Benefits of Maca
Maca is a known plant with a long history of traditional use in the Andes region. It is derived from the processed tuberous root of Lepidium meyenii and it belongs to the Brassicaceae family. Maca root is considered to have a high nutritional value, with protein contents between 10% and 18%, carbohydrates between 59% and 76% as well as a high number of free amino acids. Traditionally, the maca root is used in juices and foods but also available as a dietary supplement especially in Europe and Asia.
Maca root powder has gained some popularity as a dietary supplement in the areas of aphrodisiacs, fertility and improving physical energy.
There are four types of maca recognized by consumers according to the colour of the root. The four types are cream-yellow, half purple (purple with a white taproot and crown areas), solid purple and black. The yellow macas are the most popular ones on the market mainly due to its preference.
Maca root is usually prepared by baking in ground pits, however, its roots which are also very common can be dried in the sun for use.
Maca Root Powder Benefits
Maca is used as food mainly in the Peru region. The roots can be cleaned and cooked either fresh or dried and it’s known to have a tangy taste and an aroma similar to butterscotch. The dried roots can be stored for long periods and can retain their flavor for about 2 years.
Fertility enhancing & sexual functioning
Our lifestyles and overall wellbeing can have an impact on our sexual function. Challenges and issues regarding sexual function are common and very much widespread. Some of these challenges include loss of libido, ejaculation problems, and erectile dysfunction. These issues may end up putting additional stress on our relationships and personal life. For centuries, the benefit of maca has been in the area of improving sexuality.
There are several scientific studies that have been carried out to test the efficacy, safety, and benefits of maca for men. Some of these studies included healthy men and others had participants with pathological conditions.
One benefit of maca that is supported by scientific research is the effect on sperm production. The study indicates that black maca has better effects on sperm production than yellow maca. Another benefit of maca has been shown to support sperm motility and semen volume (Gonzalez, 2009). After 42 days of treatment, a positive effect of black maca on sperm motility was observed. A control group using red maca did not experience any effect.
In another study, it was noted that maca at a dose of 2.4g improved the perception of general and sexual being in men with erectile dysfunction after 12 weeks of treatment.
Studies on the benefits of maca have also indicated the benefits it provides in increasing libido. Maca ingestion appears to increase libido across all demographics. In a scientific research study, there was an improvement in sexual desire after 8 weeks of taking maca.
Other benefits of maca include
- Maca root powder supports and improves mood health
- Maca root supports healthy anxiety levels
Below is a summary of the benefits of maca and the reference which backs the claims.
|Benefits of Maca
|Increase sperm count and sperm motility
|Gonzales et al, 2001
|Increase sexual desire
|Gonzales et al, 2002
|Zenico et al 2009
|Dording et al 2008
|Brooks et al 2008
|Decrease score for anxiety and depression
How to use maca powder
Maca powder is widely available from local stores to online retailers. It is mostly available as a powder or as capsules (supplements).
Maca powder can be added to smoothies, cereals, juices or protein shakes.
Maca root health benefits for men on fertility and sexual function were achieved with 1500mg -3000mg per day. The potency levels of most brands on the market are below this recommended value and as such the benefits may not be fully realized.
Side effects of maca root
Maca root has been used for centuries with no significant side effects reported. Doses of less than 1000mg per day are considered safe for human consumption. There are however rare reports of a mild increase in liver enzymes and blood pressure with very high doses.
Coates, P. (2005). Encyclopedia of dietary supplements. New York: Marcel Dekker.
Gonzales, G., Cordova, A., Vega, K., Chung, A., Villena, A. and Gonez, C. (2003). Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a root with aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing properties, on serum reproductive hormone levels in adult healthy men. Journal of Endocrinology, 176(1), pp.163-168.
Gonzales, G., Gonzales, C. and Gonzales-Castañeda, C. (2009). Lepidium meyenii(Maca): A Plant from the Highlands of Peru – from Tradition to Science. Forschende Komplementärmedizin / Research in Complementary Medicine, 16(6), pp.373-380