Maca root contains uridine that can improve your endurance, stamina and brain performance.
A native root called Maca can help you get used to the thin mountain air or altitude sickness.
It turns out that not only does the plant it comes from adapt to high altitude, but when you eat it, the root passes that ability on to you.
It does more than just help you adjust to altitude, though. Peruvian maca has the remarkable property of improving oxygen transport in your body. This increases endurance, energy levels, and mental clarity.
It’s one of the only foods that can survive the frost at high altitudes. It even grows faster as the temperature gets colder. It grows low to the ground, and huddles together making mats on the ground.
Part of the reason maca is so effective at improving the way you use oxygen is its malic acid. It helps cells use sugar for fuel when oxygen levels are low.
Living high up in the Andes is tough, and oxygen is scarce. At 14,000 feet, your oxygen levels are going to be low. Maca is also rich in iron, which you need to make blood and facilitate oxygen transport.
But even if you’re not climbing up into high altitude, you can benefit from maca during other activities. Maca would be great to use before you go skiing. Or you can use it before you work out. Ancient Peruvians fed maca to their armies to improve endurance and stamina.
Or how about if you go snorkeling? If you take maca, you can go down deeper in the water because your body is going to get better oxygenation.
Even if you’re just going on vacation with the kids, maca will help you keep up.
Athletes are starting to use maca. It helps you not only use oxygen better to improve performance, but it helps you produce stable energy for long periods of time, instead of just a temporary lift like you get from caffeine.
In one study, they gave trained male cyclists a 40-km time trial before and after 14 days of supplementation with maca. The cyclists were able to significantly improve on their initial time after taking maca.
Dr.Sears found that the locals in Peru eat the root as food now. They bake it and roast it... it’s considered a treat. But during the height of the Incan empire, maca was considered so powerful it was reserved exclusively for royalty. In fact, Incans would often pay their royals in maca.
When the Spanish colonized the Andes, their livestock was not doing very well until the locals suggested feeding the animals maca. The results were so dramatic that Spanish historians wrote about it in their journals.
But maca seems to have been forgotten by the rest of the world in the 400 or so years since then, even though it’s useful for other purposes, too. Peruvian medical doctors say that maca can regulate your hormones.
This means it may help to balance and improve levels of testosterone, estrogen, DHEA and many of the other hormones in your body that are critical for health, energy and stamina.
What makes maca so special?
It has lots of:
• cancer-fighting selenium,
• B vitamins,
• vitamin D, C, and
• great source of true, natural fiber.
• Maca contains beta sitosterol, one of the most powerful plant antioxidants.
• It also has a compound called MTCA that helps protect skin against UV radiation.
Uridine is a compound in maca that makes it special. Uridine seems to increase choline production without depleting your stores of acetylcholine like caffeine does. This helps increase brain performance.
There are different types of maca with different colors ranging from white to black. But the most common kinds used in Peru are the yellow, black, and red maca.
The leaves can be used in a salad, and in Peru they use the dried roots to make jam and fruit dishes.
You can add the dried and crushed maca powder to rum or other alcoholic drinks to give them a bit of a butterscotch flavor.
You can now get raw, organic maca root at specialty stores and on the web. They also sell maca powder extract. Be sure to get Peruvian maca, grown in high altitudes in the Andes Mountains, or it will not have the oxygen facilitating properties the root develops when it grows in its native environment.
You can also use maca extract is in a homemade fruit smoothie. Some frozen bananas, strawberries, ice, a little orange juice and some maca powder makes an incredible morning drink.
Maca supplements are also available as liquid extracts. You can mix them into your favorite drink, or put the drops directly on your tongue.
To supplement with maca extract in capsule form, you are recommended to take up to 500 mg per day.