Maca Root – Latest Research Included

Full Disclosure

Men and women utilize Maca root to increase sexual libido and sexual performance, increase energy levels, ease the symptoms of menopause, and much more.

Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is an herb native to the Andes region of Peru. Maca root can also be referred to as “Peruvian Ginseng,” even though it is not part of the same plant family as ginseng.

Typically, it is added to smoothies, shakes, and juices. The ground root powder is also utilized as an ingredient in chocolate, coffee, or oil. In Peru, maca root is an entire root that is usually added to oatmeal and soups, cooked and eaten as a food item, or transformed into a fermented drink known as “chicha of maca.”

This article examines the possible advantages of maca and discusses the dangers and potential side effects of taking maca root supplements.

Supplement Facts

  • Active Ingredient(s): Glucosinates
  • Alternate Name(s): Ayak Chichira, Ayuk Willku, Ginseng Andin, Ginseng Peruvien, Lepidium meyenii, Lepidium peruvianum, Maca Maca, Maca Peruvien, Maino, Maka, Peruvian Ginseng, Peruvian Maca
  • Legal Status is not subject to regulation by the FDA. FDA
  • Suggestion for Dosage There is no suggested dose
  • Safety Concerns: It is not recommended during lactation, pregnancy, and for kids. If you are taking a hormone substitute, you should consult with your physician.

Benefits of Maca Root

Supplements should be considered individual and reviewed by a health expert, such as a registered dietitian, nutritionist (RD or RDN), pharmacist, or health care provider. Supplements are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent illness.

The research on potential health benefits is not as extensive. While maca root is examined in animal and lab studies to treat specific ailments, there is not enough evidence to recommend its use in any of these ailments due to the absence of clinical research on humans and small samples. Further research is required.

Here's a look at the results from available human studies.

Erectile Dysfunction

The supplementation of Maca root is believed to boost sexual performance. However, the evidence is not conclusive, and most reports are subjective.

In a double-blind, randomized study, 50 men with moderate erectile dysfunction (ED) were randomized to one of two groups: the treatment (with maca) or the placebo (an inactive pill) group. In the treatment group, participants consumed 2.4 grams (g) of maca over 12 weeks.

At the end of twelve weeks, both experienced decreased ED. However, the one who received maca showed a more significant rise in erectile dysfunction than the group that received a placebo. The effects, however, were not important in general.

In a separate study, researchers looked at four prior clinical studies. A few of the studies concluded that maca could have positive effects on improving sexual functioning in both women and men. However, the number of studies, the number of participants, and the quality of the research were insufficient to draw a firm conclusion.

Overall, evidence of the maca root's ability to improve sexual performance is sporadic. It is also challenging to find enough evidence to know the proper dosage.

Low Libido

The supplementation of maca root has been proven to boost low sexual desire (low desire to engage sexually). However, the evidence isn't conclusive, and most reports are subjective.

Maca root has been studied for its use in alleviating antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction in women. Certain antidepressants can cause adverse side effects such as dry vagina, low libido, and difficulty in achieving orgasm.

A double-blinded, placebo-controlled study included 45 women who took either maca root (3 grams per day) or a placebo while also taking antidepressant medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

After the 12 weeks of study, people taking maca had lower incidences of sexual dysfunction (ongoing difficulties in engaging in sexual interactions). Researchers recommended more in-depth research and less self-reported results.

It is important to note that these findings are subjective and based on the individual's experiences. Talk to your healthcare provider about potential ways to mitigate these antidepressant-related side effects.

Fertility

Numerous studies have examined how maca affects male fertility.

In a 12-week trial, participants who received two grams of maca daily observed an improvement in the concentration of semen compared to those who received a placebo. There were, however, no significant differences in the volume of semen and mobility of sperm, as well as semen morphology (size and size and) among the groups.

A second 12-week study examined its effects on semen quality and hormone levels in 20 males who were given 1.75 milligrams of maca a day and a placebo. After 12 weeks, sperm concentration and motility (how they move) increased slightly within the Maca-treated group; however, hormone levels did not change.

In general, it is recommended to seek advice from a medical professional for any concerns regarding semen quality or fertility.

Energy Level

A limited amount of evidence suggests that maca could help boost energy levels.

In a study in 2022, 60 participants received maca extract, or placebo, over four weeks. Both groups showed lower levels of fatigue. However, those older than 45 were significantly less tired within the maca group. The researchers concluded that maca extract could provide anti-fatigue benefits to young adult women.9

Another study examined the results of 3g of black or red maca or placebo daily for those living in high and low altitudes. Researchers discovered the results after 12 weeks. Energy scores showed the highest improvement among people taking red maca. The study also found that black and red maca were well-tolerated and showed no serious adverse effects.10

However, these studies aren't extensive and don't provide enough evidence to draw solid conclusions about the impact of maca on levels of energy.

Symptoms of Menopause

Menopausal symptoms are a natural occurrence that occurs when menstrual cycles cease. In this stage, many women suffer from symptoms like hot flashes, low energy levels, sleep disturbances, and emotional issues.

Four studies have suggested that maca could help with menopausal symptoms. However, the researchers concluded they needed to conduct more studies because their findings were hampered by the lack of trials and the absence of information on safety information.11

Side Effects of Maca Root

Consuming a product such as maca root can cause adverse negative effects, which can be either mild or serious. Little is known about the risk and safety of long-term or short-term usage of maca.

The adverse effects of maca root are usually mild and rare and could include digestive symptoms or headaches.12

There have been a variety of subjective (based on individual experiences) reports of a change in menstrual cycles, moodiness, gastritis, cramps, and insomnia.13

Maca's impact on hormone levels is not well known. For instance, a few studies have shown no impact on sexual hormones, whereas studies on animals have revealed increased levels of luteinizing hormone progesterone and testosterone.

Since maca extracts can behave as estrogens, do not consume maca supplements without consulting your healthcare provider if you suffer from an illness that could be made worse by this. This includes:

  • Uterine, breast cancer, or Ovarian cancer
  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine fibroids

Precautions

Similar to numerous other supplements, maca isn't evaluated for safety when used by infants, lactating, or expecting mothers. Because of this absence of evidence, Maca should not be taken by these individuals.

Speak to your physician before taking maca root in case you are expecting or taking any hormone treatment.

How to Take Maca Root Supplements

Always consult with your physician prior to using a supplement to confirm that the dosage and supplement are suitable for your needs.

As an ingredient, Maca root can be found in various forms, such as tablets, capsules, liquids, and powders. There aren't any guidelines on the multiple ways maca root is used.

There isn't enough data to establish an acceptable or standard dose of maca root.

Research studies on maca root have employed varying amounts. However, the participants are typically monitored by a medical professional. Further research is required on the right dosage for specific health conditions and populations.

Adults typically take 1.5 or 3.5 grams of maca root daily, taken by mouth, for between six and 16 weeks. The method of preparation (e.g., capsules, powder, liquid) can differ.

Discuss with your physician to determine the most suitable dosage for you.

Within the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn't regulate supplements in the same way it regulates prescription drugs. It means that supplements might not be what the label claims.

If you are considering the right supplement, search for third-party-tested products (such as those from the U.S. Pharmacopeia, Consumer Labs, and NSF) and speak with your healthcare professional, such as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD or RDN) or pharmacist.

Interactions

Discuss with your doctor before taking maca root, particularly if you are scheduled for tests or are on hormone replacement therapy.

There's one instance in which maca affected a testosterone immunoassay (a method to measure testosterone levels). It could be necessary to stop using maca root for a time before testing to make sure the results are reliable.

Food Sources of Maca Root

Maca is available in different forms, such as a powder, gelatin tincture, and as a. It is available in health food shops. Sometimes, it is added to food items. Its earthy, nutty flavor is well paired with cinnamon.

Prior to eating maca, Peruvians naturally dry it and then boil it until it becomes soft. Maca is typically consumed in the form of juice or a dish of vegetables.

The powder of ground root can be utilized as a flavoring in chocolate, coffee, or oils. It can also be used in smoothies, juice shakes, or smoothies.

Summary

Maca root is a plant native to the Andes area of Peru. It is a food ingredient that can be used in food or consumed as a supplement in capsules, tablets, or powder. Studies have indicated that maca root can improve sexual activity, fertility, and sperm quality. However, no evidence supports this, and it is primarily subjective. A large-scale clinical trial is required to verify the claims of health.

There is little information about the long- and short-term adverse effects of taking maca root. If you're worried about sexual functioning, your libido, or fertility, speak to your doctor before taking maca to know the options available to address these concerns.

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