In recent years, the maca plant is growing in popularity. It is originally a plant native to Peru and is usually available in the form of a supplement. Traditionally, the maca root can improve fertility and sex drive. Here are the health benefits of maca root supplements.
Can Increase Fertility in Men
A recent review of five studies shows that maca can improve the quality of semen in infertile men (3).
In one review study in nine healthy men, researchers observed an increase in sperm volume, count and motility after consuming maca for four months (4).
Can Improve Your Mood
Maca contains plant compounds called flavonoids responsible for these psychological advantages (8).
Can Improve Memory
The black maca is more rewarding than other varieties (15).
Can Relieve Symptoms of Menopause
Several unpleasant symptoms can result from the natural decline of estrogen that occurs during this period.
These include hot flashes, dryness of the vagina, changes in mood, lack of sleep, and irritability.
One study of four menopausal women studies found that maca helped improve symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes and interrupted sleep (16).
Can Reduce Prostate Size
The prostate is a gland that is present only in males. Prostate gland enlargement, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is normal in aging men (19).
A larger prostate, because it covers the tube through which urine is expelled from the body, may cause various problems with passing urine.
Red maca’s effect on the prostate has been suggested to be due to its outrageous amount of glucosinolate. Such drugs also contribute to a reduced risk of prostate cancer (23).
May Boost Energy Levels
The maca supplements have been claimed that it can help you build muscle, increase strength, boost energy and improve performance in exercise.
In addition, one small study in eight cyclists shows that they improved the time it took them to complete a 25-mile bike ride after 14 days of maca extract supplementation (27).
There’s actually no empirical evidence to confirm that maca can increase muscle mass or strength.
Can Increase Libido in Men and Women
It decreases a common problem among adults sexual desire. Therefore, there is great interest in herbs and plants that naturally improve libido.
Maca has been heavily marketed as being effective in enhancing sexual desire, and research supports the argument (28).
A 2010 review which includes four clinical trials with 131 participants found evidence that after six weeks of consuming maca, it improves sexual desire (29).
Also, read supplement for erectile dysfunction
Nutrition Profile Of Maca Root
Maca root powder is a very nutritious source of several essential minerals and vitamins (30).
28 grams of maca root powder contains:
- Calories: 91
- Carbs: 20 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Vitamin C: 133% of the RDI
- Iron: 23% of the RDI
- Copper: 85% of the RDI
- Potassium: 16% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 15% of the RDI
- Manganese: 10% of the RDI
Maca root is a good source of carbohydrates, it is low in fat and has a fair amount of fiber. Some essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, copper, and iron, are also high in maca.
The Bottom Line
Maca supplementation can offer many health benefits, such as increased libido and better mood. Most of the studies, however, are small, and many have been done in animals. While studies on maca are promising, but it needs to be studied in greater depth.
Frequently Asked Questions
The maca plant is sometimes referred to as Peruvian ginseng, scientifically known as Lepidium meyenii. It grows primarily in the Central Peruvian Andes, in harsh conditions and at very high altitudes above 13,000 feet. Maca is a herb that is cruciferous and therefore related to broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale.
Maca is easy to add to your diet. You can add it to smoothies, oatmeal, baked foods, energy bars and more. The optimum dosage has not been identified for medicinal use. The maca root powder dosage used in research, however, typically varies from 1.5 to 5 grams per day.
Maca is safe and has no serious side effects. Therefore, Peruvian natives assume that eating fresh maca root can have adverse health effects, and suggest first boiling it. However, be cautious with maca if you have thyroid problems. That is because it includes goitrogens. Therefore, these compounds can interfere with the thyroid gland’s normal function.
Ultraviolet (UV) sun rays can burn and cause damage to the exposed skin. UV radiation can cause wrinkles over time and may increase skin cancer risk. However, there is some evidence that applying maca extract, a concentrated form of the plant can help protect your skin against UV radiation.
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