Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 68, Issue 4, pp 347–351 | Cite as

Role of Maca (Lepidium meyenii) Consumption on Serum Interleukin-6 Levels and Health Status in Populations Living in the Peruvian Central Andes over 4000 m of Altitude

  • Gustavo F. Gonzales
  • Manuel Gasco
  • Ivan Lozada-Requena
Original Paper


Lepidium meyenii (Maca) is a plant that grows at over 4,000 m above sea level in the central Peruvian Andes. The hypocotyls of this plant are traditionally consumed for their nutritional and medicinal properties. The aim of this study was to determine the health status based on a health related quality of life (HRQL) questionnaire (SF-20) and serum levels of interleukin 6 (IL-6) in subjects that are maca consumers. For this, a cross-sectional study was designed to be performed in 50 subjects from Junin (4,100 m): 27 subjects were maca consumers and 23 were non-consumers. The SF-20 survey is used to obtain a summary measure of health status. The stand up from a chair and sit down (SUCSD) test (to assess lower-extremity function), hemoglobin measurement, blood pressure, sexual hormone levels, serum IL-6 levels and the score of chronic mountain sickness (CMS) were evaluated. Testosterone/estradiol ratio (P <0.05), IL-6 (P < 0.05) and CMS score were lower, whereas the health status score was higher, in maca consumers when compared to non-consumers (P < 0.01). A greater proportion of maca consumers successfully completed the SUCSD test compared to non-consumers (P < 0.01), showing a significant association with lower values of serum IL-6 (P < 0.05). In conclusion, consumption of maca was associated with low serum IL-6 levels and in turn with better health status scores in the SF-20 survey and low chronic mountain sickness scores.


Lepidium meyenii consumption IL-6 Muscle strength Chronic mountain sickness Sex steroids Lower limb strength 

Supplementary material

11130_2013_378_MOESM1_ESM.doc (40 kb)
ESM 1(DOC 39 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gustavo F. Gonzales
    • 1
    • 2
  • Manuel Gasco
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ivan Lozada-Requena
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratory of Endocrinology and Reproduction, Department of Biological and Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and PhilosophyUniversidad Peruana Cayetano HerediaLimaPeru
  2. 2.Instituto de Investigaciones de la AlturaUniversidad Peruana Cayetano HerediaLimaPeru
  3. 3.Laboratory of Immunology, Faculty of Sciences and PhilosophyUniversidad Peruana Cayetano HerediaLimaPeru

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