Food Chem. 2019 Aug 1;288:422-443. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2019.02.071. Epub 2019 Feb 22.
Chemical composition and health effects of maca (Lepidium meyenii).
Wang S, Zhu F.
Maca (Lepidium meyenii Walpers) has emerged as a popular functional plant food due to various claimed health effects. This review details the major (i.e., starch, dietary fiber, and protein) and minor constituents (i.e., minerals, non-starch polysaccharides, polyphenols (flavonolignans), macaenes, macamides, glucosinolates, and alkaloids) of maca (root and aerial parts). Diverse health effects of maca are also summarized. Various bioactivities of maca include enhanced reproductive health, antifatigue, antioxidation, neuroprotection, antimicrobial activity, anticancer, hepatoprotection, immunomodulation, and improving skin health and digestive system’s function. Plant genetics, botanical parts, processing, extraction, and experimental protocols represent the major factors affecting the chemical composition, physicochemical attributes, and health effects of maca-based products. However, clinical studies to support the claimed health effects of maca and related mechanisms appear to be lacking. Product innovation and diversification in food and non-food utilization of different parts of maca to maximize the value perceptions are suggested.
Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 17;7:44660. doi: 10.1038/srep44660.
Chemical profiling analysis of Maca using UHPLC-ESI-Orbitrap MS coupled with UHPLC-ESI-QqQ MS and the neuroprotective study on its active ingredients.
Zhou Y, Li P, Brantner A, Wang H, Shu X, Yang J, Si N, Han L, Zhao H, Bian B.
Lepidium meyenii (Maca), originated from Peru, has been cultivated widely in China as a popular health care food. However, the chemical and effective studies of Maca were less in-depth, which restricted its application seriously. To ensure the quality of Maca, a feasible and accurate strategy was established. One hundred and sixty compounds including 30 reference standards were identified in 6 fractions of methanol extract of Maca by UHPLC-ESI-Orbitrap MS. Among them, 15 representative active compounds were simultaneously determined in 17 samples by UHPLC-ESI-QqQ MS. The results suggested that Maca from Yunnan province was the potential substitute for the one from Peru. Meanwhile, the neuroprotective effects of Maca were investigated. Three fractions and two pure compounds showed strong activities in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1, 2, 3, 6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced zebrafish model. Among them, 80% methanol elution fraction (Fr5) showed significant neuroprotective activity, followed by 100% part (Fr6). The inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) was a possible mechanism of its neuroprotective effect.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:4394261. doi: 10.1155/2016/4394261. Epub 2016 Aug 28.
Preservation of Cognitive Function by Lepidium meyenii (Maca) Is Associated with Improvement of Mitochondrial Activity and Upregulation of Autophagy-Related Proteins in Middle-Aged Mouse Cortex.
Guo SS, Gao XF, Gu YR, Wan ZX, Lu AM, Qin ZH, Luo L.
Maca has been used as a foodstuff and a traditional medicine in the Andean region for over 2,000 years. Recently the neuroprotective effects of maca also arouse interest of researchers. Decrease in mitochondrial function and decline in autophagy signaling may participate in the process of age-related cognitive decline. This study aimed to investigate if maca could improve cognitive function of middle-aged mice and if this effect was associated with improvement of mitochondrial activity and modulation of autophagy signaling in mouse cortex. Fourteen-month-old male ICR mice received maca powder administered by gavage for five weeks. Maca improved cognitive function, motor coordination, and endurance capacity in middle-aged mice, accompanied by increased mitochondrial respiratory function and upregulation of autophagy-related proteins in cortex. Our findings suggest that maca is a newly defined nutritional plant which can improve mitochondrial function and upregulate autophagy-related proteins and may be an effective functional food for slowing down age-related cognitive decline.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Jun;1199:77-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.05174.x.
Neuroprotective effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca).
Pino-Figueroa A, Nguyen D, Maher TJ.
The neuroprotective activity of the plant Lepidium meyenii (Maca) was studied in two experimental models: in vitro and in vivo. Crayfish neurons were pretreated with vehicle or the pentane extract from Maca, subjected to H(2)O(2), and their viability determined microscopically and chemically. A significant concentration-neuroprotective effect relationship was demonstrated. The pentane extract was then administered intravenously to rats prior to and following middle cerebral artery occlusion. While infarct volumes were decreased for the lower dose, higher doses increased infarct volumes compared to controls. These results suggest a potential application of Maca as a neuroprotectant.