Maca is a Peruvian plant grown in the Andes mountains. It is a cruciferous vegetable, meaning that it is related to broccoli, cabbage, and kale.
Maca is a common ingredient in Peruvian cooking that gives dishes an earthy flavor. Maca root plant can be ground up into a powder and added to meals or smoothies.
Aside from its culinary uses, maca may also have several health benefits. This article will discuss 10 possible health benefits of maca root.
There is a range of potential benefits of maca root, including:
1. Increasing libido
The most well-known benefit of maca root is its potential to increase libido. There is some scientific evidence to support this claim.
For example, an older study from 2002Trusted Source found that men who took 1.5 or 3 grams (g) of maca per day experienced increased libido compared to those who received a placebo.
A 2010 reviewTrusted Source of studies on maca and sexual functioning found some evidence to suggest maca could improve libido, but the authors cautioned that more research is required.
A 2015 studyTrusted Source found that maca root may help reduce sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women who were taking an antidepressant.
2. Reducing erectile dysfunction
Maca root could also have benefits for people with erectile dysfunction (ED). A small study in 2009Trusted Source looked at the effect of consuming 2.4g of maca root per day for 12 weeks on participants’ perception of their general and sexual well-being.
The study participants were males with mild ED. Those taking maca root experienced a more significant increase in sexual well-being than those taking a placebo.
3. Boosting energy and endurance
Some athletes and bodybuilders use maca root as a supplement to increase energy and performance. Some evidence exists to support this.
A pilot study in 2009 found that using maca extract for 14 days improved performance for male cyclists in a 40-kilometer time trial. However, the results were not significantly different from the improvement seen in those taking a placebo.
However, the same study found that maca extract improved libido in the participants who used it. However, the sample size of this study was very small, so more research is needed to confirm the results.
4. Increasing fertility
Another widespread use of maca root is to increase fertility, particularly in men.
A 2016 reviewTrusted Source found some evidence that maca root may increase semen quality in both fertile and infertile men. However, more research is needed.
5. Improving mood
Maca contains flavonoids, which are thought to improve mood and reduce anxiety. A study in 14 postmenopausal women found that maca may reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
Also, a 2015 studyTrusted Source found that maca could reduce symptoms of depression in Chinese postmenopausal women.
6. Reducing blood pressure
It is possible that maca root can also help to improve blood pressure. The same 2015 studyTrusted Source also found that 3.3g of maca per day for 12 weeks lowered blood pressure in Chinese postmenopausal women.
7. Reducing sun damage
An older studyTrusted Source in an animal model found that maca might help protect the skin from UV rays. Another animal study in 2011Trusted Source found that extracts from maca leaves might help prevent the formation of sunburn cells.
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