To examine the estrogenic and androgenic activity of Lepidium meyenii
) and its effect on the hormonal profile and symptoms in postmenopausal women.
Fourteen postmenopausal women completed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. They received 3.5 g/day of powered Maca
for 6 weeks and matching placebo for 6 weeks, in either order, over a total of 12 weeks. At baseline and weeks 6 and 12 blood samples were collected for the measurement of estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and sex hormone-binding globulin, and the women completed the Greene Climacteric Scale to assess the severity of menopausal symptoms
. In addition, aqueous and methanolic Maca
extracts were tested for androgenic and estrogenic activity using a yeast-based hormone-dependent reporter assay.
No differences were seen in serum concentrations of estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and sex hormone-binding globulin between baseline, Maca
treatment, and placebo (P
> 0.05). The Greene Climacteric Scale revealed a significant reduction in scores in the areas of psychological symptoms, including the subscales for anxiety
and sexual dysfunction after Maca
consumption compared with both baseline and placebo (P
< 0.05). These findings did not correlate with androgenic or α-estrogenic activity present in the Maca
as no physiologically significant activity was observed in yeast-based assays employing up to 4 mg/mL Maca
extract (equivalent to 200 mg/mL Maca
Preliminary findings show that Lepidium meyenii
) (3.5 g/d) reduces psychological symptoms, including anxiety
, and lowers measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women independent of estrogenic and androgenic activity.