Maca plays a vital role in Peru’s people and culture. It has been grown in the desolate regions high up in the Andes Mountains for more than two millennia. It is only recently, however, that the health benefits of maca have come to light and became recognized in various countries outside South America. Rich in iron, calcium, amino acids and fiber, maca belongs to the same family of cruciferous vegetables as cabbage, kale, and watercress.
Apart from being used as a food source, maca came to be used for other purposes as well. The use of maca root for infertility and other sexual issues goes back hundreds of years. In fact, this plant has been in use since the time of the Incas for a host of other health problems.
Maca is known to reduce stress and improve stamina. It can enhance fertility in men and is usually used to stimulate sexual desire. Since it possesses a lot of ginseng’s healing powers, maca is also referred to as the Peruvian Ginseng. As in any herbal treatment, you should talk with a doctor before using maca as a supplement or treatment.
The Benefits of Maca for Men
Enhanced Male Libido and Fertility
Studies conducted by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) on human and animal subjects have indicated that maca could raise libido levels in men, including increased production of healthy sperm. A 2002 study showed that 40% of male subjects who took maca supplementations for 3 months had an increased sexual desire on the eighth and twelfth week. A 4-month study on another group of men who took maca reported higher sperm count, increased semen volume, and improved sperm motility,
Helps With Mild Erectile Dysfunction
Maca is quite good at increasing blood circulation. When this works together with a rise in libido levels, maca has been noted to help treat mild erectile dysfunction in men. Black maca is specifically recommended for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
Helps Keep Prostate Healthy
The prostate gland is an important part of the male reproductive system. Its primary function is to
release prostate fluid which is a component of semen, as well as help in the ejaculation of seminal fluid. The enlargement of the prostate gland, a condition called prostatic hyperplasia, has been one of the most common problems for men through the ages. Studies revealed that maca, through its action on the prostate’s androgen receptors, can help reduce the risk of prostatic hyperplasia.
Uplifts Mood to Fight Depression
It is not widely known that maca has depression-reducing benefits. Its mineral and vitamin content has energizing properties which works to lift up a person’s mood. Many cases of improved emotional health have been observed in subjects who used red maca.
Increased Energy Levels
Maca creates a great impact on energy levels, as well as uplifting mood and stamina. No wonder it is very popular among athletes and sports people. The secret behind this is maca’s capability to balance blood sugar which directly affects energy levels. Its huge role in the maintenance of healthy adrenal glands further contributes to increased energy and a more positive mood.
Hormone Balance and Regulation
Maca has a high amount of amino acids which are one of the major building blocks of hormones. 8 of the 20 amino acids found in maca are essential amino acids which play a big role in regulating male hormones.
Does maca increase testosterone? The energizing effect that maca provides indicates that it is affecting the body’s endocrine system in a positive way. Researchers theorize that maca has an effect on free testosterone levels instead of serum levels.
Helps With Constipation
Maca helps maintain regularity and, thus, prevents constipation because of its high fiber content.
Promotes Muscle Growth
Maca proponents claim that this herb possesses muscle-building properties due to its abundant bioactive proteins that stimulates natural muscle development. Maca is 18% protein and has become a popular food supplement for athletes and body builders. It provides the energy and muscle strength required for extreme training, athletic endurance and overall performance. Consult a health professional first before you take any performance-enhancing supplements.
Maca promotes healthy and stronger bones. It can protect you against the onset of osteoporosis, a bone-wasting disease most common in elderly women. In this condition, bone tissue tend to wither and get fragile due to lack of bone-healthy nutrients. Maca is rich in calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, and silica. The presence of these nutrients in the body result in healthier bones and decreases the chance of getting osteoporosis and other bone-related problems.
Improved Memory, Better Focus and Cognitive Ability
Maca, particularly black maca, helps men to improve their learning, mental clarity, memory, and concentration. Peruvian natives often use maca to help improve their children’s learning ability. Test animals have demonstrated increased power of memory and concentration after being fed with maca for a time. Test mice had a 10% memory improvement and almost 15% increase in learning rate. Studies have showed that maca affects the hypothalamus which is located right above the pituitary gland. It has a major influence on concentration and energy balance. Both black and red maca are good to use for this purpose.
How Much Maca is Safe to Take Regularly?
Maca is safe for men to include in their regular diet as long as they take it in the recommended safe amounts. Test animals fed with maca exhibited low toxicity, which indicates the herb is likely to be safe.
Even if maca has a low possibility to be toxic, there is not enough substantial data to indicate that it is safe to use as a daily supplement. It seems that more scientific data and evidence are needed before the proper recommendations are given.
Standard dosages for treatment or therapy has not been set. Controlled doses of maca powder have been pegged to 1,500 to 3,000 mg a day. Most manufacturers, however, recommend taking 450 mg of maca daily with food.
While no untoward reactions have been reported, it is best to stay on the safe side. Do not to take maca in amounts exceeding the recommended dosage.
A Word of Warning
Little data is known on how maca gets processed by the body. Herbs that go through your body’s metabolic process has a way of affecting other medications you are using. There is a warning against the use of maca if you have a thyroid problem. A component of maca can set into motion the diminished production of thyroid hormone.
It is worth mentioning again to check with your doctor before deciding to try maca supplementation. This is important especially if you are taking anticoagulants (blood thinners) like Coumadin, warfarin, clopidogrel, and aspirin.
While the volume of findings about maca is still somewhat inadequate, what is available so far supports the claim that it is good for men’s prostate and reproductive health. Maca comes in tablet, capsule, extract, and powder form. While some studies have shown that maca daily dosage could still be safe up to 3,000 mg, it is still best to get some professional advice and follow the package’s recommended dosage.
Read more at Side Effects of Maca