Does Maca Boost Testosterone?
by Benjamin Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert
Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.
If you're hoping to boost your libido or ease menopausal symptoms, maca may provide a natural remedy that could assist.
This herb has been shown to increase luteinizing hormone and testosterone levels in animals. Furthermore, it may alleviate menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and mood fluctuations.
Maca can be purchased in powder form as a supplement, and is considered an adaptogen, helping the body respond to stress by strengthening resilience.
As men get older, their testosterone levels naturally decline, which can lead to a host of uncomfortable symptoms.
In the search for a solution, many men have turned to maca, a root vegetable that grows in the Andes Mountains of Peru.
But is there any truth to these claims, or is it all just hype?
In this article, we'll dive deep into the research to separate fact from fiction when it comes to maca and testosterone.
Whether you're considering adding maca to your supplement regimen or simply curious about the latest health trends, you won't want to miss this informative and insightful exploration of one of the most popular natural remedies on the market today.
What is Maca?
Maca is a root vegetable that originates from the Andes Mountains of Peru. It has been used for thousands of years by indigenous peoples in the region for its supposed health benefits.
In modern times, maca has gained popularity as a natural remedy for a range of conditions, including low testosterone. Maca is available in a variety of forms, including powder, capsules, and extract.
Maca is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which also includes broccoli, kale, and cauliflower.
The role of testosterone in the body
Testosterone is a hormone that is primarily produced in the testicles in men. It plays a crucial role in the development of male reproductive tissues and the secondary sexual characteristics that distinguish men from women.
Testosterone levels naturally decline as men age, with levels typically peaking in the late teens or early twenties and gradually decreasing from there.
Low testosterone levels can lead to a range of symptoms, including decreased energy levels, reduced libido, and depression. Some men may also experience erectile dysfunction or infertility as a result of low testosterone.
Maca's impact on testosterone levels
Proponents of maca claim that it can boost testosterone levels, improve athletic performance, and even enhance fertility. While there is some evidence to support these claims, the research is far from conclusive.
Several animal studies have suggested that maca may have a positive effect on testosterone levels.
For example, a 2010 study published in the journal Andrologia found that rats fed maca had higher testosterone levels than those in the control group.
Another study published in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology in 2005 found that male rats given maca extract had higher sperm counts and increased sperm motility.
However, it's worth noting that these studies were conducted on animals, not humans.
More research is needed to determine whether maca has similar effects in humans. In addition, the studies used different dosages and forms of maca, making it difficult to draw definitive conclusions.
Further studies on Maca
While there is limited research on the effects of maca on testosterone levels in humans, some studies have shown promising results.
For example, a 2007 study published in the journal Andrologia found that men who took maca supplements for eight weeks had increased sexual desire compared to those who received a placebo.
Another study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility in 2008 found that men who took maca supplements for four months had increased semen volume and improved sperm motility.
However, it's worth noting that these studies were relatively small and more research is needed to confirm these findings.
Are there any other benefits?
Men often turn to it for its libido-boosting effects and testosterone support properties - claims which it can almost stand by.
Studies suggest that taking a small dose of maca can increase feelings of well-being and energy in both men and women, and can reduce stress.
Furthermore, maca may help regulate women's menstrual cycles and relieve symptoms associated with menopause; additionally it may improve fertility - though research on this front remains limited.
Men aged 21-56 who participated in one 12-week study were randomly given either maca extract (Lepidium peruvianum or Lepidium meyeni) or placebo for 12 weeks, and serum testosterone and oestradiol levels were measured after 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and 12 weeks of treatment.
Results demonstrated that those taking maca reported more favorable self-perception of libido and sexual desire than those receiving placebo; this did not correlate with changes in Hamilton scores for depression or anxiety and did not alter serum oestradiol levels nor testosterone either way.
Researchers theorize that maca's positive effect on libido could be attributable to its hormone-balancing capabilities rather than direct impact on oestradiol and testosterone levels; this could explain why multiple populations report positive responses from taking maca.
In addition to its potential impact on testosterone levels, maca has been touted as a natural remedy for a range of other conditions. For example, some advocates claim that maca can improve energy levels, reduce stress, and even enhance cognitive function.
While there is limited research to support these claims, some studies have shown promising results.
For example, a 2015 study published in the journal Menopause found that postmenopausal women who took maca supplements had improved mood and decreased anxiety compared to those who received a placebo.
Another study published in the journal Nutrients in 2016 found that maca extract improved cognitive function in mice.
Maca root may also help treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This condition occurs when the prostate gland becomes enlarged, disrupting sexual function and leading to symptoms like erectile dysfunction or irritability.
Other studies indicate it could reduce tumor size; more research needs to be conducted here.
Maca is a plant native to Central and South America that's frequently consumed in powder or capsule form as an aphrodisiac.
Reminiscent of turnips, maca root has long been used as an aphrodisiac since ancient times.
Though clinical evidence on maca is limited, most researchers believe it has no serious adverse reactions.
While maca is generally considered safe for most people, there are some potential risks and side effects to be aware of.
For example, some people may experience gastrointestinal upset, headaches, or insomnia when taking maca supplements.
In addition, maca may interact with certain medications, such as those used to treat diabetes or high blood pressure.
It should be noted, however, that many studies involving maca root use small sample sizes and aren't fully controlled; so before beginning use of maca for men's health or other concerns it's wise to consult a healthcare provider first.
Maca is typically sold in powder form and taken as a dietary supplement, usually at the recommended dosage of several grams daily for up to 16 weeks; although some sources recommend taking longer.
Some people also use maca for fertility and sexual function reasons; however, its efficacy depends on limited and low-quality clinical studies.
One study had men with mild erectile dysfunction ingest either maca or placebo for 12 weeks, reporting an improvement in self-perceived libido and sexual drive when taking maca. This effect was most evident at 3 g of maca per day.
Conclusion: Should you try Maca for testosterone?
While there is some evidence to suggest that maca may have a positive effect on libido levels, more research is needed to confirm these findings. In addition, maca may offer other potential health benefits, such as improved energy levels and reduced stress. However, the evidence doesn't point towards it being able to improve testosterone levels.
In conclusion, maca is a promising natural remedy for a range of conditions. While more research is needed to fully understand its potential benefits, maca is generally considered safe for most people and may offer a range of health benefits.