Maca (Lepidium meyenii) may be an anti-stress compound. Evidence from studies suggests that maca may reduce the negative effects of stress including reductions in stress compounds such as corticosterone in animals and cortisol in humans. By reducing stress hormones, maca may serve to lower blood sugar levels and lower fatty acid levels and this may provide significant health effects particularly with regard to the improving of insulin sensitivity. Maca is rich in nutrients including protein and minerals, but it is not clear if taking maca as a supplement in tablet form would provide enough of these nutrients to explain the anti-stress effects. Maca may activate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis via one or more of the phytochemicals it contains, and this may then provide the anti-stress effects. Chemicals within maca that may be responsible for this have not been identified. The effects of maca on growth rate in animals may result from the anti-stress effects as stress can significantly stunt growth in animals.
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