The maca is a plant that grows in the Andean mountain. It is traditionally used as medicinal herb to treat hormone imbalances and infertility and has since long been found in the health and supplement stores.
Aside from brick and mortar stores, it is also available on eCommerce stores and is quite popular with individuals who are looking for supplements that can improve their sexual function as well as alleviate any menopausal symptoms.
Despite the aggressive marketing campaign, scientific support shows that these claims are not valid. Below are some of the researches that talk about the maca plant.
Maca and Sexual Function
A 2003 study found that men who have used maca as supplements do not experience any changes in their sex hormone level. Researches that were performed three years later found that when isolated, the maca compounds are not able to bind the sex hormone receptors.
In 2010, scientist who reviewed the effects of the maca plant on sexual function in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine concluded that maca is effective in improving the sexual function for post-menopausal women after six weeks of use. That said, the quality of the research and the adverse effects were not discussed or monitored.
Maca And Menopause Symptoms
Researchers have completed a review of the maca’s effect on menopause. Four clinical trials looked at the improvement of the symptoms of the participants that partook maca. One of the studies showed a high risk for bias while the other studies were unclear and thus it is difficult to specify the effects of the maca. This is important, as changes in the menopausal symptom have shown that it has a positive effect. Therefore, although at first glance, the maca might seem to have dealt with any symptoms, the findings are taken with a grain of salt.
Maca and its Effects
Based on the current research concerning the effects of maca on the sexual function and menopausal symptoms, we do not see any reason why one should use the maca supplement unless one is susceptible to placebo effects. As the adverse effects of the supplement were not studied thoroughly, it is important to bring into question the safety of using the supplement and not be swayed by the argument that maca was used for thousands of years and thus is okay to use.
For individuals who are food sensitive, the maca may take some use to as it takes an earthy flavor and can be overpowering. The only way that one can probably mask the taste is when it is added to smoothies or chocolate protein powder shakes.
That said, although maca may seem to provide inadequate benefits, the author of the maca review made a good point when it comes to the use of maca to help treat menopausal symptoms. Many women, it seems, have turned to the maca as an alternative treatment for menopausal symptoms and though effects were not clearly discussed, it seems that many perceived it as a natural way and as such, they were free of any side effects.
For those who are looking to add supplements to their daily diet for therapeutic reason, it is crucial that one be diligent, as even though the supplement may come from natural resources, it does not mean that it has no side effects.