Maca is one of those supplements that is made from exotic fruits and has all kinds of supposed health benefits. With all this hype around it, it can be difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. So let’s see what it can and can’t do.
What is maca?
Maca is a Peruvian herb that has been used in the Incan culture for different medicinal purposes. It’s a starchy carbohydrate similar in taste to a potato. It is rich in plant sterols and a decent source of magnesium, iron, selenium, and calcium.
The Incans long believed that the plant would deliver energy and mental clarity while also enhancing sex drive.
But does is really?
Unfortunately, it’s not a well-studied substance and we only have a few randomized control studies. The ones that do exist show certain benefits, however.
What do maca supplements do?
Studies suggest it may enhance semen quality, improve symptoms of menopause, and lower prostate size (when enlarged).
This is especially interesting for men suffering from a low sex drive or infertility. Early research has shown that within a 4-month period, maca was able to increase sexual desire and sperm count in men.
Other (animal) studies have also noted that maca seems to act as an aphrodisiac. However, the effect seems to be less potent in women and one journal concluded that “there is no strong medical evidence to support its use for female sexual dysfunction.”
How should you take maca?
Maca can be supplemented by eating the root, or through an extract. The standard dose for a maca supplement is 1,500-3,000mg.
Maca is generally safe for most people when taken in standard doses. There are no studies looking into the effect of abnormally high doses, but there have also been no reports of adverse effects from consuming maca.