Origin of maca
Maca(Lepidium meyenii walp) is a cruciferous vegetable that grows in the Peruvian Andes mainly on the heights of Junín (plateau bombom) between 13,000 and 15,000 feet (4100-4500 m), these extreme growing conditions favor the composition rich in nutrients and phytochemicals that make a super food. The part used is hipocolito that lies between the root and the stem and is therefore concentrating the best of the plant, its millennial long consumption demonstrates its unparalleled health benefits and general welfare of its consumers.
The maca root is an extraordinary food, an unequaled source of amino acids and it contains a complex of carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Also contains an impressive collection of bio-active compounds, many of which, if not all, count for its numerous benefits such as glucosinolates, alkaloids and sterols. It has high nutritional value due to its proteins e.g. polypeptids that make 11% of the dry root. It also contains 10% calcium, and significative amounts of Magnesium and Potassium and other minerals such as iron, silicium, iodine, manganese, zinc, Sodium, Copper.
The main vitamins found are thiamin, riboflavin and ascorbic acid. Its carbohydrates come from the cellulose and the lignin (polyholosids).
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Traditional use of maca
Traditionally, maca has been used to improve physical and mental endurance of the people of Andes, besides promoting fertility and overall health of those who consume the balancing the body positively from these traditional properties attributed to maca . The best scientific studies conducted to date, and our ancestral knowledge of their benefits make this safe for use.
- It is suggested it restores mental and physical balance,
- As an adjuvant to reduce stress
- Increases the body's own immunity,
- Gives vitality and improves endurance in physical work and sports.
Benefits of Maca
The main benefit of maca is that of an adaptogen , food that is going to balance our body according to the needs of each part, it acts mainly on the endocrine system, balancing our hormonal levels and promoting our comprehensive health naturally by means of their main phytochemicals, an alkaloid called macaina 1,2,3 and 4, its other benefits studied and tested by the ancestral knowledge are due to the presence of sterols, macronutrients, vitamins and minerals in large quantities.
Side effects and contraindications of maca
It would seem that maca is perfectly safe when used orally, properly.
Using when processed as gelatin, maca has been shown to be safe in apparently healthy adult males when administered orally up to 3 grams per day for 12 weeks of treatment, also after treatment for up to 4 months.
The experimental animal study has shown that the use of maca during pregnancy does not adversely affect the products functions, and conversely prevents embryonic loss.
It is speculated; popularly maca could have adverse effects on blood pressure.
In a study performed (not indicate the sample size) blood pressure at 4 and 12 weeks of treatment with maca was evaluated, it was observed that both systolic and diastolic pressures decreased significantly with treatment compared with placebo. However, these results do not necessarily indicate that maca possesses an anti-hypertensive effect; it needs additional studies in this area.
Moreover, to date there have been no reports that indicate that the use of maca as a food product has adverse reactions in healthy people. However, it has been found that in patients with metabolic syndrome, using maca rises diastolic blood pressure.
Still, it is recommended that any consumption is previously naturally dried .
In the literature i have found no reports about contraindications with the use of maca, and or possible drug interactions, however we need more clinical studies at different doses and at different treatment times to assert their safety, but their safe use is established by the traditional consumption spanning hundreds of years by the people of Junín.
Instructions for use of maca
Ethno medical Use
Traditionally, maca hypocotyl was not used fresh, they were naturally dried for consumption. For this, fresh hypocotyls are exposed to sunlight for 4-6 days until dry, then they are stored in cold and dark room until use.
Dried hypocotyls 108. can be stored for years for food purposes, hypocotyls are hydrated and boiled until they reach a smooth texture 109, the natives of the central Andes do not use fresh maca because it is considered harmful.
It is characteristic of macas distinctive strong flavor that makes it unacceptable for many people, this is an important aspect in the diet. It is rich in sugars, proteins, starch and minerals. In many cases this peculiar flavor can be disguised by other components used in the preparation of juices during cooking or mixed
The popular use of maca in the central Andes is more than 100 grams per day, equivalent to 1.4 g / kg 43.
This is an important factor to consider in future studies.
It is recommended to consume an average of 5 g per day of gelatinized maca powder capsules or tablets or 3 x 800 mg.
The products on the market contain 500 mg of maca in a tablet or capsule, the dose ranges between 1500-3000 mg / day. It is important to note the type of processing and type of maca extract, which could generate a difference from intestinal absorption and biological effect , expected at a certain concentration.
However, maca, being considered a nutraceutical, does not require a prescription, and the demonstrated safety of maca is easy to use.
It’s Still to be developed, and clinical studies to better standardize the extraction technique, the preparation of the final product, and the optimum dose to achieve the desired effect.
Maca premium products
Maca has different presentations and genotypes(red, black and yellow) according to their different processes, but has proven effective in each use.
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