Maca - Maybe you heard of this herbal root that's exploding with popularity. Many of the supplement manufacturers are putting right on the bottle that it helps with libido and sex drive. But does it?
Maca root is much more.
What Is Maca?
Coming from the Andes of central Peru, maca grows as a small, perennial vegetable. It's similar to broccoli and cauliflower, but the flowering heads are not edible. Only the root has culinary and medicinal uses.
The native Peru people use this route to help their children learn and grow strong. They believe eating the boiled and powder root help improve mental acuity and health.
In some specialty grocery stores, you might find the whole root, but most people will find it in the form of a capsule or liquid extract.
It's extremely nutritious, with many vitamins and minerals at nearly full recommended daily allowance, in addition to fiber and a tremendous amount of phytonutrients, such as glucosinolates and polyphenols.
It's particularly good for people with anemia, containing a high amount of bioavailable iron, and copper and vitamin C co-factors that help absorption. As part of dietary changes, people with anemia can benefit from maca.
But before you go out and buy it, be sure to have your thyroid checked. Along with many good nutrients, it also contains goitrogens, chemicals that interfere with the normal function of the thyroid gland. If your thyroid gland is already impaired, supplementing with maca is not recommended.
Maca is a Promoter
Much research focuses on how maca benefits the body. It seems everywhere researchers look it increases the benefits to the body. Most of these are not enormous benefits, only showing small increases in performance, feelings, and protection, but it is promising for something so simple.
Encourages Energy & Activity
You're not going to feel a jolt of energy like you would from a cup of coffee. But, people who take maca say they feel like they have a bit more endurance and energy while working out. Maca is very popular among athletes.
There is a little bit of evidence that shows it works, but there really isn't any concrete evidence yet that it improves muscle mass, strength, or endurance. So right now, it's just the word of mouth of people who use the supplement.
Helps Improve Mood
Maca can help stabilize your mood, especially for menopausal women. Specific phytonutrients seem to associate with reducing anxiety and depression in menopausal women. Some of this comes from helping to relieve other symptoms such as hot flashes and interruptions in sleep, but researchers aren't exactly sure how this works yet.
Some women, especially those approaching menopause, report they've received a reduction and PMS symptoms using maca. However, this one isn't confirmed by study.
Some doctors suspect that it improves testosterone and the other androgen hormones, which provide many results. They're finding it's similar to low-level hormone replacement therapy. However, this has not been confirmed.
May Improve Learning
Traditionally, maca was used for children to help improve performances in school and learning. Some smaller animal studies show that it does help memory. And, anecdotally, people report feeling more aware and awake taking maca.
Improves Libido and Sexual Dysfunction
The catchphrases of using maca to help improve sexual function are tentative at best. The glucosinolates may help improve prostate function and resistance to prostate cancer, and this may be why it appears it might help infertility in men.
A few studies confirm this, but it's still highly questioned. In general, taking maca for sexual dysfunction may not be the best use of your money, but if it's one of the side effects, it might be worth it.
Where Can I Get It And How Do I Take It?
More and more small retailers are carrying maca on the store shelves. But, you want to be careful where you get your supply. Peru produces the majority of maca, but China is providing a cheaper supply. However, the nutritional value of the maca coming from China isn't nearly as good.
Manufacturers who source from Peru typically will state this on the bottle.
Once you get it, review the recommended serving size. General recommendations are between 1 and 5 grams per day. We recommend starting off at the lowest possible serving size and work your way up.
Although there are no side effects other than to people with thyroid issues, be sure to use caution in case it reacts to a medication you take.
This is a great supplement if you want a little boost to your mental outlook, energy, and performance. Most of the time, it's reasonably cost and is quite safe. If you decide to try it, let us know, we'd love to hear back from you.