A review has confirmed a potential link between Lepidium meyenii, commonly known as maca, and improved sexual function.
Preparations from maca root have been used for centuries in the Andes to enhance fertility in humans and animals, and have been reported to improve sexual function in healthy populations. Animal experiments suggest that maca has spermatogenic and fertility-enhancing activities, perhaps because of its phytosterol or phytoestrogen content. Other in vivo animal studies have shown sexual behavior and androgen-like effects. Clinical trials have also suggested that maca increases sperm count and mobility, as well as improving sexual function in humans, yet the data are insufficient to determine maca’s clinical effectiveness.
This review was intended to critically assess the clinical evidence from randomized clinical trials for and against the effectiveness of maca to support healthy sexual function, desire and responses. Seventeen databases were searched, and four randomized clinical trials met the inclusion criteria.
Two of the studies suggested a significant positive effect of maca on sexual function or sexual desire in healthy menopausal women or healthy adult men. One assessed the effects of maca in patients with erectile dysfunction and showed significant effects. One showed no effects on healthy cyclists.
In addition to these positive effects, the researchers suggest that more studies are warranted to substantiate the effectiveness of maca to support sexual function in a clinical context.
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