The medicinal herb Maca (Lepidium meyenii) naturally supports fertility in a variety of ways; it provides great nourishment to the body and is a fertility superfood that we feel can benefit most men and women. How it works within the body is commonly misunderstood and its safety is often questioned. I’m here to explain a safety warning you may see on some product labels and link you to more information about this amazing root.
Q. I was wondering if you have any information on why the state of California says that Maca may contain a chemical known to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.
A: The warning on Maca products, that also appears on many vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements, is required by the state of California in order for Maca to be sold there. It is required on labels because of “Proposition 65” (Prop 65 or Cal Prop 65), which passed in California in 1986. Prop 65 was originally designed to ensure safe drinking water, but today its scope has gone much farther to include elements from the soil in foods.
Prop 65 regulates substances believed to be chemicals and contaminants. Over eight hundred chemicals are on the list. In theory, this could be a great thing, but today the warnings have been taken way out of context.
I think one of the easiest explanations of how out-of-control the warning is, is explained by one organic superfoods retailer Divine Organics. They share, “Under Cal Prop 65, the State of California has determined a safety zone for these chemicals. This was calculated by identifying the level of exposure that has been shown to have no observable effect and then dividing that level by 1,000, to provide a very large margin of safety. This margin has been proven in various cases to be calculated so low, that it has conflicted when the minerals are occurring naturally in the soil. California is the only state that requires warning labels at this low of a level.”
Something very important to know is that herbs, like Maca, and most foods contain certain amounts of naturally-occurring trace minerals because they grow in the ground. The mineral in question in Maca is lead.
Today, most supplement and herbal product manufacturers perform many tests on their products, including metal testing to make sure their products do not contain unsafe levels of heavy metals or chemicals. This is especially true of manufacturers that follow Good Manufacturing Practices, are GMP-certified and those labeled USDA organic. Choosing to participate in the rigorous testing for either certification proves a company’s commitment to safety and quality.
I and many on our team have used Maca on and off for many years with no concern. It is one of the safest and best endocrine/fertility tonics available. It’s also widely consumed as a food in Peru without ill effect.
Maca is a fertility super food that contains many different micronutrients and has been shown to nourish the endocrine and immune systems, to and support a healthy stress response in the body. Fertilica Maca is considered foundational for sperm and egg health support, energy and libido, and for those experiencing high stress levels. It is for both men and women.
I hope this is reassuring!
- CALIFORNIA PROP 65 WARNING: Why is it on my Superfood? (2014, November 24). Retrieved from: http://divineorganics.com/working/california-prop-65-warning-why-is-it-on-my-superfood/
- Personal Communication: Sarah Abernathy, CH