[Nutritional evaluation of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) in albino mice and their descendants]

Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2000 Jun;50(2):126-33.
[Article in Spanish]


The Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a Peruvian hypocotyl that grows exclusively between the 3700 and 4500 masl at the Peruvian Andes. Traditionally it is attributed nutritional, energizing, fertilizing properties among others. With the purpose of evaluate scientifically the nutritional property of Maca, we carried out a controlled study in two generations of albino Swiss mice (parents and breeding). The parents were aleatorily assigned to one of three nutritional schedules. The food of each group was prepared based on powder from a commercial balanced food (CBF) of which 30% was replaced by raw or cooked Maca according to the corresponding group or pure CBF in the control group. The groups were this way: 1) Raw Maca Group; 2) Cooked Maca Group; and, 3) Control Group. The results showed that the curves of growth were similar and adequate for the three groups. However, the cooked Maca group showed the best curve. These data were better observable in the second generation of animals, with significant statistical difference (p < 0.05). The CBF group had a better growth than raw Maca group. No signs of malnutrition nor overweight were observed in none of the groups. The serum values of total proteins and albumin were statistically superior for the mice group eating cooked Maca than that of the raw Maca and CBF groups. This study demonstrates, in a scientifical evaluation, one of the traditionally attributed properties of Maca, the nutritional capability.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Blood Proteins / analysis
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Brassicaceae*
  • Female
  • Food Handling
  • Food, Formulated*
  • Growth / physiology
  • Hypocotyl
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutritive Value
  • Peru
  • Serum Albumin / analysis


  • Blood Proteins
  • Serum Albumin