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Does Maca Raise Testosterone?

Maca

 

Maca (Lepidium Meyenii) is a root plant indigenous to Peru which somewhat resembles a Turnip, though it is actually more closely related to Broccoli. Historically, it has been used as a libido enhancer and aphrodisiac. Given these properties, it makes sense that Maca has transcended traditional medicine and found a place in the bodybuilding supplement industry as a Testosterone booster. But, does it actually boost Testosterone? In this article we’ll take a look at the research in order to determine whether Maca is truly deserving of the title “Test-Booster”.

MACA AND TESTOSTERONE:

A 2002 study, published in “Andrologia”, found that Maca supplementation increased sexual desires, but that this effect was independent of Testosterone, which stayed the same.

These findings were replicated in a 2003 study, published in the “Journal of Endrocrinology”, in which supplementation with 1.5 and 3 grams of Maca extract for 12 weeks had no influence on Testosterone levels in healthy men.

MACA AS AN APHRODISIAC:

In several human studies, Maca has demonstrated a clear aphrodisiac effect when at least 1.5 grams is consumed.

A 2009 study using 2400mg of Maca showed “a small but significant effect of Maca supplementation on subjective perception of general and sexual well-being in adult patients with mild ED.”

A separate 2009 pilot study, this time investigating a potential effect on physical performance, found that Maca supplementation effectively improved physical performance (cycling) in trained male cyclists, while simultaneously increasing sexual desires.

Overall, it appears Maca supplementation with at least 1.5 grams may increase sexual well-being and possibly improve certain aspects of physical performance, but will not increase Testosterone.

PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT:

A 2009 pilot study, published in the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology”, sought determine if Maca supplementation could enhance athletic performance in healthy cyclists. 8 subjects were each given 2g of Maca Extract (5:1) daily for two weeks, at which time a trial run took place. Maca supplementation was associated with a reduction in time to completion.

Currently, that is the only study regarding the effects of Maca specifically on exercise performance, and given the extremely small sample size (8 subjects), the result should be taken lightly. While more studies are certainly warranted, Maca does not appear to induce any Testosterone-like performance enhancement.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

No, Maca has never actually been shown to raise Testosterone levels in human subjects, and has in fact failed to do so in multiple studies. It is, however, a relatively potent aphrodisiac, assuming the right dose. Often times, aphrodisiacs and libido enhancers are mislabeled as Testosterone boosters because users feel as though their Testosterone is elevated (i.e. increased sexual desires, libido, etc.). While Maca may “feel” like a Test-booster, users are not likely to experience the strength and lean mass increases generally associated with higher Testosterone levels.

[expand title=”References” tag=”h4″]

  1. Zenico, T., et al. “Subjective effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) extract on well‐being and sexual performances in patients with mild erectile dysfunction: a randomised, double‐blind clinical trial.” Andrologia 41.2 (2009): 95-99.
  2. Gonzales, G. F., et al. “Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a root with aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing properties, on serum reproductive hormone levels in adult healthy men.” Journal of Endocrinology 176.1 (2003): 163-168.
  3. Stone, Mark, et al. “A pilot investigation into the effect of maca supplementation on physical activity and sexual desire in sportsmen.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 126.3 (2009): 574-576.
  4. Gonzales, G. F., et al. “Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men.”andrologia 34.6 (2002): 367-372.
  5. Stone, Mark, et al. “A pilot investigation into the effect of maca supplementation on physical activity and sexual desire in sportsmen.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 126.3 (2009): 574-576.

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