I’ve been writing and researching health and fitness for a decade now, and I’m always excited to hear about a new herb or supplement that can help people be their best. I have to temper my excitement, though, because sometimes the science just doesn’t support the hype. I learned this lesson with Maca root and testosterone, years ago.
It’s been a while since I first researched this traditional medicine, so I made sure to check the research databases for the latest findings, and without further ado, here’s what I’ve learned about the plant some call Peruvian Ginseng and Testosterone health.
What You Need to Know
Positive Performance Results
Finding the right Testosterone booster is all about knowing what you want out of your body. Some men want more lean muscle gains, some want the fat-shredding metabolism of their youth. The best products can get you some or even all of those results, depending on your testosterone health.
In our case here with Maca, let’s be honest, some men are primarily concerned with their performance in the bedroom. And for that, Maca has been almost universally effective in trial settings. In fact, Maca has been shown to be so effective in stimulating arousal and performance, that it has even helped men suffering from issues related to their antidepressant and anti-anxiety meds.
Taking it a step further, one study pitted cyclists against each other in 40 km time trials, with one group taking Maca root, the other taking a placebo. Additionally, they asked the men to fill out a questionnaire regarding sexual health. The Maca group had significantly better outcomes in the bedroom, and marginally better results in the time trials.
But nearly every positive study of Maca that I’ve investigated had the same caveat–that more study and research is needed because the mechanisms of performance were not known.
What’s Really Going On?
To tell the truth, scientists aren’t exactly sure. Part of the problem is that whenever researchers take actual Testosterone readings during Maca trials, there’s no change in hormone levels. No one has contradicted the findings that Maca does work for performance, but they’re not finding more testosterone, either.
One group of researchers using laboratory animals has offered a glimmer of hope for the Maca believers. They found that feeding rats a hydroalcoholic extract of Maca root did stimulate testosterone production in the Leydig cells. (Leydig cells are the “testosterone factories” in men, located in the testes.)
It’s not clear from the previous studies that did not find testosterone increases what their extraction method for the Maca was. Research on other traditional plant medicines has shown that hydroalcoholic extraction can be more beneficial than other methods. But if the other studies also used this method, then we’re back to a stalemate.
We have to call this one a draw, at this point. There is no evidence that Maca increases testosterone in men, but there is some laboratory evidence that it does so in other mammalian males. We also can’t ignore the performance benefits of Maca, and those benefits are being caused by something.
What we know for sure is that there are no detrimental effects to testosterone from Maca. Meaning if your preferred T-Booster has Maca, and you’d like some additional results in the bedroom, then it’s a go for you. If you don’t need these results, however, or if you’re more concerned with every ingredient in your supplement having a clear T-Boosting effect, then you might want to shop on.