Maca is a root vegetable grown at altitudes of 4,000 feet above sea level in the Bolivian Andes region. Also known as Lepidium Meyenii, the root of Maca has been used to enhance sexual drive and fertility, while the natives of Peru and Bolivia eat it as a vegetable. Although no harmful side effects are to be known from the consumption of Maca, its overdose might cause certain side effects.
Probable Side Effects of Maca
Enlargement of Thyroid gland and possible formation of Goiter : Maca contains glucosinolates, which can be very harmful for people having thyroidal problems. Any type of thyroidal conditions requires a diet which contains required contain of iodine. If maca is consumed along with a diet deficient in iodine, it can cause thyroid gland to enlarge, formation of goiter, and followed by certain other similar complications in thyroid patient. This problem rendering attribute to people having thyroid problem, is found in all the members of the Brassicacae family such as cabbage and broccoli. However, Maca root contains much more amount of glucosinolates than its other family members, which makes it significantly risky for people with thyroid conditions.
As per the research conducted by Cornell University in New York, the organic compounds, namely glucosinolates, found in Maca depicts anti thyroidal activity. As such, variety of minerals such as calcium and iron found in Maca can prevent thyroid medications from being absorbed in the system. Moreover, the high iodine content found in maca can not only aggravate the problems pertaining to thyroid but also obstruct the intake of antibiotic medicines in the body.
Problems in Gastrointestinal functioning : Maca is said to cause gastrointestinal disorders amounting to diarrhea, bloating, and similar intestinal issues, especially when consumed over and above the prescribed dosage. Many of the users of maca root have complained about its obstructing normal digestive functions, amounting to upset stomach. Maca is enriched with fiber content, which is found to be hard to digest due to exorbitant quantity of starch contained in it. Hence, many physicians have prescribed their patients in taking gelatinized maca as it has no starch content whatsoever.
Maca versus vices : Maca cannot mix well with vices or ill-habits taken up by certain people. In other words, it is of no use in taking maca as a health supplement or health food, when one cannot refrain from smoking or drinking. For a person consuming alcohol or smoking, it is advisable that he either stops his ill-habits completely, or stops taking maca. Likewise, one has to stop drinking coffee completely if he is taking maca as a food supplement. In a nutshell, one has to check his diet before consuming maca along side with it. It can be said that maca goes well with a well balanced diet, but could cause adverse side effects if the diet is not healthy, or the person indulges in certain ill addictions.
Maca may cause problems pertaining to blood pressure fluctuations : Consumption of maca in certain individuals is said to have caused disturbance in the central nervous system, leading to palpitation, hypertension, and lowering of blood pressure. On the other hand, in the 2008 journal of "Food and Chemical Toxicology", maca was found to increase diastolic blood pressure. However, it was noted that if taken along with flavonoid complex silymarin, the effects of increased blood pressure could be combated.
Maca can cause allergic reaction in some people : As per the Physicians Desktop reference, Maca can cause allergic reaction which could be in form of trouble in breathing, pattern chest pain, or even tightness experienced in chest or throat.. Allergic reaction can be seen also in the form of swelling on the skin, or itchiness on the skin. Hence, it is advisable to consult your physician before taking or consuming maca.
Maca can cause problems in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding : Although there are no clinical evidences of any side effects from the intake of Maca in pregnant women, it is advisable not to consume the same during pregnancy. Even though the adults may not experience any side effects from consuming Maca, it would be harmful for the infants who are in the fetus, or feeding on mother’s milk. It is therefore advisable to ask your physician before consuming of Maca or Maca supplements. Some women can also experience tenderness in the breast area after taking Maca supplements, which is why it is advisable to completely stop taking Maca supplements or lower the dosage to a considerable amount if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Maca health benefits are many but it also can cause a few side effects. But it is clear that the benefits far outweigh its side effects. Just make sure you take a few precautions and then can enjoy this amazing food without any issues.