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Couples with fertility problems are often asked to maintain a good diet, exercise, and lead a healthy lifestyle. But if your fertility issues are still not resolved, you should try the herb ‘Maca’. Maca is an edible plant which is native to South America, particularly Peru. Maca is a herb which has many benefits. It improves fertility, energy levels, and libido. Find out more about this herb and how it helps.
What Is Maca?
Maca, which is also known as Peruvian Ginseng and Lepidium Meyenii, is a cruciferous herb that resembles a turnip. Maca is the only food crop that can grow in extremely harsh conditions such as that of the Andes. The plant faces harsh winds, intense sunlight, and freezing weather while growing and has been used by the natives of Peru for over two millennia as food and medicine.
Maca is divided into different categories depending on the colour of the root. These can be pink, black, yellow, or red. The yellow kind is the most commercially sought after type of Maca root. Maca contains many different nutrients that offer egg and sperm support, for improving libido and energy as well as help those who have high-stress levels.
How Does Maca Work for Fertility?
Maca is nourishing for the endocrine system as it helps the adrenal, thyroid, and pituitary glands and can influence the important hormones in both men and women, though it does not contain any hormones itself. It has 60 different phytonutrients and 31 different minerals and also contains glucosinolates, which is the compound that affects fertility in men and women. This is what makes Maca a good choice for infertility.
Benefits of Maca for Boosting Fertility
Here are some ways that Maca benefits fertility:
1. Fertility Supporting Nutrients
Maca root is high in minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and phosphorous and also contains sterols, fibre, twenty essential fatty acids, lipids, protein, amino acids, and carbohydrates.
2. It Is an Aphrodisiac
The sterols in Maca have been known to boost testosterone and block estrogen production. The natural hormone balancing properties also aid in this function as the fatty acids, zinc and iodine help balance the sex hormones.
3. Balances Hormones
Though the root itself does not contain any hormones, it acts as an endocrine adaptogen, as it contains the nutrients required to support healthy and natural hormone production. The hypothalamus and the pituitary glands are known as the master glands in the body, and these get highly nourished by the nutrients present in Maca. When these master glands are balanced, they help restore the balance of other glands such as the thyroid, testicular, ovarian and pancreas glands. Women who are going through menopause, hot flashes or even PMS will benefit from this herb.
4. Cheap and Easily Available
Maca powder is readily available in many health food stores. It is also available in the form of capsules, but it is costlier than powder. However, it is cheaper than fertility treatments and has a good record of helping people with fertility problems by aiding in regulating more balanced hormones.
5. Improves Sperm Count and Regulates Cycles
There have been studies that show that Maca can help improve sperm count, which in turn can enhance fertility in men. For women, it can help regulate their cycles, which improve their fertility.
How to Take Maca for Fertility
If you are taking Maca for fertility, ensure that you choose maca that contains only the root and does not have either the leaves or the stem. The products are available in three forms, powder, capsules and tincture. The three forms in which you can buy maca are discussed below:
1. Maca Powder
The powdered form of maca comes in two types. One is raw maca powder, and the other is gelatinized maca powder. The raw powder is just plain maca root that is taken and crushed, while the gelatinised powder first undergoes a vegetarian process where the starch in maca is removed to make it more concentrated, and so that assimilation is improved. Also, the gelatinized maca powder is easier to digest. Maca powder can be added to smoothies, juice, baked goods, and yoghurt. No animal ingredients are used in the gelatinised powder so vegans and vegetarians can both use it.
2. Maca Capsules
Most people prefer maca root capsules for fertility as they are more convenient and can be consumed at any time with a glass of water.
3. Maca Tincture
This liquid extract of the root has the medicinal properties of the maca and can be added to juice or smoothies. It can also be taken with plain water.
Recommended Daily Intake of Maca for Fertility
The general Maca dosage for fertility is 1000 to 3000 mg per day. It can be taken in one dose, or it can be consumed throughout the day in smaller dosages. As maca can be quite stimulating when it comes to energy and tends to give it a boost, it is best taken before 3 pm so that it does not interfere with your sleep at night.
Are There Any Side Effects of Consuming Maca for Fertility?
As the history tells, the people of Peru (where maca originated) have been consuming maca both for food and medicine on a daily basis, and so it is considered to be very safe for consumption. Some women may experience stomach upsets and spotting when they begin to take the plain, non-gelatinized maca for the first time. Others may experience spotting or a change in their menstrual cycles, but this is normal and should not be a cause for concern as it is taken as a sign that the hormones in your body are beginning to balance themselves due to the supporting nutrients and minerals that Maca provides.
Most manufacturers of maca products state that they should not be taken during pregnancy, though the Peruvians have been eating it as food on a daily basis. This is because there have been no studies done on the effects it has on the foetus.
Maca is a wonder herb indeed as it is the safest way to improve fertility. Not only can maca be used on its own to try and solve fertility problems, but it can also be taken to complement any other fertility treatment you may try. It can also be taken with other herbs that help improve fertility as it is a great superfood, supplement, and tonic.
Apart from the benefits that Maca has for fertility, research also suggests that maca can help protect against brain damage, improve the health of the bones, and improves cognitive ability. In men, it is said to be able to suppress prostate hypertrophy in a similar manner to finasteride, which is a synthetic drug that can be used to treat enlarged prostates.