Maca, the natural fertility booster!

Maca, the natural fertility booster!

As species, fertility is the biological factor that carries over to offspring thrive, and in the context of evolution, it is a key aspect of survival. 

Human fertility rates are declining worldwide, infertility is rapidly increasing, and it has become a problem in public health. Infertility is defined as the failure to achieve pregnancy after more than 12 months of trying [1]. 

It is known that infertility exists in a higher proportion on the male side, causes of male infertility mainly include the production of defective spermatozoa, obstruction of the reproductive tract, inflammation, and sexual disorders such as erectile dysfunction [2].

Treatment of male infertility can range from clinical sperm extractions for patients with azoospermia (lack of sperm in ejaculation) and/or microsurgery for patients with varicoceles (thickening of blood vessels) [3]. However, very few treatment options are available for idiopathic oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (OAT) defined as a reduced sperm count for unknown reasons, which is the most common problem in male infertility and the one we’ll discuss in this post.

Let the food be your medicine

Although the vast majority of all infertile population seek medical care, no effective and reliable medicines have been developed or approved for patients with OAT so far, and let’s not forget that with every medical drug comes unwanted side effects.

From a nutritional point of view, several supplements have been taunted to help in sperm production, including vitamins B12, C, E, coenzyme Q10 (antioxidant) and lcarnitine (amino acid). Nevertheless, all the above have failed to show positive results in randomized control studies [4].

Despite failures in alternative treatments, only one food arose from the others, Lepidium Meyenii (Maca). The ancient Peruvian root, used in the past by Inca warriors as an aphrodisiac and energy booster in combat, has been the only natural supplement to garner increased attention as an alternative treatment option for OAT [5].

Maca the unique ancient root

As we discussed in a previous post about Maca and acne, it is the unique nutritional profile of Maca that elicits favorable changes in the body like any other food. 

Macamides and Macaenes (Ma) are unique fatty acids only found in Maca and those responsible to aid in reproductive functions [6]. Several studies have shown favorable effects on sexual behavior, testicular weight and spermatogenesis [7].

A systematic review has already provided evidence for the effectiveness of Maca in improving semen quality [8]. 

¿How does Maca help?

In case you’ve been wondering, there are proposed mechanism on how does Maca exhibits its nutritional properties in sperm count and quality, one of the best ways to explain it is by aiding in cell recognition.

Macamides and Macaenes help receptors inside specific cells of men called Sertoli cells, these cells are found inside the testicles and are responsible for spermatogenesis (sperm production), Macamides and Macaenes are thought to help FSH receptors in the Sertoli cells.

FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) is a hormone, synthesized and secreted by our brain, it regulates the development of many processes in our bodies, but one of them being the reproductive system in both males and females.

Benefits can aid in women also since Maca intake has shown an increase in the size of the follicles of females and this translates into the development of healthier ovaries. [9] 

In conclusion, there are numerous substances in the plant of Maca; several typical components include amino acids and minerals, but the most important property relies on the fatty acids Macamides and macaenes, which are only found in maca. Again maca has significant potential to aid in hormonal signaling.

The hormonal boost was seen in Maca's focus to improve male and female fertility, on men, Maca aids in an increase of testosterone production by enhancing Leydig cell receptors, and therefore improving sperm count and sperm motility. An increase in sperm volume has also been related to better quality orgasms.

We should remember that these changes happen despite the fact that it does not affect the production of hormones, making it an outstanding food alternative to boost fertility parameters without altering the hormonal balance within the body.

As always, we at Wholefort have developed and formulated the ideal breakfast cereals to support your health. In this case, our Quinoa cereal with maca delivers in each serving size the amount of maca necessary to get the benefits of this wonder root.

 

Written by Antonio Reyes, RDN.
References
  1. Maradini-Filho AM, Pirozi MR, Borges JTS, Santana HMP, Chaves JBP, et al. “Quinoa: Nutritional, functional and anti-nutritional aspects”, (2017).
  2. Biagio Archidiacono, Stefania Iiritano, Aurora Nocera, Katiuscia Possidente, Maria T. Nevolo, Valeria Ventura, Daniela Foti, Eusebio Chiefari, and Antonio Brunetti. Insulin resistance and cancer risk: an overview of the pathogenic mechanisms”, (2012).
  3. Sunram-Lea S I, Foster J K, Durlach P, Perez C. “Glucose facilitation of cognitive performance in healthy young adults: examination of the influence of fast-duration, time of day and preconsumption plasma glucose levels”, (2001).
  4. Celep, G.S., Rastmanesh, R., Bozoğlu, F. “Fructose Metabolism and Health Risks. Obesity & Weight Loss Therapy”, (2015).
  5. Mills S, Ross RP, Hill C, et al. “Milk intelligence: mining milk for bioactive substances associated with human health”, (2011).
  6. McCollom, J.R.Villinski, K.L.McPhail, L.E.Craker, and S.Gafner,“Analysis of macamides in samples of Maca (Lepidium meyenii) by HPLC-UV-MS/MS,”. (2005)
  7. G. F. Gonzales, A. Cordova, C. Gonzales, A. Chung, K. Vega, and A. Villena, “Lepidium meyenii (Maca) improved semen parameters in adult men,” (2001).
  8. Q. Tancara, J. Cortez, G. Velez, Y. Salcedo, A. M. Salinas, and R.Carvajal,“Effect of the Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on the spermatogenesis and the spermatic quality of subjects with diagnosis of infertility: study of cases,” (2010).
  9. F. Uchiyama, T. Jikyo, R. Takeda, and M. Ogata, “Lepidium meyenii (Maca) enhances the serum levels of luteinising hormone in female rats,” (2014).

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