Maca is a Peruvian plant grown in the Andes Mountains. It is a cruciferous vegetable, meaning that it is related to broccoli, cabbage, and kale. Maca is a common ingredient in Peruvian cooking that gives dishes an earthy flavor. Maca root plant can be ground up into a powder and added to meals or smoothies. Aside from its culinary uses, Maca may also have several health benefits. This article will discuss some health benefits of Maca root.
There is a range of potential benefits of maca root, including:
1. Increasing libido
The most well-known benefit of maca root is its potential to increase libido. There is some scientific evidence to support this claim.
For example, an older study from 2002 found that men who took 1.5 or 3 grams (g) of Maca per day experienced increased libido compared to those who received a placebo.
A 2010 review of studies on maca and sexual functioning found some evidence to suggest maca could improve libido, but the authors cautioned that more research is required.
A 2015 study found that maca root may help reduce sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women who were taking an antidepressant.
2. Boosting energy and endurance
Some athletes and bodybuilders use maca root as a supplement to increase energy and performance. Some evidence exists to support this.
A pilot study in 2009 found that using maca extract for 14 days improved performance for male cyclists in a 40-kilometer time trial. However, the results were not significantly different from the improvement seen in those taking a placebo.
However, the same study found that maca extract improved libido in the participants who used it. However, the sample size of this study was very small, so more research is needed to confirm the results.
3. Increasing fertility
Another widespread use of maca root is to increase fertility, particularly in men.
A 2016 review found some evidence that maca root may increase semen quality in both fertile and infertile men. However, more research is needed
4. Improving mood
Maca contains flavonoids, which are thought to improve mood and reduce anxiety. A study in 14 postmenopausal women found that maca may reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
5. Fighting free radicals
Maca root also promotes natural antioxidants in the body, such as glutathione and superoxide dismutase.
Antioxidants help to fight off free radicals, which can damage cells in the body. Some people believe antioxidants can help prevent some health conditions, including heart disease and cancer.