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Maca: What are the health benefits?

The power of Maca!

What is maca?

Maca is a type of cruciferous vegetable related to broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale. Maca is native to the Andes of Peru and grows in harsh climates at high altitudes. Maca has a similar size and appearance to radishes/turnips, with green tops and roots that range in colour from yellow to purple and black.

Maca root is generally dried and consumed in powder form, but it's also available in capsules and as a liquid extract. Maca root powder has been described as having a vanilla earthy and nutty taste, and can be easily added to smoothies, oatmeal and sweet treats.

Maca provides a host of important micronutrients and is jam-packed with antioxidants. Maca has a long history of culinary and medicinal use in Peru (1) and has been shown to help balance hormone levels, improve energy, mood and memory.

 

Maca benefits

Maca is a powerful antioxidant

Antioxidants help neutralise harmful free radicals, fighting off chronic disease and preventing damage to cells. Maca has strong antioxidant properties and has been shown in a recent study to reduce the extent of free radical damage (2)

Improving your antioxidant capacity by taking maca may be beneficial for preventing conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes by reducing oxidative stress and cell damage (3). These are very promising results, and it would be good to see studies carried out to understand how the antioxidants in maca may affect humans long term.

Maca can help improve energy levels and mood

Maca has been used as a supplement for many years in the health and fitness industry. We have highlighted some studies below where maca consumption has shown to help increase energy levels and mood.

It has been reported that regular users of maca powder have felt more awake, energised and driven. These effects are often noticed quickly after using it. Maca has also been shown to increase energy levels without giving the 'shakes' as caffeine can.

Clinical trials have positively shown that maca increases energy and stamina (4). Maintaining positive energy levels can help improve mood, and some studies have even found that maca may reduce symptoms of depression (5).

A small study has found that maca supplementation improved cyclists' time to complete a 25 mile bike ride (6).

The above studies are relatively recent, and all have shown promising results in maca supplementation. Therefore it can be shown that maca consumption can help improve mood and energy levels.

Maca can help balance hormones and improve menopause symptoms

Oestrogen is a primary female hormone and responsible for regulating the reproductive system. An imbalance in this vital hormone can lead to many symptoms ranging from bloating to irregular menstrual cycles and mood swings. High or low levels of Oestrogen can also make it difficult for a woman to ovulate and therefore reduces the chances of pregnancy.

Maca supplementation has been shown to help balance hormone levels and control the amount of Oestrogen in the body. One study published in the International Journal of Biomedical Science gave 34 early post-menopausal women a tablet containing either maca or placebo twice daily for four months. The study concluded that not only did maca help balance hormone levels, but it also relieved symptoms of menopause, such as night sweats, hot flushes and even increased bone density (7).

From this study we know that maca can help regulate oestrogen levels, therefore it may help improve reproductive health, fertility and decrease symptoms related to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), such as excess hair growth, weight gain and acne.

Anything else?

There are many health benefits of Maca, however we have only touched on a few and backed it up with evidence. From our literature review we know that maca has shown to help improve energy, reduce oxidative stress and help balance hormones. We have added maca to our Energise blend so people can harness the powerful benefits in a quick and easy form. We source maca ethically and always organic, and our aim is to help people live a healthier life through natural sources.

 

References

1- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21977053/

2- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25037390

3- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614697/

4- http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464612000436

5- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24931003

6- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19781622

7- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614644/

 

 


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