If there was something small you could do each day to improve your mood, boost your immunity, and maintain your overall health—well, shouldn’t you be doing it? Those are just some of the health benefits of maca root.
Maca plant—scientifically known as lepidium meyenii—is used mostly for its edible root, which has been historically used for its powerful medicinal properties. This resilient cruciferous plant grows in harsh conditions above 13,000 feet in the Andes of central Peru.
Maca is an incredibly nutritious superfood that’s full of protein, fiber, and plenty vitamins and minerals to support all systems of the body. It contains 20 amino acids, including 8 essential amino acids, as well as fatty acids, vitamin B6, vitamin C, copper, iron, potassium, manganese, and many others.
Maca plant is part of a group of plants known as adaptogens—healing plants which balance, restore, and protect the body. Much of its beneficial work on the body can be attributed to hormone balance— bringing a person back to homeostasis.
There is no greater teacher than history— history shows us boundless benefits from consuming maca root daily. So what are the benefits of maca root? Read on to find out!
BENEFITS OF MACA ROOT
1. BOOSTS FERTILITY
Since maca root balances hormones, it may treat infertility due to conditions related to hormone imbalance.
Women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) — a condition which affects a woman’s hormone levels and may result in infertility — may find that their symptoms improve with maca root. It can balance estrogen levels which are either too high or too low, and may restore ovulation, which is often scarce in women with severe forms of PCOS.
Not only can maca root boost fertility in women by balancing hormones, but it can improve fertility in men by increasing sperm quality and quantity. A 2001 study published in the Asian Journal of Andrology found that maca supplements over 4 months increased seminal volume, concentration of sperm, motile sperm count, and sperm motility, which were unrelated to hormone levels.
A more recent study, published in 2015, concluded that maca root supplementation possesses fertility properties in men by increasing sperm concentration and motility.
2. INCREASES LIBIDO
Historically, maca root was used as an aphrodisiac for its powerful enhancement of sexual desire.
It may be especially beneficial for people on selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)– or antidepressants commonly known to induce sexual dysfunction. A study on the effectiveness of maca root in improving sexual dysfunction in women on SSRIs found the supplement to be effective, alleviating SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction.
Maca root was also found to improve sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women. It may reduce psychological symptoms related to sexual dysfunction including anxiety, depression, and low libido.
Furthermore, maca root may increase sexual desire in the average adult male and female, independent of their hormone levels and other medical conditions.
3. RELIEVES SYMPTOMS OF MENOPAUSE
Menopause is usually accompanied by a number of uncomfortable symptoms which may include hot flashes, chills, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood changes, and weight gain.
During menopause, estrogen levels plummet, triggering all of the symptoms mentioned above. Maca root balances hormones, thus cushioning the body’s changes and reactions, and relieving many of the symptoms associated with menopause.
After menopause, many women experience a decline in bone density and bone health. According to the CDC, 1 in 4 women over the age of 65 has osteoporosis— weakening and fragility of the bones.
4. MAINTAINS PROSTATE HEALTH
It is not uncommon for older men to experience problems related to enlarged prostate— also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Symptoms of enlarged prostate include a weak or slow urinary stream, incomplete bladder emptying, difficulty starting urination, frequent urination, and straining to urinate. These symptoms can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you are waking up frequently throughout the night to use the bathroom.
Studies show that maca root may reduce prostate size in men with BPH, alleviating symptoms relating to enlarged prostate.
Maca root may also contain substances which reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
5. BOOSTS ENERGY
Maca is known to increase energy levels in those who regularly consume it. This may be due to its ability to balance hormone and blood sugar levels.
It also contains a lot of important nutrients which are vital in maintaining energy levels, including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids.
Even athletes and bodybuilders use maca root to increase strength and endurance, and boost energy.
6. IMPROVES MOOD
Many people reported feeling uplifted, more driven, and a greater overall sense of wellbeing when taking Maca root supplements. Maca can reduce anxiety and depression, especially in menopausal women.
People who suffer from mood swings and depression due to hormone imbalance can benefit from maca root supplements.
7. SUPPORTS MEMORY
Maca root may have neuroprotective effects— meaning that it protects and improves brain function. It may slow the progression of age-related cognitive decline in diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Black maca may even improve memory in those who already suffer from memory impairment.
HOW TO USE MACA
Maca is available in many forms— powder, capsules, pills, flour, liquor, and extract— it has become one of the Peruvian flag products, with millions of dollars in exports every year (33 million to USD in 2015 alone).
Maca root can be found in most health food stores, and it can be ordered online. It is best to find a quality harvester with guaranteed 100% maca root products.
Maca powder can easily be added to your food— put it in a shake, a bowl of oatmeal, or add it to your favorite dessert. The recommended usage is 500-3000 mg per day, and it must be ingested regularly to gain from its health benefits.
Maca root has not been tested for safety during pregnancy, so best to avoid it if you are expecting.
Have you experienced the benefits of maca root? Have you ever tried maca tablets or powders? Let us know in the comments below!