The nutraceuticals industry is booming and many medicinal plants are getting recognized for their therapeutic benefits. Among them is maca which is now considered as a superfood. It’s not only touted to help improve cognitive functions, it’s also promoted as a potent sexual and athletic performance enhancer. Here are 5 amazing benefits you can gain by taking maca supplements.
#1 Increased Sperm Count
If you’re worried about your fertility and need to increase your sperm count. Taking maca supplements is one way to improve your sperm parameters. Maca is known to help increase sperm motility as well as sperm count.
And if you’re not sure which supplement to buy, get the one that’s made with either black maca or yellow maca. These are the varieties of maca that scientific studies have shown to be effective in improving sperm parameters.
#2 Improve Prostate Health
If you’re having problems because of an enlarged prostate, there are various prescription medicines available now. But if you’re looking for a natural way to improve your prostate condition, you can definitely benefit from the many therapeutic effects of maca.
For prostatic hyperplasia, look for maca supplements made with either red or yellow maca. Research has shown that red maca is the most effective in treating enlarged prostates, as compared to yellow maca which has intermediate effects.
What’s even more interesting is that red maca can reduce the size of enlarged prostates without any adverse effects on testosterone levels. Normally, medications for prostatic hyperplasia inhibit testosterone activities which then results in various sexual function issues.
Certain enlarged prostate medications are known to cause erectile dysfunction as a side effect. You get to avoid that with natural treatments like maca. Plus, you get to enjoy maca’s other health benefits like its high antioxidant content.
Of course, this is not to say that you should stop taking the medications your doctor prescribed for you. Try to consult with your doctor if you can also take maca supplements along with your prostatic hyperplasia medicines.
#3 Enhanced Memory And Learning
Out of the three varieties of maca, black maca was shown as the most effective in enhancing memory and learning. Laboratory studies involving animal models revealed that black maca extracts helped lessen the effects of induced memory impairment in mice.
In fact, one study showed that maca improves memory by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase activities. Acetylcholinesterase breaks down acetylcholine which is a neurotransmitter that brain cells use to transmit signals.
Acetylcholine also plays a key role in various functions such as attention and memory, arousal and motivation. Thus, maca helps maintain and enhance memory by inhibiting the breakdown of acetylcholine.
#4 Antioxidant Content
Along with many other nutritious substances like fiber, protein, vitamin C, maca also contains carbohydrates. But you can think of it as beneficial carbohydrates because they contain polysaccharides that are healthy for you.
A recent study showed that the polysaccharides found in maca extract had a high antioxidant activity. These polysaccharides were found to be efficient scavengers of superoxide radicals as well as hydroxyl free radicals. This means that maca can help protect the body from the deleterious effects of these free radicals.
Maca also contains phenols and alkaloids like macamides. These compounds also contribute to maca’s antioxidant activities. Moreover, the phenol and alkaloid antioxidants of maca act in different ways, which means that they provide varying antioxidant protection.
When tested on diabetic rats, treatment with maca extract resulted in increased antioxidant activities. Levels of cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins, and very low-density lipoproteins also decreased significantly, while glucose tolerance improved.
The results of the study indicated that maca not only helps increase antioxidant activities in the body, it also helps improve lipid profiles and glucose levels, indicating that maca can be of great benefit to people suffering from diabetes.
#5 Anti-Fatigue Properties
In various animal studies, maca has been shown to improve stamina and relieve fatigue. The swimming test is often used in mice studies to determine how a treatment will affect the athletic performance of mice. In one study, treatment with maca resulted in better average swimming speeds and longer swimming durations.
In another study, researchers investigated whether maca had any effects on fatigue and the swimming endurance capacity of mice. The results showed that swimming time to exhaustion improved. This means that that the mice that were given maca supplementation for three weeks were able to swim for longer before they reached exhaustion.
The authors also noted that swimming time to exhaustion was longer in mice that were fed higher dosages of maca extract. Moreover, the results of the study indicated that the swimming endurance capacity of the subjects increased because maca helped alleviate the oxidative stress brought about by physical activity.
Other Health Benefits
Because maca contains various antioxidants that act in different ways, the therapeutic benefits of maca are also wide-ranging. For instance, maca is well-known as an aphrodisiac and libido booster, both for men and women.
In fact, there have been studies investigating the effects of maca on the sexual function of post-menopausal women. Maca extract has been found to improve sexual desire as well as relieve anxiety and depression in post-menopausal women.
When it comes to mental health, maca is actually considered as an adaptogen because it helps the body deal with stress. It is also considered a mood enhancer because it can help lessen depression and anxiety.
Since maca is able to protect the brain’s memory function, maca is also considered as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s. Taking maca supplementation is considered as one way to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Other studies on maca show that the plant has beneficial effects on the endocrine system. This validates the traditional use of maca as treatment for thyroid dysfunction such as hypothyroidism. Traditionally, maca was also used to treat anemia and tuberculosis.
Maca is also associated with improved blood pressure, balanced hormone levels, and improved skin health. Applying maca extract topically can help prevent UV damage to the skin. For older people, taking maca supplements may also be able to help with osteoporosis.