Maca is a root vegetable and considered a superfood for its amazing health benefits. It is a native of the Andes Mountains in South America, and the herb has been used traditionally to improve the sexual function of men and women. It is also known to be a fertility booster, healer of various illnesses and depression easer. Maca is available in the United States as a potent dietary supplement.
Maca is also known as Peruvian ginseng, and it is known in the Andes Mountain of Peru and Bolivia. The root is a superfood as it is highly nutritious. It may be used both as a medicine and food. You may use maca powder to make puddings, coffee, porridge or a sweetened beverage known as the maca chichi.
Since hundreds of years, maca has been used to treat various health conditions such as sterility, anemia, infertility and menstrual problems. It was a prized herb, limited to the upper classes in Peru. It is also considered as an aphrodisiac as it improves the sexual performance.
Maca for athletes and bodybuilders
Many bodybuilders and athletes use maca supplements to increase stamina naturally and improve their athletic performance. The herb may also help in reducing any post-workout muscle pain.
Even though there are not enough clinical studies available to support these claims, those who consume maca are full of praises as unlike the performance enhancing drugs, these natural supplements boost performance without any side effects. Thus, they are a natural alternative for steroids to boost strength and stamina.
How does maca aid in performance?
Maca is known to contain organic compounds and glucosinolates that are found in vegetables like cabbage and broccoli. The superfood also contains protein, amino acids, fiber, fatty acids, and various other minerals and vitamins required by the body. Maca also provides powerful antioxidant abilities that aids in reducing the unsafe LDL levels and trigylcerides.
Fuel your workouts with maca:
Maca contains all nutrients that help in fueling your workouts. The antioxidant effects of these superfoods prevent any muscle soreness after an exhausting workout. Studies reveal that antioxidants improve the adaptive response to muscle damage induced by exercises. Maca also has mood-lifting effects that help enhance motivation for exercises and workouts, thus they are perfect performance boosters for athletes.
Maca side effects
Maca has practically no side effects
The Maca root was cooked in the Peruvian high Andes in relatively high doses as a staple food similar to potatoes and consumed in portions of around 20 g per day and in this form has practically no traditional side effects.
Only in people with sensitive digestion can the taste-giving isothiocyanates cause irritation of the mucous membranes. However, they are removed by the process of hot water extraction (gelatinization).
Potentially toxic ingredients in Maca in detail
Maca in its raw form, like all cruciferous plants, contains isothiocyanates and beta-carbolines as well as, depending on the processing and storage conditions, some microbial toxins which should be mentioned here in detail, even if they are only considered for toxicity in very high quantities or pre-existing intolerance (1 kg per 66 kg person).
Isothiocyanates are responsible for the characteristic taste of wasabi, horseradish and radish and are also present in Maca. They are not tolerated by people with sensitive stomach and intestinal mucous membranes or allergies to mustard oil glycosides and cause irritation of the intestinal mucosa, flatulence, stomach cramps and restlessness. They are destroyed by steam (gelatinization).
Beta-carbolines are alkaloids with a wide range of pharmacological effects and have calming, anxiety-relieving, antispasmodic, hypnotic, antiviral, antimicrobial, antiparasitic and anticarcinogenic effects. In appropriate quantities they are therefore able to seriously interfere with the body’s metabolic activity and have an inhibiting or increasing effect on nerve transmission.
These substances are also almost completely destroyed by water vapour (gelatinisation) and are not contained in potentially neurotoxic quantities either in their raw or gelatinised form.
Mycotoxins actually hardly occur in high-quality Maca products, as they are metabolic products of fungi and can only occur at a moisture content of more than ~10% if the product is not dried properly or stored at high humidity and without sufficient circulation. Maca powder, however, is dehydrated to ~9 % when professionally processed and packed airtight.
It all depends on the quality
Maca can therefore be considered toxicologically safe if it does not contain any other impurities due to proper storage and if it comes from 100% Peruvian organic cultivation.
Maca benefits for woman
The Maca root is said to alleviate symptoms during the menopause. The tuber also has a mood-lifting effect and reduces anxiety and depression. Maca is also said to prevent osteoporosis, i.e. bone loss.
The medicinal plant is also rich in plant sterols and thus promotes the formation of oestrogen. The female pelvic tissue is better supplied with blood and the libido is strengthened. The Maca root also reduces pain during menstruation.
However, you should be careful when dosing the Maca powder and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
In general, about three to four grams per day are recommended. You should not take more than six grams per day of the Maca powder. Otherwise you may experience stomach ache, flatulence, indigestion, hyperactivity and headaches.
In the Andes, Maca is still one of the staple foods and is used in many different ways in the kitchen. From sweet to hearty dishes, everything is available. The tuber is often processed into a sweetish porridge, the mazamorra. There is even a Maca beer.
Since the tuber has a slightly sweet, nutty taste, the Maca powder goes well with muesli. You can also mix the powder into yoghurt, milk, smoothie or a glass of water.
How much Maca to take
Maca powder or capsules?
Both forms of intake have specific advantages and disadvantages:
Maca capsules are particularly suitable for long-term regular use. After all, they can be taken everywhere without any problems. There is no need to weigh out the right amount beforehand, nor is it necessary to dissolve them in water. This means that the capsules can be swallowed directly after getting up in the morning without any great difficulty.
In the same way, you have to read through the recommended dosage of the capsules carefully, because the different manufacturers fill the capsules in different dosages. Many capsules also rely on extracts. However, many ingredients are lost through hot water extraction, which often leads to less effect.
Maca powder, on the other hand, offers the decisive advantage that it can be consumed in different ways. It can not only be used to prepare delicious shakes or, for example, pastries. However, there is another reason that often speaks more in favour of Maca powder: it is purer.
How much Maca per day
The correct dosage when taking Maca depends especially on the intended use. But age and weight also play an important role. Therefore, the recommended daily dosage usually ranges from one to three grams, but sometimes also from three to five grams.
Bodybuilders, on the other hand, often take up to ten grams if they are sufficiently advanced in their training.
For everyone else, but especially for those who just want to try out the Maca effect, it is recommended to start at a low level. Approximately 1.5 grams to a maximum of 3 grams daily are sufficient for the stimulating and mood-lifting effect to become apparent after a certain time. Those who only aim for this will not have to increase the dose further.
The latter is then rather recommended for use because of a sexual dysfunction or also during the menopause. In this case, once the body has become accustomed to the intake, a daily dose of 3 to 5 grams a day is recommended. This can easily be spread over several intakes throughout the day. This dosage is also recommended for athletes and bodybuilders.
There are a few rules of thumb for the dosage of Maca: The older you are when using Maca and the more pronounced the complaints are, the higher the regular dose should be. In the same way, the more chronic the symptoms are, the longer the dosage should be. This is especially true for promoting fertility. As has been mentioned, the best results are often only achieved after four months.
Is Maca a stimulant?
Maca as an aphrodisiac. Hardly any other effect of the Maca plant is as well known and legendary as its effect on the libido. It is not for nothing that Maca is nicknamed “Viagra Andino” and has a highly stimulating effect on both men and women, although the dosage plays a decisive role, as can be concluded from other contexts. Numerous studies have also been able to prove this effect of the plant.
Dosage and intake of Maca for libido and potency
The intake of Maca can be a useful, naturopathic support for potency or libido problems. However, it is not to be understood as a medical recommendation or therapy and does not replace the visit of a doctor or alternative practitioner. People under medical treatment should always discuss the consumption of such potent, naturopathic foods with their doctor.
Duration of intake: In order to support erectile dysfunction, loss of libido or impotence with Maca, a minimum intake period of 6 weeks is to be assumed for a cure according to the present study situation, or an occasional supplementation several times a week depending on the urgency of the symptoms.