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The Super Food Peruvian Maca root plant is actually native to the high Andes Mountains of Peru, where it originally grew wild ten to fourteen thousand feet in altitude in very inhospitable conditions. P Maca has been used for thousands of years by the indigenous people of the region, as a natural-healing plant. To learn more about Peruvian Maca’s long colorful history, read “What’s Healthy Living?” It is one of the few natural plants world-wide that has been recognized as an “Adaptogen”. So, What Is In Maca Root that makes it such an incredible substance for maintaining optimal health and wellness?
Wikipedia describes P Maca this way;
Lepidium Meyenii, known as P Maca, or Peruvian Ginseng, is an edible herbaceous biennial plant of the Brassicacuase Family, that is native to South America in the high Andes Mountains of Peru. It is grown for its fleshy hypocotel that is fused with a tap root, which is typically dried, but may be freshly cooked as a root vegetable. If it is dried, it maybe further processed into a flour for baking, or as a dietary supplement. It is also used in traditional healing medicine.
For more information from Wikipedia on this incredible Maca plant, read more here.
The Adaptogen, Peruvian Maca
An Adaptogen is a plant, or plant substance, that assists the human body to “adapt” to stressor and the invasion of other harmful substances, by normalizing bodily functions. Adaptogens, in normalizing imbalances, and by supporting over-worked adrenal glands, helps your body build resistance against stressors, that are not only, physical, but also, stresses from chemical and biological agents. Problems associated with stressors and harmful invasions, are chronic fatigue, weight gain, brain fog and loss of memory, poor sleep habits, acne, allergies, high blood pressure, inflammation, poor digestion, autoimmune disease, and a host of other harmful effects.
Adaptogens exhibit neuroprotective, anti-fatigue, anti-depressive, anxiolytic, nootropic and central nervous system stimulating activity. In addition, a number of clinical trials, like this NIH study, demonstrate that Adaptogens exert an anti-fatigue effect that increases mental work capacity against a background of “stress” and fatigue, particularly in tolerance to mental exhaustion and enhanced attention. This is nature’s original “body balancer”.
Another NIH study said that various studies and practical applications have shown that plant-originated Adaptogens are a kind of elite herbal medicine, playing an important role in human health and helping the human body resist various stress factors.
Peruvian Maca Ingredients
Peruvian Maca is a highly-nutritious “whole food” organically-grown and cultivated, non-GMO (non-genetically modified), on small family farms in the highlands of the Andes Mountains.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one ounce (28 grams) of Maca contains the following nutritious substances: 91 calories in one ounce, 10.2 percent proteins (dried 13 to 16 percent protein), 59 percent carbohydrates, 2.2 percent lipids, and 8.5 percent of fibre. Free fatty acids are also present in P Maca, the most abundant being linoleic, palmitic, and oleic acids.
Free fatty acids of saturated fatty acids represent 40.1 percent, whereas healthy unsaturated fatty acids are present at 52.7 percent. 133 percent of RDI vitamin C, 85 percent RDI copper, 23 percent RDI iron, 16 percent RDI potassium, 15 percent RDI Manganese; vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B6; 21 amino acids, including 7 essential amino acids such as valine, leucine, and isoleucine.
P Maca is also high in trace minerals zinc, selenium, boron, and others; several glucosinolates plant substances and 2 unique plant compounds, or secondary metabolites macaridine, macaene, macamides, and maca alkaloids are only found in this plant. Macaenes are unsaturated fatty acids. Other compounds include sterols macaenes and macamides (only found in P Maca). What does all these healthy ingredients mean to you? Here is what the NIH study said,
More detailed description of the nutrition ingredients in Peruvian Maca:
Carbohydrates. P Maca is rich in quality complex carbs (unprocessed or whole), which combined with the alkaloids and other plant nutrients make it very effective in supplying the body with essential carb nutrition. Replacing processed carbs with whole or unprocessed carbs is much healthier, per a BMJ (British Medical Journal) study.
Protein. P Maca is loaded with bio-available plant protein and is easily assimilated by the body.
A 20-year prospective study of over 80,000 women found that those who ate low-carbohydrate diets that were high in plant-based sources of fat and protein had a 30 percent lower risk of heart disease compared with women who ate high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets, according to a Harvard Medical School study.
Fiber. Maca contains high levels of dietary fiber of natural cellulose and lignan, and excellent for intestinal function. According to the NIH, dietary fiber and whole grains contain a unique blend of bioactive components including resistant starches, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants.
Studies demonstrate that intake of dietary fiber and whole grain is inversely related to obesity, type two diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. NIH research also found that consuming dietary lignans, like found in P Maca, has been associated with risk-reduction in cardiovascular disease.
Amino acids. Maca contains 21 amino acids of which are 7 essential amino acids, required for proper cellular function, per an ResearchGate study. The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), valine, leucine, and isoleucine are essential amino acids, as found in P Maca, which have been studied in a number of disorders, notably liver cirrhosis, renal failure, sepsis, trauma, burn injury, and cancer. The NIH study concluded:
Maca contains fatty acids, necessary for cellular function also, P Maca contains saturated fatty acids at 40 percent, or omega 6s, and non-saturated at about 59 percent, or omega 3s, which is better than 1:1 ratio of healthy fats to saturated fats, with the most dominant adding to Maca’s nutrition, are linolenic, palmiticolic, and steric.
According to research, like an NIH Review, healthy monounsaturated omega 3 fatty acids have at least 20 different health benefits from depression to eye health, brain function to reducing risk of heart disease, fighting inflammation to metabolic syndrome, and on and on.
Minerals. P Maca contains a higher level of calcium than whole milk. Calcium is essential in bone development, nerve and circulatory system health. Phosphorus is essential in maintaining homeostasis, balancing calcium, and transmitting electrical stimuli for brain and muscle function.
Magnesium is essential for the synthesis of proteins, muscles and nerve function, and heart health. Potassium is essential in the cells to promote healthy osmosis and absorption. Sodium is essential for circulation and transferring oxygen-rich blood. An NIH review covered the benefits of a select group of minerals and trace minerals in this study, including calcium, magnesium, selenium, iron, zinc, and chromium.
Trace minerals include copper, which supports enzyme health. Zinc enhances clarity of thought and mental function. Manganese supports body and cell growth. Iron is essential to blood hemoglobin, and muscle growth. Selenium protects cell damage from free-radicals and oxidation. Boron is essential for proper metabolism.
Vitamins. Thiamin assists the body to convert carbs into energy, and is essential to heart, muscle, and nervous system function. Riboflavin is essential for body growth and red blood cell reproduction.
Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) elevates anti-oxidant activity and prevents harmful free-radical damage. Niacin supports healthy circulation. An NIH study covers the health benefits of vitamins.
Sterols. Sterols have a positive effect by lowering cholesterol. A recent study showed, by consuming 3 grams of plant sterols and stanols every day over a period of four weeks, lowered LDL cholesterol 7.5 to 12 percent, according to an NIH study.
Sugars. Raw P Maca contains 20 percent naturally occurring sugar, and gelatinized Maca contains almost 50 percent natural sugar, but, remember this is natural sugar, not added processed sugar. According to the American Heart Association (AHA) reducing the use of added-sugars is recommended.
According to an NIH study, high added sugar intake may compromise dietary quality, which is not necessarily shared by naturally occurring sugar. Results seem to suggest the higher the intake of naturally-occurring sugars, the higher the use of healthier fiber and protein intake, and overall healthier lifestyle with regard to leisure-time physical activity and smoking was associated with high naturally occurring sugar intake.
Maca contains aromatic glucosinolates, which act as natural pesticides (plant defense), and they are released when there is tissue damage to the plant. When chewed by humans, the same reaction occurs, by releasing the glucosinolates in the cells, as they are transformed into bio-active compounds believed to possess anti-cancer cell growth properties. The NIH also confirmed the existence of Glucosinolates in P Maca.
Macaenes and Macamides. These two substances, unique only to Maca, are polyunsaturated acids, also essential to a wide-range of bodily functions, such as circulation and protection against free radical damage. According to a Urology study, macanenes and macamides found in P Maca enhanced the sexual function of the mice and rats and revealed for the first time an aphrodisiac activity of L. meyenii, an Andean Mountain herb.
The Wide Ranging Benefits of Adaptogen Maca
Now that you have learned of the high nutritional value of this incredible plant, and What Is In Maca Root, let’s look at the many amazing benefits for your health and well being that can be realized by using this Adaptogen on a daily basis.
- Improved Circulation. Improved blood flow is something everyone can benefit from, regardless of if you’re a man or a woman. Blood flow in essential to the proper functioning of the entire body, particularly, organs, arteries, carrying oxygen-rich blood to all the cells, and veins, carrying blood and waste products from the cells to be excreted from the body.
Quoting one NIH on circulation study:
In conclusion, our data support a small but significant effect of Maca supplementation on subjective perception of general and sexual well-being in adult patients with mild erectile dysfunction (ED).
- Maintaining Alkaline State. It is essential that our body functions in an alkaline base pH of 7.4, the exception is the stomach, which has to be mildly acidic. P Maca, is instrumental, along with eating the proper nutritious foods low in saturated fats, in enhancing our bodily systems to maintain the pH in the alkaline state, according to Dr. Anna Cabeca, OB/GYN.
- Boost Male Fertility. P Maca can boost male sperm count and sperm motility, which simply means there is a greater density of sperm in semen. And, the sperm are more efficient in moving quickly to reach the female egg and fertilize it. Improvement in motility are also regarded as an improved efficiency of activity against energy utilization, since the sperm will be moving greater distance without additional energy consumption.
- Men can have high sperm counts, but if sperm motility is poor, they will never reach the female egg and fertilize it. One NIH study provided systematic review of suggestive evidence for the effectiveness of P Maca in improving semen quality. In another study it was concluded there were differences in the biological response of the three ecotypes of P Maca (Yellow, Red and Black). Black Maca appeared to have more beneficial effect on sperm counts and epididymal sperm motility, according to the NIH.
- Effectively Reduces Stress.
P Maca balances the hormones levels of the Endocrine system, particularly the over-worked adrenal glands, reducing and normalizing stress levels, for overall better body and organ function. Issues like exhaustion, damaging oxidation, inflammation, anxiety, depression, memory loss, and many others, are preventable with the control of stress.
- Stressful experiences, however, can lead to a proliferation of interacting behavioral, cognitive, physiological, and neural changes that promote vulnerability to ill health, and debilitating diseases, per the NIH. The present research in this study by NIH was conducted to evaluate the anti-stress activity of the methanolic extract of Lepidium peruvianum (P Maca).
- P Maca is capable of attenuating or even eliminating variations in homeostasis produced by stress since it reduces or abolishes stress-induced ulcers, elevated corticosterone levels, the reduction of glucose and the increase in the weight of adrenal glands produced by stress. It also eliminates the decrease in free fatty-acids in plasma produced by stress.
- Support The Immune System. P Maca promotes the increased production of anti-bodies such as T-cells, which are cells that destroy foreign invaders that cause infections, illnesses, and also cells that mutate and carry the ability to become cancerous. One NIH study determined P Maca has antiviral activity not only against Flu-A (like most antiviral agents) but also Flu-B viruses, providing remarkable therapeutic benefits.
- This is P Maca’s defense system. According to the NIH, experimental scientific evidence showed that P Maca has nutritional, energizer, and fertility-enhancer properties, and it acts on sexual dysfunctions, osteoporosis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, memory and learning, and protects skin against ultraviolet radiation. This is in addition to its natural nutrient-density composition as a whole-food that is known to be beneficial to the immune system.
- Oxidation and Free-Radical Damage.
P Maca has anti-oxidant properties and is effective in alleviating an preventing, free-radical damage in the cells, leading to premature aging and cell damage through mutation. One test-tube study in 2014 demonstrated that polysaccharides extracted from P Maca had high antioxidant activity and were effective in fighting free-radical damage. Another test-tube study showed that the antioxidant content of P Maca leaf extract could even protect against neurological damage.
- Enhances Libido. P Maca has the ability to increase estrogen levels in women and testosterone in men, for better sexual performance. Also, P Maca’s ability to enhance energy levels are effective for better sexual function. An NIH study showed that the improvement in mood led to increased sexual libido.
- In one NIH study, it was confirmed P Maca improved sexual desire and drive in healthy adult men. Another NIH study concluded that P Maca did show ability of improving sexual function in both healthy men and menopausal women.
- Boost Brain Functioning.
The brain operates more alertly, clearly, and efficiently in memory and retention with the use of P Maca. In addition, the ability of P Maca to improve circulation, more oxygen-rich blood for nourishing brain cells, allowing better overall brain functioning. Our findings suggest that P Maca is a newly defined nutritional plant with neuro-protective properties which can improve mitochondrial function and upregulate autophagy-related proteins and may be an effective functional food for slowing down age-related cognitive decline, per NIH research. Black variety of P Maca showed to be more beneficial than other varieties of Maca on learning and memory in ovariectomized mice on the water finding test, per another NIH study.
- Reduced Prostate Enlargement. P Maca has the ability to reduce prostate enlargement by reducing levels of estrogen, and testosterone metabolite DHT secretion into prostate cells, preventing gland swelling, and the negative side effect of frequent urination. P Maca, in particular red P Maca, has been found to be able to reduce the size of the prostate, relieving annoying symptoms such as urinary frequency.
- According to a NIH study, red Maca but, neither yellow nor black Maca, reduced significantly ventral prostate size in rats, due to aromatic glucosinolate content. The same results were confirmed in another NIH study, concluding that red P Maca administered from day 1 to day 14 reduced prostate size and zinc levels in rats where prostatic hyperplasia was induced with testosterone enanthate (TE).
- Promote Bone Health. P Maca supports good bone health preventing the development of osteoporosis, by regulating and normalizing the endocrine system and all the hormones, particularly the release of estrogen. The high calcium content and other minerals in P Maca are beneficial in promoting the growth of strong bone density, reducing pour size in bones, and bone brittleness.
The findings derived from a NIH study concluded the basis of bone mineral density, biomechanical, biochemical and histopathological parameters indicated that higher dose of ethanol extract of Maca was effective in the prevention of estrogen deficient bone loss. One NIH study concluded red and black P Maca have protective effects preventing bone deteoration without showing estrogenic effects on uterine weight.
- Improve Stamina and Athletic Performance. The hormone testosterone when regulated and secreted properly, acts as a natural steroid, increasing endurance, strength, and muscle development. The endocrine system simply uses the testosterone hormone more efficiently and effectively with the use of P Maca. In addition, P Maca’s ability to enhance energy level also aids in exercising and performance.
- An NIH study looked at the effectiveness of P Maca as a sports supplement by strength and endurance athletes, and as a natural stimulant to enhance sexual drive, and determined that supplementation improved 40 km cycling time trial performance and sexual desire in trained male cyclists.
- Reduce Symptoms Of Menopause. The natural decline of estrogen level that occurs during the onset of menopause can cause a wide range of unpleasant symptoms for women. Symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, sleeping problems, and irritability. P Maca stimulates the release of estrogen, including HDL, reducing the symptoms of menopause, and makes the symptoms manageable.
One NIH study found P Maca reduced the symptoms of stress and depression in Chinese postmenopausal women. Another NIH study showed the same results, P Maca reduced stress and the discomfort associated with early post menopausal stage in women, as an alternate to HRT (hormone replacement therapy).
- A NIH study results showed that in addition to reduction in body weight, blood pressure and increasing serum HDL and iron, pre-gelatinized P Maca may be a valuable non-hormonal plant preparation for balancing levels of hormones and alleviating negative physiological and psychological symptoms, such as frequency of hot flushes, incidence in night sweating, interrupted sleep pattern, nervousness, depression and heart palpitations, experienced by women in perimenopausal stage.
- Enhancing Energy Levels. P Maca boosts the function of the adrenal glands, which regulate our energy level, and it is also effective in stabilizing blood sugar levels. While most people often reach for coffee, or carbonated sugar drinks fix, when they’re trying to manage stress and fatigue, you only get a quick high with these, and then it is a crash that follows, and the fatigue and stress worsens.
- A study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Industry (ResearchGate) found that P Maca was a powerful energizer and reported to exert many activities on the central nervous system. Per another NIH study, P Maca displayed anti-fatigue activity in forced swimming tests due to the polysaccharides. Another NIH study looked at the anti-fatigue activities of P Maca and confirmed low-dose polysaccharides group had the significant anti-fatigue activity.
- Well Being and Attitude.
P Maca nourishes and has a calming effect, or normalizing effect, on the nervous system, with the minerals calcium and phosphorus, and vitamins B1, and B12, and the fatty acids, supporting the adrenal glands, preventing the release of the harmful effect of cortisol. Maintaining positive energy levels can also help improve mood, and some early studies have even found that P Maca may reduce symptoms of depression.
- Reduced Inflammation. Chronic low-level inflammation is harmful to all functions of the body, and are associated with many conditions, such as fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, acne, allergies, and autoimmune disease. The minerals and fatty acids in P Maca, reduces inflammation in the body by creating harmony and normalizing functions. One NIH study found that P Maca is an effective hepatoprotective medicine to inhibit inflammation and liver injury caused by acute hepatitis.
- Control High Blood Pressure. High blood pressure can be the result of numerous factors, ranging from poor diet, to conditions that exacerbate stress. P Maca can control and alleviate high blood pressure in multiple ways, and shows great promise. For example, it is well established that P Maca improves blood flow, and can help your arteries and blood vessels to dilate and relax.
- Better blood circulation, and just as important, by reducing stress by synthesizing serotonin, a neurotransmitter, or hormone, that aids the body in relaxing, bringing a feeling of euphoria and happiness, thus reducing and maintaining normal blood pressure. In addition, Maca contains potassium, a mineral that also assists in regulation of a normal blood pressure.
Commit To A Holistic Approach.
What Is In Maca Root will allow you to live a life of overall health, but for added assurance you should commit and routinely do the following each and every day, as well:
- Get sufficient restful sleep on a regular schedule (minimum 8 hours a night). This Harvard Medical School study is just one of hundreds of studies confirming the benefits of restful sleep.
- Reduce the intake of caffeine and carbonated sugar drinks, which causes adrenal fatigue, and replace it with water, or, how about a Peruvian Maca Smoothie.
- Reduce the use of processed sugars, which cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, wrecking havoc on your hormones and bodily functions. The NIH confirmed the harmful effects of high-sugar foods, and replace it with natural cane or other sugars.
- Calm down by deep breathing exercise, according to the NIH. Yoga is a good choice, so is moderate exercise, and meditation.
- Promote healthy digestion by eating slower, on a regular schedule, and in smaller quantities. Include the use of fermented foods, such as saurkraut, to aid digestion. Reduce the use of processed foods, fried foods, fast foods, and pre-packaged, and precooked cooked foods as follows: unhealthy processed or refined foods, or precooked foods, or processed meats, or high-sodium foods, or fried foods, or microwavable foods.
- Gradually replace the unhealthy foods and purchase and eat fresh, organic, well-balanced, nutrient-dense foods, including lean high animal protein such as grass-fed ‘finished” meats like beef, and bison, or wild-game, and free-range lean meats, such as lamb, pork, turkey, chicken, and duck, and cold-water or wild-caught fish and seafood, fresh organis veggies, especially dark green leafy veggies, and fresh organic fruits. Use healthy fats like coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocados, etc., and high-fiber whole grains, nuts and seeds, free-range (non-cage) eggs, certified organic grass-fed finished dairy butter, and certified organic grass-fed finished dairy cheese.
Natural fermented foods include: fermented foods , yogurt , kimchi , kefir , pickles , gluten-free miso , tempeh, , and goat cheese , natural herbs and spices in a wide variety, healthy antioxidant drinks such as variety of coffee , and green teas , Espresso (moderately), pomegranate juice , black tea , cranberry juice , and prune juice, and for fun and dessert dark chocolate (not milk chocolate).
- Of course, purchase and supplement your nutritious diet with the all natural organic super food Peruvian Maca Mighty Maca Plus. For more information, including documented studies, and about Dr. Anna Cabeca, OB/GYN, creator of Mighty Maca Plus, read “Benefits In Maca”. Check out this fun-healthy smoothie made from blueberries and Peruvian Maca.
You might be interesting in reading this article “What Is Natural Health”, which covers simple every-day life changes that you can implement to achieve and maintain your overall health and well being.
P Maca Has No Toxic Affects
P Maca is a non-toxic, and considered safe for most people, with one exception. Individuals who have thyroid issues should consult with their doctor before taking Peruvian Maca, because P Maca contains Goitogens, a substance which could interfere with irregular thyroid issues. On the beneficial side, however, it contains iodine which is very good for optimizing the thyroid function.
And, of course, pregnant and breastfeeding women should also consult their doctor. Other than the 2 issues, P Maca is non-toxic and safe for consumption per these studies. According to an NIH study on safety, P Maca was laboratory tested for dose-response in adult rats. According to an NIH study on safety, P Maca was laboratory tested for dose-response in adult rats. Even high dosage of P Maca proved safe with no ill side effects. Here is one more NIH study on the safety of using P Maca. Results demonstrate that maca seems to be promising for a positive influence on chronic human diseases.
Are you ready to address your health issues, now that you know What Is In Maca Root, and how effective it is in treating many wide-ranging health conditions, by normalizing bodily functions, as an Adaptogen? Still not convinced? Here are one more review that will give you more detailed information on Peruvian Maca: “How To Stress Relief“.
Bringing you overall health and wellness is our main concern, and helping you heal the most dreadful symptoms of menopause with natural, safe solutions is our goal. Now that you know What Is In Maca Root and how beneficial health-wise it can be for you, are you ready to get serious about trying it? If you have questions, leave them below. Your comments are also welcomed.
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