Much research has been conducted into the benefits of maca root for women’s health. In this article, we're going to be covering a great deal of this research, which should help you understand more about this treatment and help you decide whether it is the right choice for you.
Some studies have suggested that maca root is an effective treatment for conditions such as depression, osteoporosis, difficulties with concentration, and romantic desire problems, among others.
What is Maca and What Are Its Origins?
Maca is a plant that is native to Peru. The root is known to offer a number of health benefits. It is rich in several nutrients and has been shown to improve stamina and romantic performance.
You might want to consider using maca root to treat some of the health problems you are dealing with. A growing body of research shows that the benefits are too significant to ignore.
Maca Root Nutrition
Maca root is filled with vital nutrients. Dried maca root contains up to 16% protein and 59% carbohydrates. (1) Maca root is also very rich in fibre.
It's a good source of amino acids, calcium and iron. Medical scientists have only recently started evaluating the medical benefits for women, but the findings are promising so far. Research suggests that maca could be used to treat depression, menopausal symtpoms, decreased sve, osteoporosis and other health issues.
7 proven benefits of Maca Root
1. Can Help Reduce the Severity of Symptoms in Perimenopausal Women
Perimenopause is the transitionary period for women entering menopause. It usually begins a few years before menopause develops and includes a variety of symptoms, such as unpredictable ovulation, hot flashes, mood instability, sleep disorders, decreased fertility, loss of bone mass and bladder problems.
One recent four-month study found that maca root reduces the severity of perimenopausal symptoms significantly. The researchers used a group of 20 women, who were divided into two separate groups. One group was given maca for two months, while the other group was given a placebo.
At their conclusion, the study's authors found that maca reduced the symptoms of perimenopause in the group taking maca by up to 87%. (2)
2. Can Help Reduce the Severity of Symptoms In Menopausal Women
Menopause is the time in a woman’s life at which menstruation ceases after the ovarian cells have been naturally depleted. If you are going through menopause, maca root could help ease the symptoms.
A cross-cultural study from Poland and Australia suggested some very impressive results. The researchers selected a group of 20 women who had recently gone through menopause. The subjects were divided into two trial groups. One trial group used maca for two months, while the other used it for eight months.
Each group also took a placebo for a month as a control. Patients in each group had their hormone levels tested three times during the study. Their hormones levels were tested at the beginning of the study, after one month of taking the placebo and at the end of the maca treatments.
The patients reported a 59% reduction in menopausal symptoms after taking maca root for one month. They did not report a decrease after taking the placebo (3)
3. May Protect Women Against Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a serious problem that affects women over the age of 40. You have a 50% chance of breaking a bone due to osteoporosis if you are over the age of 50.
Maca root might help minimise the risk of osteoporosis. One of the main reasons is that it is a rich source of calcium. The risk of osteoporosis might be reduced by adding maca root to your diet.
Is there any scientific evidence to support the benefits of using maca to treat osteoporosis? A growing body of research suggests that there is. A 2006 study on postmenopausal rats showed significant improvement in bone density. (6).
The authors used virtual screening of the estrogen receptor to determine its response to maca. The authors said they found the presence of the N-benzyl-palmitamide in maca.
They stated that this fatty acid played an important role in fighting osteoporosis, which means that the presence of calcium might not be the only reason for maca's usefulness in preventing the disorder. We will need to see additional research conducted on humans, but this study suggests that maca root can be good for slowing or negating the effects of bone loss.
4. Can Help Improve Exercise
You might need help with your exercise routine. Maca could be an effective aid.
A 2015 study from China showed that maca could be useful in preventing sports fatigue. (7) The authors divided mice into seven groups. Six groups had different levels of maca. A seventh control group didn't have any maca. The mice took swimming tests on the 14th and 21st days of the study. The authors found that mice taking the high-level dose of macamide performed significantly better.
5. Can Help Improve Depression In Post Menopausal Women
Depression is a common problem that affects people across all ages and genders. However, it is nearly twice as prevalent in women as men. An estimated 21% of all women suffer from depression at some point in their lives. The lifetime prevalence of depression is higher in women, largely due to increased risk during menopause.
Maca root could be a natural alternative to help manage the symptoms of depression. A 2015 study from Victoria, Australia found that maca root significantly reduces depression in women. (8) The randomised, double-blind study involved 29 Hong Kong, Chinese women. One group of subjects received a placebo for six weeks.
The other group of subjects received a 3.3 g daily dose of maca for six weeks. On week 6 and week 12 of the study, full lipid profiles, as well as TSH, SHBG and FSH hormone levels were taken. The study found that there were significant decreases in both depression and diastolic blood pressure level compared to the placebo group, although the exact cause of the benefit is difficult to determine.
The authors stated that there were not any differences in the levels of glucose, estrodial, lipid or other properties that typically regulate mood. However, the findings still showed a significant improvement in postmenopausal symptoms.
6. May Help With Mental Clarity and Focus
Do you have trouble staying focused? This is a common problem among both men and women. Around one out of every 30 women has been diagnosed with ADHD. However, many other women have the condition without being diagnosed. Other women have difficulty concentrating without meeting the criteria for ADHD.
Maca root might be able to help with your concentration problems. A 2016 study from China was conducted on middle-aged mice using maca root. (9). The goal of the study was to determine whether mitochondrial function improves, which would be expected to improve cognitive function.
The mice received maca for five weeks. The study tested cognitive function, motor skills and endurance at the onset and conclusion of the treatment. The study showed improved cognitive abilities on several metrics, including memory and concentration. The study further argued that maca could possibly be a treatment to minimize the decline in cognitive function due to age.
Safety and side effects
Maca has been a staple in Latin American diets for centuries. Many studies have shown that maca is safe to consume. (10) (11) One study states that it is generally safe to eat unless you have an allergy to it. (9)
However, you might experience limited side effects if you are taking it in large doses or have certain medical problems. Your age, gender and body weight will all determine the amount of maca that you can consume safely.
If you are unsure whether maca or not is right for you, then make sure to check with your health care professional before starting treatment, or before ingesting the substance.
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