The first thing you need to know about maca is its nickname: Peruvian Viagra.
OK, let that one sink in for a minute.
The reason they call it Peruvian Viagra is that it’s best known for its use in treating fatigue and sexual dysfunction. Research has shown that maca can be effective in improving both sexual desire and sexual function. That alone makes it worth the price of admission.
But there’s a lot more.
Maca is one of those herbs that have been used in indigenous cultures (such as the ancient Incas) for thousands of years, mostly for its legendary ability to stimulate mental clarity and energy while enhancing sex drive. And though there’s a ton of anecdotal evidence of its benefits, there’s not a lot of hard cold Western science to prove it’s effective.
Nonetheless, there’s great wisdom in the ancient cultures and, let’s face it, an herb doesn’t hang around for a couple thousand years and gain a solid reputation for being effective if it doesn’t work.
My friend, the integrative and functional medicine psychiatrist, Hyla Cass, MD, says “In my practice I have seen maca restore hormonal imbalance and related sexual desire and fertility in both men and women.”
My pal Chris Killiam, the Medicine Hunter, says, “The question is not whether it works—because we know it works with certainty—but how it works.”
Maca is considered an adaptogen, which is a class of compounds that act kind of like the thermostat in your house. When you set your thermostat at the ideal temperature, it will cool off the air if the air’s too hot, and it will turn up the heat if it’s too cold.
That’s exactly how adaptagens work. They help you adapt to fluctuating levels, of, say stress hormones.
“Consuming maca often makes people feel more “alive”, energetic, and leaves them with a sense of well-being, all of which are thought to be due to its ability to restore proper hormone balance and elevate “feel good” endorphins”, says noted health expert Dr. Josh Axe. Axe—a big fan of maca. He points out that it provides over 20 amino acids, including 8 essential ones, 20 free-form fatty acids (such as the anti-microbal lauric acid), vitamins B-1, B-2, C and E, calcium, magnesium and about nine other minerals. Maca is also a rich source of phytonutrients.
What’s more, maca stimulates the immune system. It’s anti-viral, and may help to protect against the influenza virus. It’s believed to help women with PCOS by helping to control and balance estrogen levels. And a 2008 study showed that maca had positive effects on boosting mood and decreasing anxiety and depression in menopausal women. Maca root is a natural antioxidant, boosting your body’s levels of two of the most important antioxidants in the human body, glutathione and SOD (superoxide dismutase). It even lowers blood sugar.
And then, of course, there’s energy.
Energy is one of the big “selling points” of maca. Maca helps to regulate the hypothalamus, which in turn helps balance focus and energy. And many people just feel better and brighter on a daily dose of maca—me included!
Personally, I start every single day with a maca drink. This is completely separate from my protein drink, which I’ll often have after two hours on the tennis court. But maca is what I start my day with. I personally use Mighty Maca, by Vida Pura, which was formulated by my good friend and colleague, Dr. Anna Cabeca after years of research. I like it, number one, because it tastes really good, and number two, because I really trust Dr. Cabeca who is scrupulously conscientious in creating her products. She put her name on this one, and that’s good enough for me.
Mighty Maca Greens is a lot more than just maca, though. It’s also got spirulina, chlorella, mangosteen, a bunch of enzymes (like bromelain and papain), oat bran, milk thistle, resveratrol, quercetin, flaxseed, turmeric, grape seed extract and green tea extract, making it one of the most complete green drinks I’ve ever come across.
I do one or two heaping scoops a day, and I mix it in the NutriBullet with pomegranate juice, some powdered brain formula, five or six drops of liquid vitamin D, my Oligo30 pre-biotics, a packet of ResVitale Collagen Renew and a squirt of Omega-3 Swirls by Barleans, in either key lime or mango peach.
It’s a really great way to start the day; you should try it, too. You don’t need to go searching through stores, you can order the Mighty Maca right here.
I’m pretty sure you’re going to love it as much as I do.