The Maca root has been on everyone’s radar recently. A lot of people are interested in its effects and the result has been increased popularity of the root powder.
Maca has been around for centuries and has been used in Peruvian cooking throughout that time, giving their dishes a distinct somewhat earthy flavor, similar to what cumin does in Hispanic dishes.
The Maca plant aka Peruvian Ginseng is grown in the harshest of conditions, In Peru, atop the Andes mountains at the higher altitudes. It is related to broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts making it a cruciefous plant, typically choked full of nutrients and it does not disappoint.
Up until this point the maca root has been used specifically for a few things the main one being increasing libido or sex drive as well as energy and stamina within athletes.
Maca In a Nut Shell
The main part of the maca plant we will concern ourselves with is the root. This is one of the few edible portions of the plant and contains the majority of its exceptional uses. The root obviously dwelling underground, comes in series of colors, each one with a slightly different effect, but all containing the main nutrition benefits and positive benefits for women specifically.
The Maca root is typically dried and then powdered. This is the easiest way to consume the supplement as close to its natural form as possible. However, due to its recent popularity it is also available in liquid as well as capsule form amongst others.
Benefits for Women
I want to be clear regarding a few things. The research on this
particular herb is in its very early stages. This does not mean that
the benefits are not supported by evidence but it does mean that you should play close attention to your body when you are trying this supplement or any other as results may not be typical for everyone
As with all things this particular supplement may affect some women differently than others and we will talk more about that as we continue. The information given will be based on typical results, not outliers.
What is an Adaptogen?
This is a title given to certain non-toxic herbs, plants and natural substances that have a
unique effect of being able to assist the body in adapting to its surroundings. In the case of most this means stressors of all kinds, biological, chemical and physical. This can include, busy schedules, bad relationships, demanding workloads, depression etc.
Maca root powder is an adaptogen this is one of the main reasons it plays such a large role in helping women as it finds and alleviates problems naturally. Many of the maca powder benefits for women are based on this fact.
1. Sexual Health
Reproductive health is a large contributing factor to many issues that women deal with on a daily basis. Infertility, weight gain, bloating, PMS are just some of the results of the reproductive system.
Maca root powder is able to balance hormone levels which is crucial in mitigating some of the standard issues discussed above and many others.
Another maca powder benefit is specifically for post-menopausal women. Assisting in not only sexual function but also psychological symptoms. This includes night sweats, hot flashes, depression, anxiety, vaginal dryness, irregular periods etc.
2. Sex Drive
Women’s use of anti-depression medication has
increased around 65% in the past 15 years. Roughly 20% using
anti-depression medication semi-regularly. Many of these users suffer
from an array of side effects including loss of sexual desire amongst
other sexual problems.
Maca root powder is widely know to boost
sex drive tremendously in women. However, it does much more. It may also
help with improving sexual dysfunction for instance, inability to
This along with it adaptation properties of regulating hormones makes it spectacular in increasing libido.
3. Energy Boost and Mood Stabilizer
With regular continued use maca root will make you feel alive. It is different from the standard energy boost given from caffeine and its counterpart, which is regularly accompanied with jitters and a possible crash. Maca root powder gives a sustained energy, make the user feel not only an energy boost, but more focused, alert, awake and driven.
It is believed that instead of loading the body with caffeine this clean energy is given by preventing a naturally occurring chemical action in the body. It regulates your adrenal health. Adrenal glands react to stressors to the body and mind, and release hormones that help the body control blood sugar. When the body is dealing with too many stressors the adrenal glands react, which can negatively effect the body (depression, fatigue, hopelessness, listlessness).
Maca root powder allowing for healthier adrenal gland function results in prevention of crashes and spikes in blood sugar and hormone balance. In turn your mood and energy get a healthy boost that is sustained with continued use and resulting stressors that occur from outside factors begin to dissipate as your body and mind are regulated.
4. Estrogen Level Balance
Estrogen is the primary sexual hormone for promoting and regulating the development of a womens body. The imbalance of this particular hormone is the host of a wide array of problems including bloating, mood swings, irregular menstrual cycles etc.
Hormone balance fluctuates naturally in the body throughout life, with outside factors also playing a role as well. Stress levels have one of the largest impacts on estrogen balance as well as diet, exercise etc.
Estrogen Levels being out of sync cause more impactful problems making ovulation and pregnancy difficult as well.
Maca root power can essentially balance the imbalances to the estrogen levels of a women over time to prevent and help regulate many if not all the problems mentioned above. With sustained usage reproductive health and fertility can increase and psychological systems can fade away.
5. Nutritional Value
Maca root contains some very powerful nutrients. It is home to over 20 amino acids, containing the 8 essential amino acids as well. It is widely used in the Vegan diet as it contains great polyphenols and glucosinolates which are incredibly beneficial plant compounds.
These are micro nutrients loaded with antioxidants. They assist with weight-loss, more specifically weight management, improve the condition of or help treat/prevent neurodegenrative disease, digestive issues, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes amongst many other ailments
These have a very interesting property that make them world renowned in terms of health. After the compound is ingested the body breaks glucosinolates down into different compounds called metabolites. Metabolites become very similar to an antibiotic that naturally occurs in the body creating certain enzymatic reactions while also increase the metabolism.
The help ward of infections of all kinds throughout the stomach, intestines and the rest of the body, warding off bacterial, fungal and viral infections as they go. It has even been shown that glucosinolates can help lower the risk of some cancers when eaten regularly.
Being an excellent source of a multitude of vitamins and minerals as well as protein and fiber, is just the beginning of this super food. With the max daily dose of 1/4 of a cup which I recommend being spread throughout the day, 1 tablespoon at a time (4). The nutrients it provides are as follows:
- 182 calories
- 8 grams protein
- 40 grams carbohydrates
- 4 grams fiber
- 2 grams of fat
- 1120 Milligrams potassium (32% Daily Value)
- 159.6 milligrams vitamin C (266% Daily Value)
- 3.4 milligrams copper (168% Daily Value)
- 8.2 milligrams iron (46% Daily Value)
- 3.2 milligrams niacin (16% Daily Value)
- 140 milligrams calcium (14% Daily Value)
- 0.6 milligrams vitamin b6 (32% Daily Value)
- 0.4 milligrams manganese (22% Daily Value)
Keep in mind when you are trying maca powder take a trial period of a week or two of just 1 teaspoon increasing to 1 tablespoon to see how your body reacts and how it makes you feel. You can continue to increase as you see fit until you reach 4 tablespoons (1/4 of a cup) or feel the positive effects suit you.
Although maca root has many helpful uses and a wide variety of benefits it can also be host to some issues as well. With this in mind ease in when taking any new supplement. If you are on any type of medication consult with your physician regarding the effect maca will have if it is taken with the prescribed medicine. (Solutions to the problems are italicized)
Maca Powder Negative Side Effects
1. Hormone Altering Medication (Anti-Depressants, Psycho-stimulant, Depressants etc)
- Maca powder deals specifically with altering hormone chemistry in your body to regulate it, many physicians believe that it should not be taken with drugs that alter hormones.
- Personally, I believe they would also rather everyone be prescribed to something that can be patented vs its natural counterpart, but don’t throw caution to the wind and do what is best for your body. It’s the only one you get.
2. Hyperthyroidism/ Thyroid Problems (Consult your Physician)
- Maca powder contains a substance that can impair thyroid function called goitrogens more specially for women with thyroid problems.
- Solution: Check with your doctor before adding maca powder as a daily supplement.
3. Breast Tenderness/Soreness (Solution: Lower your dose)
- There have been cases where maca powder has increased breast sensitivity.
- Generally if you have taken more than your body can handle
4. PMS (Solution: Lower your dose)
- It is also a possibility for maca powder to alter estrogen and introduce PMS.
- Generally if you have taken more than your body can handle.
5. Feeling Sick (stomach pain, bloating etc)
- Not every women is capable of consuming maca root powder raw. Typically, people who have difficulties digesting starches.
- Solution: Try liquid or gelatinized forms of the superfood
Benefiting from the Superfood
Remember to know your body. This may not be for everyone, the chemistry of an individual women body is complex in its simplest form. Changing at different stages of life and even more from different stressors.
Take it slow. Do not rush into large doses to try to speed up the effects. The benefits of maca powder are from long term continued use in most cases. Start with a teaspoon and work your way up until you have received the benefits you are looking for. I don’t feel any women needs to take more than 1/4 a cup of the supplement daily.
If you have any questions, concerns or even better results, feel free to comment below.