Maca Properties and Chemical Composition
The Maca roots are the edible or usable part of this plant. They are consumed decocted and in such estate they have 13 to 16% of protein. They are rich in essential amino acids.
The existence of four alkaloids called macaina 1,2,3 and 4 has been reported, with Rf values of 0,680, 0,346, 0,198 and 0,851, respectively. Moreover, it presents glucocinolates, benzyl isothiocyanate, p-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate, carbohydrates, starch, fructose and maltose. The former is broken down in two glucoses, cellulose and lignin, fatty acids and tannins.
Calcium (Ca), with over 100 000 ppm or over 10%, as macronutrients, excelled in the spectrographic chemical analysis conducted with the maca root by Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería in October 1996.
Regarding phosphorus (P), the Nutrition Institute reported values over 183,3 mg % in 1978.
Phosphorus and calcium have a central place in biology: They are responsible for the structural functions affecting the skeleton and soft tissues and for the regulating functions of the neuromuscular transmission and of the chemical and electric stimuli.
85% of phosphorus is found in the skeleton and intervenes in the formation of ATP (Adenosin triphosphate).
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) presents 11 g % of proteins in the dry root and 14 g % in the integral paste (Nutrition Institute 1978).
Cellulose and lignin have been found in the analysis of the roots, besides carbohydrates, maltose, fructose and tannins.
The maca starch contains calcium, phosphorus, iron, fatty acids, and natural oils.