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 Bone Health

Limited information is available on maca’s impact on bone health; however, what is available is promising.


Animal Studies


A study from 2010 was designed to determine the effect of black and red maca on bone structure in ovariectomized rats, and estradiol was used as a comparison treatment. Following the ovariectomy, bone weight, diameter, and width decreased, as expected, due to the sudden decline of hormones.

Both black and red maca reduced the negative effects of ovariectomy on bone health in four weeks by increasing trabecular bone and second lumbar vertebrae to the same levels as the animals that were given estradiol without showing estrogenic effects on uterine weight. The authors propose maca may act as a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), enhancing osteoblast activity and reducing osteoclast activity (1).


In another study, an extract of an unspecified color of maca was given to ovariectomized rats for 28 weeks in two doses (0.096 or 0.24 g/kg body weight). It is well known that estrogen deficiency is a risk factor for the development of osteoporosis. Following the ovariectomy, an increase in bone turnover and loss of bone in the femur, vertebral bodies, and long bones occurs. The findings of this study based on bone mineral density, biomechanical, biochemical, and histopathological parameters indicated that the higher dose of ethanol extract (0.24g/kg body weight) of an unspecified color of maca was effective in the prevention of estrogen-deficient bone loss (2).


Human Studies


One pilot study used a proprietary formulation of Lepidium peruvianum, known as Maca-GO® in post-menopausal women (49-58 years old). Using 1000 mg twice daily, the group on Maca-GO® had an increase in forearm bone density in four months, whereas the placebo group had a reduction in bone density during the same time. Of note, the Maca-GO® group had a significant increase in estradiol (p<0.05) and progesterone levels (3). Estradiol slows osteoclast activity (slowing bone loss) (4) and progesterone enhances osteoblast activity (increasing the rate of new bone growth.) (5).

Author: Jan Roberts, Pharmacist & Clinical Nutritionist

Reviewer: Kim Ross, DCN

last updated: February 13, 2024


1. Gonzales C, Cárdenas-Valencia I, Leiva-Revilla J, Anza-Ramirez C, Rubio J, Gonzales GF. Effects of different varieties of Maca (Lepidium meyenii) on bone structure in ovariectomized rats. Forsch Komplementarmed. 2010;17(3).

2. Zhang Y, Yu L, Ao M, Jin W. Effect of ethanol extract of Lepidium meyenii Walp. on osteoporosis in ovariectomized rat. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Apr;105(1–2):274–9.

3. Meissner HO, Mscisz A, Reich-Bilinska H, Mrozikiewicz P, Bobkiewicz-Kozlowska T, Kedzia B, et al. Hormone-Balancing Effect of Pre-Gelatinized Organic Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon): (III) Clinical responses of early-postmenopausal women to Maca in double blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled, crossover configuration, outpatient study. Int J Biomed Sci. 2006;

4. Emmanuelle NE, Marie-Cécile V, Florence T, Jean-François A, Françoise L, Coralie F, et al. Critical role of estrogens on bone homeostasis in both male and female: From physiology to medical implications. Vol. 22, International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2021.

5. Prior JC. Progesterone for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis in women. Vol. 21, Climacteric. 2018.

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