Brad King is a best-selling author, an award-winning public speaker and one of Canada’s most respected natural health experts. He frequently appears on radio and television shows, including Breakfast Television, Balance TV, Cityline and Canada AM, and is regularly published in magazines and newspapers. I recently interviewed Brad on the topic of maca, a root vegetable native to Peru with a growing reputation for help with stress, energy and sex drive.
Jason Sebeslav: Brad, in your book Beer Belly Blues, you list maca among the “ultimate nutrients” to help middle-aged men deal with symptoms of “andropause,” including lower sex drive and even erectile dysfunction. Is maca one of the best supplements in this regard?
Brad King: Yes it is. Maca may be one of the most powerful natural libido enhancers around. In men, maca seems to not only support a greater desire for sex, but also more frequent and stronger erections, which seem to last longer. In one study, researchers from the University of Peru reported that men’s sexual desire increased after only eight to 12 weeks of a daily dose equivalent to two of my Ultimate Maca Energy capsules. Maca also seems to have libido-boosting effects for women and we get great testimonials on a regular basis. One of our own sales managers recently summed it up quite nicely when she said, “I am in between relationships at the moment, so I had no choice but to go off of our maca.” Point taken!
JS: Yes, when maca first appeared on our shelves, it was in the “men’s section.” But now we have more and more women using it, too. Why the shift?
BK: Women know when their hormone levels are out-of-whack and most of them will do anything to get them back on track. This is really where maca shines for women, by helping to restore healthy hormone fidelity or that delicate balance that is often missing as women get older, gain more weight and experience higher stress in their lives. Various natural chemicals in maca—called alkaloids—are believed to help stimulate the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to better balance the entire hormonal system.
JS: I was surprised to learn that the maca root contains almost 60 different phytonutrients. Would you consider it one of the richest “superfoods” available?
BK: Yes, it is one of the richest sources of beneficial nutrients. Maca is actually part of the turnip and broccoli family and it grows at about 14,000 feet above sea level—making it the highest growing food plant in the world. Due to this incredible altitude, it has no alternative but to become as hardy as possible for its own survival. This is why it is so incredibly nutrient-dense.
JS: A book I was reading called The Power of Maca points to your products as the top choice, but there are quite a few maca products available now. How do we know we’re getting a high-quality product?
BK: That’s the million dollar question! First of all, look for certified organic, fair-trade maca derived from Peru. Peru sets the standard for maca quality. Also, try to look for maca that has been traditionally air-dried in the sun where it grows. So the drying period should be six to eight weeks, as opposed to fast drying methods that use high heat and take between four and five hours. The air-dried maca I use in my Ultimate Maca Energy product has high levels of isothiocyanates, a class of phytonutrients known for their hormone-balancing properties.
JS: You call your product “Ultimate Maca Energy.” How does maca provide energy?
BK: For one, by supplying much-needed and often deficient micronutrients to help run our biochemistry more efficiently. But also by supporting adrenal function (to help adapt to stress), supporting hormone function and by helping the thyroid gland work better. The thyroid controls our overall metabolic rate, or how well we produce energy.
JS: This sounds similar to ginseng. Would you put maca in the same category?
BK: Maca is not ginseng, even though it is sometimes referred to as “Peruvian ginseng.” Having said this, the two nutrients are comparable because what ginseng does for the mind, maca does for the body.
JS: Brad, you have a reputation for doing careful, intensive research on every ingredient in your line of products. Do you recall what was it about maca that first interested you? And are there other benefits we haven’t covered?
BK: What really got my attention with maca was the way it helps the body deal with excessive stress. I’ve been researching the role stress plays on the aging process for years. Maca is able to strengthen the body’s ability to handle daily stress, so in effect it’s an anti-aging substance. There are almost too many health benefits to list for maca, when you consider all of the amazing research! In addition to what we mentioned, maca has also been shown to improve mental clarity and memory, increase overall physical and emotional well-being, slow biological aging—and the list goes on.
Jason Sebeslav is the owner of The Peanut Mill Natural Foods Market, a full-service health and wellness store in St. Catharines. He has worked in the editorial department of alive magazine and his articles have appeared in many natural health publications. For more information about the store, visit www.thepeanutmill.com.
The approaches described in this publication are not offered as cures, prescriptions, diagnosis, or a means of diagnosis to different conditions. The Publishers assume no responsibility in the correct or incorrect use of this information as a form of treatment without the approval of your doctor.