Botanical Nutrition

by Rob Seeman official blogger of the health food movement

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How are the fish doing in Peru?

happy_cartoon_fish.32862038_stdApparently they are doing very well!  In a report that would make the Marine Stewardship Council proud -Peru’s Production Ministry has announced that their stocks of anchovies (the small fish with a huge amount of Omega-3 efa’s) have rebounded.

The new anchovy quotas have just been announced from Peru.  Biomass levels are at their highest since 1995, with a total quota of 2.05 million tons for the May-July fishing season.

This has been a concern, as overfishing and irresponsible practices had in the past plaqued the region.  Peru has, by many accounts, been a model of pro-active sustainability – working diligently with industry and academia to correct the problems in their environment.  The results, as you can read, have been a big success.

Thank goodness Proctor & Gamble and Monsanto haven’t ruined the entire natural world just yet.


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High-Altitude Peruvian Maca Higher in Actives than Differently Cultivated Maca

I once had a teacher who liked to point out that almost everything in life is a “multi-variable equation”.  Few things exist in isolation. We can choose to consider only a limited set of variables, but we have to always consider that there may be many more factors at work than we can know.

Plants are no exception, and research continually reminds us of how dynamic plants truly are.  In any given metabolic process, many different variables exist.  Changing just one or a few of them can make great differences in the end yield.


A recent study from the Czech Republic validates this idea, to me, by demonstrating that Maca root grown in high altitudes in Peru is higher in certain actives than those cultivated in a totally different climate, and in a greenhouse.

In this study done in association with the Czech University of Life Sciences, researchers found that Maca cultivated in the Czech Republic in various environments was lower in macamides.  The researchers observed ” The study proved that maca produced much less macamides (quality markers of maca products) under mild climatic conditions of the Czech Republic then in its original environment, wind-blown rocky areas in high plateau of Peru (Kilham, 2000).”

They also observed that the storage organ of the plant was much smaller, and the plants grown in a greenhouse were less vital than those grown in a field.

So, one could observe that for Maca, life is not simple.  If we want the best Maca with the most biological activity, we will have to look to the ancient traditions which have evolved around this plant in its natural home in Peru.  Factors such as altitude, climate and others have a great effect on growth process.  We always have to consider, however, that there may be many other unseen forces at work as well.  Life is almost always a ‘multi-variable equation.’