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They discover that the red maca could effectively combat osteoporosis
Used for centuries in traditional medicine , Peruvian maca has caught the attention of scientists for its fabulous properties on sexual health, fertility and memory. Now , researchers at the Cayetano Heredia University have discovered that the so-called Andean Ginseng is able to reverse and prevent osteoporosis, a degenerative bone disease that affects one in three women over 50 years.

The human body is an imperfect machine. We can walk and run but there comes a time that we suffer from knee injuries and tired feet. We are able to clearly see objects near or far , but almost all face eye problems at some point in life. The same applies to the bones. Inside, the bone undergoes a series of complex cellular interactions that determine its strength and vitality.

From birth , the cells that destroy damaged bone naturally live in peaceful harmony with those cells that form new bone. However, an imbalance between the two killer cells and begin to take advantage when we spent 30 years occurs .

In women this process is compounded by the menopause, when the ovaries stop producing estrogen , an essential hormone for bone health . So to be the most solid structure of the body, the bone becomes porous sponge loses density and becomes fragile , the prelude to what doctors call osteoporosis.

Usually doctors prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT ) to compensate for this wear that affects more than 30 % of Peruvian women (MoH ) . However, in some cases , this treatment , although effective and reduces the chance of fractures, can affect other organs and increase the risk of breast and uterine cancer. "That makes many women feel fear and rejection ," says biologist and expert in endocrinology Carla Gonzales .



Natural medicine
A year ago, a group of researchers from the Laboratory of Endocrinology and Reproduction UPCH headed by Gonzales, decided to study an ancient plant suspected could have a positive effect on bones . Domesticated since the time of the Incas , Maca was an essential crop in the feeding of the ancient Peruvians , however , during the conquest and with the passage of time, his seed was declining. This plant was almost on the verge of extinction until in 1961 the Peruvian biologist Gloria Chacon began studying its amazing properties. Today we know that maca has effects on sperm production , improves memory , reduces the size of the prostate in older men , there are even studies that claim that protect DNA from damage from ultraviolet rays .

But not all are equal blemishes . Just as there are potato yellow or white , there are different varieties of maca, up to eleven . They are distinguished by the color of its root. However the most studied by scientists are two: red and black . "Black favors the production of sperm and red reduces the size of the prostate. We decided to study the latter because it has a regulatory effect of estrogen , which is vital for bone health , "says Gonzales .



Bone Regeneration
El primer acercamiento científico de la maca al universo de la osteoporosis ocurrió el 2006 cuando el investigador chino Yong-zhong Zhang estudió los beneficios de la maca en ratas a las que se les introdujo osteoporosis (Journal of Ethnopharmacology, abril 2006). Eso inspiró al equipo de la UPCH a estudiar más a fondo el tema: compararon los efectos de la maca roja con el tratamiento de primera elección para la osteoporosis, el estradiol (estrógeno sintético). Usando un modelo animal, los científicos dividieron en dos grupos a cerca de 30 ratas de laboratorio con osteoporosis inducida: a uno se le dio extracto de maca roja en grandes concentraciones, y al otro solo la TRH.

Las ratas que tomaron maca roja desarrollaron una increíble capacidad para regenerar el hueso, incluso mucho más que el grupo que tomó hormonas. “Con el estradiol los orificios del hueso se hicieron más pequeños y se revirtió la osteoporosis. Sin embargo, con la maca ocurrió lo mismo, incluso en mayor grado. La ventaja es que la maca no daña los tejidos como si lo hace la TRH. Además no es cara y es muy accesible”.

Ahora que la fase animal ha dado buenos resultados, Gonzales y su equipo piensan estudiar los efectos de la maca roja sobre otros órganos como el útero y las mamas. Por lo pronto, ya comprobaron que la maca roja no afecta el peso del útero, lo que hace suponer que no tiene efectos negativos. “Lo siguiente será confirmar estos resultados en seres humanos”, dice. Sin embargo, ¿podrá tener el mismo efecto? Gonzales cree que si y afirma que la maca podría reemplazar en un futuro a los tratamientos convencionales de la osteoporosis, ya que es “más barata, accesible y natural”.



Maca Enhanced
Aware of these effects , the team developed an improved formulation UPCH of red maca extract can be taken as a supplement for the care of the bones. It happens that for therapeutic benefit , a person should eat more than 20 glasses of red maca extract , something that not everyone would be willing to do. So a powder formula containing high concentrations in red maca developed and retains its active principles in full, more than maca flour sold in markets . Thus, a sachet 3 grams is equivalent to more than ten red maca roots , enough to keep the bones as a rock.

" We recommend taking one a day , mixed with fruit juice as the taste of red maca is strong ," said Gonzales . "Many physicians are prescribing and . Even we are already exporting product to the United States. Asians also want it. There is much interest in natural medicine and reduce the use of chemicals. Moreover, just favor the thousands of farmers who grow maca over 4000 meters high. It is a blessing. "

Source : Us Magazine , supplement of the newspaper El Comercio, Peru . By Marco Chumpitaz / / September, 2008
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