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All About Maca

Maca is a plant that is grown in central Peru in the high plateaus of the Andes Mountains. It has been cultivated for at least 3000 years and used as a root vegetable, a medicinal herb. Maca has an inverted pear-shaped body which may be triangular, flattened circular, spherical, or rectangular. Maca may be gold or cream, red, purple, blue, black, or green. Cream-colored roots are the most widely grown and are favored in Peru for their enhanced sweetness and size. Maca powder can be gelatinized, which means to boil the maca root before the maca root is grinded into powder. There are also freeze-dried maca juices, which is squeezed from the macerated fresh root, and subsequently freeze-dried high in the Andes. Inca imperial warriors before battles ate maca and hence their legendary strength allegedly was imparted by the preparatory consumption of copious amounts of maca, fueling formidable warriors. Benefits of maca powder

  1. Regulate mood swings, alleviates menstrual cramps and menopause symptoms The most widely researched benefit of maca powder is its interaction with the endocrine system such as adrenals, pancreatic, pituitary and thyroid gland. This system of glands produces and transmits the proper quantity of hormones for reaction and response purposes. Maca powder energizes the endocrine system to make good hormones which helps to regulate hormones naturally. It alleviates cramps, body pain, hot flashes, anxiety, mood swings, stress and depression (Brooks et al, 2008; Caldas, 2006). This is the reason why it is commonly used to treat women’s menstrual cramps. However, if you are pregnant or lactating you should avoid taking maca. It has also been held that maca powder helps to reduce the symptoms related to menopause such as sweating at night and menopauses flashes (Balik and Lee, 2002)
  2. Energy Boost Small amount of maca powder increases energy level, stamina and reduce fatigue (Yu and Jin, 2004). It was also found in a research on swimming endurance capacity that antioxidant action by maca extract could contribute to better endurance capacity (Choi, 2012). Some of our customers reported that taking small amount of maca powder daily keeps them active and alert for the whole day without any caffeine intake. Many of them eventually replace their redbull and coffee intake with maca powder. Many athletes take maca powder to improve performance. If you feel tired all the time, try maca for an energy boost.
  3. Nutritional Values Maca root contains fatty acids and amino acids and is rich in vitamin B vitamins, C, and E. It is also rich in calcium, anti oxidant, zinc, iron, magnesium and phosphorous (Dini et al, 1994). Iron in maca helps to restore red blood cells, which aids in anemia and cardiovascular diseases. Calcium in maca keeps your bones and teeth healthy. Zinc in maca allows you to heal your wounds more quickly. Some gym goers has replaced protein shake which is harmful to liver and kidney with maca to increase in muscle mass (Balik and Lee, 2002; Choi, 2012).
  4. Sex Function Maca powder stimulates sexual libido and increases endurance, which helps to promote sex drive for female especially for women who no longer feel enthusiastic about sexual practice. For men, maca powder enhances androgenic hormone or testosterone levels and improved sperm fertility (Gonzales et al, 2001) However, serum testosterone levels were not affected by treatment with maca (Gonzeles et al, 2003). Some customers have also experienced an increase in erection cells reaction, which makes it an organic and natural replacement for Viagra (Brooks et al, 2008). Additionally, the increase in hormones also helps to fights getting older.
  5. Skin Maca powder has also been found to cure skin issues such as clearing acne and blemishes. It also helps to reduce skin sensitivity, protect against UV rays and might help your skin withstand extreme temperatures such as extreme summer or winter (Valentová and Ulrichová, 2003; Gonzales‐Castañeda, 2008).
  6. Memory and learning Maca powder is also found to improve memory and aids in learning for both adult and children (Rubio et al, 2007; Qiong et al, 2011; Caldas, 2006).
With the benefits, it is no wonder that it is gaining popularity. There are no serious known side effects (Dini et al, 2002). However, like all other supplement, it must be taken in moderation. For general health, when you first start using maca powder, begin by taking smaller amounts. Our recommended amount is ½ a teaspoon. Boil the raw maca powder and add in into your hot chocolate, coffee or tea. 1 tablespoons of maca powder is the reported average dosage. Try taking a 3-5 days a week rather than daily until you are sure of your body’s tolerance level. Maca contains glucosinolates is believed to reduce risk of cancer but when it is consumed in large amount with a diet low in iodine, it can cause goitres which is the enlargement of thyroid gland. Taking too much can also lead to intestinal stomach upset and hormones imbalances, which will reverse the benefits that maca powder is supposed to bring for you. For men’s fertility, take 1500 mg of maca daily in 3 separate doses. For medicine, please consult your doctor. There are insufficient research on use of maca powder during pregnancy and breast-feeding, hence avoid usage during those periods. Extract from maca powder might act like estrogen. Avoid usage when you have hormone-related conditions such as cancer in testicular, ovarian, uterine or breast and other conditions such as endometrisis or uterine fibroids. Maca is suitable for;
  1. Gym goers who would like to build muscle mass
  2. People with hormonal problems
  3. People with acne problems caused by hormonal imbalances
  4. People who is going through their menopause
  5. Male and female looking to increase fertility
  6. Stress, depressed people
  7. Anemia or chronic fatigue diseases people
  8. Students going through their exam
  9. General public for general health
It’s easy to incorporate maca into your daily dietary meals. Simply add it in your coffee or oats or hot cocoa or soup. The possibilites are endless so try it in your favourite food and drinks!  
  References Balick, M., & Lee, R. (2002). Maca: from traditional food crop to energy and libido stimulant. Alternative therapies in health and medicine, 8(2), 96-98.  Brooks, N. A., Wilcox, G., Walker, K. Z., Ashton, J. F., Cox, M. B., & Stojanovska, L. (2008). Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. Menopause, 15(6), 1157-1162. Caldas, M., Rubio, J., Dávila, S., Gasco, M., & Gonzales, G. F. (2006). Effect of three different cultivars of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on learning and depression in ovariectomized mice. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 6(1), 23. Choi, E. H., Kang, J. I., Cho, J. Y., Lee, S. H., Kim, T. S., Yeo, I. H., & Chun, H. S. (2012). Supplementation of standardized lipid-soluble extract from maca (< i> Lepidium meyenii</i>) increases swimming endurance capacity in rats. Journal of Functional Foods, 4(2), 568-573. Dini, A., Migliuolo, G., Rastrelli, L., Saturnino, P., & Schettino, O. (1994). Chemical composition of< i> Lepidium meyenii</i>. Food chemistry, 49(4), 347-349. Dini, I., Tenore, G. C., & Dini, A. (2002). Glucosinolates from Maca (< i> Lepidium meyenii</i>). Biochemical systematics and ecology, 30(11), 1087-1090. Gonzales‐Castañeda, C., & Gonzales, G. F. (2008). Hypocotyls of Lepidium meyenii (maca), a plant of the Peruvian highlands, prevent ultraviolet A‐, B‐, and C‐induced skin damage in rats. Photodermatology, photoimmunology & photomedicine, 24(1), 24-31.  Gonzales, G. F., Cordova, A., Gonzales, C., Chung, A., Vega, K., & Villena, A. (2001). Lepidium meyenii (Maca) improved semen parameters in adult men. Asian Journal of Andrology, 3(4), 301-304. Gonzales, G. F., Cordova, A., Vega, K., Chung, A., Villena, A., & Góñez, C. (2003). Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a root with aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing properties, on serum reproductive hormone levels in adult healthy men. Journal of Endocrinology, 176(1), 163-168. Qiong, W., Rubio, J., Liu, X., Jiang, Z., Dang, H., Chen, S. L., & Gonzales, G. F. (2011). Aqueous extract of black maca (Lepidium meyenii) on memory impairment induced by ovariectomy in mice. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2011. Rubio, J., Dang, H., Gong, M., Liu, X., Chen, S. L., & Gonzales, G. F. (2007). Aqueous and hydroalcoholic extracts of Black Maca (< i> Lepidium meyenii</i>) improve scopolamine-induced memory impairment in mice. Food and chemical toxicology, 45(10), 1882-1890. Valentová, K., & Ulrichová, J. (2003). Smallanthus sonchifolius and Lepidium meyenii-prospective Andean crops for the prevention of chronic diseases. Biomed Papers, 147(2), 119-130. Yu, L. J., & Jin, W. W. (2004). Study on the Nutritional Components and the Anti-fatigue Effects of Dry Powder of Maca (Lepidium meyenii.)[J]. Food Science, 25(2), 164-166.

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