What Is Maca Root?
Growing at an astonishing altitude of 7,000 – 11,000 feet, where no other cultivated crop can survive, the use of maca root (formally called Lepidium meyenii and informally known as Peruvian Ginseng) dates back to around 3,800 B.C. as an integral part of ancient Peruvian and Inca health.
It’s health benefits were thought to be so mighty, in fact, many centuries later the Peruvian’s would give it as a gift to the newly landed Spanish.
Does Maca Root Boost Testosterone?
There have been studies done on rats which showed maca root led to both an increase in luteinizing hormone (LH) and a big increase in testosterone and leydig cell functionality. (1, 2)
This sounds really promising as a direct testosterone booster but I need to be clear that no human case studies have shown it to directly boost testosterone production in humans.
All of our research at Alpha Wolf Nutrition is based heavily on human case studies because what works in rats or even primates, often does not translate to the human body.
With that said I still believe heavily in maca root as a strong testosterone support supplement due to the immense amount of nutrients and phytonutrients including some unique chemicals known as “alkylamides” which all help the body enter a state of homeostasis.
Maca root may not directly increase testosterone but it does provide a rare set of nutrients which nourish the endocrine system and helps keep the body functioning properly so testosterone production can be maximized.
Maca Root is Jam Packed with Nutrients and Phytonutrients
Here are just some of the incredible nutrients in maca root:
- Complex carbohydrates
- Healthy Fatty acids
- 20 amino acids
- 7 Essential amino acids
- Vitamins C, D and E
It’s no wonder that scientists begin to study and see for themselves the many benefits of it starting as far back as the 1840’s!
Maca Root’s Effect on the Endocrine System
The endocrine system includes many of the body’s glands such as the pituitary, thyroid and testicles (which produce testosterone).
The pituitary and thyroid are responsible for secreting hormones which help control several vital processes including:
- Sexual function
- Brain and nervous system functioning
- Energy levels
- Testosterone production
Maca Root is a Known Adaptogen
Maca root is a known adaptogen which increases immunity by improving the body’s overall ability to take on challenging and stressful situations, anxiety and fatigue.
Recent studies on humans have also shown that it may increase erection strength, well-being, and libido. (3-5)
This should come as no surprise considering what we know about its effects on the endocrine system.
Maca Root and Iodine
Maca root even contains trace amounts of iodine which upwards of 96% of the population may be deficient in. (6)
This is important to note because in order to maximize your testosterone you need a properly functioning thyroid and in order for your thyroid to function properly it needs iodine! (7)
Toxic halogens such as bromine, fluorine and chlorine are unfortunately loaded into our water supply.
In addition to chemicals in everyday household cleaning supplies, soaps, shampoos, deodorant, even toothpaste!
These toxic chemicals can work their way in to both our thyroid and leydig cells in the testicles where testosterone in manufactured.
Iodine also works wonders at flushing toxins out of the body which can have particularly devastating effects on testosterone production. (8)
Maca is Loaded with Estrogen Blocking DIM
It’s long been my recommendation to stay away from DIM supplements. The high concentration of DIM in direct supplement form may have more negative effects than positive, including blocking DHT.
Since DHT is a powerful estrogen blocker itself. (9)
Consuming high doses of DIM in supplement form may counteract its own natural ability to block estrogen.
With that said, I believe DIM is fantastic consumed in its natural form in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale and brussels sprouts.
Maca is actually a cruciferous vegetable and may be the most DIM rich of the bunch.
Should Men Take a Maca Root Supplement?
The human body is like a symphony, not a single note. Maca is like the string family in an orchestra.
It’s not going to make the concert all by itself but it provides many crucial nutrients the body needs to create beautiful music or in this case increase testosterone.
It is packed with several essential nutrients for boosting testosterone levels including vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc, magnesium and iodine and it may help promote more restful sleep and lower stress and anxiety.
These are all extremely key elements for your body to maximize testosterone production.
What is 4:1 and 10:1 extract?
There are typically 2 types of extracts used to make Maca extract.
- 4:1 extract
- 10:1 extract
What these numbers mean is that either 4 kg or 10kg of raw maca is used to make 1 kg or extract. 10:1 is of course more than double the potency of 4:1 extract.
If the potency isn’t given on the label, I suggest you stay away from that product.
I recommend you supplement with between 150 – 300 mg of maca root (10:1) extract per day.
- Uchiyama, F., Jikyo, T., Takeda, R., & Ogata, M. (2014). Lepidium meyenii (Maca) enhances the serum levels of luteinising hormone in female rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology,151(2), 897-902. – Link
- Ohta, Y., Yoshida, K., Kamiya, S., Kawate, N., Takahashi, M., Inaba, T., . . . Tamada, H. (2015). Feeding hydroalcoholic extract powder of Lepidium meyenii(maca) increases serum testosterone concentration and enhances steroidogenic ability of Leydig cells in male rats. Andrologia, 48(3), 347-354. – Link
- Zenico, T., et al., Subjective effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) extract on well-being and sexual performances in patients with mild erectile dysfunction: a randomised, double-blind clinical trial.Andrologia, 2009. 41(2): p. 95-9. – Link
- Dording, C.M., et al., A double-blind, randomized, pilot dose-finding study of maca root (L. meyenii) for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. CNS Neurosci Ther, 2008. 14(3): p. 182-91. – Link
- Shin, B.C., et al., Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systematic review. BMC Complement Altern Med, 2010. 10: p. 44. – Link
- Brownstein, D. (2017, February 13). What Does an Iodine Deficiency Have to Do with Cancer? – Link
- Relationship Between Testosterone Levels and the Thyroid. (2017, July 31) – Link
- Iodine and Chelation, Heavy Metals and Halogens. Real Raw Food excerpt with Dr. Kenezy Gyula Korhaz – Link
- Casey, R. W., & Wilson, J. D. (1984). Antiestrogenic action of dihydrotestosterone in mouse breast. Competition with estradiol for binding to the estrogen receptor. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 74(6), 2272-2278. – Link