Maca: Is This Right for You?

Peruvian Ginseng (Maca)

If you find yourself dragging through the day, maca could be the pick-me-up boost you’ve been waiting for. Maca, a vegetable also called Peruvian ginseng, has been used for centuries to boost endurance and energy (and as an aphrodisiac).

Packed with protein and other nutrients, maca grows wild in several South American countries including Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay and Argentina. People living in the Andean highlands have cultivated it as a staple root crop for at least 2,000 years. It can be eaten baked, roasted, prepared as a porridge or taken as a supplement.

Maca has not been extensively studied in Western science and scientists are not exactly sure how it works, but existing studies support maca’s energizing power. One study showed that maca taken after exercise helped reduce muscle fatigue by decreasing amounts of lactic acid and malonic acid. Another showed that animals were much more physically active after consuming the vegetable.

If you’re interested in trying a maca supplement, look for them in health food stores and take 1,000 mg with breakfast for up to four months. The maca root should not be consumed fresh without boiling, as it may cause stomach pain.

While maca is generally believed to be safe, some people should avoid maca. Pregnant or lactating women and people allergic to maca or related vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower should not take maca.

People taking anticoagulant medications, birth control pills or stimulants, people with high blood pressure and patients with breast or prostate cancer should be cautious when using maca. Always consult your doctor before starting a new supplement.

Be sure to tune in for more information on this new energy booster.