top of page

Black Maca

The overview of research suggests that black maca supports:

  • men’s fertility

  • spermatogenesis in animals

  • memory 

  • metabolic health

  • bone health

  • physical endurance in both men and women

Below is a compilation of the available literature (including animals and humans) for black maca with an overview and a summary of the findings provided. 

December 2023

Effects of Black Maca supplement on isokinetics muscular performance of elite women's handball players: placebo-controlled, crossover study

Human study, N=8, elite adolescent female athletes

PMID: 38187794

Summary of Findings:

  • A daily dose of 2,500 mg of black maca was taken twice daily in capsule form for 4 weeks

  • Significant improvement in muscle endurance (p<0.05 and p<0.01)

  • Significant improvement in cardiopulmonary endurance (p<0.001)

July 2023

Efficacy and Safety of Maca ( Lepidium meyenii) in Patients with Symptoms of Late-Onset Hypogonadism: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial

Human study, N=80, men over 40 yo

PMID: 36593713

Summary of Findings:

  • A daily dose of 5 grams per day of black maca was taken by men for 12 weeks. 

  • Black maca resulted in significant improvements in Aging Males' Symptoms scale (AMS), International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), and International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS)  (p<0.0001)

  • Further, Androgen Deficiency in the Aging Males (ADAM) score was significantly reduced (p<0.0001), showing an improvement in androgen deficiency symptoms. 

April 2023

Effect of Black Maca Supplementation on Inflammatory Markers and Physical Fitness in Male Elite Athletes

Human study, N=40 male elite athletes

PMID: 37049458

Summary of Findings:

Black maca extract (2,300 mg twice daily) was studied and resulted in:

  • Significant increase in muscle endurance, agility, muscle strength, flexibility, and power 

  • Significant decrease in inflammatory markers (IL-6 and TNF-a) 

  • Significant increase in total cholesterol

  • Significant decrease in lactic acid and C-reactive protein (statistical ranges vary based on the sport of the athlete)

February 2023

Oral Supplementation with Maca Improves Social Recognition Deficits in the Valproic Acid Animal Model of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Animal study, male mice

PMID: 36831858

Summary of Findings:

  • Pregnant mice were injected with valproic acid during pregnancy. The male offspring, 6-12 weeks old, were examined in this study.

  • Maca improved cognitive function and spatial memory in the mice models 

  • Maca improved the mice's social acquisition and recognition. 

  • Maca increased neuronal activation.

  • "These results reveal for the first time that maca is beneficial to social memory and that it restores social recognition impairments by augmenting the oxytocinergic neuronal pathways, which play an essential role in diverse social behaviors."

November 2022

Effects of Resistance Exercise, Black Maca and Combined Treatment on Blood Muscle Fatigue Factors and Muscle Function in Racket Athletes

Human study, N=16 university racket athletes

 doi: 10.15857/ksep.2022.00465

Summary of Findings:

  • 2.5 grams of black maca was consumed daily for 4 weeks.

  • Black maca consumption resulted in a significant decrease in ammonia levels (p<0.05).

  • Improvements in muscle endurance and strength (p<0.05) was noted with black maca intake.

December 2021

Effect of Intake Black Maca on Inflammatory Factors in Female Athletics

Human study, N=10, female athletes

doi: 10.54109/jsds.2021.1.2.4

Summary of Findings:

  • Black maca (5 grams per day) was combined with regular exercise and resulted in a significant decrease in BMI, inflammatory markers (CRP and CK), and increased muscle endurance in 4 weeks.

Of note, only the abstract is available for this Korean language published article.

April 6, 2018

Aqueous Extract of Black Maca Prevents Metabolism Disorder via Regulating the Glycolysis/Gluconeogenesis-TCA Cycle and PPARα Signaling Activation in Golden Hamsters Fed a High-Fat, High-Fructose Diet

Animal study, male hamsters

PMID: 29681858

Summary of Findings:

  • Aqueous extract of black maca (AEM) was studied. 

  • 32 bioactive compounds targeting 16 proteins involved in metabolism disorders were identified.

  • AEM promoted glycolysis, inhibited gluconeogenesis and upregulated tricarboxylic acid cycle. 

  • Lipid lowering effects were also observed including enhanced fatty acid oxidation and lipogenesis pathway inhibition.

December 2016

Analysis of Maceaene and Macamide Contents of Petroleum Ether Extract of Black, Yellow, and Purple Lepidium Meyenii (Maca) and Their Antioxidant Effect on Diabetes Mellitus Rat Model

Animal study, diabetes-induced rats

Summary of Findings:

  • Black, yellow, and purple maca was investigated for their activity in diabetic rats.

  • Black maca exhibited the highest levels of macamides.

  • All maca extracts enhance antioxidant activity (superoxide dismutase and catalase) of the liver and red blood cells. 

  • Glutathione levels were not enhanced with black maca. 

October 2016

Effects of maca (Lepidium meyenii Walp) for sperm mobility and erectile function in adult men: A randomized placebo controlled clinical trial.

Human study, N=45, men 30-60 yo

PMID: 27621241

Summary of Findings:

  • Men with mild erectile dysfunction took 5 grams per day of  either 1) gelatinized and dried  black maca OR  2) fermented black maca

  • Sperm concentration and motility were significantly improved (p<0.05) in the groups taking black maca compared to placebo.

Findings of this study were reported in:  Lee MS, Lee HW, You S, Ha KT. The use of maca (Lepidium meyenii) to improve semen quality: A systematic review. Maturitas. 2016;92:64-69. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2016.07.013

September 2016

Effect of butanolic fraction of yellow and black maca (Lepidium meyenii) on the sperm count of adult mice

Animal study, male mice

PMID: 27681648

Summary of Findings:

  • Yellow and black maca were studied.

  • Yellow maca had better antioxidant capacity compared to black maca. 

  • Total phenolic content was better in the methanolic fraction than in the aqueous fraction of both yellow and black maca, though it was higher in black maca compared to yellow. 

  • Methanolic extract of black maca resulted in higher concentration of sperm count in epididymis and vas deferens compared to yellow.

August 18, 2016

Acceptability, Safety, and Efficacy of Oral Administration of Extracts of Black or Red Maca (Lepidium meyenii) in Adult Human Subjects: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study

Human study, N=175, men and women

PMID: 27548190

Summary of Findings:

  • Participants living in low altitudes (LA) 150 meters above sea level in Lima, Peru and high altitudes (HA) 4,340 meters above sea levels in Cerro de Pasco, Peru were included in the study comparing efficacy of black and red maca.

  • About 50% of all participants reported an increase in sexual desire.

  • Higher quality of life was reported in both red and black maca groups (p<0.05).

  • In HA participants, black maca reduced hemoglobin levels, glucose levels  (p<0.05),  systolic blood pressure (p<0.01) and chronic mountain sickness (p<0.05).

December 2015

Effect of gamma irradiation on phenol content, antioxidant activity and biological activity of black maca and red maca extracts (Lepidium meyenii walp)

Animal study, male mice

PMID: 26633045

Summary of Findings:

  • The effect of gamma irradiation of black and red maca were compared.

  • Gamma irradiation increased antioxidant capacity. 

  • Black maca contained higher polyphenols. 

  • Higher swimming endurance capacity was observed in the black maca group, with irradiation increasing swimming time to exhaustion, which was not observed in red maca group.

  • "In conclusion, irradiation does not alter the biological activities of both black maca and red maca extracts. It prevents the presence of microorganisms in the extracts of black or red maca, but the biological activities were maintained."

October 2011

Dose-response effect of black maca (Lepidium meyenii) in mice with memory impairment induced by ethanol

Animal study, male mice

PMID: 21780878

Summary of Findings: 

  • Ethanol consumption can cause memory impairment. 

  • Four doses of black maca (0.125, 0.25, 0.50 and 1.0 g/kg od body weight) were compared against ascorbic acid and a control for 28 days. 

  • Mice treated with ascorbic acid and black maca reversed the deleterious effects of ethanol.

  • The effects of deceased memory impairment caused by ethanol, was improved by black maca in a dose-dependent manner, likely due to its polyphenolic compounds. 

July 2011

Photoprotection against the UVB-induced oxidative stress and epidermal damage in mice using leaves of three different varieties of Lepidium meyenii (maca)

Animal study, male mice

PMID: 21781063

Summary of Findings:

  • Red, yellow, and black maca demonstrated UVA/UVB absorptive properties and antioxidant activity.

  • Highest activity was from red maca, followed by black and then yellow.

  • Each of the three colors prevented the development of sunburns, epidermal hyperplasia, and leukocytic infiltration. 

  • Black maca showed the highest superoxide dismutase levels and higher catalase levels in the skin.

February 2011

Aqueous Extract of Black Maca (Lepidium meyenii) on Memory Impairment Induced by Ovariectomy in Mice

Animal study, ovariectomized mice

PMID: 18955369

Summary of Findings:

  • Black maca decreased malonaldehyde (MDA) and acetylcholinesterase levels.

  • Black maca increase latency and reduced the number of errors. 

  • Black maca improved memory impairment induced by ovariectomy, due to is antioxidant and acetylcholinesterase inhibitory effects. 

June 2010

Effects of different varieties of Maca (Lepidium meyenii) on bone structure in ovariectomized rats

Animal study, ovariectomized rats

PMID: 20616517

Summary of Findings:

  • Black and red maca reduced the negative effects of ovariectomy on bone health by increasing trabecular bone in the lumbar vertebrae.

  • "Red and black maca have protective effects on bone architecture in OVX rats without showing estrogenic effects on uterine weight."

May 2008

Effect of different fractions from hydroalcoholic extract of Black Maca (Lepidium meyenii) on testicular function in adult male rats

Animal study, male rats

PMID: 17669402

Summary of Findings:

  • Increased daily sperm production with the ethyl acetate fraction of black maca.

  • Increased sperm count in vas deferens with hydroalcoholic extract of black maca compared to other forms and control. 

  • "Antioxidant components could play a role in the effect of increased epididymal sperm concentration observed in the model."

October 2007

Aqueous and hydroalcoholic extracts of Black Maca (Lepidium meyenii) improve scopolamine-induced memory impairment in mice

Animal study, ovariectomized mice

PMID: 17543435

Summary of Findings:

  • Two doses of aqueous extracts of black maca (0.50 and 2.0 g/kg of body weight) and two doses of hydroalcoholic extracts of black maca (0.25 and 1.0 g/kg body weight) were studied for its effect on memory impairment induced by scopolamine. 

  • Both extracts of black maca significantly ameliorated the scopolamine-induced memory impairment.

  • Black maca extracts inhibited acetylcholinesterase activity that was increased following scopolamine administration.

  • Polyphenolic compounds, such as quercetin, anthocyanins, and alkaloids may be responsible for the favorable outcomes.

August 2007

Effect of chronic treatment with three varieties of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on reproductive parameters and DNA quantification in adult male rats

Animal study, male rats

PMID: 17683465

Summary of Findings:

  • Black and yellow maca improved epididymal sperm count

  • Black, yellow, and red maca improved sperm count in vas deferens.

  • "Maca seems to act as a modulator of sperm count at the reproductive tract level."

September 2006

Effect of Black maca (Lepidium meyenii) on one spermatogenic cycle in rats

Animal Study, male rats

PMID: 16961569

Summary of Findings:

  • Increased epididymal sperm count on days 1, 3, and 7 after the administration of black maca

  • Increased vas deferens sperm count on days 3, 5, and 7 after the administration of black maca.

  • Increased daily sperm production after 7days of treatment with black maca.

  • "In conclusion, Black maca affects sperm count as early as 1 day after beginning of treatment."

June 2006

Effect of three different cultivars of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on learning and depression in ovariectomized mice

Animal study, ovariectomized mice

PMID: 16796734

Summary of Findings:

  • Yellow, black, and red maca were studied

  • Black maca provided the most beneficial effects on latent learning, particularly on trained mice though all phenotypes were effective for trained and non-trained mice (p<0.05)

  • All varieties demonstrated anti-depressant effects.

February 2006

Effect of short-term and long-term treatments with three ecotypes of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on spermatogenesis in rats

Animal study, male rats

PMID: 16174556

Summary of Findings:

  • Increased daily sperm production

  • Increased epididymal sperm motility

bottom of page