Maca Root Supplements - Examing The Facts

maca root

Maca Root (Lepidium meyenii)

Maca (also known as Peruvian Ginseng) is a Peruvian plant long known for its aphrodisiac properties.

In addition to increasing libido, Maca root supplementation is associated with increasing erection frequency, as well as in improvements in cognition, energy, mood, and elevation of antioxidant levels.

There are 13 varieties of Maca. Although it is Yellow Maca that is the most commonly grown, it is the root of the Black Maca that has the most beneficial neuroprotective and spermatogenesis properties, while Red Maca is associated with being able to support healthy prostate size.

Maca extract contains 53 essential oils, with Phenyl acetonitrile being the most abundant. Other important nutrients include minerals such as copper, calcium, potassium and zinc, and Vitamin C, Thiamine, and Riboflavin. Bioactives only found in Maca include Macaridine (alkaloids) and Macaenes (fatty acids), and Macamine (derivative of Macaenes). Maca roots are also rich in lepidine

A and B, Glucosinolates, MTCA, 7-alkamides, and β-sitoseral.

The aphrodisiac effects of Maca root extracts seem to be associated with repeated doses, and are not related to the actual time of sexual activity.

Aphrodisia was seen to increase following 12 weeks of daily supplementation of Maca with the effects being additive [1]. There were also significant improvements in erectile performances.

Mood improvements were observed in post-menopausal women provided a daily dose of Maya for six weeks.

Cognition and memory were found to be improved in rats required to complete tasks in a maze [2]. Furthermore, neuroprotection effects have been reported in crayfish and mice, with Black Maca being the most effective type.

There is evidence that Red Maca can act to support healthy prostate function, and there may also be beneficial effects on spermatogenesis and sperm count in testicles subjected to damage from high elevations and toxins [3].


[1] Gonzales et al. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men. Andrologia. 2002 Dec;34(6):367-72.

[2] Gonzales et al. Maca (Lepidium meyenii Walp), a review of its biological properties. Rev Peru Med Exp Salud Publica. 2014;31(1):100-10. 

[3] Gonzales et al. Effect of Black maca (Lepidium meyenii) on one spermatogenic cycle in rats. Andrologia. 2006 Oct;38(5):166-72. 

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