Maca (or Maca root) is a naturally occurring plant that can be found growing in the mountainous regions of Peru and Bolivia.
Maca is still cooked with meals in South America and has traditionally been taken to boost energy, ward off illnesses, improve fertility and reduce stress. Nowadays, you can find maca in health stores in a capsule form.
Maca is one of a few herbs that are believed to be “adaptogens.” These special kinds of herbs adapt to a variety of conditions within a given body and help restore it to a healthy balance. Maca in particular works on the endocrine system to balance hormones in both men and women.
Maca is a nutritionally dense superfood that has been used for 1000s of years. It is unique in that it affects men and women differently. In this article I detail how and why to use this superfood for women.
Benefits of Maca-
Fertility – Women have been using Maca powder to increase their chances of conceiving a child for over 2000 years. Scientific studies have shown that the food balances hormones which leads to regular ovulation. Also, Maca is a nutritional powerhouse that supports the optimal health needed to boost fertility. Red Maca has been shown to be the best for women looking to boost their fertility.
Regularity of Cycle – Maca works very well to support a healthy, regular menstrual cycle.
Pregancy – Maca is safe to take during pregnancy. In fact, due to it’s high nutrient and mineral content, it may support healthy development. A 2 teaspoon serving of the powder has 3 times more calcium than a glass of milk. Also, Black Maca has been seen to increase bone density and strength.
Healthy Skinmaca women – Due to Maca’s ability to help balance hormones, it often has a positive effect on skin tone. This can include reducing hormone related acne as well as improving skin elasticity.
Increased Libido – One of the biggest effects reported by women taking proper dosages of Maca powder daily is a marked increase in sexual desire. Red Maca is the highest in phytontutrients and, not surprisingly, is the best choice to improve female libido.
Reducing/Preventing Osteoperosis – Studies have shown that Red and Black Maca were found to be the best at improving and protecting bone structure especially in mice who had their ovaries removed. Other studies have shown that Maca increases bone strength and density.
Women Wanting Enhanced Curves – One of the more interesting effects of Maca is that it can support the enhancement of female body shape. Maca works to balance estrogen levels, which can increase the size and shape of breasts. Also, since Maca is extremely anabolic (muscle building) it can increase the size of the buttocks, which is of course the body’s largest muscle. In order to get the most benefit for the latter, we recommend using Black Maca and also getting plenty of exercise aimed at increasing the gluts.
Reducing Depression –One of the lesser known benefits of Maca for women is for reducing depression. Maca works as a mood up-lifter due to its high nutrient content combined with it’s energizing properties.
Enhancing Mental Focus, Memory and Clarity –One final use of Maca for women is to boost mental capacities such as memory, clarity and focus.
Maca’s Role in treating erection disorders & other sexual conditions in men
Lepidium meyenii (Maca) is a herbaceous biennial plant. It looks like a radish and it grows in higher altitudes. It is found growing in severe climate of Andes in South America. It is one among several rare plants which can strive and can be cultivated in harsh climatic conditions like that of Andes.
Native Peruvians have used it as medicine and food for improved energy level, for better physical fitness and for sexual health(virility and fertility). However, if you want to be more energetic then combine a Maca supplement with a product like Multi Vit Rx which works well.
According to several researches maca has resulted in improved sexual desire in females and also help women after menopause. There are several people who take SSRI types of antidepressants (Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft) which lead to sexual dysfunction. This herb can help reverse sexual dysfunction resulting from these antidepressants to a great extent and has worked wonders in many cases.
Men with complaints of impotency have been slightly relieved with maca root supplements.
Research has proved that after 12 weeks intake of maca patients feel more sexually satisfied. The herb is more effective than placebo intake. The data supports a small but significant effect of maca supplementation on subjective perception of general and sexual well-being in adult patients with mild erectile dysfunction.
Maca can wonderfully treat sexual dysfunction caused by regular SSRI intake. With the fruitful use of Arizona Sexual Experience Scale and the Massachusetts General Hospital Sexual Function Questionnaire it was proved that an amount of 3 grams of maca per day can indeed create a difference in experiencing a healthy sexual life.
In fact, a patient can easily tolerate such an amount of maca each day. The herb also has a positive effect on libido.
In a research taking place at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, in Lima, Peru, doses of maca were compared with that of placebo. Males between the ages of 21 to 56 were given 3 grams of maca each day.
After 8 weeks of treatment there was a noticeable augmentation is sexual desire. In case of those treated with maca no difference was noticed in matters of estradiol and serum testosterone levels which was quite apparent in case of men treated with placebo.
Maca roots improved sexual activity in case of male rats in a more independent way and also has an effect on impulsive locomotor action. A continual and severe oral administration of maca in case of male rats has indeed shown a remarkable augmentation in matured sexual behavior. Maca has also caused a difference in prolactin, estrogen and testosterone hormonal levels.
A study took place in which case there was a 4 months oral intake of maca tablets in men between 24 to 44 years of age. Nine men were given maca tablets continuously for 4 months.
All hormonal levels including follicle stimulating hormone, testosterone, serum luteinizing hormone, estradiol levels and prolactin were examined both before and after the test. It was observed that regular intake of maca did improve seminal content, sperm count and also sperm motility. Only the serum luteinizing hormone levels remain unaltered.
In the Andean region, maca has a significant role to play. It is widely used in this part of the earth mainly for aphrodisiac and fertility increasing reasons.
Again, a 12 week test was conducted in which several doses of maca was compared with placebo. No hormonal changes were noticed and no negative effects were found in case of maca intake. A 1.5 g dose to 3.0 g dose was considered to be absolutely safe for all men.
Maca improves energy levels and saves you from the relentless feeling of exhaustion. However, make sure not to indulge in too much maca treatment for it can lead to insomnia which in turn can make you feel tired and sleepy.
Tips On Using Maca To Boost Your Chances of Conception in Women
Use only high quality, fresh, certified organic products. Unfortunately there are many inferior products on the market that are made from chemically grown maca or from old maca roots that have lost their potency.
Use the right amount. Using maca in this way is considered to be a therapeutic usage and therefore you need to take a therapeutic dosage consistently and regularly.
Both partners should take it For maximum efficacy you and your partner should be taking the powder. Maca comes with a number of other benefits, so it should be easy to convince him/her to do so.
Women should consider using red maca. It’s the rarest and most nutritionally dense form of the plant. It’s also the best for female fertility.
Maca Side Effects
Maca has no known side effects that could be harmful. As always, read the label carefully and avoid combining this herb with any medication. Remember that maca is a food eaten by many South Americans and side effects are rare. However, if you have a doubt, consult your doctor.
Scientific Studies on Maca Relevant to This Topic
Gonzales, G. F., et al. “Effect of Black maca (Lepidium meyenii) on one spermatogenic cycle in rats.” Andrologia. 2006 Oct; 38(5): 166-72.
Bustos-Obregon, E., et al. “Lepidium meyenii (Maca) reduces spermatogenic damage induced by a single dose of malathion in mice.” Asian J. Androl. 2005 Mar; 7(1): 71-6.
Ruiz-Luna, A.C., et al. “Lepidium meyenii (Maca) increases litter size in normal adult female mice.” Reprod. Biol. Endocrinol. 2005 May; 3(1): 16.
Gonzales, C., et al. “Effect of short-term and long-term treatments with three ecotypes of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on spermatogenesis in rats.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Feb 20; 103(3): 448-54.
Gonzales, G. F., et al. “Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on spermatogenesis in male rats acutely exposed to high altitude (4340 m).” J. Endocrinol. 2004; 180(1): 87-95.
If you are looking to increase your chances of getting pregnant naturally, without invasive surgical procedures, maca is certainly the supplement to try. Adding maca for fertility to any program or strategy can only help your overall health and chances of conceiving a child.
Bright Futures for Families is your online resource for health and fitness related issues. Online health portals have come a long way in physician - patient education; they not only provide information to the patients but also are a valuable source of information to the physicians. Bright Futures team consists of qualified health professionals, dietitians, researchers and fitness enthusiasts. Our goal is to study the research objectively (without bias) and provide the most authentic reviews and information to you.