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7 Top Health Benefits of Maca Root

maca root

Here are the 7 top maca root health benefits. An ancient Peruvian root crop, maca is gaining popularity as a supplement and superfood. Maca root belongs to the radish family, and is most commonly available in powder form. Grown in the mountains of Peru, it has been called “Peruvian ginseng.”

There are no serious known side effects of maca root powder, but like any other superfood or supplement, it shouldn’t be taken in large amounts. When you first start using maca root, it’s best to begin by taking smaller amounts and building up; as little as 1/2 teaspoon is a good place to start. Just 1 tablespoon is an average daily dose. Rotating a few days on and a few days off is often recommended. For more on this, see 5 Easy and Tasty Ways to Use Maca Powder in Food.

maca root

A concise and useful book, Maca Root for Health and Vitality, is available on Amazon as an e-book and in paperback.

Please be aware that other than the nutritional benefits provided by the vitamins and minerals, the other benefits are largely anecdotal, as maca has not been subjected to very many formal studies.

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

1  Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients
Maca is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids (20 different kinds — that’s just about all of them!), and antioxidants. Glucosinates are just one of those antioxidants — the same substances that make broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables so good for you.

2  Sexual function, libido, and fertility
Maca has long been used to promote sexual function of both men and women. It’s thought to boost libido and increase endurance. It has also been used to balance the hormones and increase fertility. Note the these benefits are anecdotal, though one of the more studied aspects of maca is its role in male fertility.

According to an article in Web MD, The Truth About Maca, professionals differ on the effectiveness of maca, especially for libido. Some are skeptical, believing that it’s little more than a placebo. Others strongly believe in its effectiveness. You can read the entire article here.

3  Menstrual issues and menopause
Maca has been used to relieve menstrual issues and the side effects of going through menopause. Some women have used it to alleviate cramps and hot flashes, much as it has been used by indigenous South American cultures for millennia. Outcomes in this area are largely anecdotal, and shouldn’t be used in place of consulting with a practitioner.

4  Physical and mental energy
Many regular users of maca experience an increase in energy level within days of beginning its use. It’s also known for increasing stamina and endurance, which is why some athletes take maca for peak performance. When used in conjunction with a good workout regime, supplementing with maca may help to preserve muscle mass. Maca is also used by those seeking to sharpen and expand mental activity and memory.

Maca has been used as a remedy for ongoing fatigue. If you find yourself tired much of the time, experiment with maca to see if it helps. Just a small amount could be exactly what you need for a boost! An increase in mental energy and focus has been reported as well.

5 General health and disease prevention
As an adaptogen and tonic, maca may boost your overall health in a number of ways. It supplies iron and helps restore red blood cells, which aids in avoiding anemia and cardiovascular diseases. Maca is also believed to promote prostate health. The nutrients in maca have long been valued for keeping bones and teeth healthy and help heal wounds more quickly. Bear in mind that most of these claims, while certainly not unfounded, have not been sufficiently studied.

Be very cautious if you have a cancer related to hormones, like testicular and ovarian, among others. If you have these cancers, liver issues, or high blood pressure, you should consult with a professional before taking maca.

6  Skin health
Maca has been used for skin issues. For some users, it helps to clear acne and blemishes. Another benefit that some users have experienced is that it decreases skin sensitivity. In hot or cold weather, maca may help skin withstand extreme temperatures.

7  Mood and hormone balance
For those struggling with anxiety, stress, depression, or mood swings, maca may help alleviate these symptoms, though the evidence for this is anecdotal and its use shouldn’t replace professional treatment.

Hormone balance is key to regulating sexual function, mood regulation, disease prevention, and much more. Maca’s ability to balance hormones is often credited to its stimulation of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. It may be the phytonutrients contained in maca that work to balance the endocrine system.

More on about maca on VegKitchen:

No-bake maca-roons recipe

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.

Superfood kitchen by Julie Morris


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

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502 Comments

  • Reply
    Karen Stephenson
    December 5, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Great information about maca!

    • Reply
      Nava
      December 27, 2013 at 7:25 am

      That’s a good tip, Karen. I’m super sensitive to maca myself … I can only take very small amounts, otherwise I feel jittery like I’ve had 5 cups of coffee.

  • Reply
    Karan
    December 27, 2013 at 7:13 am

    do not take maca later in the day….I have been waking up at 3am wide awake !!! Take before midday to avoid this.

  • Reply
    Joan Price
    January 2, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    First of all thanks for the interesting post. I have been using maca root pills for 8 month now (with small breaks every month), now feeling great after being constantly tired and depressed. At this time my daily mood is great and the energies I have, I didn’t experience even when I was young. I started with small daily dose of 500mg and slowly increased till i got to optimal feeling of energies( got to 1000mg daily). It’s very important not to regenerate, as it might cause headaches and other incomfortabilities.

    • Reply
      Nava
      January 2, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      Thanks for your input, Joan. I find that I’m very sensitive to macs! I’m curious as to what you mean by “important not to regenerate?”

  • Reply
    Rena
    January 6, 2014 at 11:04 am

    While Maca is a wonderful supplement powder and has an excellent history in helping people who suffer from fatigue to pms it should be taken very carefully. Your article is incorrect to say there is no known side effects — there are MANY known side effects — namely for women . When taken in high dosages or over a long period of time without a break it can cause hormonal imbalance, as just one example, and a nutritionalist (or even just a google search) will tell you this….

    Maca is excellent and you must be aware of the correct dosage for your body.

    • Reply
      Nava
      January 6, 2014 at 11:16 am

      Thank you, Rena — that’s excellent information and we will amend the article.

  • Reply
    Joan Price
    January 7, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Nava, I meant in my comment that it’s important not to exaggerate with the daily dosage, as it might cause you several not pleasant effects . Rena is right that it’s important to be aware of maca’s side effects and to take daily dose that is good for your body, and not more!

  • Reply
    nia sabally
    January 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    i am trying to become pregnant. i am 44 years old. maca root was suggested to me. i was taking this with out food s suggested on the bottle. i noticed i had a headache lasting 20 mins approx. i want to know of other side effects regarding Maca. my period starred five says late and is very painful. any input works be helpful.

    • Reply
      Nava
      January 12, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      Hi Nia, I’m not sure if maca helps or hinders when it comes to attempting to become pregnant, but our article states that you should avoid maca if pregnant or lactating. I’m very sensitive to maca and you may be, too. It’s powerful stuff. if it’s not agreeing with you, listen to your body, and don’t use it any longer!

  • Reply
    Erica
    January 13, 2014 at 1:23 am

    I love to put maca in my smoothies and I beleive it helps me to run longer and faster.
    I also feel very alert and as though my mind is working much faster! I can ALMOST skip the coffee that day 🙂
    I’m having menstral pains rught now so I decided to make a tea and see if it is as efficient for helping that. I’ve already had my limit of ibuprofen today so I was seeking some natural remedies,
    For the tea I used decaf green tea with half a tsp of maca powder, half a tsp of honey, and splash of almond milk. I mixed the maca in last after the tea is mostly cooled down.
    It’s VERY good but I think I’ll finish it in the morning because it’s night time and I’m worried it will keep me up 🙁
    3 glasses of water and some stretching on the floor,
    my cramps feel a little lighter but my head, legs, and back still hurt, however, that’s probably because I just worked 20 hours of the last 30 hours off and on!
    GO MACA!

  • Reply
    Eddie
    January 15, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Does Maca have caffeine? Also, would it help with adrenal fatigue or chronic fatigue?

    Thanks and God Bless!

  • Reply
    Nessa
    January 19, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Can Maca help me gain weight?

    • Reply
      Nava
      January 19, 2014 at 7:18 pm

      Nessa, I’ve never heard anything specifically about maca and weight gain. You’ll need to do a bit more research! It feels to me almost like a stimulant,but I do wonder if it stimulates appetite rather than repress it (like medical stimulants do). Let use know if you find the answer!

  • Reply
    Susan
    January 20, 2014 at 5:46 am

    I have been suffering with chronic yeast infections, and was told I have systemic candida. I am working towards flushing the candida out of my system, but I’ve been told my adrenals have been depleted since I’ve had so many infections. As the waste material of candida mimics estrogen, I would say my hormones are all over the show!! Would maca be useful for me during my healing period? And is it a common enough product to purchase? Thank you

  • Reply
    Aaron
    January 21, 2014 at 9:54 am

    I have been taking Rhodiola for years but only in pill form. I love the fact that you can add maca to your diet in powder or liquid form. I new smoothie place opened up in my city that makes great use of maca powder and even sells a little take home smoothie mix. Thanks for the great write up.

    • Reply
      Nava
      January 22, 2014 at 10:48 am

      Thanks, Aaron. I’m really sensitive to maca and feeling its effects almost immediately, I know there must be something to it. I’ve never been able to figure out if supplements in capsules do anything, so I’ve stopped buying them. I appreciate your input.

  • Reply
    Alex
    January 26, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Is maca good for erectile dysfunction?

    • Reply
      Nava
      January 26, 2014 at 8:19 am

      Alex, we can’t really address specific medical issues like this one, but it wouldn’t hurt to try maca,building up slowly as suggested in this article.

  • Reply
    Andy
    January 27, 2014 at 3:07 am

    Does it bring the addiction to have maca again and again?

    • Reply
      Nava
      January 31, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      Andy, maca is not physically addictive, as far as current research goes.

  • Reply
    Eddie
    January 27, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Hi Joan Price,

    You said that maca helped you with fatigue and depression. How long did you take the maca supplements before you saw a difference? I just started taking it and I like the flavor. Maca kind of a nutty caramel flavor to it. I blend it in a smoothie with raw cocoa, ground chia seeds, vegetable protein powder, some frozen fruits like blueberries or strawberries and either a dash of stevia or monk fruit sugar. I also at times add some frozen papaya, butternut squash and even sweet potato or yam. It is an incredible smoothie and a great way to start the day.

  • Reply
    Eddie
    January 27, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Nava,

    Thanks for the replies.

  • Reply
    Eddie
    January 28, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Does maca raise one’s blood pressure? Anyone know? Thanks

  • Reply
    Alex
    January 29, 2014 at 5:48 am

    Can someone please correct me if I am wrong with the making of it. Is it alright to mix the maca powder with orange juice and almond? I am only a beginner with maca powder. How long must I have it and when should I keep the interval? It would be very grateful if someone could clear my doubts. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Nava
      January 31, 2014 at 10:15 pm

      Alex, I don’t think there’s any rule, as long as it works for you, and that you don’t take too much at once.

  • Reply
    Eddie
    January 30, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Hi Alex,

    Dr. Sara Gottfriend recommends the following:

    Dr. Sara’s Hormone-Balancing Smoothie II

    2T raw cacao powder
    2T maca powder (I like Navitas Naturals)
    3T soaked chia seeds (I prefer this as my source of fiber – you might want less chia depending on desired thickness)
    1 serving vanilla protein powder
    12 oz water
    Add to Vitamix (or your regular blender) and blend.

    Dr. Sara notes that maca is proven in randomized trials to raise sex drive, and reduce anxiety and depression. Cacao at breakfast is associated with weight loss!

    I personally use unsweetened almond milk, frozen strawberries and blueberries, 2 TBSP vegetable based protein powder, 1-2 teaspoons of maca, 2 TBSP ground chia seed, 2 teaspoons cocoa powder and some stevia or monk fruit sugar to sweeten it a bit. It’s a great morning starter. To create variety, I will use cooked and frozen butternut squash and omit the berries. On occasion I even used sweet potato. It really make for a thick smoothie or shake if you prefer.

    I researched on how long to use maca and they recommend to use it for 3 months on and then off for a month, then repeat the cycle. I am sure that everyone is different so you can experiment.

    Health & Happiness to you.

  • Reply
    Alice
    January 31, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Has anyone seen an increased libido using maca?

  • Reply
    Bri
    January 31, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Hi Alice

    I just started taking maca yesterday for that very reason, and have my bf trying it too! I definitely have noticed a rise in energy and alertness and that’s with taking 2 capsules last night and 2 this morning. With noticing an energy increase so quickly I hope the libido increases quickly as well. 🙂

  • Reply
    Alex
    January 31, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Thank you Eddie…so do you say the way I am having it is wrong..? :-/ orange juice, almond and maca powder mixed.. I noticed that the day I have it, I think I have a increase on libido but the days I don’t have it, I have no feelings…I just wanted to know if having maca powder for some time increase the libido level and get me back to track..? Also when I had my blood test to check why I have this trouble with erectile dysfunction and low level of libido, the doctor said that the hormones in the blood tests looks normal. When I started having maca powder, I have headache but if I skip it for a day then I am fine.. I doubt if maca powder is changing my normal hormones. I once had antidepressants for two months and that is brought me this erectile dysfunction and low level of libido. I am now totally confused if I do need to have more maca powder. Can someone help me to take a decision..? Thank you…

  • Reply
    elizabeth
    February 3, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    I’ve recently started putting maca powder into my green smoothies. I can’t remember why I bought it a few months ago, but i pulled it out and started adding it in…but after reading this I think maybe I’m putting too much (about 2 Tbsp). Thanks for all the info and comments!

  • Reply
    marion
    February 3, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    as a person of age and a cancer scared, could I take red maca powder

    • Reply
      Nava
      February 3, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      Marion, that is a medical question best answered by a qualified practitioner. I hope you can find a good Registered Dietician to consult with.

  • Reply
    shelley Street
    February 5, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    I have definitely found a reduction in menopausal night sweats and an increase in energy and better mood balance since taking macs

  • Reply
    Eddie
    February 6, 2014 at 9:19 am

    For the record. I have felt much better since I began taking the maca powder. I have a sense of well-being, have more focus and I seem to sleep better. It’s only been about 10 days so I will post updates later. I did skip today to see how my body reacts. Health & Happiness to all.

  • Reply
    Chris
    February 8, 2014 at 12:15 am

    I’ve been taking a huge heaping tablespoon about every second day in my smoothies with no observed negative effect. Seems to be advised to reduce my does, which I will do. I would say that it has increased libido, which is not necessarily a good thing for an already healthy man!

  • Reply
    Malia
    February 11, 2014 at 8:36 am

    I have been using maca powder for approximately one month mixing it in my morning cereal of one tablespoon of oat bran,chia seeds a bit of coconut oil and raisins with a touch of almond milk and it tastes great and keeps me going all day. I am going to add a smoothie with the maca and China into my late night shift for added get up and go. It is wonderful. I feel great.
    Only a teaspoon of maca at this time.

  • Reply
    Sonya
    February 11, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    For Susan:
    Hi Susan. I read our comment about the candida and wanted to suggest to you to take a look at the Body Ecology diet by Donna Gates. it specifically address candida and how to heal from it. check it out!!!

  • Reply
    caroline
    February 11, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Please is Maca accessible in Nigeria?how and where can I buy it in my Country Nigeria? Thanks

    • Reply
      Nava
      February 12, 2014 at 7:45 am

      Caroline, I wonder if you have Amazon.com — it’s available online on this site, which seems to have everything!

  • Reply
    Esther ebeleghe
    February 11, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Hi Caroline, not very sure it’s available, but even
    If, it will be highly priced, if You’ve got relative in
    the UK or USA or visiting either country it’s readily
    Available in drug store, I get mine from Holland and
    Barrett in uk.

  • Reply
    Esther
    February 11, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Hi Caroline, not very sure it’s available, but even
    If, it will be highly priced, if You’ve got relative in
    the UK or USA or visiting either country it’s readily
    Available in drug stores, I get mine from Holland and
    Barrett in uk.

  • Reply
    Denise
    February 12, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    I was trying to get pregnant for three years. I didn’t want help from a doctor to get pregnant. I heard maca increases fertility so me and my partner started taking maca tablets. After one month of me and my partner taking maca tablets I got pregnant.So yes taking maca tablets does get you pregnant.I’m 38 years old and my baby is one week old now. I did take the maca tablets in the first three months of pregnancy to keep balancing my hormones then stopped after that.The baby turned out fine and normal.

  • Reply
    G. Hall
    February 12, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    I’m a 3 week old vegetarian. Waiting for my maca to be delivered. I’m very excited to use it for the first time. Thanks so much for all the info…….Mahalo!

  • Reply
    marlene
    February 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    I have just started taking Maca. at first I took the recommended dose of a 1tsp. I didnt really feel any different. the 3rd day I put a little bit more than a table spoon . I feel high! I am giddy and racing all over the place! I feel tight chested and a little bit of a headache around my temples. I will reduce my intake tomorrow to 1tsp and see how it effects me from there. Will update you on hot flashes as this was my main reason to take maca.

    PS does anyone have info on the effects of Maca with hepititis? I want my bf to take it but read that it can effect the liver.

  • Reply
    Ginny
    February 17, 2014 at 2:55 am

    I started maca about a month ago, putting about 1 tsp in my smoothies once a day. I noticed an energy increase within a day or 2 but within a few days started having daily severe headaches, difficulty sleeping and horrible acne, like the worst it’s been since my teens (I’m 36). I put 2 & 2 together a few days ago and thought it might be the Maca so I stopped using it about 3 days ago & my face is settling down but the other issues are still prevalent. Does anyone know if these 3 things are known side effects of Maca use? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Britanica
    February 25, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    I take maca (by NOW – 750mg)

    Never had issues with it. I noticed when I do take more then one pill at a time, I will break out. So to answer your question, Ginny, you may be taking too much. Headaches can be from increased circulation. Do you drink enough when you take it? Also, eating 20 minutes before may help. The only “side effects” I got was mild acne (when taking two pills, not one) and my butt got bigger. lol

    It does help with anxiety though. I believe it has to do with the right amounts of Vitamin C and B vitamins. I mainly only use the brand NOW as most are clear of junk and organic. Not all vitamins are created equal. Don’t just go and by whatever brand. Do research! Also avoid anything with soy crap in it.

  • Reply
    sarah
    February 28, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Hi,I get awful pmt so a friend told me about maca so i thought i would give it a go im on my first day on 500mg, has this helped anyone with pmt?? thanks

  • Reply
    shiv kumar gupta
    March 1, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    I m shiv 36 year old,trying to get be father.I think maca powder will help me because I m suffering from nil sperms.can I take it with milk two times.

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