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Much Ado About Maca

A staple tuber of the Peruvian Andes has found popularity in current alternative health circles for its potential as a libido booster. Similar to a potato in taste, but resembling a radish, maca, which can be cooked and eaten or ground into powder, is no stranger to the raw food community. It is thought to be a healthy addition to food prep and smoothie making. Maca’s purported ability to not only enhance one’s sex drive but improve energy levels and mental acuity has made it the new darling of super foods for a growing number of Americans.

Mostly anecdotal in nature ranging back to ancient Incan times, maca’s claim to fame as an aphrodisiac has yet to be studied in any depth, but some limited trials have indicated it may actually help both men and women with low libido while easing menopausal symptoms and even reducing enlarged prostates.

How is it effective? As a good source of iron, magnesium, selenium, and calcium, maca may work by increasing intake of some of these micronutrients but exactly how it performs its magic is as of yet, scientifically unknown. Amounts required in supplement form to see results are debatable as well and maca has not been reviewed nor approved by the FDA. Still, many swear by its miraculous effects.

Maca’s growing demand has made it easy to procure in stores where supplements are found both online and off. Whether actually eating the Andean root as Peruvians have done for centuries versus popping the pill form has any advantage is unknown, but its safety as a food staple can be pretty much assured with no reported side effects. As a supplement, however, processing could interfere with potency and may pose concerns that could be subject to future safety regulations. In the meantime, be sure to alert your doctor if you plan on testing out maca’s claims, just in case.

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