Maca (pronounced mah-cah) is a root vegetable belonging to the broccoli family. It has a great taste, nothing at all like broccoli, and it is delicious when added to smoothies or coffee. It has a similar flavor to the cocoa bean. Nearly all Maca is grown in Peru, and it has been used for centuries by the South American cultures as a powerful superfood. Some believe it to be a not just a superfood, but a supernatural food. If it’s ‘supernatural’ or not, there is no denying that it is a root that should be taken nearly every day because of its great health benefits.
A word about Maca: it can act as an aphrodisiac – effecting some more dramatically than others. The effects are usually not immediate; it seems to have an accumulative effect regarding sexual desire. It is recommended to take Maca powder for five days on, two days off. But Maca is not just for an increased sex life (but this may be reason enough to use it); it is full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and even essential fatty acids.
Maca can be found in most health food stores, and online including Amazon.com. Both women and men can benefit greatly from it. Read the TOP 5 benefits below about this delicious and powerful herbal root…
Top 5 Maca Root Benefits
Although maca itself contains no actual hormones, most of maca root’s benefits are attributed to its ability to help restore sexual, endocrine (hormonal), and mental health. Here is how maca may be able to benefit both men and women:
1. PMS, Menopause, and Women with Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Maca Root is well known to help with hormone balance that often contributes to improving the symptoms of PMS and Menopause. In females with PCOS, maca is believed to help by controlling estrogen levels in the body.
Estrogen levels that are either too high or too low can make it difficult for a woman to ovulate and become pregnant. Therefore balancing the amount of estrogen that a women produces, and in turn the amount of related progesterone produced, is very important for increasing reproductive health, fertility, and decreasing symptoms related to PCOS- like irregular menstrual cycles, excess hair growth, and more.
2. Women’s Hormones, Fertility, and Sexual Health
A 2008 study from the journal Menopause showed that maca benefits had positive results on boosting menopausal women’s moods and decreasing levels of anxiety and depression.
The same study also showed that the improvement in mood led to increased sexual libido. A separate study done in 2008 by CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics showed that maca had the ability to increase sexual libido in women, likely due to its positive effects on serotonin levels, the “feel good” hormone.
In one study done using animals and maca, it was found that in female animals taking maca, multiple egg follicles were able to successfully mature, which is important for ovulation and reproductive health.
Maca is believed to restore women’s hormonal balance by supporting the endocrine system and aiding in the regulation of healthy adrenal and thyroid hormone production.
The adrenal gland and thyroid gland play a major part in regulating many feelings – everything from stress levels to appetite. Restoring the health of these glands is paramount for someone wanting to feel their best.
3. Male’s Testosterone Levels and Fertility
In clinical studies, serum levels of testosterone were not shown to be affected by maca. Black maca however, has been shown to have positive effects on sperm production, more than yellow maca and red maca.
Red maca has its own benefits for male hormonal health. It has been shown to reduce prostate size in studies done on male rats. This points to the conclusion that maca may possibly help improve human prostate health as well.
In other studies, maca has also been shown to improve sperm production, mobility, and volume, all important factors of increasing fertility. (1)
In another 2010 report summarizing the results of 4 clinical trials carried out by BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, maca was able to show benefits related to improving sexual dysfunction and sexual libido in adult men and women. However the other two trials did not show the same positive results, so more formal research is still needed to determine the exact power of maca on fertility.
Even though the studies haven’t yet show maca to naturally boost testosterone, there are other great natural alternatives that may help that you can find in this article on how to naturally increase testosterone.
4. Energy, Memory and Mood
Those who regularly use maca powder report that it makes them feel more awake, energized, and driven, often relatively quickly after beginning to use it. A positive attribute of using maca for increased energy compared to using caffeine is that maca does not give most people “jitters” or a sense of shakiness like high levels of caffeine can.
Clinical trials have shown that maca has positive effects on energy, stamina, and mood. Maintaining positive energy levels is related to having lower levels of anxiety and depression, both of which maca has been shown to positively help achieve.
Exactly how maca increases energy is still unknown, however it’s believed that it may be able to do so by helping to stabilize blood sugar levels (which decrease energy spikes and dips), and to maintain adrenal health, which regulates mood and energy throughout the day.
Maca benefits also include regulating the hypothamlus, helping the pituitary gland to properly function, which is another key element in balancing focus and energy. (4) An increase in focus, energy and mood enables people to concentrate better and therefore to improve memory and ability to complete tasks.
5. Antioxidant Booster
Maca root acts as a natural antioxidant, and boosts levels of glutathione and SOD (superoxide dismutase). These are two major disease fighters in the body. Results from recent studies demonstrate that maca root has the ability to help prevent the development of chronic human diseases that are characterized by high levels of “bad” cholesterol, high antioxidative states, and impaired glucose tolerance.
And because maca root increases the glutathione levels in the body, it not only improves your immune system and disease resistance, but also it is helps balance proper levels of cholesterol in the body. Plus, it significantly improves glucose tolerance, by lowering levels of glucose in blood. This is especially important for those who need to worry about heart health and conditions like diabetes or metabolic syndrome.
While more research is still needed to reveal how exactly maca benefits the body’s hormonal and nervous systems, initial studies that have been completed have shown promising results for use of maca. – Dr. Josh Axe