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Maca and Its Potential Effects on the Endocannabinoid System*

Emerging research on the role of the endogenous Endocannibinoid system (ECS) found within humans and animals, and its potential health impact, has expanded dramatically as popularity of hemp based products grows. Recently PubMed published articles linking compounds found in the Maca root with the ability to activate the Endocannanbinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system is an innate system belonging to all mammals, including dogs and cats, involving the central and peripheral nervous systems, immune and neurological system plus all organs. The endocannibinoid systems contains two primary receptors, referred to as CB1 and CB2, that are endogenous to the ECS system and are tasked with receiving and responding to nutritional cannabinoids, naturally found in your pet's body. It has long been thought that ECS receptors could only be stimulated by cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. 

Endocannabinoid Receptors maca activates endocannabinoid system maca ecs activator

Recent Pub Med research shows that Maca contains secondary metabolites referred to as N-alkylamides (NAAs) as well as plant compounds called macamides, that can activate cannabinoids by mimicking their plant actions, referred to as the cannabimimetic effect. Primary metabolites generally represent the nutritional components of a plant such as Maca (protein, fatty and amino acids, vitamins, minerals, digestive enzymes, etc.), whereas, secondary metabolites are generally tasked with bolstering the natural defense system (tonic, nutritive, endocrine function) of a human or animal.

This is exciting news for pet parents and pets alike because because Maca's NAA's and macamides do not contain specific canninbinoid chemistry, however, are likely able to stimulate the ECS receptors due to Maca's adaptogenic plant actions and Maca is considered one of the most profound nutritional super foods on earth. Given Maca's well researched phytochemical and nutritional plant actions, the pairing of Maca with other plants that help activate the endocannabinoid system may yield rich results in potential layered, therapeutic health benefits.

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While research continues, it appears that Maca has the ability to stimulate effects across the Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems as well as the Immune System. This study provides additional strong evidence of the endocannabinoid substrate mimicking of plant-derived NAAs adaptogens and uncovers a direct and indirect cannabimimetic action of the Peruvian Maca root.

While macamides have long been researched within the Peruvian traditional medical system, the emerging focus on the interaction of plant-derived N-alkylamides (NAAs) and the mammalian endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the existence of a N-acylethanolamine signaling system is an exciting build out to our understanding of the adaptogenic nature of the Maca plant.

Continuing understanding on the endocannabinoid system and animal wellness is important since the system involves a number of body responses related to pain, illness, mood, inflammation, immune health and memory. The endocannibinoid system is tasked with maintaining immune and cellular balance, known as homeostasis, despite external forces that might otherwise interrupt balance in the animal's systems. Endocannabinoids also nourish and stimulate the encocannibinoid receptors that are found in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. 

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The discovery of the interaction of Maca's plant-derived N-alkylamides (NAAs) and the mammalian endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the existence of a plant endogenous N-acylethanolamine signaling system have led to the re-evaluation of this group of compounds and will likely encourage future research involving the Maca root and the endocannabinoid system.  

Macamides are a distinct class of secondary metabolites that have so far been found only in the Peruvian Lepidium meyenii Walp Maca plant. Using HPLC-UV-MS/MS, the main macamides which have been identified are n-benzylhexadecanamide, n-benzyl-(9Z)-octadecenamide, n-benzyl-(9Z, 12Z)-octadecadienamide, n-benzyl-(9Z, 12Z, 15Z)-octadecatrienamide and n-benzyloctadecanamide.

Maca can be found in the following products:

I AM A Rock StarDog & Cat Kryptonite, Dogs Love Maca, Omega 3 Meal Topper, Holiday Sprinkles, Daily Greens Glow



J Nat Prod. 2014 Jul 25;77(7):1663-9. doi: 10.1021/np500292g. Epub 2014 Jun 27.

Identification of endocannabinoid system-modulating N-alkylamides from Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra and Lepidium meyenii.

Hajdu Z1Nicolussi SRau MLorántfy LForgo PHohmann JCsupor DGertsch J.

Pet X Talks - What Are Adaptogens - Heidi Nevala




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