Maca Supplement Review

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Maca
  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Stress Management
+1 (Slight Evidence)
Sexual function (improved libido and fertility)
+1 (Slight Evidence)

PRO

  • Related to watercress, maca is a root vegetable that grows wild in South America and has been cultivated for more than 2000 years. Peruvians routinely eat up to several roots of maca daily.
  • Maca is highly nutritious, with a protein content up to 11%.
  • Maca can be baked, roasted, fermented (a drink), or prepared as porridge.
  • Maca is used to relieve stress and to improve libido and fertility in males and females.
  • Maca has a low potential for toxicity.
  • Maca may have a role in improving sexual function in individuals on certain antidepressant medications that affect libido (desire) and orgasm.

CON

  • Maca has been consumed daily in the Andes as a food for thousands of years. Like any food, it can cause side effects such as bloating and flatulence (gassiness). These side effects are relatively rare, however, as maca is eaten regularly in the native Andean diet.
  • Maca has been found to counteract the anticoagulant effects of coumadin. Maca may raise white blood cell counts.
  • Maca has shown some beneficial improvements to libido (desire) and fertility. However, more research is required.
  • Patient who are allergic to maca should not use it.
  • Patients on coumadin require frequent, regular monitoring.
  • Patients with autoimmune disorders are probably at increased risk of side effects and should therefore avoid maca.

* *ADVISORY* *
If you take medications that affect blood clotting, such as warfarin (coumadin) or aspirin, maca can increase your risk of bleeding. Therefore, if you are taking any blood thinning medications, discuss your interest in maca with your physician prior to making any decisions.

DOSAGE:Take 1.5 to 3 g maca daily.

CONCLUSION:We conclude that while maca shows promise for managing stress and sexual function (improved libido and fertility), there is not enough evidence for us to support its use. Maca taken in normal amounts in the diet is safe to use. If you do elect to try it, discuss your decision with your doctor, and observe carefully for any changes to your health.

REFERENCES
“Maca.” Natural Standard –The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Natural Standard, 2013.
“Maca.” Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2013. 8 November 2013.
Dording, C. et al. A Double-Blind, Randomized, Pilot Dose-Finding study of Maca Root (L. Meyenii) for the Management of SSRI-Induced Sexual Dysfunction. CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics (2008) 14, 182-191
Brooks, N. et al. Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society (2008) 15(6): 1157-1162
Ernst, E. et al. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for sexual dysfunction and erectile dysfunction in older men and women: An overview of systematic reviews. Maturitas (2011) 70, 37-41
Gonzales, G.F. et al. Effect of lepidum meyenii (Maca), a root with aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing properties, on serum reproductive hormone levels in adult healthy men. Journal of Endocrinology (2003) 176, 163-168
Gonzales, G.F. et al. Effect of lepidum meyenii (Maca) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men. Andrologia (2002) 34, 367-372
Bogani, P. et al. Lepidium meyenii (Maca) does not exert direct androgenic activities. Journal of Ethnopharmacology (2006) 104, 415-417
Shin, B. et al. Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systemic review. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2010) 10:44
Lee, M.S. et al. Maca (Lepidium meyenii) for treatment of menopausal symptoms: A systematic review. Maturitas (2011) 70, 227-233
Gonzales, G. et al Lepidium meyenii (Maca) improved semen parameters in adult men. Asian Journal of Andrology (2001) 3(4): 301-303
Gonzales, G. et al Lepidium meyenii (Maca): A Plant from the Highlands of Peru – from Tradition to Science. Forsch Komplementmed (2009) 16: 373-380
Zenico, T. et al. Subjective effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) extract on well-being and sexual performances in patients with mild erective dysfunction: a randomised, double-blind clinical trial. Andrologia (2009) 41, 95-99
Valerio, L., Gonzales, G. et al. Toxicological Aspects of the South American Herbs Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa) and Maca (Lepidium meyenii). Toxicol Rev (2005) 24(1): 11-35


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