What is Maca Root Good For? – Maca Root Benefits and Uses
Health Benefits of Maca?
What is maca root good for? I have no idea! I’m not making this up, but my wife puts maca root powder in our daily cashew milk shake and neither one of us really know what the benefits or side effects are.
So I am going to learn what maca root is so that you can learn too. By the time you get to the end of this post, you and I both will have a lot better idea of what this powdered root is used for and its health benefits.
Maca for Menopause
I don’t have any menopause symptoms myself, but I have a wife who lays in bed and sweats all night long so she will be curious to know if maca works for menopause, and how much she will have to take. In the past, women suffering from the many symptoms of menopause would be given hormone therapy from the local pharmacist. But as with most any prescription drug made in a lab, there was an increase in breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and blood clot risks for the women taking one of the popular combination therapies.
So to find a safe alternative, maca was introduced to the Anti-Aging Medical Conference in 1997 as a safe alternative to traditional hormone therapy. Maca isn’t new for menopausal symptoms though, as the people native to Peru have been using it for a long time to treat hormone imbalance, fertility and menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, loss of energy, loss of libido and depression.
Here in the U.S. though, many people want to see the results of studies to see whether or not they may want to try maca for menopause or other health issues. So, are there any studies and results of maca to help menopause symptoms? Yes, and this is what they found. In this study, the maca was basically turned into a gelatin and then dried so that it could ultimately be put into capsules for the test women to take.
Who were the patients?
The study was made up of 20 early postmenopausal white women between 45 – 62 years old. These women were suffering from various menopause symptoms and were not taking any medication for menopause symptoms.
How much did they take?
The women were given 4 x 500mg capsules of placebo and the same dosage of gelatinized maca each day, divided into a morning and evening dose. And just like any other study, the women were asked to answer some questions so that the researchers could get an idea of whether or not the placebo or the maca was giving them any benefit or side effects.
What were the results?
Out of the 20 women who started the study, there were 8 that didn’t finish for one reason or another and were disqualified from the final results. This doesn’t mean the maca didn’t work or caused any harm to them, but that for one or more reasons they were not able to finish the study.
At the end of the the 2 trials (short and long trial) a “substantially reduced feeling of discomfort associated with menopause” ranging from hot flashes, to fast heart rate, nervousness, excessive crying and many other symptoms (Full table here)
What does this mean?
This means that a considerable amount of the women who took maca to relieve symptoms of menopause felt less symptoms after time. Some of this is called the placebo effect and some is considered to be the cause of the compounds in the maca capsules that the women were given. What this means to me and my wife is that she will be trying a maca powder in 2 daily doses (similar to the trials).
What do you think? Is this enough evidence for you to try maca for menopausal symptoms?
Is Maca Safe?
Maca has been used by Inca’s for thousands of years, so it wouldn’t seem right if it were truly unhealthy. I couldn’t find many human studies where large doses were given to test out the safety of maca, but finding a rat and mice study was pretty easy.
In this study a group of rats were given doses of maca for a period of 90 days to test out whether or not they would have any negative side effects. Different doses were given to different groups of rats with as much as 187 times the adult human dose being given to them.
So if you are a rat then taking maca is definitely safe even in really large doses and if you are a human it looks like you are going to be fine taking it too. The truth is that any substance can be harmful if you take too much of it and at a high enough dose maca could cause some problems.
So, do you know a little more about maca than you did earlier today? I was adding a little bit to my daily cashew almond milk shake and didn’t mind taking it because “it’s good for you” but I really didn’t know much else about the root or the powder that comes from it. There are other benefits that people report but reading some of those studies is not the most exciting thing so I will save those other benefits for another time.
Does this information make you want to try maca? Have you already been using maca and found it helpful for menopause symptoms or any other condition. If you have been using maca and have been getting a lot of benefits, please leave a comment below and let everybody know your experience.