Forty years of extensive research has been undertaken of Maca's
nutritional and medicinal values confirming the traditional claims of Maca's health benefits. Maca's
high nutritional value comes from the fact that it contains about 59%
carbohydrates, 14% proteins, 9% fiber and 2% lipids among other components
1) A large number of essential amino acids, such as aspartic acid,
glutamic acid, serine, glycine, arginine, valine and lysine
2) Fatty acids: palmatic acids, linoleic acid and saturated fatty
3) Minerals (mg/100g), Fe 16.6, Mn 0.8, Cu 5.9, Zn 3.8, Na 18.7, K
2,050 and Ca 150, and
4) Vitamins, Thyamine (B1),
Riboflavin (B2), and Vitamin C
However, the major importance of Maca comes from the combination of its nutritional
elements with other components giving heightened nutritional/medicinal effects. Thus:
1) 4 alkaloids named macaina 1, 2, 3 and 4 have been detected, which
stimulate the reproductive system of both sexes (Chacón, 1962; Garró, León, and
1993); it is considered that the alkaloids in Maca activate the calcitonine hormone that
regulates calcium and phosphorus metabolism and activates the parathonnone involved with
2) The high presence of the amino-acids lysine and arginine in Maca
has an effect on the regulation of female and male fertility respectively; arginine
constitutes 80% of male reproductive cells, thus, Maca could solve problems related to
deficiency of these amino acids, leading to lack of sexual desire and originating certain
types of male and female infertility;
3) Among its components are certain sterols, (Espinoza and
1995): Brassycosterol, Ergosterol, Carnpesterol, Ergostadienol, and specially
Sitosterol Correction of menopause problems and an increase in
female fertility are attributed to Maca sterols and lysine;
4) Glucosinolates have been found, specially benzyl isotiocyanate this author finds that worldwide, plants with glucosinolates, like Maca,
are consumed because of their action on reproductive hormonal processes.
5) Fructose, a monosaccharide sugar with 173.3 degree of sweetness,
superior to glucose, is present; fructose is recommended for combating athletes' fatigue;
fructose is a sugar utilized by seminal plasma to give energy to spermatozoids.
Tests on guinea pigs, frogs, cattle, sheep and certain observations made with human beings
1) Increase in female fertility and the production of seminal fluid
2) Animals fed with Maca had the same weight as those fed on other
products, but, those fed with Maca were more active and energetic, that is to say, Maca is
a great source of energy without fattening;
3) Young born from female fed on Maca had higher birth weight;
4) It controls rickets and osteo malacia in children and adults;
5) It revitalizes physical and intellectual capabilities,
6) It is effective against premature aging and organic feebleness
with the loss of energy, and
7) It controls different kinds of anemia.
In summary, the Peruvian Andes offers Imperial Gold Maca™ as one of the best natural revitalizing and
invigorating substances that exist; for this reason it is called an Andean Ginseng. In
general, Maca can overcome energy wear and tear caused by the modern accelerated way of
life, poor nutrition and inadequate social and hygienic environment.
Dini A., Migliuolo G., Rastrelli L., Saturnino P. and Schettino O., "Chemical
composition of Lepidium meyenii", in Food Chemistry 49, London, UK, 1994.
Chacón, G. Estudio fitoquímico de Lepidium meyenii Walp Thesis, Universidad Nacional
Mayor San Marcos, Lima, 1962.
Espinoza, C.L. and Poma 1. P., Determinación de amino ácidos esenciales de la maca
(Lepidium meyenii) y elaboración de una mezcla protéica a base de alimentos
Thesis, Universidad Nacional del Centro del Perú, Huancayo, 1995
Fitomédica, "Maca, ginseng andino", in Fitomédica, Madrid, 1998.
Garró V. Nuevo sistema de solventes para cromatografía de aminoácidos y participación
cuantitativa de L-valina y L-metionina, Doctoral Thesis, Facultad de Farmacia y
Bioquímica, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, 1972.
Garró V. León E. and Julca T.B., " Extracción, separación e identificación por
cromatografía de alcaloides de Lepidium meyenii Walp. (Maka), Instituto de Química
Orgánica Aplicada a la Farmacia, Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Universidad Nacional
Mayor de San Marcos, VI Congreso Peruano de Farmacia y Bioquimíca, October, 1993.
Johns, Timothy A., Ethnobotany and phytochemistry of Tropaeolum Tuberosum and Lepidium
Meyenii from Andean South America Ph.D. Thesis, The University of British Columbia,
Obregón, L., Maca, Planta medicinal y nutritivo del Perú, Instituto de Fitoterapia
Americana, Lima, Perú, 1998.
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