Maca root is a herbaceous plant that is grown in the plateaus of the Andes mountains in Peru. It is a totally natural herb which is traditionally used by those wanting to increase sexuality and increase energy. It is a root plant which requires seven to nine months to become mature enough to harvest and it looks like a large turnip or radish with a tangy, bitter taste and an aroma similar to that of butterscotch. Maca root is an important food source for the indigenous people of the Andes because so little else will grow in the region; and is actually used as a base for flour in many dishes in regions where the plant naturally grows.
Maca is a rich source of plant sterols, including sitosterol, campestrol, ergosterol, brassicasterol, and ergostadieno and is the powdered root of the Lepidium Meyenii plant. It is recommended for fertility problems, sterility, and other sexual disorders and has been used for centuries in the Andes to enhance fertility in humans and animals. It is a natural hormone balancing agent, which is helpful to both men and women. For women, maca has been used to treat menopause with many women reporting a reduction in hot flashes. I am 51 and pre-menopausal and this was the main reason that I have started to take it. Research has shown that Maca Root contains no plant hormones, but its action relies on plant sterols, which work with the endocrine system to help the body produce a higher level of hormones appropriate to the age and gender of the person taking it. Alkaloids purified from the maca root are thought to affect the hypothalamic-pituitary gland, explaining why maca can induce effects in both sexes. It is not recommended for women with breast, ovarian, uterine or other hormone-related cancers. Men will take maca to increase their libido, sexual performance and energy levels. Maca also increases Libido in women.
Maca root also offers many benefits for general good health. It contains many vitamins, minerals, important trace minerals, plant sterols, healthy fats, amino acids, protein, fiber, tannins and macro and micro nutrients. Dried maca root contains about 10% protein, mostly derived from amino acids and has the unusual ability to adapt to your body’s metabolism. However, it also contains more than 50mg of iodine, which could worsen the side effects of thyroid problems, so please check with your doctor before taking this supplement if you have an under or over active thyroid. There are a few side effects of Maca that I can find. It can be very hard on your digestive system causing gas and diarrhea and if taken with a low-iodine diet it can cause goiters. It has been known to interfere with antibiotics and for me personally it did at time upset my stomach. If you have taken Maca and experienced a side effect, please share with everyone on this post.
Maca root is available in powder and capsule form, such as Macafem, and the recommended dosage really does vary. The most common recommended dosage I found was to take 500 – 1,000 mcg, 2 – 3 times a day. It is an energy booster so if you take too much you could experience a rapid heartbeat and an inability to sleep. I would suggest that you check with your doctor if you have high blood pressure before taking Maca. It is suggested that you mix Maca powder with hot or cold fluids such a juice or smoothies and I assume tea, but I personally found that it doesn’t dissolve well (if at all) in juice and I most definitely do not like the bitter taste. I am sure it would work better in baking such as muffins or bread, but not being a baker I cannot comment one way or the other. I prefer to take Maca in capsule form and I am taking 1000 mcg, twice a day, with food. As with all supplements I find they work better if you give your body a break from them either by taking 2 days off every week or perhaps a week off every month. What I strongly suggest is that when you first start taking maca you start with a very small dose. Depending on how you feel and your body’s overall reaction to it, increase your dosage from there up to a maximum of 3,000 mcg a day.