Despite centuries old, maca comes brassicas (mustard) family, similar to turnips, cabbage and watercress ( 1 ). This root was first considered a super food by the Incas who grew this succulent plant high in the Andes Mountains of Peru.
valued maca, which is commonly called Peruvian ginseng, for its incredible sources of vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, carbohydrates, tannins and amino acids, as well as a series of complex alkaloids and up to 20 essential fatty acids, along with numerous other phytochemicals.
The healing properties of maca were so powerful, in fact, that the imperial warriors Incas consumed regularly before the battle to help increase their “fighting spirit”, strength, endurance, and libido . Although relatively small, this plant was so powerful that its use is mostly confined to royalty and their court. Incans respected the value of this plant while even used as a form of payment ( 2 ).
Today, many athletes and even bodybuilders still use maca to help build your strength, endurance and overall performance ( 3 4 ). However, maca has another benefit less known that researchers are beginning to understand. This powerful plant has the ability to balance hormones, which makes it very valuable for both men and women at different stages of life. However, maca is especially good for women during menopause .
regulates hormonal imbalances
Maca is considered to be an endocrine adaptogen. Although it does not contain any hormones yes, it does contain the necessary nutrients to support the normal production of hormones in your body. One of these nutrients is DIM (Diindolylmethane), a phytochemical found in many cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and al . DIM has been found in numerous studies to greatly improve hormonal balance (estrogen and testosterone), both men and women. It has also been found effective against some forms of Cancer ( 5 ).
Research shows that maca can actually help normalize hormone levels, working with the endocrine system. For women, maca can be a lifesaver, especially when more conventional choices usually include synthetic forms of the hormones that have proven to be dangerous, even causing things such as ovarian cancer, stroke and asthma, among other things ( 6 7 8 ).
Essentially, maca provides the nutrients your body needs to produce its own hormones naturally to restore balance effectively. In comparison, conventional hormonal treatments synthetically introduce chemicals that can wreak havoc on the system endocrine . hormone regulation is vitally important as these substances are responsible for virtually all processes in your body.
reduces symptoms of menopause
Because maca can help balance hormones, it is extremely useful for women to reduce the typical symptoms associated with menopause.
A 2006 study revealed that maca may help alleviate the negative physiological and psychological symptoms experienced by women in perimenopause, such as frequency of hot flashes, the incidence of night sweats, disrupts sleep , palpitations, nervousness, depression, and heart. researchers say, “It appears that Maca-GO can act as a toner hormonal processes, leading to the reduction of discomfort felt by perimenopausal women, thus, potential use as non-hormonal alternative therapy program hormone replacement. ” ( 9 )
A previous study also found that for women, maca is able to restore the hormonal balance successfully. The researchers concluded: “Changes in hormone levels was accompanied by a substantially reduced discomfort associated with menopause feeling.” ( 10 )
Many women complain of “ brain fog ” during menopause, which has been linked to fluctuating hormone levels ( 11 ). One study suggests that maca can improve this type of memory loss ( 12 ). Others show that maca is a potent neuroprotective agent, which makes it a potential to help prevent or slow disease treatment, and possibly even in the case of injury, stop or at least slow the loss of neurons ( 13 ).
lowers cholesterol levels
Maca contains a variety of plant sterols, including sitosterol, campestrol, ergosterol, brassicasterol, and ergostadienol ( 17 ). These chemicals are essentially the equivalent of cholesterol found his body. These sterols, however, help to form cell membranes of plants. While there are different types of plant sterols, they all have a similar chemical structure and have been shown by researchers to help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) in humans, as well as fighting three of the most common cancers.
lowers glucose levels
While maca can not control specifically diabetes a 2007 study revealed that after only two weeks, subjects who took maca experienced “significantly improved glucose tolerance and decreased glucose levels in the blood.” ( 18 ).
Reduces high blood pressure
Other benefits shown by researchers include hyperglycemia and hypertension prevention associated with type 2 diabetes study shows that maca can significantly inhibit “relevant hypertension angiotensin enzyme (ACE) converter.” ( 19 ). Therefore maca may also be useful for high blood pressure in general.
For women … and men?
reduces prostate size
Maca can be very beneficial for men as well. often face ( 20 ). In fact, researchers found maca can be as potent as finasteride (a popular drug used to treat BPH) in reducing prostate size.
Other studies suggest that maca may also be a potential treatment for male infertility, especially if it is a result of lead exposure ( 21 ). Another study shows that maca can effectively improve sperm production and motility ( 22 ).
In general, maca is a highly functional food that has huge potential for men and women suffering from hormonal changes. It has been used for thousands of years and is still one of the best natural remedies for these problems according to many studies.