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.
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