Maca is a type of root vegetable used for food and as a dietary supplement. It is claimed to have several health benefits when used medicinally, such as enhancing fertility and sexual performance. Although preliminary studies have shown that maca may help stimulate sexual desire in men, more research is needed to support this finding. You may not be able to safely use the supplement if you have certain health conditions, such as liver or kidney disease.
What Is Maca?Maca is a root vegetable grown in the mountains of South America. It is used for food and is also used medicinally. It is an active ingredient in dietary supplements claimed to be useful for a variety of different purposes, especially to enhance fertility and sexual performance.
(Click Benefits of Maca for more information on what the supplement is used for.)
How Does It Work?As a plant, maca contains many different compounds and nutrients. It contains carbohydrates, proteins, fiber, and fatty acids. It contains a few different plant sterols and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which may be responsible for many of the medicinal properties. It also contains a significant amount of minerals, such as calcium, iron, and copper. Maca also contains compounds known as glucosinolates, which may have anti-cancer properties.
It is not clear how exactly maca works for any use, although it has been shown that the substance does not seem to affect testosterone, estrogen, or other similar hormones, at least in healthy men.
Is Maca Effective?Early studies have shown that maca may be useful for stimulating sexual desire in healthy men (although more research is necessary to confirm this finding). It is not clear if it is effective for other uses (see Does Maca Work? for more information).