Maca plant also known as Peruvian ginseng grows extensively at high altitudes of Andes Mountains, Peru. It is being cultivated by Peruvians for the past 3000 years. It can resist worse climatic conditions such as violent winds and poor oxygen availability that exist at high altitudes. Root of maca plant that resembles turnip is used as a root vegetable by Peruvians. They also use the root to feed livestock. Maca root has a unique nutty flavor and smells like butterscotch. Constituents of the root such as alkaloids, terpenes and sterols aid in treating a variety of ailments safely without the risk of side effects.
The root is useful in treating sexual dysfunction, improving overall sexual health in men, improve semen volume and motility of sperms. It is essential to use appropriate dosage to enjoy these benefits and prevent side effects.
Maca dosage for men
Majority of men use maca to boost their sexual libido and activity. Hence, the dosage varies from person to person and they have to identify right dosage for themselves.
- For few men one teaspoon of maca in the evening helps to maintain their sexual vigor. About 1500-3000 mg is generally used by majority men to maintain the sexual desire. Studies performed at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, in Lima, Peru showed that about 3g of maca taken daily improves sexual desire in men in age group of 21-56 within eight weeks. Similarly, use of maca tablets containing 1500-3000mg of maca improved semen quality in men aged 24-44 years.
- Erectile dysfunction and sexual dysfunction can be alleviated by using 2400 mg per day. This was shown in experiments conducted on patients suffering with sexual dysfunction at department of Urology, Morgagni-Pierantoni Hospital, Forli, Italy. These studies proved that maca works efficiently than medications.
To prevent risk of side effects such as gastrointestinal disturbances it is recommended to start with low dosage and gradually increase the dosage to 3000mg depending on the need.
Possible Side effects of maca over dosage
People who follow recommended maca dosage rarely suffer with side effects of maca. Over dosage of maca causes side effects such as
- Insomnia: Constituents of maca boost the energy level. When taken in high amount more amount of energy is liberated. This in turn makes the person feel restless, profuse sweating, hot flashes and sleeplessness at night.
- Bloating and flatulence: Fiber and certain enzymes contained in the root delay the digestion process. This in turn causes flatulence. In more severe cases diarrhea may also be observed.
- Goiter: Glucosinolates contained in the root are responsible for causing goiter in patients suffering with iodine deficiency.
- Drug interactions: Interacts with certain drugs such as thyroid medications, blood thinners such as aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.
Precautions to be followed
- Men suffering with prostate cancer, enlarged prostate glands, testicular cancer or showing high levels of prostate specific antigen should consult the physician before using maca.
- Do not take maca for one week after using it for four weeks. This would allow time for the body to assimilate the nutrients provided by maca.
- Stop using drugs such as antidepressants, steroids, tranquilizers, cholesterol lowering drugs as they result in impotence and use of maca may not give positive effect. Taking maca along with good diet and exercise treats all these conditions.
- If the damage done due to use of drugs such as anti-depressants is severe consult the physician as use of increased dosage of maca will not give positive results.
- Do not take maca supplements before going to bed as energizing effect of the root causes insomnia or sleeplessness.
- Use only maca supplements made from maca root cultivated at Andes Mountains of Peru as root of the plants cultivated at lower altitude differ in composition and may not be effective.
Purchasing maca supplements
To prevent the risk of adulterated maca supplements it is recommended to purchase products with USP symbol which indicates that the product adheres to essential purity standards. Always order your maca supplements from manufacturers renowned for maintaining safety standards. Read the product label thoroughly before purchasing to know its ingredients and the dosage specifications. Avoid products which do not clearly specify amount of maca contained in one single dose.