To bolster a healthier diet, maca provides7,8,9:
- 5 important amino acids
- A cocktail of phytosterols and flavonoids
- 6 Minerals
- 5 Vitamins
- Macaenes (good fatty acids)
- Macamides (good fatty acids)
In laboratory and clinical studies, maca combated elevated triglycerides and increased low levels of good cholesterol (HDL). In post-ovariectomised rats, maca prevented cholesterol and HDL levels from increasing and maintained them at an ongoing healthy level10. In a human clinical pilot study, maca treatment reduced increased HDL levels11.
In addition to changing blood lipid profile, maca addresses the typical feature of metabolic syndrome – elevated waist circumference. In a study comparing maca treatment periods, male rats exhibited weight loss after short-term administration of maca, whereas female rats taking maca showed an effect over long term treatment12. In a human clinical pilot study, maca treatment reduced body weight11. The mechanism behind these results may be, in part, due to the chemical composition of maca. Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) activity positively correlates with body mass index (BMI)13. Maca contains high amounts of macamides, which directly inhibit FAAH in a concentration and time-dependent manner 14,15,16. The presence of N-alkylamides within maca root also contributes to FAAH inhibition17. These molecular components in maca have the potential to reduce BMI and weight.
For those with diabetes maca has been shown in animal studies to significantly improve glucose tolerance as well as liver function by increasing production and activity of glutathione and glutathione peroxidase18. Maca combats fatigue, a symptom of metabolic syndrome19,20,21,22, and likely a key player in reducing the motivation for physical activity. See our article on the anti-fatigue effects of maca in our previous blog article. Maca has some unique molecular properties to alter brain biochemistry as a potential target for anti-fatigue effects. By inhibiting FAAH, maca increases available anandamide (AEA) in neurons and the synapse. AEA is the primary endocannabinoid agonist for cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1R)23. In correlation with the molecular evidence, maca positively affects mood in women post-menopause or experiencing sexual dysfunction24,25. Elevated mood may increase the likelihood of physical activity by decreasing stress.
Further evidence identifies maca as a potential treatment for the reduction in blood pressure, a hallmark for increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In post-menopausal women, maca treatment reduced blood pressure26. In a human clinical pilot study, maca treatment reduced blood pressure11. These studies provide evidence for maca to treat metabolic syndrome in humans and furthermore no known contraindications prohibit it’s use with medication related to metabolic syndrome.
How to support metabolic syndrome with maca
Take 1-1.5 tsp per day of our Activated Yellow Maca or 2-3 tsp per day of our Activated Chocolate Maca for a min 6-12 weeks.