Here's What You Need To Know Before Using Maca Root

With so many adaptogens and spices to choose from to up your wellness game, maca sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. But, given all of its benefits, make sure you don't sleep on this plant root. A cruciferous root that's native to Central America, maca touts serious fertility benefits alongside others, such as increased energy and libido, Well+Good reports. Apparently, cultures in the Andes have used the plant as a fertility medicine for nearly 3,000 years. As such, it's certainly worth looking into if you're looking for a boost in that area.

While the starchy constitution of the root makes for a perfect ingredient in breads and other baked goods south of the equator, you'll likely find maca root ground into a fine powder at your local health food store in the United States, the outlet notes. Many wellness enthusiasts add the substance to their smoothies and smoothie bowls for its unique health benefits. 

Due to its impact on your hormones, it makes sense that this little root can seriously benefit your fertility and ovulation cycle. As an adaptogen, maca helps the body "adapt" to stress, reducing its damaging side effects on the system, while supporting endocrine function. Well+Good explains that having this herb in your body aids in communication within the glandular system, promoting a healthier flow of information and thus a better regulation of various hormones. In fact, some research reveals maca's ability to augment sperm count and fertility in men as well as women. Alongside the libido boost, this benefit offers yet another reason why couples who are trying to conceive should try maca root.

Maca also has a high nutritional profile

Beyond its adaptogenic qualities, maca root also offers a nutrient-dense flavor profile that can supply your body with the minerals it needs. According to Healthline, maca root contains high levels of Vitamin C, copper, and iron, while also providing an ample amount of fiber. Well+Good also notes maca's supply of Vitamins D, B1, and B2, as well as calcium and potassium. Its beneficial impact on the hormonal system also means that the root can aid in reducing symptoms of menopause and other fertility changes.

But, perhaps most notably, maca improves your energy levels. Instead of downing another coffee, many health-conscious individuals have started to add this adaptogen to their morning routine as a natural, nourishing way to wake up. The outlet reports that it may also improve brain function throughout the day, keeping you more alert and present, with a better memory. Well+Good explains that this substance won't spike your energy levels, but rather provides the nutrients you need to feel energized and avoid the debilitating withdrawal crash.

Since the herb helps reduce stress and feelings of anxiety, its benefits also aid in immune health. With a lower level of reactivity and strain, your body can more effectively fight off infection with the help of the many nutrients found within the plant as well. 

Just be sure to give your body time to adjust to the new supplement and start off with a small dose. "People with thyroid problems, hypertension, hormone-responsive cancer — such as breast or prostate cancer — and women who are taking birth control pills, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding may not be able to safely consume maca and should consult with their doctors," Amy Gorin, MS, RDN adds, via Well+Good.