Welcome to the fourth segment in our ongoing series of alphabet-driven reviews and summaries of popular nutritional supplements, vitamins, and herbs deemed useful in providing health benefits that can enhance our quality of life. So far we have gone through A, B, and C in our series – yes, we have literally covered the ABC's up until this point. Going forward, we will hop around in the alphabet to bring you more of these product summaries, and today we land on the letter ‘M' in providing a long list of benefits sure to ‘M-press' you:
- Maca (also available as Raw Maca). Much like other herbs – such as cayenne – that provide health benefits and are also used in cooking, maca pulls double duty. Per medicalnewstoday.com, maca is a cruciferous vegetable, a Peruvian plant, grown in the Andes mountains and used in cooking to provide an earthy flavor. Several of its reported benefits are related to sexual function, such as increasing libido. Such a boost was demonstrated in a study some years back in which male participants were given 1.5-3 grams of maca or a placebo. Those given the maca showed a noticeable increase of libido. Maca's other potential benefits include boosting energy and endurance for athletes, alleviating menopause symptoms, enhancing mood as well as memory and learning, and decreasing high blood pressure.
- Magnesium. This mineral is very important to you health. How important? Consider this: every cell in your body has magnesium in it, and those cells need it in order to perform their respective roles. More than half of the magnesium contained in your body is a part of bone, per healthline.com. It is involved in more than 600 of your bodily functions, among them the manufacture of energy, creation of protein, muscle movements, and controlling your nervous system.
- Malic acid (found in Wonder Labs' MalicMax). Classified as an alpha-hydroxy acid, per verywellhealth.com, malic acid is extracted from fruits such as apples and pears, and is best known for its use in skin-care products. In fact, research has shown it to have several sin-related benefits such as removing dead skin cells to help diminish the signs of aging while also assisting in treating acne and improving skin hydration. In supplement form, malic acid can bolster athletic performance and is sometimes used in tandem with creatine supplements to enhance the body's production of creatine.
- Manganese. This trace mineral is a key component for the health of your body, although a little goes a long way; hence, you don't need large amounts of it. Per medicalnewstoday.com, manganese is involved in numerous bodily functions. These include the metabolism of amino acids, cholesterol, and carbohydrates and has a supporting role in the formation of bone, the clotting of blood, and reducing inflammation. Your body doesn't manufacture manganese on its own, but it is readily available as a nutritional supplement and can be found naturally in many foods.
- Melatonin. Per webmd.com, this hormone produced by the pea-sized pineal gland inside your body aids you by telling your body when it's time to sleep and when it's the right time to wake up. A natural, biological alarm clock. Melatonin is a sleep aid in that it can help people who are experiencing insomnia, characterized by problems falling sleep and remaining asleep. Melatonin can help with all that – help you fall asleep and stay asleep more efficiently, to help insure you get the right amount of sleep you need, usually seven to eight hours. Available in supplement form, melatonin can also help workers whose work schedules are often disrupted.
- Methionine. As an amino acid, methionine is among the substances in our bodies charged to create proteins. Per rxlist.com, meat, fish, and dairy products count methionine among their ingredients, and it plays a key part in numerous cell functions. Among the other beneficial properties methionine has are preventing liver damage in the case of acetaminophen poisoning, bolstering the acidity of urine, and aiding in the healing of wounds. It also comes in handy treating depression, alcoholism, allergies, and asthma, among other health-related conditions.
- Milk thistle. No, you won't find actual dairy milk in milk thistle; it gets its name for the white veins on its large leaves, per mayoclinic.org What milk thistle does contain is silymarin, a flavonoid extracted from the plant's seeds and which is reported to possess antioxidant properties. Milk thistle's best-known use is for treating an assortment of liver conditions such as cirrhosis and hepatitis C. It has also shown effectiveness in dealing with diabetes (by lowering elevated blood pressure) and indigestion.