7 Top Health Benefits of Maca

Maca powder

Maca, a root that belongs to the radish family, is most commonly available in powder form. Grown in the mountains of Peru, it has been called “Peruvian ginseng.” Maca’s benefits have been long valued, and has recently been popularized as a supplement and food ingredient. 

There are no serious known side effects of maca, but like any other supplement it should not be taken in large amounts. When you first start using maca, it’s best to begin by taking smaller amounts and building up; even 1/2 teaspoon is a good place to start. And at the other end, 1 tablespoons (of the powder) is an average daily dose. Rotating a few days on and a few days off is often recommended. Taking too much can lead to adverse effects and throw your hormones out of whack. If you experience this, you should take less or wean yourself off completely.

Looking for maca? Amazon.com carries many brands; see how other consumers rate the various brands by browsing this page on maca powder.

Read more about maca’s illustrious history and more of its benefits in Maca — Ancient Peruvian Superfood.

Vegan no-bake coconut Maca-roonsMaca is good in smoothies, salads, drinks, cooked foods, and juices. A couple of easy and tasty ways to use it: Our easy No-Bake Vegan Cocoa Maca-roons; and two delicious smoothies — Mocha Maca Banana Smoothie and Strawberry-Vanilla Maca Smoothie.

Don’t add it to anything that’s very hot because it will lose all its benefits. The taste can be a bit odd at first but it gets more tolerable and it depends on what you mix it with. Its flavor has been described as “malted” or like toasted oats. Smoothies, puddings, raw sweets, and juices seem to be the best ways to use maca powder.

Superfood kitchen by Julie MorrisPlease be aware that other than the nutritional benefits provided by the vitamins and minerals, the other benefits are anecdotal, as maca has not been formally studied.

A great resource that includes a lot of information on maca, as well as how to incorporate it into recipes, is Superfood Kitchen* by Julie Morris. This beautiful book also includes lots of others superfoods in addition to maca, including berries, seeds, grasses, green leafy veggies, and more.

And if you’d like to compare various brands of maca, you can do so by exploring this page on Amazon.com.

1. Vitamins
Maca is rich in vitamin B vitamins, C, and E. It provides plenty of calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids.

2. Sexual function
Maca is widely used to promote sexual function of both men and women. It serves as a boost to your libido and increases endurance. At the same time it balances your hormones and increases fertility.

3. Women’s health and mood
Maca relieves menstrual issues and menopause. It alleviates cramps, body pain, hot flashes, anxiety, mood swings, and depression. If you are pregnant or lactating you should avoid taking maca.

Maca powder and root4. Energy
Within days of using maca your energy level may increase. It is also known for increasing stamina. Many athletes take maca for peak performance. If you find yourself tired most of the time, experiment with maca to see if it helps. Just a small amount could be exactly what you need for a boost!

5. General health
Maca helps your overall health in a number of ways. It supplies iron and helps restore red blood cells, which aids anemia and cardiovascular diseases. Maca keeps your bones and teeth healthy and allows you to heal from wounds more quickly. When used in conjunction with a good workout regime you will notice an increase in muscle mass.

But be very cautious if you have a cancer related to hormones like testicular and ovarian, among others. If you have liver issues or high blood pressure you should ask your doctor before taking maca.

6. Skin
Many people take maca for skin issues, as for some people it helps to clear acne and blemishes. Another benefit for your skin is that is decreases sensitivity. In hot or cold weather, maca may help your skin withstand extreme temperatures.

7. Mood balance
If you find yourself overcome with anxiety, stress, depression or mood swings, maca may help alleviate these symptoms, though of the evidence is anecdotal. Some have reported an increase in mental energy and focus.

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Plant power by Nava Atlas - coverBalance your use of superfoods like maca with a healthy plant-based diet filled with veggies, fruits, beans, grains, nuts, seeds and other whole Foods. Plant Power: Transform Your Kitchen, Plate, and Life with More than 150 Fresh and Flavorful Vegan Recipes* delivers a beautiful must-have guide with more than 150 delicious and versatile plant-based recipes for every day of the year. Eating vegan doesn’t have to be about sacrifice and substitutions. With Plant Power, Nava Atlas celebrates the bounty of natural foods and teaches everyone—from committed vegans to those who just want more plants in their diet—how to implement a plant-based approach to their lives—easily, practically, and joyfully, every day. Available on Sept. 2, 2014, wherever books are sold.

*This post contains affiliate links. If the product is purchased by linking through this review, VegKitchen receives a modest commission, which helps maintain our site and helps it to continue growing!

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224 comments on “7 Top Health Benefits of Maca

  1. Linda

    I bought the Healthworks Organic Raw Maca, and then read in the Amazon reviews to NOT eat it raw and to bake it first. That raw maca can cause severe stomach cramping. Your article says NOT to heat it hot because it will lose all its benefits. Any advice? Thank you!

  2. Jaye

    I read that maca root will help with balancing your hormones and send fat to areas of the body like your hips, thighs, and buttocks, is this true?

  3. Nancy

    Just started taking Maca Red in the raw form. I am reading some comments about weight gain? Does anyone have experience with weight gain or loss while taking Maca?

  4. margarita

    I bought the Healthworks Organic Raw Maca. I’ve been taking it on my milk shakes cause the taste but I can say that I’ve been feeling more energy since that. I also noticed my skin is now better even without make up thanks for that!
    About the gain weight! I do not know so much but it could be only if you do not exercise yourself. I workout everyday but can’t say I’m gainig neither loosing any weight. I recommend mixed up with other super food depending what are you looking for for example: for energy boost I mixed it with chia seed, hemp seeds or wheat.
    for regulate my stomach: with flax seeds

  5. Jeremy

    I Just Started taking Maca Today and I Am Already Starting To See The Benifts. I Take One pill In The Morning And One Pill Before Bed. I’ll Update You In A Week To Let You Know My Results. :-)

  6. Dana

    I’ve taken Gaia brand for months now, no weight gain,in fact I lost 5 lbs,but I work out and am very active at 55.More energy, sleeping better, I have not seen redistribution of fat?I doubt it does that..Watch what you put in your mouth, usually why folks gain weight.over all,I think its worth taking along with a good Whole Food vitamen.

  7. Barbara

    I just bought maca capsules cause I couldn’t find powder. Is this ok and how many should I take ? Bottle says 1 twice a day

  8. Lori

    I have been taking Maca Root in the capsule form for the past 3 months , it is amazing for menapause, that is why I take it ….

  9. Donna

    In 1995, after giving birth, I sufferred from CHRONIC hives for 1 full year (terrible facial swellings, welts that itched like crazy all over my face and body, including the bottom of my feet). Having to go out in public, for work or any other reason was emotionally painful for they were always present in varying degrees twenty-four hours a day. In 2003, the same thing ocurred again for 1 full year following the birth of another child. No physician, allergist or otherwise was able to help in any way. I used to cry myself to sleep due to the itching that could never be scratched to any satisfaction and don’t mention the the lips out to there, the swollen face, under eyes, etc. In 2010 following a hysterectomy, the hives came back in full force. Keep in mind that never before or in between any of these episodes have I ever had even a slight mark on my body that even resembled hives. I had never seen hives on anyone until I got them in 1995. I decided that the only connection between the 3 incidents was harmonal so when my one year mark came and went, then another 6 months the thought of living with this problem indefinately was too great to bear I did some research online trying to find a relationship between hives and harmonal changes. In so doing, I came across an article on the topic which included testimonies from many women saying that they too sufferred with chronic hives for years after menapause. In some of the testimonies, maca root was mentioned with positive results claimed by those who had tried it. I did not hesitate in trying to locate the item. I first bought the gel caps since the raw powder was unavailable but the pills were gigantic and difficult to swallow. I continued my search and finally found a source. In November, 2013 I started taking 1/2 tsp once daily but soon moved to one tsp and within a few days to a week, I realized a difference. I reduced by Benadryl (was of no real help to me anyway) intake which was 8 pills daily (2 pills four times daily) to 2 pills daily (one in the AM, one in the PM). Within a matter of weeks, I stopped taking the Benadryl all together and took only the maca root. During this time, my hives gradually subsided. In March of 2014, (26 months after dealing with this agonizing affliction), I felt certain they were gone for good, so I stopped taking the maca root. I am still totally free of all signs of hives and also lost the 15 lbs I gained from all the Benadryl I had been taking. I am convinced the maca root balanced out my harmones and i hope that this can help someone else. I did not get clearance from any doctor to use the maca root for they were no help to me in getting any relief from the hives and i did the research and found my own remedy but I will say that this was my experience and anyone who thinks this can help them needs to see their doctor to discuss their individual situation and obtain clearance. God Bless, all. I hope this was helpful!

  10. Virginia

    I’ve been taking 500mg Maca powder capsules twice a day for the past two days and all of a sudden my skin seems brighter.My face usually looks dull without moisturizer but today I’m just glowing. So far I haven’t experienced the boost of energy.Actually it’s been the opposite. I’ve been feeling calm and mellow which is great because I’ve had issues with sleep since I was 12 (I’m 35). Tonight will be the earliest I’ve gone to sleep in months. So far, so good.

  11. Sarah

    There is a product with Maca created by Dr. Ana Cabeca, GA. You can buy it online. Incredible product, with many ingredients one of which is Maca. Excellent for hormonal imbalances, endurance, etc…..

  12. Sierra

    I would like to know more about maca before I try it . I would like to try is since I have acne problems sometimes and after having my daughter my sex drive went down the drain . Like I am never “in the mood” so I would like to try this to improve my sex drive . Has anyone’s sex drive or acne cleared up while using this and what powder form is best to take . And what should I mix it with to drink ?

  13. Hailey

    Hi There.
    Starting to learn a bit more about Maca powder. Does anyone know how it may interact with birth control??? Will it lessen the effects of birth control??

  14. Jay

    This article says not to take while pregnant or breastfeeding but I’ve talked to many many women who use maca while breastfeeding and there have been no issues, the whole point of me taking this is BECAUSE of hormonal problems. I guess the question is, is the risk worth the benefit? I’m putting my toddler at risk because I’m always angry stressed out and i can’t balance my hormones, I don’t want to look like a pizza anymore either, it’s depressing and embarrassing. Now I’m not one of those mothers who puts her kids at risk for personal gain. I haven’t had a single drop of alcohol even though they say you can have a glass, I would never risk it, I didn’t take the drugs they gave me for ppd cause there toxic crap, I have tried every thing under the sun and nothing is working. Exercise acupuncture eating habits drinking more water safe supplements oil pulling oil cleansing breathing techniques, I think my body just needs something more and maybe this is it. But I don’t want to put my toddler at risk, she’s 1.5 and breastfeeds 3-4 times a day. I already bought the stuff, I don’t knw what to do……

  15. glenn peters

    I have been eating maca for about 5 years. It is a food after all. I am and have always been a healthy person, (IQ over 155) and usually live healthy lifestyle as well. I dont smoke, drink or use recreational drugs. No health or sexual problems at all. I started taking 2 gel caps a day, feeling more energy in weeks, so gradually up to 4 or 5 capsules, my feeling of well being and energy increasing. One side effect of stomach upset, I read once the gel capsules and bother some peoples stomachs so I started emptying the maca into my coffee and within a couple of days my stomach is upset disappeared and I’ve had no problems with that again my physical and mental well-being have continued in my opinion to increase greatly including both physical and mental energy and the capacity to handle more thoughts and processes while i am working (I very recently read that monkeys given maca over a period of 6 months, equivalent to about three years in a human being, doubled their learning capacity) I feel so pleased with the results and confidence that I am NOT harming my health I have increased over period of 5 years my intake of Maca this is now about 5 pounds every 5 to 6 weeks and I feel excellent. I am more impressed with my experiment with maca, then with any other vitamins, herbs or exercise regime that I have tried over the last 30 years, I may be an anomaly, but I feel most people who are in generally good health could probably achieve the same results as I have, without any serious side effects, the same as I have done, I can see why many hundreds of years ago it was considered a superfood available only to the wealthy, and in more recent years was still considered such a valuable food product in many locations it was even used as a currency, many people today spend a good amount of money trying to achieve good health, while l I spend a minimal amount of money consuming 3 or 4 tablespoons of Maca day. I hope my experience will give someone the information they may need to make thier own health decisions.

  16. shelanda

    maca root is the best thing that i have ever dealt with i had bought it because i read that it increases your sex drive and it also redistribute fat to go in your womanly areas but the outcome of my expierience with the root was remarkable it totally brought my horomones back to where they were when i first started my period i usually have 24 to 27 day cycle but while taking maca root i started getting my period every 30 days it had even my horomones out so good that i even got pregnant with identical twin boys but i had a miscarriage not because of the root it was something genetic. I would strongly recommend this root it does wonders for your skin if your dealing with any horomonal issues it helps ease the symptoms of chemical imbalances…. Its great i will say this if you don’t want to get pregnant don’t take it because you will….

  17. grace

    I was recently diagnose with premature menopause at the age of 38. Does it help regarding hormones deficiency? Need help. Thanks

  18. Greg

    I just purchased that Maca Powder.

    Been doing research on it’s benefits so it is my first time taking it today.

    I’d agree: DO NOT mix with plain water (I’m taking 1.5 teaspoons daily). The taste is NOT a good taste so definitely mix it with some sort of drink, or milk.

    Again, it’s only my first day so we shall see what happens.

    We have a store around here locally called Moms Grocery store and thank goodness they had it.

    Another place if you’re in the DC Metro area is called “Smiles Herb Shop”, I called and they seem to have great prices per ounce.

    Wish me luck with this new herb.

  19. Sheila french

    I just started taking maca root for chronic fatigue and to raise my serotonin levels can anyone out there advise me if they have used maca root and does it works

  20. Jennifer Cole

    I too had hives while going through menopause and took maca root to balance my hormones. I use to have very scary hot flashes too, after taking maca root for about a week 1/3 tsp in am 1/3 tsp in pm I stopped having both hives and hot flashes, and it is great for your skin. I lost 15 pounds while taking it as well.I still take it for 3 week per mth and go off it for a week, but usually a week that is after when my moon cycle would be. I make sure I am on it during that time!

  21. Mr craig

    My neighbor is a registered nurse who has been taking this product for sometime now, her occupation requires her to work ungodly hours night and day. Since taking the maca root powder she has experienced incredible results. Today’s my first day I served it up in a Smoothee, had a little breakfast. I will be reporting my results as soon as I recognize the difference. Godspeed everyone.

  22. Kenneth

    I love to put maca and cinnamon on my cereal. I does have a slight nutty flavor, but since I am eating honey nut cheerios and granola it blends well. Thanks for the article!

  23. Nilda

    I have read about the benefits of Maca, which is why I decided to give this superfood a try. I ordered Maca from therawfoodworld.com. As a first time user of Maca, I decided to blend 1/2 tablespoon into my morning smoothie and plan to increase to 1 tablespoon. I’m looking to repair my hormones.

  24. angelina

    Can a teenage girl or boy take maca for healing their pimples? And I have yeast and skin infections; I’m 42 yrs old,so I think it’s because of hormones. So can I take maca to cure the yeast and skin infection? Thanks.

  25. Jill

    I have tried many kinds of maca and finally found the one that is the best! It is made by a company that sells all natural foods and supplements called Vega . Have a look at them…I was so happy with their maca capsules that I started trying their other products. I was very happy with them and love their informative site!!! Take a look

  26. Brenda

    I have been adding maca to my oatmeal, to my smoothies & daily protein shake. Have been eating it raw. No side effects so far. I’m hoping that by eating it every day it will improve my skin, ease menstrual cramps and give great health benefit as I’ve heard of.

  27. Shanny

    It’s concerning that people with cancer should not take maca, as many of us could be walking around with the very early stages of cancer and not know it. We could be speeding up our death then if that’s the case. People have lots of glowing results to share but they’re all short term. It sure would be comforting to have some long term understanding about maca.

  28. Nava

    Patty, that is a question you need to ask a knowledgeable Registered Dietician. I doubt that most MDs would even know the answer to this question.

  29. Lisa

    Hi all! Had Implanon inserted about 3 months ago, been bleeding this whole time! My friend told me to try Maca root but since it is taken for fertility problems, I am scared it might counter the effect of my birth control.

    Has anyone taken it while on birth control or have any information?

  30. Emma Kersey

    Hi all,
    I have an undiagnosed underactive thyroid (I show every symptom – hair loss, weight gain, dry eyes, fatigue etc) with goiter and am taking a spoonful of maca powder in a smoothie with virgin coconut oil. Then later in the day I take a multi vitamin tab, vitamin c tab and kelp tablets.
    Does anyone know is this combination okay/safe ?
    would really appreciate some advice.
    E.

  31. jo

    I am a naturopath and have used maca for my clients for a long time. The best advise I can give is to try it, start slow and just note if why you are taking it is changing. I always get clients to record what is occurring so that they don’t have to rely on their memories.
    Use it to help you get pregnant it is great but you will need to add other supplements/foods in as well to increase your chances and to make sure that the growth and development of the baby is at optimum levels. It is great for all hormone issues and this can include acne. Good luck with it.

  32. cdub

    I have been post-menopausal (surgical) for several years and also struggle with adrenal insufficiency. I was actually diagnosed with borderline Addison’s disease at one time. IOW, my body produces very little cortisol to assist in the production of other hormones for female parts I no longer have. Wondering if anyone has experience using this with either situation. I have very low energy – crash big time in the afternoon, and terrible insomnia. I’ve had to stop working. Anyone using this have a similar history?

  33. Paula

    I am menopausal, surgically, 5 1/2 weeks out; have started having severe hot flashes and some strange mood swings occasionally, which a couple of these have been severe. My daughter told me about Macaroot pill form. I’ve got to do something…not taking hormones, doctor advised, because of the risks. How long does it take to relieve the hot flashes? Anyone know this? So glad to read all the positive stuff about it.

  34. Dawn

    Hello,

    The article mentioned NOT taking the maca powder in anything “too hot”. Define too hot pleae. I have been blending my maca in with raw cacao, cinnamon & tumeric & coconut oil for my version of ‘bullet proof coffee’. Do you think a hot drink is too hot?

    Thank you

  35. Nava

    Dawn, it would be fine to mix maca into a drink that’s already been heated, but the idea is more that it shouldn’t be cooked or baked, as it is believed that this might compromise some of the beneficial nutrients and other substances it contains. Hope that helps!

  36. Sarah Greene

    Hello, I am pregnant with twins and you might understand why I’m always very tired and have no energies at all. I understand that maca can give you an energy boost that can last for quite some time. I read that maca isn’t recommended for pregnant women, but I couldn’t find the reason for this recommendation. Do you know why?

  37. job

    Sarah, If ur pregnant you might want to talk to your doctor before trying maca. If u lack energies perhaps discuss with your doctor or a certified dietician to see what healthy food you can implement into your daily route that will give u your energy. Talk to a doctor. Maca isn’t really nothing all that great I been trying it for months. Fruits and whole grains give me my energy. Maca isn’t some miracle produce. Things are only what you believe it is.

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