Can Maca Cure Erectile Dysfunction And Improve libido?
By Johnathan P Cumberwell
All of the above will normally help you sexually.
Let’s learn more about Maca.
Maca (Lepidium Meyenii)
Maca is a vegetable that is grown mainly in the Junin plateau of Peru’s Central Highlands.
It is grown between 4,000 and 4,500 meters above sea level. This region is barren, treeless, inhospitable, has intense sunlight, turbulent winds and significant fluctuations in temperatures.
Believe it or not, this harsh and unwelcome environment provides ideal conditions for its growth.
And because it thrives in these conditions, Maca is one of the highest altitude crops on earth. Very few other plants survive up there.
It is believed that Maca has been cultivated in these highlands for more than 3,000 years.
Maca has been used as a staple food for both humans and domesticated animals, as folk medicine for a number of ailments, for vitality and fertility, and as an aphrodisiac for both men and women.
The plant is related to radish and turnip, and has similar size and shape as these plants.
It grows as a rosette with dense and short leaves that hang off the vegetable and on to the ground.
The part of the plant that is most commonly used, is what is called the hypocotyl. This is the fleshy part of the plant that sits underneath the leaves, and above the roots.
This hypocotyl, which can be red, green, black, pink, purplish, yellow, or cream colored, is normally dried, cooked and then ground into powder.
Although Maca is a perennial plant, it is normally grown as an annual plant and is harvested seven to nine months after planting.
Legend has it that during the height of the Incan empire, Incan warriors would consume Maca before entering battle.
This would give the warriors more strength, more endurance and boost their battle confidence.
However, after conquering a city, these Incan soldiers were prohibited from continuing taking Maca, because it would make them excessively horny.
This prohibition was needed to protect the conquered women from the soldier’s intense sexual desires.
Also, soon after the Spanish conquest of Peru, the Spanish and their livestock started to struggle with health and vitality in the barren Andean highlands.
The locals recommended that both the Spanish and their livestock consume Maca. The Spanish followed the recommendation of the locals, and soon after, their conditions improved significantly.
How Does Maca Enhance Sexual Functions?
Maca Can Increase Your Nitric Oxide Production
Research studies (see below) have demonstrated that Maca can increase nitric oxide production.
How can this help you sexually?
Nitric oxide is key to ‘get it up’ and to ‘keeping it up’. Let me explain:
Your penis is normally flaccid. This is because something called the smooth muscles that sit inside your blood vessels, squeeze the blood vessels in your penis flat.
This forces almost all the blood out of your penis. Hence a flaccid penis.
This is when nitric oxide gets to work:
Nitric oxide sets in motion a process that increases your production of something called cGMP. This in turn instructs the smooth muscles to relax.
And when they relax, your blood vessels open up and blood can enter.
Now your penis fills with blood and an erection can form.
Therefore, when Maca enables you to produce more nitric oxide, it helps you get erections easier. And also erections that are fuller and last for longer.
Maca Is A Powerful Antioxidant
Scientific studies (see below) on Maca has also shown that it is a powerful antioxidant.
Why is that great power?
In your body, you have lots of molecules called free radicals. These free radicals are unstable. They are unstable because they have an ‘extra’ (or unpaired) electron orbiting its nucleus.
This extra electron is constantly looking for something to do. And as soon as it sees a good opportunity, it goes for it.
Which means that this electron will react with another electron somewhere in your body.
Many times, these reactions cause damage. Because they often disturb system and order. They can even cause damage to your DNA.
Here is another problem with free radicals:
They react very easily with your nitric oxide. So if you have lots of free radicals lurking around, chances are that a good amount of your nitric oxide will be ‘eaten up’ by these free radicals.
Which in turn means that it will be more difficult to get and maintain erections.
Antioxidants on the other hand, seek out and destroy free radicals. So when an antioxidant spots a free radical, it rushes over and eliminates it.
Therefore, the more antioxidants you have, the less free radicals you normally have, and the more nitric oxide you normally have.
And as your nitric oxide is better preserved, you will find it easier to both get and maintain erections.
Maca May Increase Your Testosterone Production
Maca Can Decrease Your Cortisol Production
A research study (see below) has indicated that Maca may decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol.
If you have excess amounts of cortisol in your blood over long periods, this can have several negative consequences for your health.
This can impact heart health, and disrupt your bloodflow. This in turn can cause erectile dysfunction.
But cortisol can also directly harm your testosterone production. Meaning, long-term elevated cortisol is likely to reduce the amount of testosterone you will produce.
Therefore, if Maca is able to reduce excess cortisol, it should also help your testosterone production.
Maca Can Enhance Your Dopamine Production
A research study (see below) has indicated that Maca can improve your production of dopamine.
Why is dopamine important?
Dopamine is important for two reasons: 1) to have a strong sex drive, and 2) to get erections.
You need a healthy level of dopamine in order to have a strong sex drive.
Let’s say you see an attractive female (or man) and you start getting sexual urges. What just just happened? Why did you get these urges?
Dopamine happened. You got these sexual urges because dopamine was produced in your brain. Dopamine was produced in order to motivate you to have sex.
If you hadn’t produced any dopamine, you wouldn’t have had the same sexual urges.
Therefore, a healthy dopamine production is essential in order to have a strong sex drive.
And secondly, dopamine is essential in order for you to get erections.
In order for your penis to get erect, dopamine first needs to be produced in your brain. Then it will travel down your spinal cord to your penis. There, it will instruct nitric oxide to open the blood vessels in your penis, so that blood can fill it up and produce an erection.
If your dopamine production is low, this signal from your brain to your penis may be weak. And therefore, your erections may be weak as well.
Therefore, dopamine is also paramount in order to get erections.
Maca Contains An Unusually Rich Amount Of Nutrients
You may be deficient in certain nutrients. You may be low in zinc for instance.
If you are zinc deficient, you will probably find it more difficult to function optimally sexually.
Maca contains a large amount of nutrients such as amino acids, vitamins, chromium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, iron, iodine, copper, manganese, zinc, and many others.
If you are deficient in any of these, you can help restore these imbalances by consuming Maca.
When balances are restored, you body and mind will probably work better. And you will also be more likely to function better sexually.
Now that we know how Maca works, let’s review the scientific studies that back this up.
Scientific Studies On Maca’s Impact On Libido And Erectile Dysfunction
Below, you will find all the relevant scientific evidence that exists about Maca and its impact on sexual functions.
Or at least, all the relevant scientific evidence that I am aware of.
With this information at hand, you can better draw your own conclusions.
What you will find, is a summary of the key findings from these scientific studies. And you find a link to the studies, should you want to read the actual studies yourself.
I have presented all relevant studies I am aware of, whether they indicated that the effect from Maca was positive or negative.
Let’s look at what the scientists say.
Maca Study 1: June 2019
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Maca Study 2: May 2019
The aim of this study was to assess the chemical composition of Yellow Maca (Lepidium meyenii) and its biological activity on stallions.
The study included 10 stallions who received either 20 g of Maca per day, or a placebo, for 60 days.
Blood samples taken during and after treatment showed a decrease of the reactive oxygen metabolites, and an increase of the antioxidant capacity.
Semen samples showed increased ejaculate volumes and sperm concentrations, improved total and progressive motility, and increased acrosome integrity.
Maca Study 3: May 2017
The objective of this study was to examine the effects of Lepidium meyenii extract on neurotoxicity.
This study was done in vitro.
The study concluded that Maca presents in vitro neurobiological activity of antioxidant protection, increase in cell viability and reduction of cytotoxicity against oxidative stress generated by 6-OHDA.
Maca Study 4: August 2016
The aim of this research was to investigate health effects of extracts of black or red Maca in adult human subjects, living at low and high altitude.
A total of 175 participants were given 3 g of either placebo, black, or red Maca extract, daily for 12 weeks.
Consumption of both red and black Maca resulted in improvement in mood, energy, and health status, and reduced mountain sickness.
Maca Study 5: April 2016
The goal of this study was to examine whether feeding Maca to rats for 6 weeks, affects weight of the reproductive organs, serum concentrations of testosterone and luteinising hormone, number and cytoplasmic area of immunohistochemically stained Leydig cells, and steroidogenesis of cultured Leydig cells.
- Increased weight of seminal vesicles
- Increased serum testosterone level
- Increased cytoplasmic area of Leydig cells
- No increase in weight of prostate gland
- No increase in serum luteinising hormone concentration
- No increase in number of Leydig cells
The study concluded that Maca was able to increase serum testosterone in male rats, and this increase in testosterone may be related to the enhanced ability of testosterone production by Leydig cells.
Maca Study 6: September 2015
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of maca on semen parameters and serum hormone levels in healthy adult men.
A group of 20 healthy men, aged 20-40 years, was supplied 1,750 mg/day of maca, or a placebo, for 12 weeks.
Sperm concentration and motility improved, but hormone levels did not change materially.
Maca Study 7: May 2014
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the behavior, anatomical and biochemical effects of Maca, in stressed mice.
90 mice were given 125, 250, or 500 mg/kg Maca extract, or a placebo, for 6 weeks.
The mice treated with Maca experienced a drop in corticosterone (cortisol) by up to 23%.
And the mice saw an increase in dopamine of up to 10%.
In addition, there was a significant decline in oxidative stress in the Maca group.
The results demonstrated that Maca extract (250 and 500 mg/kg) showed antidepressant-like effects. These effects were related to the activation of both noradrenergic and dopaminergic systems, as well as attenuation of oxidative stress in the mouse brain.
Maca Study 8: December 2009
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of 14 days of Maca supplementation on endurance performance, and sexual desire in trained male cyclists.
8 participants completed a 40 km cycling time trial + a sexual desire survey, before and after 14 days of daily supplementation with 2,000 mg Maca extract, or placebo.
After 2 weeks, the racers rode the course again and completed another sexual desire survey.
Compared with the placebo group, the racers taking the Maca supplement significantly improved sexual desire.
However, there was no signiﬁcant difference in time on the 40 km course between the placebo and Maca group.
Maca Study 9: April 2009
The purpose of this study was to analyse the effect on ED and subjective well-being from 12 weeks of Maca supplementation.
50 men with mild erectile dysfunction participated in the study. They received 2,400 mg/day of Maca, or a placebo, for 12 weeks.
After the 12 weeks, the men in the Maca group experienced a significant increase in ED score, and in physical and social performance-related satisfaction.
Maca Study 10: August 2008
The aim of this study was to determine whether maca is effective for selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) induced sexual dysfunction.
This study was done on 20 depressed men and women (mean age 36 years) suffering from sexual dysfunction, caused by pharmaceutical drugs called SSRI inhibitors.
These drugs are typically used as antidepressants in the treatment of major depressive and anxiety disorders.
The men and women were provided with either 1,500 mg or 3,000 mg of Maca on a daily basis, for 4 weeks.
The study reported that 3,000 mg of Maca supplemented for 4 weeks improved SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction by 35%. It also had a positive impact on libido.
However, the study reported no benefits to libido or sexual function from the lower dose of 1,500 mg of Maca.
Maca Study 11: March 2007
The aim of this study was to determine the acute and chronic effects of Maca on male sexual behavior, and to examine chronic administration of Maca on anxiety.
Male rats were given either 25 or 100 mg/kg of Maca for 30 days. Then sexual behavior was monitored after acute, 7 and 21 days of treatment.
The study reported an increase in ejaculation latency and postejaculatory interval after both acute and 7 days of treatment. After 21 days of treatment there was no effect.
Maca Study 12: January 2003
The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that Maca has no effect on serum reproductive hormone levels in apparently healthy men.
56 men, between the ages of 21-56 years participated in the study. These men received 1,500 mg or 3,000 mg Maca daily, or a placebo, for 12 weeks.
Compared with placebo, Maca had no effect on any of the hormones studied, nor did the hormones show any changes over time.
Maca Study 13: December 2002
The goal of this study was to demonstrate if the effect of Maca on subjective report of sexual desire, was because of effect on mood or serum testosterone levels.
The study involved 56 men (21-56 years old) who received either 1,500 mg or 3,000 mg of Maca, or a placebo, for 12 weeks.
The study showed that libido increased by 24.4%, 40%, and 42.2% after 4, 8, and 12 weeks of treatment, respectively.
No material change was observed in levels of luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, prolactin, testosterone or estradiol.
Maca Study 14: June 2002
Maca Study 15: May 2001
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of acute and chronic Maca pulverised root on rat sexual behaviour.
60 male sexually experienced rats were given either 15 mg/kg, 75 mg/kg of Maca, or a placebo, daily for 15 days.
After 15 days of treatment, both Maca doses were able to significantly decrease 1st mount latency, 1st intromission latency, ejaculation latency and postejaculatory latency, while the 75 mg/kg dose also decreased the intercopulatory interval.
The researchers concluded that both acute and chronic Maca oral administration significantly improved sexual performance parameters in male rats.
Maca Study 16: April 2000
The objective of this study was to determine the effect of Maca on the number of complete intromissions and mating in normal mice, and on the latent period of erection in rats with erectile dysfunction.
Maca, or a placebo, was administered every day for 22 days.
In the Maca treated mice:
- The number of complete intromissions increased between 286% and 410%
- The number of sperm-positive females increased by 150%
The Maca treated rats decreased time to get an erection from 112 seconds, to between 41 and 73 seconds.
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