What is it?
People take maca by mouth for conditions in a man that prevent him from getting a woman pregnant within a year of trying to conceive (male infertility), health problems after menopause, increasing sexual desire in healthy people, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
How effective is it?
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for MACA are as follows:
Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...
- Sexual problems caused by antidepressants (antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction). Early research suggests that taking maca twice daily for 12 weeks slightly improves sexual dysfunction in women taking antidepressants.
- Conditions in a man that prevent him from getting a woman pregnant within a year of trying to conceive (male infertility). Early research shows that taking a specific maca product daily for 4 months increases semen and sperm count in healthy men. But it's not clear if this results in improved fertility.
- Health problems after menopause. Early research shows that taking maca powder daily for 6 weeks slightly improves depression and anxiety in postmenopausal women. It might also improve sexual problems. But these benefits are very small.
- Increasing sexual desire in healthy people. Early research shows that taking a specific maca product daily for 12 weeks can increase sexual desire in healthy men.
- Absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea).
- Athletic performance.
- Cancer of the white blood cells (leukemia).
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
- Low levels of red blood cells in people with long-term illness (anemia of chronic disease).
- Weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis).
- Other conditions.
How does it work?
Are there safety concerns?
Special precautions & warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if maca is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.
Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Extracts from maca might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by estrogen, do not use these extracts.
Are there interactions with medications?
- It is not known if this product interacts with any medicines.
Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.
Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?
- There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.
Are there interactions with foods?
- There are no known interactions with foods.
What dose is used?
To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.
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- Brooks NA, Wilcox G , Walker KZ , Ashton JF , Cox MB , Stojanovska L. 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;15:1157-62. View abstract.
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- Cicero, A. F., Piacente, S., Plaza, A., Sala, E., Arletti, R., and Pizza, C. Hexanic Maca extract improves rat sexual performance more effectively than methanolic and chloroformic Maca extracts. Andrologia 2002;34:177-179. View abstract.
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- Gonzales, G. F., Ruiz, A., Gonzales, C., Villegas, L., and Cordova, A. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (maca) roots on spermatogenesis of male rats. Asian J Androl 2001;3:231-233. View abstract.
- Cicero, A. F., Bandieri, E., and Arletti, R. Lepidium meyenii Walp. improves sexual behaviour in male rats independently from its action on spontaneous locomotor activity. J Ethnopharmacol. 2001;75(2-3):225-229. View abstract.
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- Zheng BL, He K, Kim CH, et al. Effect of a lipidic extract from lepidium meyenii on sexual behavior in mice and rats. Urology 2000;55:598-602.
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- National Academy of Science. Lost Crops of the Incas Little-Known Plants of the Andes with Promise for Worldwide Cultivation . Available at: http://books.nap.edu/books/030904264X/html/57.html