Some call it “Peruvian Ginseng”.
I have a buddy who swears by the benefits of Maca root. He calls it the peace keeper.
Let me explain. His wife just gave birth and as you can imagine pregnancy can really screw up a woman’s hormones. My buddy got to the point where he just wasn’t sure what he would be walking into when he opened the door at the end of the day. Was he walking into enemy territory…or were there friendlies on the other side of that door? Now, this is a true story so just bear with me and I’ll get to the science a little later.
The Benefits of Maca Root: Keeping the Peace at Home
He heard the claims that maca root can do wonders for endurance, stamina, stress, balancing hormones, and libido. Of course he was interested in the libido part (who wouldn’t be! But with his wife’s hormonal roller coaster he was even more interested in the claims about balancing hormones.
So he decided to experiment.
Every morning he “thoughtfully” offered to make his wife a smoothie. After all, with all her child-caring duties it was the very least he could do! (wink)
Some days he would add maca root powder; some days he wouldn’t. In the spirit of good science, he didn’t let his wife know about the experiment. Then he tracked the results.
He tells me that there was a noticeable difference on the days he included maca in the blend…for the better!
Now, I’m not suggesting this will work for everyone. After all, there is such a thing call bio-individuality. One person could have great results with a certain nutritional ingredient, while others may not. But it’s sure worth a shot! However, I was curious about the science behind maca and whether or not there was any research about the benefits of maca. Here’s what I found.
First: What is Maca?
It’s not a species of “ginseng.” It is however, what is known as an adaptogen.
People have used it for centuries to support adrenal function, enhance strength, stamina, athletic performance, fertility, improve anemia and memory, treat hormone imbalances, menstrual irregularities, and last but not least for its aphrodisiac properties.
The plant itself belongs in the same category as cabbage, broccoli and radishes. It looks like a large radish and comes in various colors. It thrives in volcanic soil which is naturally rich in minerals. And since the quality of any food is determined by the soil, the maca root is rich in various minerals our bodies require.
The minerals in maca vary. You can find trace amounts of as many as 31 different minerals including calcium, copper, magnesium, iodine, manganese, zinc, potassium, phosphorus and iron.
Maca root also contains amino acids, Vitamins B, C and E, Sterols, Fatty Acids, Glucosinolates, Alkaloids, clost to 60 different phytonutrients, and more.
Why is this important? All of these macro and micro nutrients support cellular structure and impact how well your body functions.
How do the Benefits of Maca Relate to Military and Sports Training?
An adaptogen is a metabolic regulator which helps an organism to adapt to their environment and avoid damage from such environmental factors.
Now, think about this. The maca plant itself has adapted and thrived in a very harsh and inhospitable climate. People that live in that same type of environment (ie…high altitude, freezing temperatures, and the inherant external and internal stress resulting from living in such an environment) who eat maca which is native to the area…also survive and thrive.
In the “Whole Foods”, nutritional world, you hear a lot of talk about eating local and eating what’s in season, right?
You may have also heard that to help relieve allergies when you move to a new location you should eat honey that is made from local bees. This is not just hippie talk. The local, native foods and food stuff help you to adapt to your environment.
Same with the maca root.
But, what if you don’t live in the Andes? Why would you need the benefits of maca? That’s a great question!
You don’t have to live in the Andes to experience the physiological effects of internal and external stress. Think of your typical day? Do you experience any sort of stress?
That high-intense workout puts stress on your body, right? Now imagine if you took an adaptogen like maca that would positively affect how you adapt to that stress without it damaging your cells.
Or what about a typical hard day at the office – whether your office is a cubicle, on-site military training, or a desert combat mission. You will most likely encounter environmental challenges, and your mental and physical toughness will be challenged too.
Finally, let’s consider where the plant is grown and what is has to adapt to.
It’s grown at high altitude. There is less oxygen per unit at these heights so the maca plant must be able to effectively process the oxygen in its environment to survive. As a result, it’s well oxygenated.
Bottom line: An adaptogen may allow you to increase stress tolerance.
How do Adaptogens Increase Stress Tolerance?
In other words, adaptogens help regulate your cell’s receptors.
How powerful is this?
The ability to adapt to your environment and lower the damage it can cause is a huge benefit for intense military training. Safe and natural ingredients in your dietary supplements should be combined to support your lifestyle and your environment.
That’s why you will find Maca root extract in our Super Army & Professional Sports Mega Endurance Formula.
Let’s look at history and see if other men were willing to bet money on the benefits of maca.
The early Spaniards that conquered South America and settled in the Andes didn’t adapt to their new home too well at first. And neither did the cattle.
Poor health and low sperm counts (in man and animal) almost sent the Spaniards home. But the local Indians recommended maca to their new neighbors (man and animal). It must have worked because the Spanish Conquistadors didn’t go home. In fact, they began to value maca more than gold! Some records show that 9 tons of maca were used as payments in just one area of the Andes.
Benefits of Maca and Sports Research
What’s the score?
We have claims (from my buddy) that maca can help with hormone regulation;
We have ancient tradition which has been passed down for generations;
We have the historical records that show maca was a valuable commodity.
But what about nutritional scientific research showing the benefits of maca in sports training?
Yes! We have that too.
In a pilot investigation of conditioned cyclists, maca supplementation was tested to see how it affected physical activity as well as sexual desire. The test took place over 14 days.
The cyclists completed a 40km time trial before and after the study. They were also asked to complete a sexual desire inventory during each visit.
The group that was given the maca supplement improved their cycling time performance and reported higher sexual desire (hopefully not at the same time!).
This was a small test and longer term studies have been suggested.
However, you don’t have to wait for these studies to test the benefits of maca supplementation for yourself!
Discover how science can give you the competitive edge…just when you need it most.
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Resources for the Benefits of Maca:
- My Buddy (who has asked to remain anonymous…his wife still doesn’t know!) J