Maca—it seems to be everywhere lately, but what exactly is it?
A native plant of Peru, maca grows in the Andes Mountains under extremely harsh conditions and at very high altitudes. Peruvians have been cultivating the maca root for over 2,000 years for its medicinal properties.
First and foremost, maca has a ton of essential vitamins and minerals. Taking it a step further, recent scientific research shows that maca has nutritional, energizing and fertility-enhancing properties. Studies show that the maca root (generally consumed in powder form, but can also be found in capsules or as a liquid extract) has a slew of benefits for both men and women.
Now there are several different colors of maca and each benefit your body differently. It’s important to note your end goals before deciding which maca supplement to introduce into your diet. Let’s take a minute to break those benefits down.
“MACA, MACA MAN”
BENEFITS & USES FOR MEN
1. Increased Sex Drive
A low sex drive in both men and women is a common epidemic in the stress-filled world we currently live in. Maca root powder has been known to improve sex drive in men and several clinical trials have backed up this claim.
Here are some notes from a recent study:
“Logistic regression analysis showed that Maca has an independent effect on sexual desire at 8 and 12 weeks of treatment, and this effect is not because of changes in either Hamilton scores for depression or anxiety or serum testosterone and oestradiol levels. In conclusion, treatment with Maca improved sexual desire.”
2. Increased Fertility
In addition to libido, maca has been known to increase sperm count and mobility in men. Several studies have shown the effects of black maca on both infertile and healthy men to be favorable.
Check out the results of this interesting clinical study:
“It has been reported by Gonzales et al. (4) in clinical study on men, that Black Maca showed the best results on spermatogenesis (both semen quality and volume), memory and fatigue (energising effect).”
3. Reduced Prostate Size
While these studies have only been conducted on rats, the research is promising that red maca can reverse benign prostate hyperplasia in men by reducing prostate size and the negative symptoms associated with enlarged prostate. Check out this study for more.
“YOU MACA ME FEEL LIKE
A NATURAL WOMAN”
BENEFITS & USES FOR FEMALES
1. Increased Sex Drive
Most of the research on the effects of maca on libido is favorable for men, but a few studies say the root powder can help menopausal women regain some of that sex drive. Even if you’re not at a menopausal age yet, if you find yourself lacking the urge, adding maca to your diet may help. This recent study shows that an increase in sex drive was apparent on 3 grams of maca a day, so make sure you’re getting enough to be effective.
2. Menopause Symptom Relief
A review of four studies (look here, here, here and here) found that yellow maca helped alleviate menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and interrupted sleep. Again, while we might not be ready for menopause yet, it’s good to know that maca might help with those symptoms down the road.
3. Bone Health
The above studies also showed that yellow maca increased bone health for women. Bone health is something many women don’t think about but should. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 80 percent of the osteoporosis cases in America are female! A reason for this is because women’s bones are strongest at the age of 18. As we get older, our bones continue to weaken. Even worse, after our bodies stop producing estrogen, our bones become even more fragile.
The good news is we can prevent osteoporosis by taking care of our bones right now. Several animal studies have shown that yellow maca might help protect bones and is effective in the prevention of estrogen deficient bone loss.
INCORPORATING MACA IN YOUR DAILY DIET
Ok, so there is definitely room for more research on the effects of maca, but the studies out there clearly show that the adaptogen has some major benefits for both men and women. It’s surely enough to slip a scoop or two into your (and your hubby’s) morning smoothie, especially if you’re currently trying to conceive!
Many smoothie shops have maca as an option to add to your drink, but adding a teaspoon to your homemade drink is a quick and easy option. Maca has a bit of an earthy or nutty flavor and can be an acquired taste. If you find you don’t care for its strong flavor, hide it with a nut butter or banana flavors. They tend to override or compliment the maca.
Here’s my pumpkin spice protein smoothie recipe that I like to add Maca into!
So, have you tried maca root powder yet? If so, have you seen any of these incredible benefits?
*Disclaimer: I’m definitely not a doctor, but everything in this post is backed by basic scientific research. Before adding any supplements to your diet, it’s smart to talk to your healthcare provider!
MACA NUTRITION FACTS