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Maca Benefits, Uses, Side Effects and Functions

Discover the Function, Sources and Benefits of the Health Supplement Ingredient Maca, or Lepidium Meyenii

Maca – also known as Lepidium meyenii or Lepidium peruvianum – is a plant that is native to Peru and found in the high Andes. While it is sometimes called “Peruvian ginseng,” maca is not related to the ginseng plant; rather, it is a cruciferous root vegetable in the same family as mustard, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Maca extract or powder is often used as an ingredient in select health and bodybuilding supplements, such as Somatropinne HGH, Ana-GH and Testosterone Plus.

Functions of Maca

The nutritional value of maca has long been recognized in both traditional and modern cultures, and these nutritional properties underlie maca’s reputation for enhancing energy, strength and endurance. Powdered maca is estimated to contain 59% carbohydrates, 8.5% fiber and more than 10% protein. It is also a good source of vitamins and essential amino acids, and is particularly high in iron and Vitamin C. Maca has been shown to improve sexual performance and fertility in both animals and humans. Its fertility-enhancing effects are believed to result from aromatic isothiocyanates hydrolyzed from glucosinolates, while its libido-boosting properties are attributed to the prostaglandins, sterols and amides of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Maca also supports the immune system and overall health through its antiviral and antioxidant properties.

Sources of Maca

Maca is grown and harvested in the Peruvian Andes, which is generally the only place where fresh maca is consumed. In Peru, the root may be roasted or boiled; it is often made into a porridge (mazamorra) and its flour is used for bread, cakes and pancakes. Maca root is also used in a fermented beverage known as macha chicha, and its leaves may be eaten either raw or cooked. Outside of its immediate growing region, maca root is typically sold dried, in powder/flour form or as gelatinized maca. Supplements may contain extracts made from dried roots, maca flour or gelatinized maca.

Maca Benefits and Uses

As a food source or dietary supplement, maca has excellent nutritional value that may help increase energy, strength and endurance. It also promotes overall health and wellbeing through its antiviral and antioxidant activity. One of the most common uses of maca is to support sexual health; it has been documented to have aphrodisiacal and fertility-enhancing properties, including increased sperm count and motility in males. Some studies have indicated maca can improve menopausal symptoms, and reduce blood pressure and depression in postmenopausal women.

Side Effects of Maca and Potential Interactions

Maca supplements are generally considered safe for healthy adults; no side effects or interactions have been reported at dosages of up to 3 grams per day. However, some medical professionals advise women with hormone-sensitive conditions to avoid using maca, since it can potentially worsen breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, uterine fibroids or endometriosis.

More detailed safety information on maca side effects and interactions can be found on WebMD. As with any medication or health supplement, it is best to consult your physician before taking dietary supplements containing maca.

Maca Research and Studies

Numerous studies have examined maca’s effects on various medical conditions as well as its impact on overall health and athletic performance. While further clinical research is needed to evaluate its effectiveness for many of these uses, animal and human studies have strongly supported maca’s aphrodisiacal and fertility-enhancing effects.

Two separate animal studies published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology explored maca’s impact on the sexual health of rats; their findings revealed that maca improved several measures of sexual behavior while black maca increased daily sperm counts and sperm motility. Other research has shown that maca has similar effects on humans. An article in the Asian Journal of Andrology reported that maca increased seminal volume, sperm count per ejaculum, motile sperm count and sperm motility in adult men. BioMed Central (BMC) Complementary & Alternative Medicine published a systematic review of random clinical trials; the authors found that maca improved sexual performance in patients with erectile dysfunction and had a significant positive effect on sexual dysfunction or sexual desire in healthy menopausal women or healthy adult men.

Beyond its abilities to increase sexual desire and performance, maca has been shown to benefit women in several ways. A systematic review published in Maturitas reported that maca demonstrated favorable effects on menopausal symptoms, while a study featured in Climacteric noted significant decreases in blood pressure and depression in postmenopausal women. Furthermore, maca was also found to have an antidepressant effect on mice exposed to chronic unpredictable mild stress, according to research featured in the Journal of Medicinal Food.

Many believe that maca has positive effects on athletic performance, metabolism and post-workout recovery, though further clinical trials are needed to conclusively support these benefits. One study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology investigated maca’s effect on the sexual desire and athletic performance of trained male cyclists, and determined that maca supplementation improved both sexual desire and cycling time trial performance. An animal study published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition stated that maca polysaccharides had a positive effect on lipid and glucose metabolism in rats – significantly decreasing the levels of very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), low density lipoproteins (LDL) and total cholesterol; lowering the level of triacylglycerols in the plasma, VLDL and liver; and reducing glucose levels in blood.

Finally, several studies have shown that maca supports the immune system and overall health through its antiviral and antioxidant properties. The Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine reported that maca exhibits antiviral activity against human influenza type A and B viruses (Flu-A and Flu-B), “providing remarkable therapeutic benefits.” Maca’s antioxidant activity has been recorded in numerous publications, including Carbohydrate Polymers and Food Chemistry.

For additional Maca research, refer to the PubMed site sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

HGH.com Supplements With Maca

Athletes, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts can take advantage of maca’s nutritional and health benefits through natural fitness and bodybuilding supplements from HGH.com:

Somatropinne HGH – Purity Select’s natural Somatropinne HGH capsules contain a proprietary blend of plant extracts. As an over-the-counter HGH releaser, this supplement is formulated to help athletes build lean muscle and gain increased energy. It is also designed to provide weight-loss and anti-aging benefits.

Ana-GH – Each serving of Ana-GH contains L-group amino acids and other natural ingredients, including maca and horny goat weed. This supplement is intended to jumpstart bulking cycles by promoting muscle mass and weight gains while improving protein synthesis and contributing to joint and muscle repair.

Testosterone Plus – Purity Select’s HGH Testosterone Plus features a proprietary blend of maca, long jack, ginkgo biloba and other natural ingredients. These capsules are formulated to help build muscle, aid in muscle recovery and boost energy while delivering sexual health benefits such as improved libido and stamina.

References (Function, Sources, Benefits/Uses and Side Effects/Interactions):

Balick, Michael J. and Roberta Lee. “Maca: From Traditional Food Crop to Energy and Libido Stimulant”; Alternative Therapies; March/April 2002. <http://sciweb.nybg.org/science2/pdfs/mb/Maca_Mar_Apr_2002.pdf>

Bruno, Gene. “Maca”; Smart Supplementation, published by Huntington College of Health Sciences; 2000. <http://www.hchs.edu/literature/Maca.pdf>

Examine.com. “Maca”; published under “Supplements”; accessed May 26, 2015. <http://examine.com/supplements/Maca>

Johannes, Laura. “Maca: Can a Root Boost Energy and Sex Drive?”; The Wall Street Journal; December 22, 2014. <http://www.wsj.com/articles/maca-can-a-root-boost-energy-and-sex-drive-1419275240>

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Maca”; published under “About Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products” within Integrative Medicine area of website; last updated April 20, 2013; accessed May 26, 2015. <https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/maca>

WebMD and Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. “Maca”; published under “Vitamins & Supplements”; accessed May 26, 2015. <http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-555-maca.aspx?activeIngredientId=555&activeIngredientName=maca&source=1>

Research Sources:

Ai, Zhong; Ai-Fang Cheng; et al. “Antidepressant-Like Behavioral, Anatomical, and Biochemical Effects of Petroleum Ether Extract from Maca (Lepidium Meyenii) in Mice Exposed to Chronic Unpredictable Mild Stress”; Journal of Medicinal Food; May 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24730393>

Cicero, A.F.G.; E. Bandieri; and R. Arletti. “Lepidium Meyenii Walp. Improves Sexual Behaviour in Male Rats Independently From Its Action on Spontaneous Locomotor Activity”; Journal of Ethnopharmacology; May 2001. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11297856>

del Valle Mendoza, Juana; Tomàs Pumarolab; et al. “Antiviral Activity of Maca (Lepidium Meyenii) Against Human Influenza Virus”; Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine; September 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25312160>

Gonzales, Carla; Julio Rubio; et al. “Effect of Short-Term and Long-Term Treatments With Three Ecotypes of Lepidium Meyenii (MACA) on Spermatogenesis in Rats”; Journal of Ethnopharmacology; February 20, 2006. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16174556>

Gonzales, Gustavo F.; Amanda Cordova; et al. “Lepidium Meyenii (Maca) Improved Semen Parameters in Adult Men”; Asian Journal of Andrology; December 2001. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11753476>

Lee, Myeong Soo; Byung-Cheul Shin; et al. “Maca (Lepidium Meyenii) for Treatment of Menopausal Symptoms: A Systematic review”; Maturitas; November 2011. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21840656>

Sandoval, Manuel; Nataly N. Okuhama; et al. “Antioxidant Activity of the Cruciferous Vegetable Maca (Lepidium Meyenii)”; Food Chemistry; November 2002. <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814602001334>

Shin, Byung-Cheul; Myeong Soo Lee; et al. “Maca (L. Meyenii) for Improving Sexual Function: A Systematic Review”; BioMed Central (BMC) Complementary & Alternative Medicine; August 6, 2010. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20691074>

Stojanovska, Lily; C. Law; et al. “Maca Reduces Blood Pressure and Depression, in a Pilot Study in Postmenopausal Women”; Climacteric; February 2015. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24931003>

Stone, Mark; Alvin Ibarra; et al. “A Pilot Investigation Into the Effect of Maca Supplementation on Physical Activity and Sexual Desire in Sportsmen”; Journal of Ethnopharmacology; December 10, 2009. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19781622>

Večeřa, Rostislav; Jan Orolin; et al. “The Influence of Maca (Lepidium Meyenii) on Antioxidant Status, Lipid and Glucose Metabolism in Rat”; Plant Foods for Human Nutrition; June 2007. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17333395>

Zha, Shenghua; Qingsheng Zhao; et al. “Extraction, Purification and Antioxidant Activities of the Polysaccharides From Maca (Lepidium Meyenii)”; Carbohydrate Polymers; October 13, 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25037390>






May 2015 Tips from IFBB Pros Presented by HGH.com

HGH.com Presents IFBB Pros & Tips: May 2015 Edition

IFBB Pros seem to know all the best workout tips and secrets for success. In this month's edition of Tips from IFBB Pros HGH.com presents three video clips and several more pins on the Pinterest board dedicated to IFBB pros and tips. We start this post with shoulder and back training with Phil Heath, followed by glute exercises with IFBB Bikini Pro, Annette De La Rosa. Then, we round out the video clips with a look at Victor Martinez working out six weeks before the 2015 New York Pro competition.

Phil Heath’s Back and Shoulder Training

As you aspire to build mountainous shoulders with an amped up back, you want to see how the pros make it happen. IFBB Professional Bodybuilder and Mr. Olympia Phil Heath gives us an inside view of a few shoulder and back exercises he does as he prepares for the 2015 Mr. Olympia competition. We get to see this IFBB Pro demonstrate several exercises, including:

  • Bent Over Dumbbell Rows
  • Plate Loaded Seat Rows
  • Roc-It Lat Pull Downs
  • Standing Military Presses
  • Plate Loaded Shoulder Presses
  • Lateral Raises
  • Reverse Pec Decks
  • Hammer Front Raises
  • Lateral Raises
  • Bent Over Dumbbell Reverse Flyes
  • Seated Dumbbell Presses

Glute Training with IFBB Pro Anette De La Rosa

Get the skinny on how IFBB Pro Anette De La Rosa trains her butt off. Typically, she does two leg days each week, with one of those days concentrating more on her gluteus maximus and hamstrings. One of her favorite exercises to do is the reverse half-squat, because it focuses on the hamstrings and glutes, both on the way down and the way back up. The apparatus she likes to workout on most is when gyms have the butt blaster. Even when she’s on the Stairmaster, she focuses on her glutes.

Victor Martinez Gets Ready for the New York Pro 2015

You know those times when you say, "Wow! I really wish I knew what he did to get such massive muscles." Well, this is one of those moments when you get to find out. Take a look at IFBB Pro Victor Martinez as he pumps iron. With only six week's left before the New York Pro 2015, Victor is on a mission to pile on the mass. What's his workout like? The video below provides a sneak peek inside one of his pre-competition workouts.

Great news! Victor placed 2nd at the New York Pro 2015 men's bodybuilding competition.

Get Even More Pumped with IFBB Pros & Tips on Pinterest

Visit our Pinterest board dedicated to providing you with inspirational and motivational pins from IFBB Pros. This board is updated regularly, so be sure to check back often.

Follow Bodybuilding's IFBB Pros & Tips Pinterest board.

 




How to Maximize Testosterone Supplement Effectiveness

 
 

The secret to getting the most out of testosterone supplements

Testosterone is one of the key elements separating men from women. When men strength train, they build large amounts of muscle mass due in large part to their high testosterone levels. When women strength train, they gain muscle definition and toning along with small gains in muscle mass. Large gains in muscle size are impossible for women because of their relatively low testosterone levels. As such, it makes sense that with more testosterone, there's more potential for muscle growth.

Testosterone supplements have other benefits as well, such as increased speed and agility, increased energy levels and enhanced muscle tone. However, to receive all of these benefits in addition to larger gains in muscle mass, you'll need to use testosterone supplements correctly and effectively. Here are the secrets to testosterone boosters.

Strongly Consider Using Testosterone Supplements After Age 30

Men begin to lose testosterone naturally once they reach the age of 30 - even sooner for some men, later for others. It's at this point when taking a testosterone supplement becomes most beneficial. Taking testosterone beyond the age of 30 will ensure that you're able to build muscle just as efficiently as when you were younger.

Get a Good Nights Sleep

Losing too much sleep, even just for one night, will wreak havoc with your body's hormone levels. Further, sleep is required in order for the body to repair the tiny rips and tears that occur in muscle tissue during a strength training session. Even with a perfect testosterone supplementation regimen and a hardcore strength training schedule, gains in muscle mass and strength will be minimal in the absence of solid sleep. There's little point in taking a testosterone booster if you don't take care of the basic aspects of your health.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Ensuring that your diet contains a nice mix of vegetables, fruits and lean proteins will give you a nutritional profile ideal for strength training and bodybuilding. Your testosterone levels may be peaked thanks to the supplements you're taking, but your body will lack the building blocks necessary for muscle growth (not to mention the energy and motivation needed to complete the workouts in the first place) if you're eating processed, packaged foods with empty calories and little nutritional value.

Don't Ignore Essential Fats

Bodybuilders often get caught up in the idea of minimizing fat intake in order to avoid putting on too much non-lean body mass. While too much fat is of course a bad thing, your body needs some fat - especially essential fatty acids like polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat - in order to thrive and survive. These essential fats, which are very prevalent in foods such as peanut butter and olive oil, help to support your body's natural hormonal balances, testosterone included.

For the top selling Testosterone Supplement, check out http://www.hgh.com/hgh-testosterone.aspx.

 







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