10 Amazing Health Benefits of Maca Root
What is Maca Root?
Maca root (also known as Lepidium Meyenii, Peruvian ginseng and simply Maca) is a plant of the Brassicaceae family - a group of cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale.
Maca has been cultivated for over 2000 years and grows exclusively in the central Andes mountain range in South America. It is one of just a few edible plants which survives the harsh weather conditions here, at altitudes of over 4000m.
In Peru, Maca has been utilised for thousands of years for its medicinal and healing properties. It is thought to be an effective natural remedy to improve fertility, sexual function, energy, memory and learning.
In the modern world, maca powder and maca supplements are used worldwide to bring the health benefits of fresh maca to countries where it is not accessible.
Let’s take a look at some of the main health benefits of maca.
10 Health Benefits of Maca Root
Maca is a nutrient-dense superfood which has some amazing benefits for body and mind. Let's explore 10 reasons why you need more maca in your life.1. Women’s Health & the Menopause
Maca is a powerful adaptogen, which means that it helps to promote hormonal balance and homeostasis in the body. This can be very helpful to help manage menopausal symptoms, as the root cause of these often lies with hormonal imbalances.
Studies have shown that maca supplementation can help to relieve unpleasant symptoms at every stage of the menopause; peri-menopause, menopause and post-menopause.
One placebo-controlled study found that maca was as effective as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) at relieving night sweats and hot flushes - common symptoms of menopause in postmenopausal women.
Maca supplementation has promising benefits for women’s health, not just for menopausal symptoms but also for other issues linked with hormonal levels - including premenstrual syndrome (PMS), stress, anxiety and fertility.
2. Sexual Function & Libido
Maca root has been used by Peruvians to improve the sexual function of both humans and animals for thousands of years.
Studies have shown that maca is a natural aphrodisiac, helping to promote sexual desire and boost libido. Small trials also show promising potential for maca to help treat sexual dysfunction issues such as erectile dysfunction.
Interestingly, research has also shown that maca could be a good natural remedy for low sex drive and poor libido caused by the side effects of prescribed medications such as antidepressants.
As well as helping to improve libido and sexual function, maca has also been found to have some specific physiological benefits for improving fertility in both men and women.
Clinical trials have shown that maca can be effective at improving many markers of fertility in men, including sperm count & mobility.
As an adaptogen, the effect of maca on estrogen hormone levels can also help to improve fertility and reproductive health in women.
4. Energy Levels & Endurance
As well as helping to improve hormonal balance and reproductive health, maca is also known to naturally boost energy levels.
Many studies into the effect of maca on energy levels have focused on endurance and stamina in athletes. One study found that supplementation of maca extract before a cycling race improved race time, as well as power and performance markers.
It is also thought that maca may have a double-whammy impact on exercise performance in men. This is because it increases both energy production and testosterone - a male hormone which increases muscle strength and reduces fatigue.
Aside from improving stamina and endurance in athletes, maca supplementation also helps to naturally boost energy levels and fight fatigue in everyday life.
5. Improving Memory & Learning
Research has shown that maca extract can help to improve aspects of brain function such as attention, concentration, reaction time and memory.
Scientists are now exploring how maca interacts with the human brain. If found to be effective, it is thought that maca could be an effective natural treatment for conditions in which these processed are affected - such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.
6. Blood Pressure Control
One small study looked at the effects of maca root powder on both depression and blood pressure in postmenopausal women. Women self-reported a reduction in depressive symptoms and were found to have a noticeable improvement in blood pressure.
Whilst the results are promising, further larger studies are needed to provide conclusive evidence about the effects of maca on blood pressure control.
7. Nutritional Powerhouse
Maca root is a natural source of many different nutrients which are great for boosting the immune system and promoting overall health and wellness.
Some of the most healthful nutrients in maca include:
- Adaptogens which promote hormonal balance and homeostasis
- Powerful antioxidants which bolster the immune system and protect cells from damage
- Slow-release carbohydrates for sustainable energy
- Rich source of Vitamin C - the immune system’s best friend
- Essential amino acids including leucine, phenylalanine, valine & isoleucine
- Essential minerals including iron, calcium, copper, zinc & pottasium
- Great source of fibre to support optimal gut health & digestive function
Adding maca powder to smoothies, oats, yoghurt and hot drinks is a perfect way to boost your intake of these essential nutrients.
8. Thyroid Function
One part of the body which is closely connected to hormone levels is the thyroid, a gland in the neck. Our thyroid produces hormones which help to regulate body temperature, metabolism and heart rate.
Conditions which affect thyroid function (such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism - also known as over-active and under-active thyroid) can result in hormonal imbalances which create a number of problems.
Studies have shown that maca can help to improve endocrine function, including that of the thyroid gland.
9. Mood & Depression
The adaptogenic properties of maca mean that it is also an effective natural remedy for symptoms such as stress and anxiety, which are closely related to mood and depression.
When we experience stress, low mood, anxiety and depression - there is an underlying physiological mechanism which triggers this. For example, with stress it is an increase in the hormones cortisol and adrenaline, and with sadness it is a drop in the neurotransmitter serotonin.
By promoting hormonal balance and homeostasis, maca can help to manage the triggers and symptoms related to stress, anxiety and low mood. Studies have even shown potential for maca to be a potential treatment for depression, with maca extracts have beneficial effects similar to those of antidepressants.
10. Skin Health
One final surprising benefit of maca is that it can also help to protect skin from damage.
Studies have shown that maca and even maca leaves can help to protect skin cells from damage, particularly that from the UVB rays of the sun. Maca supplementation was also linked with a lower occurrence of sunburn cells.
In summertime, maca supplements could be a good addition to your sunscreen routine to help best protect your skin from damage and premature ageing.
Which Maca supplement is best?
Maca supplements come in both powder and capsule form.
As with most capsules, these make maca more difficult to absorb due to being encapsulated in an artificial casing. They also often contain extra ingredients such as bulking agents and preservatives.
It is always best to opt for a maca powder which is 100% maca and nothing else. This will give you a pure source of maca which is far easier to abosorb for the best benefits.
We utilise Organic Peruvian maca root in our superfood blends to make it easy for you to enjoy the benefits of maca as part of your daily routine. Our pure maca is sourced from small family farms in Peru, where it is sustainably harvested.
Together with a unique blend of other superfood ingredients, you can enjoy the benefits of maca with a simple scoop added to smoothies, shakes, oats, yoghurt and healthy recipes.
Find Organic Peruvian maca in:
Berry Beauty Organic Superfood Blend
Cacao Plant Protein Superfood Blend
Scientific evidence has shown that the effect of lepidium meyenii (maca) as a complementary and alternative medicine can provide a number of health benefits.
Of course, we would always recommend seeking medical advice from a healthcare professional if you think maca could help to improve symptoms related to a health condition.
However, this natural superfood is a great addition to any diet to boost energy, promote hormonal balance and nurture overall wellbeing from within.