Maca is a plant that’s native to Peru, and is found in the Andes Mountains. Like broccoli, cauliflower and kale, it is a cruciferous vegetable .
Peruvian cuisine frequently uses maca as a common ingredient, giving dishes an earthy flavor. The maca root can be made into a powder that you can add to food or shakes.
Maca root may have many health benefits, in addition to its culinary use. I will be highlighting 10 potential health benefits that maca root can offer.
The Top 10 Benefits of Maca Supplements
Maca root has numerous possible benefits. Here are the top 10:
1. Increases Sex Drive
Research suggests that maca root may increase libido. In fact, its most popular popular use is to boost sexual drive and function, and this claim is supported by scientific evidence.
A 2002 study found that maca supplementation by men saw a boost in sex drive compared to those who didn’t.(1)
A 2010 review of research studies on the effects of maca in sexual function saw evidence to indicate that maca could enhance libido; however, the authors stipulated that further research is needed.(2)
According to a 2015 study, it was discovered that maca root may prove useful as a women’s libido supplement, helping to prevent the occurrence of sexual dysfunction in women who were postmenopausal and taking antidepressants.(3)
2. Reducing erectile dysfunction
Maca root may also provide benefits for men with ED (erectile dysfunction). One limited study looked at the effects of taking 2.4g of maca root every day for a 3-month period to measure the participants’ perception of their libido and overall well-being.(4)
The participants in the study were men who had mild ED. The group taking the maca root supplementation showed a substantial increase in sexual drive and function , compared to those who didn’t.
3. Increases Energy and Stamina
Maca root is used by bodybuilders and athletes as a supplement to boost energy and performance. There is evidence to support this.
A 2009 pilot study showed that supplementing with maca extract for two weeks enhanced performance for male cyclists in a 40-kilometer time trial. Even so, the results were not substantially greater than those who took a placebo.(5)
The same study, however, observed that those participants who took the maca extract saw an increase in sex drive. But because of the small sample size of the study, further research is necessary to confirm these results.
4. Increases Fertility
Another of maca root’s most common uses is to increase fertility, especially male fertility.
According to a 2016 studies review, some evidence indicates that maca root may improve the quality of semen in men who are both fertile and infertile. Even so, further research is required.(6)
5. Improves Mood
Maca contains flavonoids, compounds that are believed to elevate mood and reduce anxiety. Research involving women who were postmenopausal found that maca may help decrease feelings of depression and anxiety.
Also, a 2015 study found that maca could reduce symptoms of depression in postmenopausal women.(7)
6. Lowers Blood Pressure
Maca root could also help to lower blood pressure. Research conducted during the above-mentioned study on postmenopausal women who took 3.3g of maca every day for a 3-month period saw decreases in blood pressure.
7. Protects Against Sun Damage
Previous research with animals suggests that maca could help to protect the skin from UV rays. A more recent animal study suggests that maca extracts could prevent sunburn cells from forming.(8)
8. Protects Against Free Radicals
Maca root also supports naturally-occurring antioxidants in the body, including superoxide dismutase and glutathione.
Antioxidants help to protect from damage caused by free radicals, which are harmful to cells in the body. It is believed that antioxidants may help to prevent certain health conditions, like cancer and cardiovascular disease.
9. Reduces the Symptoms of Menopause
Many women use maca root supplements because it is believed to help balance estrogen levels. When a woman experiences perimenopause, the stage before menopause, estrogen levels can fluctuate and lead to a wide range of symptoms.
Some research indicates that maca is one of the better supplements for treating menopause, with evidence that postmenopausal women taking daily doses of maca supplements experience a decrease in symptoms, including hot flashes and night sweats.(9)
10. Improves Cognitive Function
Maca could help to improve memory and learning ability, and some research indicates that it’s likely these supplements improve mental function. For instance, one study showed that maca was able to improve the memory of mice.
A 2014 review of research studies indicated that maca may provide positive effects on memory performance and learning. Researchers believed that it might potentially be helpful in treating conditions affecting cognitive function, such as Alzheimer’s disease.(10)
However, research so far has been limited to animals and it is not yet clear if maca will offer the same benefits for humans.
Currently, Maca supplementation is not associated with any health problems in most individuals. It is unlikely that moderate amounts of maca will cause side effects.
However, those with thyroid problems should not take maca due to its effects on hormones. It is also best to avoid using maca when undergoing treatments that alter hormone levels, for example breast cancer treatments.
Maca may offer a variety of health benefits, especially for sexual health. These health benefits are not supported by strong evidence, due to the small sample sizes and many studies using animal models.
To determine if maca has any effectiveness, researchers will need to conduct larger-scale human studies. Maca is safe for most people, and the majority of those trying maca will unlikely experience any negative side effects.
If you’re interested in trying maca root, I recommend VigRX Organic BioMaca. It’s a powerful maca supplement made with Peruvian Maca root with added BioPerine, making it one of the most potent and effective maca supplements available.