T Nation

anyone tried Maca?

I recently finished a month’s worth of standardized Maca extract. Maca is a Peruvian tuber that has at least in some trials (the trials posted on sites selling Maca, for whatever that’s worth lol) has been shown to boost libido and even fertility in animal trials, as well as act as a mild mood enhancer. Well, after a month, I have to say that my libido has been way up, perhaps on par with a good Tribulus extract. I don’t know really how much effect it’s had on my workout performance. The mild stimulation/mood enhancement certainly helps in the workout itself, but I can’t really tell if the end results (improved strength/body composition) are from the maca or simply because the improved mood made working out easier. Has anyone else had experience with this particular herbal product, and if so, any good results? I readily accept the possibility that either I have a particularly good placebo response or other factors in my life could account for the ‘up,’ and the taking of Maca was coincidence.

I believe Doug Kalman wrote about Maca here a while back. What brand were you using and how much? I’ve thought about trying some myself as you’re not the first person that’s had good things to say about it.

Using the magic search engine at T-mag, here’s what Tim wrote about maca (this was way back in issue 130):

"All I can say for sure about maca (Lepidium meyenii) is that it makes mice and rats horny. In one study (that’s all there is), maca almost tripled their screwing frequency and doubled the speed in which it took to get a hard-on (and I’m talking about rodents!).

The answer to your question lies in maca’s mechanism of action. In other words, does it increase blood flow to the genital area, or does it increase sex hormones, or is it something else altogether that increases sexual performance? And as far as I can tell, no one knows anything about how maca works.

On the other hand, we know that eating extra protein and taking Tribulus, 4-AD, nor-4-AD, and methoxy-isoflavone all work exceptionally well at stimulating protein synthesis. Why look elsewhere? Unless or until maca pans out, don’t bother with it.

You can get steroid-like effects from combinations of the other compounds I mentioned that are pretty incredible. Searching the world for unproven, exotic folk remedies seems like a waste of time.

From a practical perspective, if maca worked well at all, we’d have known about it long before now. It’s been used by the Peruvians for centuries with zero reports of increased muscle mass."

I liked it for about three or four days and then I seemed to start retaining water. I tried it two or three times with the same result. Now I take a handful once and a while before a “date”.

I use the Maca Source brand, which might be now the Herbal Nurse brand (the companies unified recently). I think what’s important (as with most if not all herbals) is getting a standardized concentrated extract – just taking powdered Maca in a pill is like eating dehydrated potato pills. Thinking about it and now that I’ve been off it for a few days, I think the libido boost was not placebo, nor was the corresponding mood elevation, but this might be as mentioned above indications of some libido-enhancement factors other than increased test…it could be a mild dopamine agonist or work through unknown mechanisms. One study did indicate that actual blood levels of DHEA were increased in tested subjects…but I think for performance enhancement…ok, sorry, SPORTS performance enhancement the jury is still out on Maca. One other thing of note, though, Peruvian natives value it almost as highly as Coca in terms of helping endurance and altitude adjustment.

I have had a positive experience with MACA, also.

Other things which are supposed to increase T are Muira Puama, Stinging Nettle and Tongkat Ali.

The best source by far is Swanson health products.