Maca powder – the superfood from the Andes
Maca (Lepidium meyenii), the superfood from the Andes is processed in the traditional way after harvesting, dried and ground into maca powder. The resulting ingredients, the macamides, are said to have a variety of effects.
Maca powder as a desire-enhancing agent
The market for aphrodisiacs and potency enhancers is flooded with ineffective preparations. All the greater is the skepticism when these claims are made for a natural dietary supplement.
However, Maca has undergone several clinical studies, both with men and women.
In a clinical study, 50 middle-aged men took 2.4 g of Maca powder daily for 3 months. This resulted in both an improvement in erection and a stimulated libido .
In a second study, which ran for 3 months, men took 1500-3000 mg of maca daily. Interestingly, the effect increased with time.
After one month, only 25% of subjects reported increased cravings, but the number increased to 40% of participants after two months of ingestion .
Women respond similarly to Maca powder, but a dose of 1.5 g daily was shown to be insufficient.
On the other hand, a Maca dose of 3 g daily, in women who suffered from sexual aversion due to psychotropic drugs, had an aphrodisiac effect [3, 4].
Maca is not a drug, but since it is a food supplement with few side effects, it can make sense to try it at least for a sufficient period of time before a drug therapy.
Maca for menopausal symptoms
Women in and after menopause suffer from complaints such as sleep disorders, stress, restlessness, listlessness as well as loss of libido. Part of Maca research, has studied the effects on menopausal symptoms in women.
In one such study, a daily dose of 2000 mg of Maca powder improved estradiol and cholesterol levels in post-menopausal women.
It also reduced the frequency and intensity of hot flashes, inner restlessness, listlessness and depressed mood. Also in this case, Maca intake led to a stimulated libido .
However, the hormonal influence of Maca could not be confirmed in another study.
At a daily dose of 3500 mg for more than a month, the test subjects (menopausal women) felt an improvement in their complaints, especially of a psychological nature, as well as an increased sexual desire.
However, no change in their hormonal status has been detected .
Maca powder dosage and product selection
Maca in itself is quite harmless remedy. In the Andes, the natives sometimes consume more than 50 g of Maca as part of a meal.
The dosages used in clinical trials are much lower and are usually around 3 g per day.
Maca can be taken in capsule form or added to food as a powder and spice. The taste is perceived as rather pleasant.
Due to the increasing popularity of Maca and the high demand, the quantity of cheaper preparations from the Far East has also increased.
Since traditional maca processing and drying takes place under harsh conditions (several thousand meters altitude, extreme temperature differences during the day), this process ensures the release of the ingredients contained in the plant and contributes to the formation of so-called macamides.
These ingredients are probably responsible for most of the Maca effect.
It therefore remains questionable whether preparations from other parts of the world can meet the same standards.