The current market is filled with so many different powders, supplements, magic pills, and green juices that it can be hard to keep up with what is actually worth your time and money.
Maca root powder is one that you might have heard of recently. We aren’t talking about the similarly named “matcha” green tea powder, but an entirely different powder called “maca.”
This amazing plant has many different effects on our bodies including great nutritional benefits. And unlike many other supplements, maca can also add a great taste to many of your foods.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of maca root.
What is Maca?
The maca root is native to Peru. This plant has the colloquial name of “Peruvian ginseng” because of its ability to boost energy and fertility. It grows in mountainous regions at high altitudes.
This plant has a long medicinal history in Peru with it being used to treat problems caused by sexual dysfunction, menopause, and more. It’s also used in cooking to make cakes, empanadas, soup, jam, and more.
However, now it is most commonly found as a dried powder that’s used as a supplement. Many people describe the taste of maca to be similar to caramel, malt, or nuts. Because of this, people usually mix maca powder in sweet foods like baked goods, smoothies, milkshakes, or oatmeal.
How I like it:
Let’s look at some of the health benefits of maca root powder.
How to Take a Maca Powder Supplement
Maca comes in many different forms. Maca powder is the most affordable form of maca root that you can get.
While some people enjoy the earthy/nutty taste of maca powder, others find the taste off-putting. Mixing the powder into something with a stronger flavor, like a smoothie or oatmeal, is a great option if you want to mask the flavor.
You can also get maca powder in a capsule form if you would prefer not to taste it at all.
If you like or don’t mind the taste, you can put it on basically anything that you eat! People mix it into their coffee, other beverages, pastries, oatmeal, protein shakes, and anything else they can think of.
1. Increase Your Sex Drive
Why not start this list off with a bang? One of the most common issues concerning sexual dysfunction is a low sex drive.
The good news is that maca powder has long been known to help increase the libido of people of all genders. People of all genders report that taking a maca powder supplement helped increase their sex drive and improve their sex lives overall.
These claims are supported by peer-reviewed scientific research studies. In a 12-week study, scientists found that when people were given a daily maca supplement, they reported an improved sex life and a higher sex drive compared to groups given a placebo supplement.
A second similar study supports these results and posits that these effects are usually seen after 6 weeks of consistently taking the maca supplement.
2. Improved Fertility
Let’s dive right from sex into the fertility benefits of maca powder.
Men’s fertility depends on both the sperm count (the amount of sperm a man ejaculates) as well as the sperm motility (the sperm’s ability to move to fertilize an egg).
The good news is that maca powder can improve both sperm count and sperm motility. One study showed that maca powder can improve sperm quantity and quality in both fertile and infertile men.
There’s also evidence to suggest that supplementing maca to a healthy diet can help improve female fertility as well. Preliminary studies in animals show that maca increases a specific hormone (called serum luteinizing hormone) that is commonly linked to fertility and pregnancy.
Studies also show that maca can help regulate and balance estrogen levels, which can also help to increase fertility.
3. Antioxidant Rich
Antioxidants are responsible for protecting your body from, well, oxidants. What does that mean? Oxidation and free radicals can cause significant damage to your cells, your DNA, and your body in general. This type of damage can lead to abnormal cell growth (cancer), strokes, heart attacks, and more.
Ingesting the proper amount of antioxidants can help to counteract the damage caused by oxidation and free radicals. One of the benefits of maca is its antioxidant abilities.
Maca powder has the ability to boost the number of antioxidants in your body, including superoxide dismutase and glutathione. This will help keep you free of disease and cell damage that can be caused by free radicals and other oxidizing agents.
One study showed that maca supplementation will both increase antioxidants as well as decrease the amount of harmful cholesterol and fats. Other studies show that the antioxidant properties of maca can protect you against chronic and neurological disease.
4. Boosts Energy Levels
Maca root powder can help improve your energy and reduce fatigue. Regular maca users report that it makes them feel energized, awake, and motivated.
While the exact mechanism that makes maca an energy booster is still unknown, the number of testimonials reporting these effects are undeniable. Some believe that the amount of nutrients and vitamins within maca powder contributes to the feeling of having more energy.
There have been studies showing an improved athletic endurance with supplementation of maca.
5. Relieve Symptoms of Menopause
We already mentioned that maca can help keep women’s estrogen levels regulated and balanced. Because of this hormone regulation, maca is able to help relieve symptoms of menopause.
Common symptoms of menopause include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
It’s easy to see how these symptoms can interfere with daily life and result in negative effects on sleeping and day to day life. A study put on by the International Journal of Biomedical Science showed that daily maca supplements helped to reduce many symptoms of menopause including depression, hot flashes, and night sweats.
Post-menopausal women also commonly report having a decreased sex drive, which maca can help with as well.
6. Vitamin and Mineral Rich
The nutritional benefits of maca have made this a superfood within the fitness and health communities.
The micronutrient content of maca powder is rich in essential vitamins and minerals. One ounce contains 133% of your daily recommended Vitamin C, which makes sense considering the antioxidant qualities of maca we talked about earlier.
One ounce of maca powder also contains significant amounts of:
- Vitamin B6
The list goes on and on. So many nutrients, vitamins, and minerals are packed into a single serving of this supplement. It makes it easy to get everything your body needs to be happy and healthy.
7. Mood Improvements
We already briefly touched upon the fact that maca can help reduce depression and anxiety in post-menopausal women. However, several studies show that maca can help improve mood in all people, not just menopause-induced depression.
It’s thought that the high nutrient content and the presence of flavonoids help boost mood. They also help improve psychological symptoms like depression and anxiety.
Flavonoids are types of plant chemicals that are known to have significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. However, recent studies also show that diets high in flavonoids are associated with a lower risk of depression.
The flavonoid content in maca root powder could be the explanation of why it can boost your mood. The energy boosting power of maca could also contribute to a better mood as well.
8. Bone Health
As we age, maintaining our bone density become increasingly more difficult. Older people, particularly older women, are at a significant risk for osteoporosis and other types of bone related issues.
You may have heard of doctors recommending older people take calcium supplements or drink more milk (which is a poor choice). But you might not have heard of using maca to get these same bone-strengthening effects.
But, as we already went over, maca is an excellent source of calcium that can keep your bones strong even as you get older. The same study that showed maca’s benefits for menopausal women showed that maca helped to increase their bone density when added to a healthy diet.
Many animal studies also show that maca supplementation can help strengthen bones and increase bone density. It’s thought that the calcium content combined with the estrogen balancing ability of maca is responsible for these positive effects on bone health.
Bone health isn’t only important for older adults. Maintaining bone density will decrease your risk of broken bones and will keep them strong to protect your soft tissue and organs. Maca root powder can benefit both young people and older adults by maintaining bone density and health.
9. Improve Memory and Learning Abilities
One of the original Peruvian uses for maca powder was to help children improve their learning and performance in school. The testimonials claiming that maca helped improve concentration and memory are backed up with scientific studies.
Studies show that maca supplementation improves overall brain function. There is also specific scientific evidence that maca can directly improve memory and concentration.
Rats with impaired memory and learning functions were given daily doses of maca. These rats were compared to memory-impaired rats who were not given a maca supplement.
The rats receiving the maca supplement showed significant improvement in both learning and memory function.
10. Boost Immune System Health
Your immune system is your body’s defense against harmful intruders: allergens, viruses, bacteria, parasites, toxins, etc. If your immune system is weakened or not supported by a healthy diet, you’ll be more likely to get an infection, feel fatigued, and get sick.
While maca root powder doesn’t directly impact the components of your immune system, it will naturally be able to boost and support it. Micronutrient deficiencies have been linked to weakened immune systems.
The high micronutrient content in maca root powder will help your immune system function to the best of its ability. Iron will be particularly helpful in helping your blood cells, a key component of the immune system, work properly.
Maca also has an impact on hormonal balance in the body as well. We mentioned its ability to balance and regulate estrogen, but estrogen isn’t the only hormone maca affects.
It’s also been shown to help regulate the stress hormone cortisol and adrenaline. Both of these hormones are involved in immune health: too much cortisol has been linked to a weakened immune system while proper adrenaline levels have been linked to healthy immune reactions.
Maca works to balance and regulate both of these hormones, which will help your immune system function properly to fight off infection and disease.
Supplement Your Diet with Maca Root: Wrapping Up
With all of these amazing benefits, it’s no wonder that people are referring to maca root as a superfood. The medicinal properties combined with the high nutrient density and the psychological benefits make this little root an amazing addition to a healthy diet.
Whether you need to boost your libido, strengthen your bones, or even try for a baby, maca is your root.