What exactly is Maca?
Maca is a plant that grows in the Andes of Peru. It is traditionally cultivated at a high altitude (3,750-4,350 m.) and manages to thrive in particularly difficult climatic conditions such as strong sun, strong winds, high temperatures during the day, and low temperatures at night. The edible part of the plant is its root which is found in various colors such as white, red, or black. The dried root of the plant is mainly used, but it is also found in the form of a capsule or extract in various dietary supplements with maca.
Nutritional Value of Maca Root.
The nutritional value of dried maca root is high, similar to cereal grains such as wheat and rice. Dried Maca root contains protein and is rich in amino acids such as leucine, arginine, and alanine. It also contains vitamin C, vitamins of the B complex, and minerals such as calcium, iron, copper, and zinc 1.
Maca also contains:
- 60% carbohydrates
- 10% proteins
- 8.5% fiber and
- 2.2% fat
Maca myth or truth?
Lately, we have noticed that Maca is becoming more and more popular. It is often used for fertility problems and various sexual disorders as it is considered a natural product that can improve love and sex life and boost libido. But what is true of all this?
Before moving on to the analysis of the properties of Maca root it is worth mentioning that the number of scientific studies is limited, many are small or have been done on animals, and cannot lead us to safe conclusions. But they constitute the first evaluation of its properties.
1. SEVERELY REDUCED LIBIDO AND SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION
MEN AND WOMEN
Sexual dysfunction and low libido (reduced sexual desire) are conditions that can affect both women and men at any age and as a result of various causes. It is a common phenomenon that can affect both men and women and affect mood and interpersonal relationships. The reasons can be organic, psychological, or even the side effect of certain drugs.
Maca, according to clinical studies, appears to possibly contribute positively to the improvement of sexual desire and various sexual disorders in both men and women 2, 3.
There is also one study that did not show any effect on healthy cyclists 4. However, more research is needed to reach safe and clear results.
2. FERTILITY IN MEN
As far as fertility is concerned, both the quality and the quantity of sperm play an important role. There is some evidence that Maca may increase fertility in men.
In 2 studies, an improvement in sperm concentration and motility was observed after taking Maca. 5, 6
Although more studies are needed here too, there is evidence that Maca improves sperm quality in both healthy men and men with fertility problems 7.
3. ADVERSE ACTIONS
Maca is generally considered well-tolerated. No side effects have been reported. However, care should be taken when there are thyroid problems. This is because Maca contains substances that can interfere with the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. These compounds are more likely to affect if there is already reduced thyroid function (hypothyroidism). Finally, pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult their doctor before consuming Maca.
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