic effect on the prostate of adult mice when hyperplasia was induced with testosterone acting first at prostatic stromal level.

Research studies
The in vitro biological activity of maca extracts.
Cell Biol Toxicol. 2006, Faculty of Medicine, Palacky University, Olomouc.
The biological activity of methanolic and aqueous extracts from dehydrated hypocotyls of Lepidium meyenii was studied on rat hepatocytes and human breast cancer MCF-7 cells. The maca extracts did not exhibit cytotoxicity in hepatocyte primary cultures up to 10 mg/ml as measured by the MTT viability test, and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) leakage. Moreover, after 72 h, extracts inhibited LDH and AST leakage from the hepatocytes. When hepatocytes were intoxicated by t-butyl hydroperoxide, neither extract prevented oxidative damage. Both maca extracts showed weak antioxidant activity. Thus, the observed effect on spontaneous enzyme leakage is probably mediated through mechanisms other than antioxidant activity. Both methanolic and aqueous maca extracts have shown estrogenic activity comparable with that of silymarin in MCF-7 cell line. Maca estrogenicity was exhibited in the range from 100 to 200 mug of extract per ml. The findings in the present study show that maca does not display in vitro hepatotoxicity. In contrast, a slight cytoprotective effect, probably not mediated by antioxidant capacity, was noted. Maca extracts exhibited estrogenic activity comparably to the effect of silymarin in MCF-7 cells.

Maca reversed the lead acetate induced-Damage on reproductive function in male rats.
Food Chem Toxicol. 2006. Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru; Instituto de Investigaciones de la Altura, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
Rats were treated with lead acetate (LA) (i.p.) for 35 days. Maca was co-administrated orally from day 18 to day 35. The lengths of stages of the seminiferous epithelium were assessed by transillumination. Also, sex organ weights, testicular and epididymal sperm count, sperm motility, daily sperm production, sperm transit rate and serum testosterone levels were measured. Lead acetate treatment resulted in a dose-response reduction of lengths of stages VIII and IX-XI, and serum testosterone levels. However, rats treated with 8 and 16mg/kg but not 24mg/kg of lead acetate showed a low number of testicular spermatids, low daily sperm production (DSP) and low epididymal sperm count. Administration of Maca to rats treated with lead acetate resulted in higher lengths of stages VIII and IX-XI with respect to lead acetate-treated rats. Moreover, treatment with Maca to lead acetate-treated rats resulted in lengths of stages VIII and IX-XI similar to the control group. Maca prevented LA-induced spermatogenic disruption in rats and it may become in a potential treatment of male infertility associated with lead exposure.

Bone health and osteoporosis
Effect of ethanol extract of Lepidium meyenii Walp. on osteoporosis in ovariectomized rat.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2006. Huazhong University of Science & Technology Wuhan, PR China.
The root is traditionally employed for its supposed properties in aphrodisiacs and improving fertility, it also has been widely used to help alleviate the symptoms of menopause. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of ethanol extract of Maca on postmenopausal osteoporosis in ovariectomized rats. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into four groups: Sham-operated and ovariectomized groups were fed with equivolume of distilled water, and the remaining ovariectomized groups were orally administrated with ethanol extract of Macafor 28 weeks. The findings derived from the basis of bone mineral density, biomechanical, biochemical and histopathological parameters indicated that higher dose of ethanol extract of Maca was effective in the prevention of estrogen deficient bone loss.

Improved vitality and wellbeing
Q. I've been taking maca powder every day and on some occasions every second day and feel an incredible difference in my wellbeing as a result of this. However, I have a cough which has come and gone over the past years and often persists for months at a time. I can not remember if I got the cough this time before I started talking it or after but I have noticed that I start to develop more phlegm after taking it which becomes extremely irritating. I know that phlegm it's self is protein based and that maca has a high degree of absorbable protein and so I thought there may be some connection there. I only take half a tea spoon in hot water at a time when taking maca but I still feel the effects of plegm being produced after each time. I do not want to stop taking maca because I feel so great when I take it but at the same time this cough is driving me crazy. Do you think the way I am taking maca or the quantity that I'm taking is affiliated with this problem?
   A. Even though phlegm is protein based, it would not have anything to do with protein in maca since people can eat chicken with protein and yet not have phlegm. We have not heard of maca causing phlegm or couth, but then again we don't know many people who have taken it for prolonged periods. It is always a good idea if a side effect is being suspected from an herb to take a break from it. There are many herbs that have overlapping functions and effects.

I was thinking about taking Every Woman's One Daily multi-vitamin by New Chapter but it has Maca (root) in it, and I understand that it increases sexual desire. Is that true? That is something I don't want.
   Every Woman's One Daily multi-vitamin by New Chapter appears to have less than 50 mg of this herb and it normally would take more than 1000 mg a day to have a sexual desire enhancing effect.

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How does Maca root work?
Maca root contains sterols, uridine, malic acid, macamides, and glucosinolates. Oil components include phenyl acetonitrile and benzaldehyde. Many of the compounds in maca have an effect on the central nervous system. The mechanism of action of maca is presently not well understood, but probably seems to be independent of a hormonal effect since studies show it does not influence blood levels of hormones, for instance testosterone. Maca has alkaloids, steroids, tannins, saponins, and cardiotonic glycosides.

Influence of colour type and previous cultivation on secondary metabolites in hypocotyls and leaves of maca
J Sci Food Agric. 2010. ETH Zurich, Institute of Plant, Animal and Agroecosystem Sciences, Zurich, Switzerland.
Maca is an Andean crop of the Brassicaceae family which is mainly known for its fertility-enhancing properties following consumption. The hypocotyls display various colours ranging from white to black. Each colour has different biological effects. The aim of this study was to analyse the concentrations of major secondary metabolites in hypocotyls and leaves of maca in a controlled planting experiment in the Peruvian Andes at 4130 m above sea level. The effects of colour type and of previous cultivation of the field were examined. In the hypocotyls, the colour type effect was significant for most secondary metabolites; exceptions were beta-sitosterol and campesterol.
Sitosterol is also found in soy for prostate and cholesterol. The lead-coloured, yellow and violet maca hypocotyls were rich in glucosinolates, macaene and macamides, respectively. Previous cultivation affected macaene, campesterol and indole glucosinolate concentrations. Effects on metabolite concentrations in the leaves were minor. Hypocotyls were richer in macaene, macamides and glucosinolates than were leaves, and were poorer in beta-sitosterol and total phenols. 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.