9 Maca Benefits And Side Effects

Maca is the most popular aphrodisiac health food in recent years, also known as Inca radish, Peruvian Viagra, or Peruvian ginseng. Do you know the maca benefits and side effects?

In addition, Maca still has anti-fatigue, anti-oxidation, neuroprotection, balance hormones, improve sexual function, prevent prostate hyperplasia, improve conception rate, relieve menopausal discomfort, immune regulation, and other functions, but as of now, there is still little relevant literature. Only part of the effect has been confirmed

From the point of view of medicine and medicine, people’s enthusiasm for Macas is understandable, because the drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction or benign prostatic hyperplasia have various side effects and contraindications, which may not be suitable or acceptable for everyone.

Table of Contents

What is Maca?

Maca is a traditional Peruvian cruciferous plant that has been used for both edible and medicinal purposes for centuries. It only grows in the Andes Mountains at an altitude of 4000 to 4500 meters above sea level, with extremely cold, extremely strong sunlight, low oxygen, and strong winds. Earth, because few plants can survive in this environment, so it created its strong characteristics.

The main body and edible part of this plant is a radish-like tuber (ie, hypocotyl, 10-14 cm long and 3-5 cm wide), which constitutes the cotyledons and roots of the plant. After natural drying, the embryo The size of the shaft is sharply reduced to 2-8 cm.

There is great genetic diversity in the form of maca root, with different weights (1-5 kg), different shapes (spherical, elliptical, spherical elliptical, spindle-shaped), and various colors (white, cream, yellow, orange, red and purple), each with different biological characteristics.

What is the nutritional composition of Maca?

Primary Metabolites

  • Dry maca contains 10.2% protein, 59% carbohydrates, 2.2% lipid and 8.5% fiber, and contains free fatty acids, the most abundant of which are linoleic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acid.
  • Every 100 grams of minerals contains: iron 16.6 mg, calcium 150 mg, copper 5.9 mg, zinc 3.8 mg, potassium 2050 mg.

Secondary Metabolites

  • macamides, maca alkaloids
  • beta-sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, glucosinolates

What are the benefits recommended by Maca?

1. Maca improves sperm quality and promotes the reproductive ability

Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system, which refers to the inability to achieve a clinical pregnancy after routine unprotected sexual intercourse of 12 months or more, which has a great impact on the couple’s psychology and physiology.

There is no reliable information on the prevalence of infertility in the world, but it is estimated that nearly 72.4 million couples worldwide have fertility problems, and the prevalence rate is about 8% to 12%, of which 40%-60% of infertile couples Related to the malefactor.

The clinical evaluation method of male infertility is mainly based on semen parameter analysis. The current reference limits for semen analysis published by the World Health Organization are:

Semen volume: 1.5 milliliters (mL)
Sperm density: 15 million sperm cells per ml
Total sperm count: 39 million sperm per ejaculation
Pattern: 4% of normal value
Vitality value: at least 58%
Forward movement sperm count: at least 32%

A systematic review (including 5 clinical studies) pointed out that whether it is infertile or healthy men, oral maca can help to improve semen quality parameters, including sperm morphology, sperm concentration, sperm count, sperm count, and sperm mobility.

The underlying mechanism that may be related to the active ingredients of maca can affect the seminiferous tubules’ sperm production process and reduce the oxidative stress.

*Conclusion: Oral maca may have a positive effect on improving sperm quality. However, limited by the number of trials, the total sample size and the risk of deviation, more accurate and randomized controlled trials are needed to corroborate

2. Maca improves female sexual dysfunction (induced by antidepressant drugs)

Sexual dysfunction is a common side effect of antidepressant drugs, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) drugs.

It is estimated that 90% of men and 96% of women taking these drugs have had side effects in at least one area of ​​sexual function, but as many as 50% do not discuss these issues with healthcare providers.

Both studies pointed out that for women, oral maca root preparations can reduce sexual dysfunction induced by antidepressant drugs (SSRI/SNRI), and there may be dose-related effects.

*Conclusion: Oral maca may have a positive effect on the improvement of female sexual dysfunction induced by antidepressant drugs, but limited by the small sample size, more large-scale trials are still needed to corroborate.

3. Maca is beneficial to sports performance

Exercise exerts physical pressure on the body, which requires a coordinated response of the cardiovascular, lung, and nervous systems to increase blood flow and supply oxygen to the skeletal muscles at work.

At rest, muscles receive approximately 20% of total blood flow, but during exercise, this percentage can increase to more than 80%.

Therefore, athletes often use dietary supplements to increase metabolic capacity, delay the onset of fatigue, improve muscle hypertrophy, shorten the recovery period, or help prevent injury during high-intensity training.

A randomized double-blind trial (14 days, 8 male cyclists) pointed out that compared with the baseline test, Maca significantly improved the performance of 40 kilometers of riding time (but no significant difference compared with placebo ).

*Conclusion: Supplementing maca can improve athletic performance, especially in endurance sports. However, its effect on muscle quality and strength is yet to be studied.

4. Maca improves erectile dysfunction (aphrodisiac)

erectile dysfunction refers to a state in which penile erection cannot be achieved or maintained to meet sexual behavior. About 50% of men aged 40 to 70 years have a certain degree of erectile dysfunction.

The penis erection ability has always been a symbol of man’s masculinity and sexual ability. If there are obstacles, it will often have a negative impact on partner relationships, interpersonal relationships, and mental health.

The main risk factors for erectile dysfunction are age, coronary and peripheral vascular disease, hypertension, obesity, and sedentary lifestyle, hyperlipidemia, pelvic or spinal trauma, diabetes, benign prostatic hypertrophy, lower urinary tract symptoms, hypogonadism, fibrous caverns, endocrine disorders, smoking, depression, alcohol, drugs, etc.

Although there are many treatment options for erectile dysfunction, there are still some patients who do not respond or cannot tolerate the treatment.

A double-blind, randomized clinical trial (12-week period, targeting 50 patients with mild erectile dysfunction unrelated to mental illness, endocrine system diseases, and cardiovascular disease drug use) pointed out.

Compared with placebo, oral maca extract capsules (daily dose of 2400 mg) have a significant improvement effect on both the International Index of Erectile Function and Life Satisfaction Profile.

*Conclusion: For patients with mild erectile dysfunction, oral maca has a small but statistically significant improvement in sexual function and overall well-being, but it is limited by the small sample size, and more large studies are still needed to corroborate it.

5. Maca promotes male sexual desire

Sexual desire is a complex multi-level interaction, including structural, physiological, psychological, developmental, cultural, and relationship factors.

All of these promote the individual’s sexual desire to varying degrees at different points in time and continue to change throughout the life cycle.

As we naturally age, our desires will decrease, but sometimes the loss of sexual desire is associated with underlying disease conditions, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, Addison’s disease, Cushing’s disease, temporal lobe lesions, menopause, coronary Arterial disease, heart failure, renal failure, stroke, and human immunodeficiency virus, etc.

A double-blind placebo-controlled, randomized, parallel trial (12-week, 57-year-old healthy males aged 21-56 years) pointed out that oral maca (daily doses 1.5 to 3 grams) at 4 weeks, 8 weeks and 12 During the week, sexual desire increased by 24.4%, 40%, and 42.2%, and the increase in sexual desire was not related to changes in mood or elevated levels of serum testosterone and estradiol.

Another double-blind randomized crossover trial (14-day, 8 male cyclists) pointed out that oral maca not only significantly improved the performance of the 40-kilometer riding time but also improved the sexual desire score.

*Conclusion: Oral maca may help increase male sexual desire, but limited by the small sample size, more large-scale trials are still needed for further verification.

6. Maca promotes reproductive related hormones such as testosterone

Testosterone is the main male sex hormone, also exists in women, although the concentration is much lower, in addition to related to reproductive function, it also has a significant effect on the metabolic function of various parts of the body.

From the age of 30-40, men’s testosterone levels slowly decline by about 1% each year.

Low testosterone levels are often associated with the following symptoms, including loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, cognitive decline, depression, lethargy, osteoporosis, loss of muscle quality, and strength.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, parallel trial (12 weeks, 56 healthy male subjects) indicated that oral maca (a daily dose of 1.5 or 3 grams) compared to placebo There is no effect of any hormone targets, nor any changes over time (including luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, prolactin, testosterone) and its precursors or metabolites 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone, 17-beta estradiol).

*Conclusion: Oral maca does not significantly help to increase reproduction-related hormones (eg testosterone).

7. Maca relieves menopausal symptoms

Menopausal is defined as an ovarian failure that triggers menstruation and ovulation to stop. When menopause lasts 12 months or more and there is no pathological factor, it can be called natural menopause. It usually occurs between 42 and 58 years old.

During menopause, about 85% of women report symptoms of different types and severity, including hot flushes, depression, anxiety, urinary incontinence, vaginal atrophy, and loss of libido.

A systematic review (including 4 randomized controlled trials involving 202 neighboring or postmenopausal women) pointed out that oral maca (daily dose of 2 to 3.5 grams) has the effect of improving symptoms related to menopause (in order to Greene Climacteric Scale and Kupperman Menopausal Index).

The author points out that although the underlying mechanism is unknown, it is speculated that it may be related to the estrogen hormone balance effect of the maca component.

*Greene Climacteric Scale: involves 21 problems and 5 areas: anxiety, depression, somatic symptoms, vasomotor symptoms, and sexual function. The higher the score, the worse the quality of life.

*Kupperman Menopausal Index: There are 11 numerical indicators of menopausal symptoms: hot flashes, paresthesia, insomnia, nervousness, depression, dizziness, weakness, arthralgia or myalgia, headache, palpitations, and forms. Depending on the severity, the score for each symptom ranges from 0 to 3. A higher score indicates a poorer quality of life.

*Conclusion: For menopausal women, oral maca may have the effect of improving the symptoms of menopausal discomfort, but limited by the number of studies, the total number of participants, and the quality of the method, more large-scale experiments are still needed to confirm the effectiveness and safety.

8. Maca improves cognitive function (animal test)

The brain is considered to be the most complex system in the animal kingdom, with complex modes of operation, and the degree of connection between structure and function depends on spatial resolution and time scale.

For a long time, people think that dietary factors can have a plastic effect on nerve function and synapse, and have a regulatory effect on cognitive processes and emotions.

An animal experiment pointed out that black maca improved the ethanol-induced experimental memory impairment to a certain extent, which may be related to the content of polyphenols.

*Conclusion: Oral maca may have a positive effect on the improvement of cognitive function, but human studies still need to be further verified.

9. Maca benefits prostate hypertrophy (animal research)

Prostatic hyperplasia, also known as Prostatic hyperplasia, is a disease with a high prevalence rate. About 50% of men over the age of 60 are affected, and 90% of them are over 80 years of age. The relevant clinical manifestations are lower urinary tract symptoms and night Urine, sepsis, irreversible bladder failure, etc.

The exact cause of this disease is currently unclear, but it is generally believed that sex hormones are the most basic, for example, androgens promote epidermal growth factor, keratinocyte growth factor, and insulin-like growth factor

At present, the treatment of prostate hyperplasia includes finasteride, tamsulosin, and other drugs. In severe cases, transurethral resection of the prostate can be used. Although it can improve the symptoms of lower urinary tract symptoms, it may be accompanied by side effects such as hematuria, loss of libido, and abnormal ejaculation. For these reasons, The medical community is looking for better treatments, including natural products.

An animal study pointed out that, for the prostate hypertrophy induced by testosterone enanthate, oral administration of red maca extract can make the prostate smaller.

*Conclusion: Maca may be positive for prostate hypertrophy, but human studies still need to be further verified.

Are there any side effects of Maca?

Maca has been used as food for thousands of years. Under normal use, no significant toxic reactions have been found and the safety is extremely high.

However, possible adverse reactions or side effects that have been reported include attention deficit, menstrual cycle changes, weight loss, depression, anxiety, abdominal pain, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, insomnia, headache, nausea, vomiting, and abnormal liver function.

One study found that taking maca powder (600 mg for 3 consecutive months), ALT (Alanine transaminase), and blood pressure increased slightly.

Maca Precautions

1. Patients with autoimmune thyroid disease, goiter, or other thyroid nodular diseases, please consult medical staff before use (because Maca is rich in iodine and Glucosinolates, if excessive use may induce adverse reactions.

2. Do not use it for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, children, and those with liver and kidney dysfunction (because the relevant safety is unknown).

3. Do not use if you have related hormone-sensitive diseases (such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids) (because maca may have a phytoestrogen effect, which may worsen the symptoms).

4. Do not use anti-hormonal drugs (may interfere with the drug).

5. Eating fresh maca root may have adverse health effects, and it is recommended to boil it before use.

6. Because maca is rich in vitamin K, the main effect of vitamin K on the human body is to help blood coagulate, so do not take it with anticoagulants, so as not to interfere with the role of drugs.

How to eat maca (how many doses will help)?

Raw maca retains most of its nutrients, but due to its fiber content, it may be difficult to digest.

Therefore, Maca is sold in powder or capsule form after processing, and the optimal dosage has not yet been determined. In most studies, the standard daily dose of maca is about 1.5 to 3 grams, which can be directly supplemented or added to smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods, and other foods.

Where to buy the most recommended maca capsules?

In recent years, food safety problems in various countries have exploded, and it is not healthy but black-hearted products that everyone spends on. Therefore, European and American products with relatively strict quality control have become popular products.

And iHerb.com is a large-scale medical cosmetics e-commerce company in the United States. It has a high satisfaction rate of 97% in the evaluation of Google customers. It provides global home delivery so that you can buy it without risking buying fakes through purchasing high-quality health products.


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