Can Maca Increase Sexual Function and Desire?
You bet it can!
In a twelve week double blind study, way back in 2002, scientists wanted to understand if elevated mood was responsible for the positive effect maca produced in male sexual desire.
Male subjects aged 21 to 56 were asked to take 1500mg of maca, 3000mg of maca, or a placebo.
Tests were carried out on the participants after four weeks of consuming maca, then at eight and twelve weeks, to see how each individual felt about his own sexual desire, anxiety and evidence of clinical depression.
The groups taking maca expressed that their libido and sexual thought process had dramatically increased, after eight weeks (1).
In another study, Australian scientists took blood from fourteen postmenopausal women and detailed their menopausal symptoms in addition to finding out their sexual desire and functioning.
The women were then either given 3500mg of maca or a placebo for a period of six weeks.
The groups were then switched for the next six weeks, in this crossover study. Both groups which took the maca, reported increased sexual function, and less anxiety and depressive symptoms.
A Little History of Maca
Maca is a resilient plant growing in the harsh conditions of the Andes, in South America.
The indigenous Indians of the region have used maca root as a food and medicine for over two millennia.
History states that one of the main uses the Indians used the plant, was to get their warriors hyped up and ready for war.
It was believed to increase power and vigor. The Spanish visitors to the region documented the second traditional use of the root – it improved the sexual health of those eating it.
While Peruvian men have always used maca, it has only gained popularity over roughly the last decade in the rest of the world. The above mentioned studies are only two of the many studies showing the scientific data, backing what the natives of Peru knew all along.
Supplementing these are numerous studies done with animals that also support the fact that maca has a positive effect on libido.
Maca also improves fertility, which is yet another reason the Indians have been using it for centuries. For themselves, and their captive animals.
Initially it was believed that the herb elevated libido by increasing testosterone levels, but now after all the experiments at research institutions throughout the world, it is thought that the herb works on libido due to its exclusive nutritional makeup.
It is the Nutrient Base of Maca That Improves Sexual Desire and Functioning
Maca contains the ultimate levels of nutrients the human body requires for perfect functioning of the endocrine system. It is able to balance and restore optimal hormonal levels.
- Fatty acids
- Amino acids
Maca contains calcium, selenium, iron and magnesium.
It also contains the fatty acids linolenic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acids, along with 19 amino acids. It also contains polysaccharides, and a fairly unheard of chemical known as p-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate, which is particularly known for its capability to radically elevate libido.
Maca is an adaptogen, which is a substance that has the ability to bring one or more of the body’s systems back to normal functioning. Maca does this by working on the hormonal system.
It is uncommon to hear much about the hormonal imbalance in men, compared to the publicity menopause in women gets.
However, in some men, male menopause, or andropause can be physically and emotionally challenging (2).
It happens when testosterone levels decrease, which leads to depression, anxiety, mood swings, lack of energy, insomnia and a serious decrease in sex drive (3).
By returning the hormonal system to normal, maca can help men suffering with andropause.
Maca is not a magical potion, it is a very real food that has the ability to improve sexual desire and function in a natural way.
People who use maca report that there are no side effects to taking the herb on a regular basis. Scientific evidence supports this. There is no nervousness, jittering or racing heartbeat like experienced with caffeine. Maca can be consumed raw, in dried powdered form, or as a supplement.
In powder form, maca can be sprinkled on salads, mixed with various drinks or be made into your favorite smoothie. Many people feel the energy high almost immediately and it typically lasts throughout the day. There is no coming down feeling like one gets from an energy drink or from too much caffeine. For medical ailments and concerns, it usually takes longer to achieve the desired results.
The libido and energy elevating characteristics of maca depend on the dose. Also, be mindful that your body will develop a tolerance for maca over a two week period (average). So if you start with one tablespoon a day, after about a week you may stop getting the energy high that you got on the first day. You may need two tablespoons to achieve the same results.
Obviously, increasing the dosage of maca can only go so far. So, the best way to take maca is by ‘cycling’ it. Take it for a couple of weeks, then stop for three or four days to re-set your system, so to speak. When you start again with the same low dosage as last time, the elevated energy levels and related benefits return.
The same dosage does not produce the same results in everyone. For some, a small dosage will work wonders, but others may need double the amount to get the same benefits. It is a good idea to start with a small dose, and increase the amount slowly, until the desired result is achieved.
The slow start also allows the body to get used to the new substance. Remember, maca is very potent and nobody knows how it will affect them, until they first take it.
The recommended safe amounts range between 1500 milligrams to 5000 milligrams a day. However, it is best to consult your doctor before using maca, especially if you have thyroid issues.