Neuroprotective Effects of Maca (Lepidium meyenii)

Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a plant that grows at high altitude in parts of South America. The plant is used in traditional medicine for its effects of physical performance. Evidence suggests that maca may have beneficial effects on the central nervous system, and in particular phytochemicals within the plant may be neuroprotective. Studies have shown a dose dependent neuroprotective effect from maca in animal models. It is unclear which phytochemical may provide these beneficial effects, but a number of possible compounds have been identified including alkaloids (macaridine, lepidilin A, lepidilin B, lepidine, tetrahydro–carbolines, and others), glucosinolates (glucotropaeolin, glucoalyssin, glucobrassicanapin, glucobrassicin, and others), aromatic isothiocyanates, steroids (brassicasterol, ergostadienol, and others), benzylated amides (macamides), and acyclic polyunsaturated oxoacids (macaenes). Some or all of these phytochemicals may play a significant role in the biochemical effects of the plant in animals. 

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Pino‐Figueroa, A., Nguyen, D. and Maher, T. J. 2010. Neuroprotective effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca). Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1199(1): 77-85

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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