Chris Kilham's† Vital Maca™
Vital Maca™ contains the top quality extracts MacaTonic™ and Suma extract, 2 energizing herbs used worldwide for their beneficial effects on vitality and sexual health.*
Introduction to Maca: Tradition and Science
Maca, also sometimes referred to as Peruvian Ginseng, is a hardy plant that was long ago discovered at high altitudes in the Andes Mountains of South America. Its Peruvian region of growth is known as "among the world's worst farmland," with sub-freezing temperatures and wind strong enough to knock people off their horses. Possibly the only crop in the world capable of growing at altitudes of up to 14,500 feet above sea level, maca was domesticated by the Incas as early as 1600 B.C.
On nutritional and biochemical scales, maca has a diverse and robust profile. Amongst its valued components are amino acids, fatty acids (such as linoleic and oleic acid), sitosterols, isothiocyanates, saponins, tannins, several minerals (including calcium, iron, and zinc), Vitamin C, and several B vitamins. Although the variety of nutrients found in maca are important for the local population, the real interest in maca abroad is due to the potential benefits of the bioactive compounds, such as the glucosinolates (including their derived isothiocyanates and p-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate). Isothiocyanates are common in the Brassicaceae family of plants, which includes the important cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, turnips, and radishes; in fact, dried maca looks quite like dried turnips or radishes. It has been suggested that the p-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanates found in maca is in part responsible for some of its traditional health (especially aphrodisiac) applications.
In addition to holding great value as a dietary staple due to its nutritional value, maca also is prized for its traditional health-promoting uses. It has been used for centuries to enhance fertility in humans and animals—a secret that the Spanish learned of in their conquest of South America.
Wide-ranging traditional Peruvian health applications of maca in humans are both specific and generalized; Maca has been used for energy, stamina, and endurance—but also to strengthen the blood, to enhance memory, to reduce stress, and to support the immune, digestive, respiratory, and reproductive systems. Additionally, it has been valued as a tonic for postmenopausal women and in folklore as an aphrodisiac that improves sexual drive and female fertility (both of which can be impaired at high elevations, as in the Andes).*
The Science Behind Maca
In 2000, results from a study of mice revealed for the first time that benefits claimed in folklore had some credence: two maca extracts significantly enhanced the libido and mating performance of normal mice. The following year, a human study was published, with results that demonstrated superior semen parameters in men receiving maca tablets for 4 months. In 2002, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled 12-week parallel trial in healthy men aged 21–56 years was published. Sexual desire improved in the men administered maca tablets, independently of changes in mood or blood hormone levels (testosterone levels did not change when using maca). In 2008, interesting results were also seen in a preliminary study of 14 postmenopausal women. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial, maca supplementation for 6 weeks did not exert an estrogenic effect, yet it appeared to be useful in supporting a positive mental attitude towards sexual activity, compared to placebo. Results from a 2010 meta-analysis that included yet more human studies (of both men and women) suggested that maca positively influences sexual health; however, further research is warranted in these areas.
Maca is traditionally used as an adaptogen—a plant known to influence the body's response to physical, biochemical, and psychological stressors. In modern times, its role as an adaptogen is no less useful than 2,000 years ago.*
Suma - "For All Things"
Suma is the dried root of a ground vine that grows in tropical rain forests of South America. It was introduced to this country as "Brazilian Ginseng" in order to capitalize on ginseng's reputation. Suma is known as Para Toda which means "for all things," since the indigenous peoples of the Amazon region have used the root of Suma for generations as an energy and rejuvenating tonic. Suma also supports a normal, healthy libido. Taking Suma daily enhances energy levels.*
† Compensated Spokesperson