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So this is the year you’re going to improve your health with supplements.
Congrats – you’re making a great decision that will benefit you for years to come!
But there’s just one problem…
You’ve got no clue which one to use.
Not to worry though – I’m here to help you decide.
In my Supplement Comparison Series, I put 2 supplements against each other and compare their benefits, drawbacks, price and much, much more.
In this piece, we’ll dive deep into Maca vs Spirulina.
Let’s get going.
What is Maca?
Maca (Lepidum Meveni) is an ancient vegetable that’s been grown as a root crop for thousands of years.
Appearance-wise, Maca looks similar to the everyday turnip and can grow in a variety of colors, such as black, purple and yellow.
Although Maca is mainly cultivated in the Andes mountain range, it grows in many countries including Peru, Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina.
And despite only recently spiking in popularity, Maca has been used since the days of the Inca warriors.
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that’s considered one of the oldest life forms on planet Earth.
Interestingly, Spirulina helped produce the Earth’s oxygen billions of years ago, which allowed the originating life forms to develop.
And today, many people use Spirulina for its rich nutrient content and its health promoting properties.
Benefits of Maca
Maca may improve Menopause symptoms
After a woman’s went a full year without a menstruation, she’s officially diagnosed with Menopause.
Although this is a natural part of life for women, it sometimes results in a few unwanted symptoms like:
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Vaginal dryness
- Sleep difficulties
If you’re troubled by these symptoms during Menopause, then Maca be able help as a review of 4 studies found that it can help relieve these symptoms.
Maca may boost libido
Lots of adults face a reduced appetite for sex as they age.
In fact, research shows that up to 52% of menopausal women in the US experience low sex drive.
As a result, many people look towards the use of supplements to help revive their sexual appetite.
While most supplements have disappointed on this front, Maca’s effectiveness has been backed up by research.
In one study, men took either Maca or a placebo over 12 weeks.
After 8 weeks, the Maca users reported a significant improvement in sexual desire.
Maca is an excellent source of nutrients
Maca is a rich in many vital minerals and vitamins.
In fact, just 1 Oz of Maca root powder contains:
- Iron: 23% of the RDI
- Copper: 85% of the RDI
- Potassium: 16% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 133% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 15% of the RDI
- Manganese: 10% of the RDI
Maca’s also a great source of many healthy plant compounds, like glucosinolates and polyphenols.
Maca may protect the skin from UV radiation
The sun emits UV rays which can damage exposed skin.
Over time, this damage can lead to wrinkles and even increase your risk of skin cancer.
Research suggests that Maca extract applied to the skin can help protect you from this damage.
But this protective effect has only been shown when Maca’s applied to the skin – NOT when taken by mouth.
Benefits of Spirulina
Spirulina may help reduce blood pressure
Many serious diseases are linked to high blood pressure, including:
- Heart attacks
- Kidney disease
If you want to avoid high blood pressure, then Spirulina may be helpful.
A study of 36 people looked at how Spirulina affects blood pressure and cholesterol.
The subjects supplemented with 4.5g of Spirulina each day for 6 weeks, and to make the study fair, they ate their normal diet.
After 6 weeks, the results showed that their blood pressure and cholesterol levels were lowered.
Spirulina is nutrient-rich
Like with Maca, many people supplement with Spirulina to boost their nutrient intake.
A tablespoon of dried Spirulina powder contains:
- Iron: 11% of the RDA
- Copper: 21% of the RDA
- Vitamin B1: 11% of the RDA
- Vitamin B2: 15% of the RDA
- Vitamin B3: 4% of the RDA
Spirulina also contains a fair amount of manganese, magnesium, potassium and other important nutrients.
Spirulina may improve muscular endurance
Although relatively unheard of in the fitness industry, Spirulina is a great supplement for athletes.
In a study of 9 males, some took 6g of daily Spirulina and others took 6g of a daily placebo over the course of 4 weeks.
During a treadmill test, the Spirulina subjects fatigued later than the placebo subjects.
In another study, 16 students took daily Spirulina for 3 weeks.
The study investigated how Spirulina affected their endurance, so the subjects exercised on a treadmill before and after taking Spirulina.
As expected, the students had improved stamina after taking Spirulina.
Spirulina may help against Anemia
There are many forms of Anemia, but one of the most common forms is caused by a reduction in hemoglobin.
(Hemoglobin transports oxygen around the body to be used for energy.)
When you have low hemoglobin levels, you’ll experience fatigue and tiredness since your cells will be receiving less oxygen.
According to research, Spirulina can increase levels of hemoglobin in Anemia patients.
Maca is usually sold in capsules or as a powder.
Here are some standard prices for these:
- Powder: $27 for 1 lb
- Capsules: $13 for 100
Spirulina is generally sold in tablets or as a powder.
Typical prices for these are:
- Tablets: $7 for 100
- Powder: $18 for 1 lb
Maca Side Effects
Most people use Maca with minimal fuss, but Peruvian natives advise against boiling fresh Maca root, as it may have adverse effects.
Also, people with thyroid issues should use Maca with caution as it contains goitrogens, which may interfere with thyroid gland function.
Spirulina Side Effects
Although Spirulina is generally safe to supplement with, the following side effects have been reported in some cases:
- Muscle pain
- Allergic reactions
The following people SHOULD NOT supplement with Spirulina:
- Gout sufferers
- People with Kidney Stones
- Pregnant or nursing women
- People with a thyroid condition
- Those with Phenlyketonuria (PKU)
- People with an autoimmune disorder
- People allergic to seafood, seaweed or sea vegetables
My Maca Recommendation: The Maca Team Organic Black Maca
A solid Black Maca supplement made by a team of Maca enthusiasts.
You’ll do well to source a better Maca supplement than this beauty.
What I like about it
A great feature of this Maca is that the Maca root has been pre-cooked.
This makes it much easier for your body to digest and use, making it more effective.
Also, the fact this supplement is made by Maca specialists is pretty epic.
Well, unlike the “big brands”, it’s made by people who have a real love and passion for Maca and solely focus on making the best Maca supplement available.
Swallowing 1 capsule is the norm.
Swallowing 3 capsules is meh…
Swallowing 8 CAPSULES is… I mean… what gives?
(Yep, the recommended serving size is 8 capsules. Don’t ask why…)
My Spirulina Recommendation: NOW Organic Spirulina Powder
A fine organic Spirulina supplement from a top, top brand.
NOW Organic Spirulina Powder gets the gold star.
What I like about it
If you ever ask me to name my favorite supplement brand, NOW would be in with a shout.
What I love about NOW is that their entire manufacturing process is analyzed for quality purposes.
This is one of many reasons why they’re among the most trusted supplement brands globally.
Also, the fact their Spirulina powder is organic means you don’t have to worry over any nasty pesticides or fertilizers.
Just good ol’ Spirulina that’s been grown how nature intended.
Each tub contains a massive 4 pounds of Spirulina powder.
While this can be a good thing, some people may want to try out a smaller tub to see if they like it first.
(As far as I’m aware, NOW only sell 4 pound tubs of Spirulina powder right now.)
Thanks a ton for sticking to the end of this Maca vs Spirulina breakdown with me.
These are 2 nutritional powerhouses with lots of benefits, and either would make a great choice.
But if you’re still on the fence, then here’s how I’d make my decision:
You might prefer Maca if:
- You want to boost your libido
- You have annoying menopause symptoms
You might prefer Spirulina if:
- You want to improve your stamina
- You want to lower your blood pressure
- You want to increase your hemoglobin levels
Thanks again, and I’ll see you in the next one.