Nail fungus which is also known as onychomycosis is a nail disorder in which one or more toenails or fingernails get infected with fungal organisms. This results in the yellowing or discoloration of the nail as the fungus penetrates deeper into the tissues. Nail fungus can be painful and in some cases, this may lead to a separation of the nail from the nail bed. This is a condition known as onycholysis.
Cause of the Infection
Fungal infections are usually caused by microscopic fungi as well as yeasts and molds. These microorganisms are found naturally in the environment. They often thrive in a warm and moist environment. This is why toenails are more susceptible than fingernails because of the conducive environment inside the shoes.
There are several factors that result in the spread of the fungus. These include being of advanced age, having diabetes, a blood distribution condition, or a weakened immune system. Walking barefoot in public areas that are often damp like swimming pools and locker rooms may also make one more susceptible to fungus, same as sharing personal items like nail clippers and towels.
Symptoms and Signs
At first, a nail fungal infection won’t show any symptoms. Any of the following symptoms may appear once the infection becomes worse: nail discoloration, nail thickening and distortion, pain and discomfort from the infected nail, and brittle and crumbly nails. In some cases, the surrounding skin may become infected and become swollen, and itchy.
Once you notice symptoms, it is wise to consult with your physician. After a diagnosis, the doctor usually prescribes an oral antifungal, which must be taken for months. An alternative nail fungus treatment is a topical antifungal that can be applied directly to the nail. Combination therapy may also be suggested by the physician. For severe cases, the doctor may recommend nail removal surgery.
1About the Maca Root
The maca root is also called Peruvian ginseng and its scientific name lepidium meyenii. It is a tuber that belongs to the same plant family as parsnip, watercress, and cabbage. It is known to contain many medicinal properties which are known to increase the body’s energy levels and libido. The maca root is also considered a superfood since it is rich in essential fatty acids and fiber. In general, it is highly nutritious when consumed and this may result in having improved vigor and energy.
The maca root has many names which include maca-maca, ayak willku, maino, and ayak chichira. It is also called Peruvian ginseng, which can be misleading since maca is a veggie while ginseng is a herb. These two have a reputation for providing large boosts of energy, but this claim requires more studies.
Maca looks like a cross between a potato and white radish. It grows naturally in the frigid ground of the Andes mountains in Peru which are thousands of feet above sea level. It tastes nutty and butterscotchy. The maca root comes from the mustard plant family, which is known for being a nutritional powerhouse.
People in the Andes have cultivated maca for thousands of years already. These people used the root both as a food supplement and as a traditional medicine for almost all medical conditions from fragile bones, and fertility problems, to poor memory. In recent years, maca has been seen more often on many health food shelves.
Peruvians often naturally dry maca and boil it then drink the juice made. Maca is also sold as a supplement powder that can be added to foods and drinks. They may also come in gel caps.
You can’t find a standard dose for any maca supplement. Maca supplements vary widely in terms of their quality and active ingredients. Currently, there’s no sufficient research that will determine how much maca is safe and how much of it you need to benefit most from it.
In general, maca is considered safe as a food and as a supplement for as long as you don’t take more than 3 grams daily for a period of up to 4 months. More tests are required to know the dose that can harm pregnant and breastfeeding women, children, and individuals who have liver and kidney problems.
As an Antifungal and Antimicrobial
The maca extract is known for having antifungal activity. This property is attributed to the presence of imidazole alkaloids in the extract which is chemically similar to the antifungal azoles.
Other Health Benefits
Maca root has several health benefits which include the following:
Improves energy and endurance
Bodybuilders and athletes have been using maca root as a supplement to improve one’s energy level and endurance. A 2009 pilot study revealed that the use of maca extract for 14 days improved the performance of male cyclists in a 40-km time trial. The performance improvement is not that huge, but it was shown that the maca extract enhanced the libido in the male participants. More research is needed to confirm this.
Maca root is also used widely to increase fertility, especially in men. A 2016 review showed some evidence that the maca root is capable of increasing semen quality in fertile and infertile men.
Improving one’s mood
Maca possesses flavonoids, which are known to improve mood and lessen anxiety. A study involving 45 postmenopausal women that maca may reduce depression and anxiety. Moreover, a 2015 study also showed that maca could reduce the symptoms of depression in Chinese postmenopausal women.
Reduces blood pressure
It is possible also for the maca root to help in improving one’s blood pressure. A 2015 study also established that 3.3g of maca each day for 12 weeks reduced blood pressure among Chinese postmenopausal women.
Reduces sun damage
An older study using an animal model revealed that maca has the ability to protect the skin from UV rays. An additional animal study in 2011 showed that extracts coming from maca leaves may prevent the formation of sunburn cells.
Fights off free radicals
The maca root can promote antioxidants like glutathione and superoxide dismutase in the body. Antioxidants help get rid of free radicals that are known to damage body cells. Some people believe that antioxidants can help prevent certain medical conditions like cancer and heart disease.