Healthy Living Makes a Difference

The Power of Maca

  • Erika Geisheimer, Blog Coordinator
  • Communications, Good n' Natural Health Food Store

Maca is full of immune boosting, energy-producing nutrients and has the ability to promote balanced hormonal function. In her book, “The Power of Maca: Peruvian Superfood”, Lorrie Ingram RHN/RNCP, gives a detailed description of this ingredient and a thorough explanation of its various uses. Here is a brief summary of her writings.

What is Maca?

Maca is a superfood and belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family. It is also known as Peruvian ginseng. It is grown in harsh weather conditions on mountain tops in Peru bi-annually. The process is very important for the proper growth of the vegetable and is carried out with great care and precision. Maca has a very long history of being an outstanding food source, known to provide strength, as well as increase libido and stamina within individuals.

This small vegetable contains a very impressive nutrient content. Maca is made up of amino acids, minerals, sterols, vitamins, antioxidants, complex carbohydrates and 20 fatty acids. This incredible list of nutrients is what makes maca one of the most powerful medicinal foods on earth! Essentially, maca is a superfood that is loaded with rich nutrients which are bioavailable to the body and work synergistically, to provide a whole food that gives balance to the human body in many incredible ways.

Maca’s sharp taste is produced by glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are an organic compound that contains sulfur, nitrogen, glucose and an amino acid. Glucosinolates are similar to an antioxidant, containing wonderful healing properties. Foods that contain glucosinolates are often recommended by natural health practitioners to increase an individual’s immune system and boost energy. In addition, they activate detoxification enzymes and anti-inflammatory compounds in the body.

Maca Benefits

The vital nutrients in bioavailable forms found in maca assist the body in its on-going process of regeneration. Its actions focus mainly on the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, and so it assists the body in balancing hormones. Maca is also a powerful adaptogen. Adaptogens are substances that helps to increase the body’s natural resistance to environmental stresses. Here is a list of specific Maca benefits for both men and women!

  • Increases energy, stamina and endurance. Improves athletic performance. Used as a safe steroid alternative to help build muscle mass.
  • Increases aphrodisiac activity, increases sexual stimulation and enhances libido.
  • Improves male potency, assists with erectile dysfunction, increases testosterone levels & increases sperm count, mobility and formation in men.
  • Adjuvant to hormone replacement therapy (HTR), corrects menstrual irregularity/PMS Issues, enhances fertility, helps fight menopause symptoms & reduces hot flashes in women.
  • Helps to overcome depression and chronic fatigue. Balances hormones and may improve sleep patterns.
  • Improves immune system: found to produce a “general sense of well-being”.
  • Increases DHEA in most males and females. Maca decreases stress, anxiety and helps support treatment.
  • Helps fight acne and related skin problems resulted from hormonal imbalances.
  • Better concentration, clear thinking and state of mind.
  • Potent anti-aging properties, antioxidant free radicals scavenger and provides cellular protection.
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis, significant rebuilding and bone density improvement.

Choosing Maca as a Nutritional Supplement

In Peru where Maca is grown, it is consumed as a food. The people of Peru use maca in soups, stews, boiled and roasted. It is used either fresh or ground, consumed daily in beverages such as milk and water, and can be prepared hot or cold. Unfortunately, due to the unique growing conditions required to cultivate Maca, it is not possible to grow Maca here in Canada. Here we consume maca in the forms of liquid, powder and capsule. The powder form is great for individuals who want to add it to their foods, such as hot or cold cereal, smoothies, yogurt, muffins, scones and soups.

While the way in which you consume Maca is optional, the most important aspect of adding it to your health regime is consistency in taking adequate amounts for the health condition you are trying to rebalance. As a general suggestion, 3000 to 5000 mg of Maca per day is a standard dose.

Lorrie concludes that overall, maca is safe to consume, without known side effects. However, if you are unsure, it is recommended you contact a health care practitioner that is familiar with its healing benefits!