We know that Maca root has been used to boost energy for several thousand years. Although the first written reference to the simple root comes from 1553 in a chronicle of the Spanish conquest of the Andes, oral traditions confirm that the root has long been valued as a nutritional supplement, a fertility enhancer for both animals and humans and an energizer. Maca’s potency was so valued to the inhabitants of high altitudes in the Andes that it was often used as a currency for trade. In addition, warriors, both Incan and Spanish consumed large amounts of Maca root before going into battle in order to increase their energy, prowess and recovery time. In more recent times, Maca’s energy boosting properties are one of the major reasons it’s become one of Peru’s top agricultural exports.
How does maca work to boost energy?
Maca is very different from other types of energizers on the market. It contains no caffeine, no processed sugar and no pharmaceutical energy enhancers. What that means is that Maca boosts your energy in a balanced and sustained manner and that it never stresses your adrenal glands like the aforementioned energy enhancers.
Maca is a nutritional powerhouse. Maca root contains 10.5% protein, 8.5% fiber, 19 essential amino acids, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and D, minerals iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, sodium, potassium, calcium, several glucosinolates, 20 free fatty acids, and unique compounds called macaenes and macamides.
Maca is an Adaptogen. Adaptogens are very rare plants (another example is ginseng) that raise the physical body’s state of resistance to diseases through physiological and emotional health improvements. Adaptogens have a normalizing effect, i.e. counteracting or preventing disturbances to homeostasis brought about by stressors. Moreover, they offer a broad range of therapeutic effects without causing any major side effects.
Maca balances hormones in men and women. One of the very great things about Peruvian Maca root is that it is not “gender specific” and works equally well for both men and women in terms of achieving hormone balance. Sustained and elevated energy is a result of a positive balance of hormones.
Maca Nutritional Values
In general Maca is rich in amino acids, phytonutrients, fatty acids, vitamin and minerals. According to nutritional research published on NutritionData.com Maca contains:
- 59% carbohydrates – Maca is rich in quality carbs, which, combined with its alkaloids and other nutrients make it a great choice for sustained energy
- 10.2% protein – Maca is loaded with bio-available plant protein that is easy for the body to assimilate
- 8.5% fiber – Maca contains relatively high levels of cellulose and lignan, both of which stimulate intestinal function. Fiber is a key component to a healthy digestive and elimination system.
- Essential Amino Acids: Maca contains nearly all of them. These drive many cellular functions in the body including sexual and fertility functions.
- Aspartic Acid – 97 mg/1 g
- Glutamic acid – 156 mg/1 g protein
- Serine – 50 mg/1 g protein
- Histidine – 22 mg/1 g protein
- Glycine – 68 mg/1 g protein
- Threonine – 33 mg/1 g protein
- Alanine – 63 mg/1 g protein
- Tyrosine – 31 mg/1 g protein
- Phenylalanine – 55 mg/1 g protein
- Valine – 79 mg/1 g protein
- Methionine- 28 mg/1 g protein
- Isoleucine – 47 mg/1 g protein
- Leucine – 91 mg/1 g protein
- Lysine – 55 mg/1 g protein
- HO- Proline- 26 mg/1 g protein
- Proline – .5mg/1 g protein
- Sarcosine – .7mg/1 g protein
- Free Fatty Acids: 20 have been found in Maca. These also work to support cellular function. Saturated acids account for 40% and non-saturated about 55%. The most abundant fatty acids adding to Maca’s nutritional value are linolenic acid, palmitic acid, oleic acid and steric acid.
- C12-0 -lauric – 0.8%
- C13-1-7 trideconoic – 0.3%
- C13-0 tridecoanoic – 0.1%
- C14-0 myrstic – 1.4%
- C15-1-7 pentadecanoic – 0.5%
- C16-1-9 palmtoleic – 2.7%
- C16-0 palmitic – 23.8%
- C17-1-9 heptadecenoic –
- C17-0 heptadecanoic – 1.8%
- C18-2-9-12 linoleic – 32.6%
- C18-1-9 oleic – 11.1%
- C18-0 steric – 6.7%
- C19-1-11 nonadecenoic – 1.3%
- C19-0 – nonadecanoic – 0.4%
- C20-1-15 eisosenoic – 2.3%
- C22-0 behanic 2.0
- C24-1-15 nervonic – 0.4%
- C-24-0 lignocenic – 0.4%
- Thamin (B1) – 1mg/100g – helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy. Essential for good heart, muscle and nervous system function
- Riboflavin (B2) - .76mg/100g – important for body growth and red blood cell production
- Ascorbic Acid (C) - – 3mg/100g – supports anit-oxidant activity
- Niacin 35mg/100g – supports healthy circulation
- Calcium – 450mg/100g – Maca contains a higher level of calcium than does milk. Calcium is crucial in bone development as well as for nerve and circulatory system health.
- Phosphorus - 220mg/100g – Phosphorus is important for the hemostasis of calcium as well as for transmitting electrical stimuli for brain and muscle action.
- Magnesium – 104mg/100g – Magnesium is essential for the synthesis of protein and for muscle and nerve activity. Crucial for heart health.
- Potassium – 1500mg/100g – Potassium works within the cells to help maintain healthy osmosis.
- Sodium 25mg/100g – Along with potassium can support positive circulation
- Copper – 5mg/100g – Supports enzyme health.
- Zinc – 12mg/100g – Helps in clarity of thought and mental function
- Manganese – 8mg/100g – Supports healthy growth
- Iron – 25mg/100g – Vital component of hemoglobin. Supports health muscle growth.
- Selenium – 20mg/100g – Protects cells against free radicals.
- Boron – 5mg/100g – Supports proper metabolism.
Sterols - With regular use sterols may have a positive impact on lowering blood cholesterol.
One recent study showed that consuming 1.8 to 2.8 grams of plant sterols and plant stanols per day over a period of 4 weeks to 3 months significantly lowered total cholesterol in participants by 7%-11%
- Brassicasterol – 9.1%
- Ergosterol – 13.6%
- Campesterol – 27.3%
- Ergostadienol – 4.5%
- Sitoserol – 46.5%
Glucosinolates: Aromatic glucosinolates including: benzyl glucosinolate, p-methoxybenzyl glucosinolate, fructose, glucose, benzyl isothiocyanate. In food-bearing plants, glucosinolates act as natural pesticides and are stored in the plant’s cells, ready to be released upon tissue damage. Similarly, when consumed by humans, the action of chewing releases the glucosinolates into the body, where they are transformed into bioactive compounds believed to have anticancer properties.
Macaenes and macamides: (Macaina 1, 2, 3, 4) These are polyunsaturated acids and their amides which are absolutely unique to Maca
Most people find that taking just 1 capsule of maca root per day gives them the boost they need, but it is safe to take up to 4 capsules per day if needed.