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The Benefits of Maca


Maca is a native plant of South America and has been used traditionally as a food by Peruvians. It can be baked, roasted, added to soups or made into a porridge. Some Peruvians chew up to 2 Maca roots per day.  

 Maca has been found to be rich in several minerals, vitamins and fatty acids. It contains about 10% protein, 8 % fiber and 60% carbohydrate. It is high in iron, zinc and potassium. Researchers have stated that its overall nutritional value is similar to corn, rice and wheat.

A study of Peruvian adults showed that those who ate maca root had higher health status scores, fewer fractured bones, lower body mass index, and lower systolic blood pressure than non-users.

Maca has been used by traditional herbalists and Peruvian natives to enhance fertility and virility, improve energy, stamina and endurance, combat fatigue and help with stress adaptation. It has also been used to ease altitude sickness and decrease post-exercise fatigue. Some modern research has shown Maca to ease menopausal symptoms and improve libido in men and women. Although some studies have shown benefit, other studies have shown no benefit (which seems to always be the case with clinical research!) While it is not clear to what extent Maca can help with some of these health claims, adding it to a well -balanced diet as a nutrition source could provide real benefit! At this point, I wouldn’t recommend Maca as a stand-alone remedy for any health ailment, however as a source of nutrition in your diet, consuming it in a way similar to the traditional Peruvian diet, I think Maca would be a great addition for many people.

How do I take Maca?

Maca root is typically consumed as a powder.  It is a great addition to smoothies or can be added to oatmeal or a seed cereal.

Typical doses of Maca root range from 1.5-3 grams per day.  2 grams per day seems to be most common.

 

References:

Hudson T. Maca: new insights on an ancient plant. Integrative Med. Dec 2008/Jan 2009;7(6): 54-57.

Gonzales GF. Ethnobiology and ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (maca), a plant from the Peruvian highlands.  Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2012;2012:193496. doi:10.1155/2012/193496.

 

Dr. Joanne Aponte is a Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor & Holistic Wellness Expert. She is available in the store every Tuesday & Thursday from 12-7 to help answer your questions regarding natural wellness.


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