Effect of Lepidium meyenii Walp. on Semen Parameters and Serum Hormone Levels in Healthy Adult Men: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study
Introduction: The infertility caused by impaired spermatogenesis andsemen parameters is a public health problem which hasbecome an issue of great concern. As long as current therapeuticmanagement is often associated with side effects andno significant efficacy, need of an alternative treatmentarises. For this purpose, plants with an ethnopharmacologicalreputation have been widely investigated for the identificationof their possible biological activities or for the treatmentof several ailments.
Lepidium meyenii Walp. from theBrassicaceae family may be applied. This Andean bulbouscrop called maca has been used for centuries by nativeinhabitants to boost overall vitality and treat infertility inhumans and domestic animals. Even today, maca productsattract widespread interest for its claimed fertility enhancingproperties in both male and female. In fact it was recentlydemonstrated that maca root may alleviate SSRI-inducedsexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women.
Maca wasreported to enhance sexual desire and improved milderectile dysfunction in men. Its semen quality improvingproperties have been reported by various studies in animals:mice, bulls, and rams; but convincing scientificevidence for its efficacy on semen in men is still lacking.
According to the observed biological activities of its lipidfraction, studies regarding maca have focused on a group of unique nonpolar, long-chain fatty acid n-benzylamides called macamides, which are considered as chemotaxonomicmarkers used to assess its quality . Nevertheless, themechanism of its enhancing properties has not yet been fullydiscovered