Maca Root Benefits

A couple of days ago I started the topic of Superfoods.  We discussed whether there is any truth to the claims and reviewed benefits of certain foods, claimed as superfoods.  Today I would like to give special attention to Maca Root Powder and its benefis, since it is one of the foods I use nearly on a daily basis.

I came to finding maca root while I was researching ways to reverse hypothyroidism.  When I read about maca’s ability to help balance hormones without negatively affecting them I had to try it.  I knew there would be no harm–it is a plant; so I had nothing to lose and much to gain.  I ordered my first bag of maca through a local co-op [I have to tell you that I LOVE co-ops--the price of maca was about 50% less through the co-op than what I have to pay now].  I strongly believe that maca has been very helpful in my healing process and reversing hypothyroidism.  I could not pin point to tell you if it gives me an energy boost or works in another specific way, since I have a very nutrient rich diet and believe that all of the foods I consume work together in helping me heal, but I have no doubt that raw maca powder does it’s job too.

I am going to recap some of the material we covered earlier about maca and then get a bit deeper into its history and benefits.

Maca Root Benefits

image source: livestrong.com

Maca is endocrine adaptogen.  Maca does not contain hormones itself, instead it provides a unique set of nutrients that directly fuel the endocrine system and help the glands to produce vital hormones in precise dosages predetermined by one’s own body.

Adaptogen, by definition, is a substance which brings the body to a heightened state of resistance to disease through physiological health and brings balance .

Benefits

  • Increases energy and endurance
  • Increases stamina
  • Alleviates chronic exhaustion (fatigue) syndrome
  • Improves sexual function in men and women
  • Enhances fertility in people and animals
  • Helps to regulate menstrual cycles
  • Reduces hormonal dysfunction during menopause and andropause
  • Can regulate hormonal imbalances
  • Aids in alleviating depression- gives a sense of well being
  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Has a beneficial action on the circulatory system;
  • Speeds wound healing and reduces anemia
  • Enhances memory, learning, and mental ability
  • Has a beneficial action on the circulatory system; gives skin a more youthful appearance
  • Helps treat anemia, rickets, osteomalacia, and stomach cancer
  • Good for healthy teeth and bones
  • Acts as a fungistatic and bacteriostatic
  • Acts as an anticarcinogen and antioxidant
  • Is an alternative to anabolic steroids, helps to build muscle
  • Libido enhancer

As an adaptogen, maca works broadly to contribute to overall well-being. It nourishes and calms the nerves with calcium, phosphorus, vitamins B1 and B12, and fatty acids, all of which work eneficially on the nervous system.

It stimulates the appetite and aids in digestion with calcium, vitamins B1 and B2, B12, and fatty acids. Its phosphorus is a primary building block in the cell fuels Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) and glucose-6-phosphate (G6P).

At the same time it supports the adrenal glands so they don’t have to rely on damaging cortisol to fuel the body. Its sterols, calcium, and vitamin C help build muscle mass and its starches aid in physical endurance. Its alkaloids help the body assimilate all these nutrients just where they are required.

In addition, recent studies of maca also show:

  • Its fiber as well as glucosinolate content show promise in helping combat some cancers.
  • Bio-available calcium, in conjunction with its alkaloids, make it an effective bond builder, thus reducing osteomalacia and rickets.
  • Some of its fatty acids function as fungicides and local antiseptics, which may aid in overall immunity enhancement.
  • Tannins bind and precipitate proteins, which improves the nutritional value of maca.
  • Saponins and terpenoids may aid as a sedative, expectorant, pain reliever, anti-tumoral, and analgesic.
  • Effects general and not localized to a specific organ.
  • Normalizing action irrespective of the pathological state.

Background and History

Cultivated for thousands of years at elevations over 13,500-14,000 feet, maca had been an important food and medicinal supplement for villagers who inhabited the Peruvian highlands.   It has even been used as currency, and even in our modern times still is in some regions.

The Incas found maca so potent that the root was prescribed to warriors in preparation for battles to increase their strength and endurance.  It has been told that outside of war-time, however, warriors were banned from consuming maca due to its ability to increase the libido–a fact confirmed by modern science.  During peaceful times the consumption of maca  was restricted to be used only in the royal court.

When Spaniards conquered Incas, they became aware of maca’s value and collected tribute from the Incas in maca roots for export to Spain.  The Spanish royalty learned of maca’s benefits and used it as energy enhancer and for nutrition.  As the time went on, however, the knowledge of maca’s properties had been lost.  It was not until mid- 20th century that this potent plant was rediscovered and regained its place on the list of power plants.

Today maca root is consumed by people from all around the world, including professional athletes, those looking to increase their energy and libido, and by many who suffer from health ailements, one of which is hormone imbalance.

Sources used for in section: Navita’s Naturals,  Maca Root.

Nutrient Profile

The nutritional value of Maca is high. According to Dini et al (1994) y Li et al (2001), the chemical constitution of Maca is the following:

Composition:

  • Maca is rich in quality carbs, which, combined with its alkaloids and other nutrients make it a great choice for sustained energy
  • Maca is loaded with bio-available plant protein that is easy for the body to assimilate
  • Maca contains relatively high levels of cellulose and lignan, both of which stimulate intestinal function.  Fiber is a key component to a healthy digestive and elimination system.

59% carbohydrates, 10.2% protein, 8.5% fiber, 2.2% lipids.

Essential Amino Acids:

Nearly all including Aspartic Acid, Glutamic acid, Serine, Histidine, Glycine, Threonine, Alanine, Tyrosine, Phenylalanine, Valine, Methionine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, HO- Proline, Proline, Sarcosine. These drive many cellular functions in the body including sexual and fertility functions.

Free Fatty Acids:

20 have been found of which the most abundant are linolenic acid, palmitic acid, oleic acid. They work to support cellular function. The most abundant fatty acids adding to Maca’s nutritional value are linolenic acid, palmitic acid, oleic acid and steric acid.

Vitamins:

Maca has vitamins: B1 (helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy.  Essential for good heart, muscle and nervous system function.) B2 (important for body grown and red blood cell production), C (supports anit-oxidant activity), B3 (Niacin–supports healthy circulation).

Minerals:

Maca has minerals:

  • Calcium—maca contains higher levels of calcium than milk.  Calcium is crucial in bone development as well as for nerve and circulatory system health.
  • Phosphorus—important for the hemostasis of calcium as well as for transmitting electrical stimuli for brain and muscle action.
  • Magnesium—essential for the synthesis of protein and for muscle and nerve activity.   Crucial for heart health.
  • Potassium—works within the cells to help maintain healthy osmosis.
  • Sodium—along with potassium can support positive circulation
  • Copper—supports enzyme health.
  • Zinc—helps in clarity of thought and mental function
  • Manganese—supports healthy growth
  • Iron—vital component of hemoglobin.  Supports health muscle growth.
  • Selenium—protects cells against free radicals.
  • Boron—supports proper metabolism.

Sterols:

Campesterol, stigmasterol, beta-sitosterol

Alkaloids, Aromatic glucosinolates including:

Benzyl glucosinolate, p-methoxybenzyl glucosinolate.  These are responsible for activating hormone regulators located in the brain that in turn regulate the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.

Isothyocyanates:

benzyl isothiocyanate, p-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate

Nutrient Snapshot

Source

Nutritional Profile of Dried Maca Root
(Average 10 gram serving)

Component

per 10 g Amino Acids per 10 g Minerals per 10 g
Protein 1–1.4 g Alanine 63.1 mg Calcium 25 mg
Carbohydrates 6–7.5 g Arginine 99.4 mg Copper 0.6 mg
Fats (lipids) 220 mg Aspartic acid 91.7 mg Iron 1.5 mg
Fiber 850 mg Glutamic acid 156.5 mg Iodine 52 mcg
Ash 490 mg Glycine 68.3 mg Manganese 80 mcg
Sterols 5–10 mg Histidine 41.9 mg Potassium 205 mg
Calories 32.5 HO-Proline 26.0 mg Sodium 1.9 mg
Isoleucine 47.4 mg Zinc 380 mcg
Leucine 91.0 mg
Vitamins per 10 g Lysine 54.5 mg Fats/Lipids per 10 g
B2 39 mcg Methionine 28.0 mg Linoleic 72 mcg
B6 114 mcg Phenylalanine 55.3 mg Palmitic 52 mcg
C 28.6 mg Proline 0.5 mg Oleic 24.5 mcg
Niacin 565 mcg Sarcosine 0.7 mg
Serine 50.4 mg
Threonine 33.1 mg
Tryptophan 4.9 mg
Tyrosine 30.6 mg
Valine 79.3 mg

Fertility Booster

There is more to maca! If you search the web, including my Maca Root Benefits article, you will learn that maca enhances fertility. It works as an adoptogen and is great for men and women alike. While it does not have any hormones of its own, it helps to balance hormones in each gender as the body needs it. I know it is a tall order and seems hard to believe, but I dug up a few studies to make sure of it for myself before I told you this. Here are just a few of them.

  • Maca improved semen parameters in adult men–it improved sperm production and sperm motility (source) (No wonder Inca warriors were banned from consuming maca due to its ability to increase the libido!  During peaceful times the consumption of maca  was restricted to be used only in the royal court.)
  • Maca uniquely enhances the LH serum levels of pituitary hormones in female rats. These findings support the traditional use of Maca to enhance fertility. (source)
  • Randomized clinical trials have shown that maca has favorable effects on energy and mood, may decrease anxiety and improve sexual desire. (source)

Now, do not get me wrong, I am not saying that if you eat a horrible diet and take maca it will solve all of your fertility and energy problems. Not at all! Diet is always the first thing we should improve on before trying any other solutions!  However, a good whole food based supplement or an herb, unlike useless (or even harmful) extracted vitamins, is always a welcome addition to a well-balanced, health promoting plant-based diet.

Superfood?

So, is Maca a superfood? As I have said it before, I do not believe that there is one food that we can survive on and live off of–our entire diet must work in harmony to improve our health.  Not everyone will have access to maca, and, although, no one plant is alike, all having different nutrient profiles, the nutrients found in maca can also be found in other plants.  Of course, they might not be all found in the same plant, but each plant has its own super powers.  So, if you have access to maca, like I do, I highly recommend it, because maca roots benefits have been evident in my life and in the lives of many of the BODY BY PLANTS participants. If you do not, do your best to find a combination of different plants to get the same nutrients you can add to your diet.

The Maca I Use

As of January 2014 I began using maca powder produced by The Maca Team. Here is why. 

Maca Taste

This is a big deal breaker for some–maca can have a strong smell and taste. I used it all the way into my pregnancy and then developed an aversion to it. I tried encapsulating it, but even a whiff of it would send me packing.  I thought I would have to say good-bye to maca forever.  Even after pregnancy I had to work through taking it–I would make maca “shots,” and even then had unpleasant “after maca” burps and a funny feeling in my stomach on occasion.

In January 2014 I tried maca produced by  The Maca Team:

  1. Raw Red Maca
  2. Gelatinized Red Maca
  3. Raw Black capsules

All vegan.  All organic.

I committed to trying them all before passing a judgement, since I would never endorse a product I would not buy myself.

Right out of the package I noticed that this maca had a milder smell to it than what I was used to.  The first couple of days I took maca capsules. No problems! No burps, no funny feeling in the stomach.  I got more brave and tried the gelatinized maca powder for a couple of days.  Still nothing! So, I worked up my way to the raw maca powder. I did not even make a “shot”–put it right into my smoothie, as I used to.  The smell of maca was there, but it was mild.  The taste of the smoothie was only slightly altered.  Minutes and even hours later I still had no “after maca” effects. I was sold! I knew that I found a winner and found my new maca provider.

You can now read the entire review of The Maca Team’s maca and even find delicious recipes with maca on my site!

Ever Tried Maca?

If you have, let me know if you felt it make any difference in your health.

If not, share your thoughts and questions in the comment section below.

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  • Vegie

    I wanted to take maca to increase my libido and energy, but will it course weight gain

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Vegie, with 1-2 tbsp a day, I would doubt that it could even make a tiny dent in the weight gain game. So, simply, NO!

  • Test

    If you use maca on a smoothie, try adding a 2-4 drops of Grapefruit Oil Extract, completely gets rid of the maca flavor.

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      That’s a great trick! I usually find that cinnamon does that trick for me, but having options is great.

  • D.C.

    I am trying to find a way to increase my estrogen levels because they are low. Will maca capsules help with that? I have been taking them for 2 months now, but still no results. How long should I wait for results? Thank you

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      D.C. the best place to start with hormone imbalances is your diet, first and foremost. What is your diet like? If it is close to what I teach in Body by Plants http://www.vega-licious.com/services/bodybyplants/, there the next step is to see if you are on any meds, etc., and only then review possible supplements.

      • D.C.

        I’ve been vegan for 10 years. I’m eating a healthy diet, but so far that’s not been enough for my estrogen levels to rise… Otherwise I’m very healthy. I quit birth control 3 years ago and I still can’t get normal estrogen levels. That is causing me hair loss. I’ve been to a doctor, but all they give you are temporary solutions. I wanna find something for the long haul. I’m hoping maca root is the answer. If anyone has an opinion please share.

        • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

          BC depletes a lot of things in the body, B12 is one of them, and that can cause hair loss. Sometimes over the counter supplements don’t solve the problem, and an injection treatment might be needed. I would be happy to discuss this with you. You can schedule a consult via this page http://www.vega-licious.com/services/vegalicious-coaching/

        • Rebecca

          I actually had the same experience (low estrogen levels, hair loss, no one knew why). It turns out I had Celiac disease (severe gluten intolerance) which was causing malnutrition because the damage to my intestines led to me not absorbing the nutrients I was eating. The good new is that once I went strictly gluten free, my intestines healed, my hair grew back, and my estrogen levels went back to normal (I was gluten free for about 6 months before I noticed the changes). Plus, there are no medicines to take, just cut out gluten 100%. Just thought I would mention this in case you haven’t heard about it yet. I wish someone had told me years earlier!

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  • Steve

    What about reports that Raw Maca can cause issues with the thyroid? I have heard that it is goitrogenic, so regular consumption can cause goiter. I have also read that since raw cruciferous vegtables are bad for the thyroid that maca is also bad since it is cruciferous. I have hypothyroidism.

  • ayo

    Hello, i’m 18 and i have a lot of pimples on my face and i was just wondering if maca powder would help?

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Ayo, sounds like you have food allergies, so, maca by itself will not resolve them. You might consider cleaning up your diet, especially cutting out dairy (if you eat it regularly) and a few other things to have your skin clear up. Certain meds might cause acne too.

      I regularly work with people who have acne problem and once we change what they eat, their skin clears up. Check out the program I offer: http://www.vega-licious.com/services/vegan-30-day-boot-camp-weight-loss-health-improvement/

  • kayla

    I would not take it with birth control. Most websites that sell Maca powder say not to combine it with birth control! Better be safe than sorry.

  • Sara

    Does Maca interfere with birth control?

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      No.

    • kayla

      I would not take it with birth control. Most websites that sell Maca powder say not to combine it with birth control!

  • Melissa

    Hi There, I’m 31 years old and I’ve been taking 1/4 tsp. of Royal Maca Superfood powder (made with certified organic maca root concentrate) for the past two months for balancing hormones, adult acne, weight gain around the middle, etc. I always use the Maca in my breakfast smoothie (egg white protein, almond milk, spinach, strawberries and cinnamon). While I noticed a definitely spike in libido initially, that since has decreased in the past month. What I have noticed instead is hot flashes, sleep disturbances, more irritability, migraines, and spotting immediately before my period. I’ve been gluten and dairy free for months now, and just started pale with the occasional cheat day here and there. Is it possible that I’m having a reaction to the Maca?

    • jamie

      If you are taking too much yes back off of it if you take too much it can have the reverse effect on you. You are also suppose to give your body a break from it try taking a few days off or more then start back with only 1/4 a tea spoon then over time up it to 1/2 a tea spoon see if you have any changes.

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  • Aya Dourra

    Hello, I’m 22 years old and I was taking maca for energy booster and libido. My hormones and cycle are regular. I loved the affects of maca ! I just found out I’m prgnant and I am very worried, I didn’t stop taking maca I only take a half teaspoon every other day. I’m five weeks an 3 days. Would this affect my hormones and try to stabilize them and result in misscarriege ? Since it’s a hormone regulator and when your pregnant hormone shouldn’t be be regulated … I’m so worried also would it increase my testostorone when I’m prgnant ? I will probably lower dosage to 1/4 a teaspoon every other day

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Aya, maca root does not have hormones in itself–it is an adoptogen, which means that it helps your body balance hormones if they are out of balance. It is not a regulator! It does not increase any specific hormone, since it does not have hormones it itself. Also, if you are in perfect health, there is no reason for you to take it regularly, unless you like it. If in doubt, you can discontinue taking it. This is totally up to you.

      • Aya Dourra

        Okay thank you ! That makes sense. Thus, it won’t effect my pregnancy hormones ( high levels of estrogen and progesterone )? So it doesn’t balance them by lowering those hormones?..
        I just love the effects it has with energy I’m less fatigue :) and I notice it eases my pregnancy symptoms . it’s really an amazing superfood :)

        • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

          I personally took maca every now and then while pregnant. I did not like the smell during pregnancy, that was the only reason I stopped for a while. If you are planning to stick with a lower dosage, I do not see any harm. Of course, I legally have to say that you need to consult your doctor :). I can tell you that at 1/4 tsp a day I personally would not worry about it.

          As for energy, I am not sure about your diet, but consuming a mostly plant based diet, lots of fresh produce and taking a good B12 supplement should help you with that. If you feel nauseous during pregnancy, ginger is known to help with that.

          • Aya Dourra

            Thank you so much!!!!!

  • Deborah

    I just started taking Gaia brand maca root capsules because I didnt like the taste of the powder are they just as effective?

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Deborah, I am not familiar with Gaia brand. Have you read reviews about them? Check out Amazon to see what others say about that brand.

  • liza

    is it safe to take while taking thyriod medication? I have an under active thyriod since having my first child in 2008 ?

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Liza, I have not seen any data to state otherwise. With an under-active thyroid a change in dietary habits and B12 supplementation will help. If you have not yet, download and read my story to see how I reversed hypothyroidism.

      • liza

        thank you i will have a read of that. Do you know if it is safe to take while pregnant?

        • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

          I have not seen any evidence to see that it is not. I had taken out (on and off) during m pregnancy.

  • Kim

    I just ordered gelatinized maca powder from the website you recommended and will I get great benefits for fertility since it’s gelatinized and not raw?

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Kim, as far as I know you should still be able to get all the same benefits. It is just that gelatinized maca’s proteins are easier to digest for some.

  • Bollop

    I have been taking maca since 2005 having seen a program in France about it. I felt a change in my body within 3 or 4 days and cannot live without it now. I have short periods of not taking it every now and then, but very soon have to order more, from Belgium. It really does all that it says it does, an amazing plant!!!!

  • JA

    Just an FYI, I started adding 2 tablespoons (the serving size recommended on my pouch) to my smoothies. Had it in three smoothies over 5 days….had a huge, scary spike in blood pressure – 184/112! My normal bp is around 130/75. If you’ve got blood pressure issues or sensitivities, either start low on the dosing or just pass on the maca. :(

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      That is a very interesting observation. Have not heard of it before. Was it the only change you made in you diet?

      • JA

        Yes, that was the only change. I have Hashimoto’s, am on Tirosint and Cytomel for that, as well as a good selection of supplements (magnesium, digestive enzymes, b-complex, selenium, etc.) Had switched to a mostly vegetarian diet mid-November, but nothing else had changed. The smoothie recipe is one I’ve used before, just added the maca powder. My bp tends to be sensitive to caffeine or other stimulants, but my thinking was with the adaptogenic properties of the maca that it would be not-so-great side effect free. .I kept reading about everyone’s success with it, thought I’d try it. I’ve used Ashwaganda (another adaptogenic) without issue in the past, as well as Chyanwanprash….maybe it’s just my crazy gingerkid genetics. :(

        • JA

          and the bp spike happened yesterday – I had headaches for the past few days, but didn’t attribute it to the maca until yesterday…..

          • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

            Man, that’s horrible! I am glad that you are in tune with your body however. Could it be the brand of maca you are using or would you benefit from a smaller dose? I heard that some people do better on gelatinized maca. I will be talking about a new maca producer I tried recently in tomorrow’s post.

        • jamie

          I have read comments from others saying they had this happen also.

    • Dirker

      I understand this post is a few months old, but it should be pointed out that the recommended serving size is 1 to 3 teaspoons, not tablespoons. I think it just says “1-3 T” on the pouch, but the website, videos, etc., make it clear that the serving size is in teaspoons, not tablespoons. They also say to start with just one, for the first several days at least, before increasing the amount. Maca does act as a stimulant, and large amounts, especially for someone not used to it, can certainly have a negative effect. They do warn, for example, that anyone with insomnia issues should not have any Maca after 2 pm.

  • Stacy

    I already take maca root. I just read in your statements that it contains tyrosine? Ive been reading on that as natural alternative for medication that my doc recommends, actually only for about a week now. Is it possible to take too much tyrosine?

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      As long as it is not extracted tyrosine, you cannot overdose or have too much. It is only when things get extracted (as in a supplement you might be taking) that they might become a matter of concern.

  • Audrey

    I’ve read that maca has a good amount of goitrogen’s in it. Having hypothyroidism myself I bought a bag of black maca and intended on quick cooking it in my oatmeal. Do you eat it raw or cooked? Thanks for any feed back and Happy New Years Day!! :)

  • Anna

    Sorry I hit send too soon I also started maca. Gaia brand!

  • Anna

    I walk by people they tell me I smell like maple syrup! I just started using fenugreek extract on me at night only. My husband says I’m different down there. I’ve only been on it for 2 days. Is this normal? I want the benefits but not if this smell won’t go away!!

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Maple syrup? That’s interesting :). And are you talking about the benefits of fenugreek or maca that changed the smell of your body?

  • Kat

    I’m wondering if maca has any negative effects while on the birth control pill?

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Kat, negative effects? Not at all. Birth control is as negative as it gets. It has ruined too many lives, including mine, for me not to warn you. Please take a few to read through why birth control is the last meds you want to use http://www.vega-licious.com/health-nutrition/dangers-of-birth-control-medications-part-6-how-to-reclaim-your-health-after-birth-control/

      As far as interfering with birth control pills, I do not think that maca has that power.

      • Tamara

        I agree. I was on the pill for 10 years no problem and then 6 months ago tried the Depo Provera injection. Within 2 weeks I state getting side effects including really bad fatigue, depression, hair loss, scalp psoriasis, weight gain and the list goes on. After the 3 month injection duration I started spotting which was daily for 6 weeks, then I got a period back finally and now I get it every 2 weeks. I’ve just started taking Vitex herbs but doing some research on maca and going to give it a go to try and balance my hormones out. No more synthetic contraceptives for me. I’ve just bought a pearly and going to go natural with basal body temps.

        • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

          Tamara, sorry to hear about that. Even when it seemed that you were having no problems on other birth control, the problems were brewing deep inside your body and depo provera just tipped it off. Birth control nearly killed me. It causes horrible, horrible things to the body. What you need, in addition to Vitex (get a tincture if you can, it is more effective!) and maca, is B12 supplementation and a great plant-based diet to help you restore what birth control did to your body. You can read more about that here: http://www.vega-licious.com/health-nutrition/dangers-of-birth-control-medications-part-6-how-to-reclaim-your-health-after-birth-control/

          • Tamara

            Yes I’ve been eating 90% clean for the past month which has been good. Thanks for the advice on the other stuff. Appreciate it.

      • dee

        I have read thou it could interfere with birth control because it boosts fertility! Which is great for me :-)

  • Sassy

    This is a wonderfully detailed and informative post. I have been reading about the possible side affects of raw maca, and that it should be consumed in the cooked/gelatinized version only. Do you have any thought on this? I have been using a blend from Navitas in my pea protein shake that has maca root in it. I have more energy and the chest breakout (no acne in my family, and never had it as a teenager) I started to get after 30 has gone. I feel leaner and lost 6 pounds in the last 2 weeks too. I should point out that I have also cut out dairy,grains, processed sugar/products, and am using erythritol (sugar alcohol) instead of equal now. I am not entirely sure if the breakout was hormonal, or an allergic reaction to something else that developed in my 30s. I will continue to use maca though, particularly since I am now in my early 40s, and I feel much better. I ordered the gelatinized maca, and camu camu from amazon (Navitas). The price ($21) is so much less than Whole Foods ($60 for 16oz).

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Sassy, I heard both opinions on this and can tell you only one thing–I would try both, raw and gelatinized and see what works best for you. I have been using raw without problems, although during pregnancy I developed and aversion. Some people prefer the “cooked” version, so, as long as it works for you, I say “go for it”!

      I think that you lost weight because of the dietary changes you made–maca powder by itself won’t accomplish all these great things, although it is helpful. Cutting out dairy and sugar alone will do miracles. Unless you are allergic to speific grains, I would highly encourage you keeping whole grains in your diet–very good source of minerals, vitamins, etc. Instead of using erythritol (chemical stuff), use stevia leaf. A breakout, if it happened as you changed your diet, might be nothing more than detox and should go away. If it has been around for a while there might be other issues, but dumping dairy, processed foods and sugar does the trick for most.

      As for other supplements–I would not spend too much $$$ on it. A plant based whole foods diet is sufficient to get all the minerals/vitamins and protein you need. I would rather spend money on good organic plant foods than shakes. The only vitamin I ever recommend taking is B12 (methylcobalamin)–it will also help your energy levels.

  • Nickey

    I Have About 15 Lbs More To Lose And Am Starting To Go Through periMenopause Would This Help?

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Nickey, by itself maca won’t do the miracle. If the rest of your diet is clean (plant based, whole foods, no junk, sugar or oils), then it might help. Including green smoothies will help. If you are not vegan, cutting out dairy and cutting down your animal food intake to no more than twice a week would be the way to go.

  • Mal Richards

    I am trying to lose weight by eating the right food and going to the gym to which is working :) every morning I make myself a protein shake that contains MACA powered, Whey protein, Chai seeds, Almond milk and fresh strawberries or banana or frozen berries. I am amazed how much energy I have and how much better I have feeling since I have add MACA to my diet.

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Mal, while maca and chia sound great, the whey in your shakes, long term, might have some serious health side effects, so be careful.

    • Jay

      You can also add hemp seeds (nuts, hearts, same thing) for all your vitamins, boosting your metabolism, energy, plus all the omega’s, ect…. Another thing to help you lose weight for in your shakes, is kale. It’s a bit bitter, but mixed with all the other stuff you don’t even taste it! Also watch out for soy products in your shakes, and foods, it is not healthy at all! Make sure the protein shake product your using does not have sweetners in them! They make you store fat! Use stevia for sweetening. I lost over 80 lbs. Nothing white, no GMO foods, nothing frozen, or already prepared foods, they are loaded with chemicals, and cause you to store fat! Good luck. I swear by my Maca root and hemp nuts (chopped).

      Jay

    • Jeramie Dreyfuss

      I agree with Elena, please be careful with whey protein. I threw mine out after watching Dr. Oz say that it is a big cause of heart disease. Research it. Pea powder might be safer.

  • Robyn

    Hello, Im looking to gain a little weight ( im usually about 125, after having a baby i was 148 did workouts and stress im 119 and i look bony especially in the butt and thighs, with a small baby pudge. . I’ve been doing a little bit of research on Maca root powder. im wonderng how much i should take daily in order to gain weight. Ive also read that its also good to take a colon cleanser along with maca, y is that, and do u suggest the same? Im just looking to fill out a bit, with a combination of diet and exercise, im all ears.

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Robyn, I am not sure that maca will help you gain weight by itself. Normally when I take it I do 1-2 tbsp. To gain weight you might need to increase your calorie intake. To do it the healthy way just add cooked grains and legumes to your meals.

    • Jay

      Go see a dietician, they will help you with all your dietary needs. Your Dr. can refer you to one local. My girlfriend was like that for years. The dietician helped her finally gain weight. Good luck.
      Jay

  • meg

    I am wondering if maca is safe in pregnancy. I want to start supplementing with vega shakes during pregnancy but i noticed there is 1000mcg of maca per serving and have been nervous about starting it.

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Meg, I can tell you that I used it and others do to. It is a food item, so, it should not be dangerous, but, as with everything, use your discretion. when it comes to shakes–I dot see any need for them, as you should be getting your protein just from your daily diet.

    • Jay

      I suggest you check with your Doctor first, or a dietician since your pregnant. Never take anything that your not sure of. If you do take it, it is strong tasting, I add cinnamin to it and sometimes organic honey or agave syrup, or brown rice syrup. Good luck.
      Jay

  • Linz

    I take about a tbsp. each day – mid-morning, in a green smoothy. the flavour just doesn’t do it for me in most other food/snacks – I combine banana, spinach leaves, maca, almond milk, and cashews and
    its delicious. The nuttiness of maca really suits savoury notes … I have no doubt Maca is giving me a really positive energy boost – which sustains me for the rest of day….

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Linz, you are my hero. After my pregnancy, I gag when I take maca… but I still work on getting it down.

  • Angela

    I tried Maca after being diagnosed with PCOS. Before that I was struggling with constant fatigue and infertility. That was eight months ago, now I’m expecting a baby girl!

  • Nicole

    Is it okay if I take it in capsule form? Will I get the same benifits? And how much should I take?

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Nicole, I have not tried capsules, but as long as it is the same stuff (powder) in there, I am sure you will still benefit. As to how much, it would depend on how big the capsules are. You might find recommended dose on the bottle.

  • Samantha

    is maca root something that should be taken on a daily basis in order to work helping the body or can you take it a few times a week?

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Samatha, it can easily and safely be taken daily, or every other day. Some people tolerate gelatinized option of it better than the raw powder.

  • Mkay

    Hi Elena,
    I been diagnosed with Hipothyroidism, but my doctor doesn’t think that I should be taking
    Any medication to treat it, but I been feeling very tired lately and also gain 20 lbs and I’m not happy at all. Does maca powder help you to lose weight?

  • Billie

    how much to start with as a daily dose?

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      I normally do about 1 tbsp per day, but you can do more.

    • Anonna Mys

      I just started the powder a couple of weeks ago and have been doing 1tsp for 3 days, then none, then 3 days again, etc. Noticed an energy spike for sure. :) I have also read a lot of reviews with people who take 2 tsp for 2 weeks straight, then take a week off, then another 2 weeks, etc.

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  • Michael

    Hi Elena,

    I want to get off my synthroid. could you please help me to do this since you were successful.

  • cindy

    does maca root have niacin in it

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Glance at the Nutritional Profile on this page–it is listed there.

  • raquel

    can it help grow certain parts of the body……butt

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Raquel, not to my knowledge, since our buttocks are made of fat when they get bigger.

    • Julia Huerta

      yes it is known to make you grow bigger hips and butt one of the main reasons im getting it since it helps you gain muscle mass..so combine that with a good healthy diet and good exercise routine…and working out your gluts once or twice a week cuz butt muscles take the longest to recover so no more then twice a week and on non consecutive days..im a certified massage therapist btw ;)<3

      • Julia Huerta

        *glutes

    • Anonna Mys

      Yes but make sure you exercise while you’re taking it

  • Lola

    I’ve been using maca root for a couple of months now and love the effects! But have one concern. My vaginal smell has changed. Is this normal?

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Lola, is that the only thing that changed? Sometimes, when there is an overall dietary change, that happens due to detox, but then should stabilize.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sid.harris.90 Sid Harris

    From Sid Harris – Author of the Truth About Food on Kindle. My new book, which is in the making, has an extensive piece on the benefits of Maca – The new book is aimed at ageing males and how to naturally increase testosterone levels.

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  • Jane

    Where can you buy MACA? does it matter if it is in capsule form or powder form? which one is safer/more beneficial? Thank you!!

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Jane, Whole Foods or stores like it, should have it. You can also buy online–I have a couple added to my Amazon Store http://astore.amazon.com/vega-licious-20?_encoding=UTF8&node=9. It’s a bit bitter to taste (kind of like horse radish), so, if you are afraid of a possible gag reflex, getting caps is ok too.

  • Regina Afable

    I bought a Vega Maca Powder just now and I don’t know if I should eat it as it is (the powder) or add it to a food or beverage. Help?

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Regina, since I am not a fan of its taste, I either add it to green smoothies, or, most of the times make maca shots–mix it with a tad of green smoothie or water, down it, and follow with either more water or green smoothie.

  • Lorraine

    I just started taking MacaSure from Sequoia and am experiencing headaches (and I rarely get them).  Will this go away the longer I use Maca?

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Lorraine, I never had any problems using maca, so I am not sure if it is the product or something else causing your headaches.  I tak about 1 tbsp/day, sometimes every other day, in my smoothies, and I use only raw organic product. 

      • Joy

        Raw maca is actually NOT good for you! Peruvians never eat raw maca! You can check out the info at Whole World Botanicals.com.

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  • Denisa

    great info!!! My first package of maca powder is on its way to my mail box! Can’t wait to try it! yay!!! ;-))) I hope you’re feeling ok and not feeling much of a tiredness at the beginning of your pregnancy ;-) 

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Yeah for maca! But you will have to get used to the taste :) 

      Overall I am feeling great, but my energy level is certainly down, and I developed and overall food aversion.  I am hearing that the second trimester will be more fun :)

      • Niki

        Were you still allowed to take it while you were pregnant? The bottle I have has a warning on it. Jist wondering…I started taking it on my own…I have hypothyroidism and gained weight when my levels were off and did not have any energy. When my levels were fine but still tired and overweight…I bought Maca. Just hoping it doesnt mess with my levels and I unable to get pregnant.

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  • Holly

    Does maca root have any negative effects on birth control, like on its effectiveness?

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Holly, it should not–it is food. 

      • ann

        foods can affect medicines – grapefruit, dark greens etc – many foods affect meds – no clue if maca does or not but “it’s food” isn’t sufficient

        • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

          Holly, yes, different foods can. Perhaps you can find a better answer at the Maca Team site, since they specialize in this specific food.

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  • ameena

     I browsed the Nutiva website, and I have eaten their products goji berries, Yakon fruit which is so yummy, and would love to try their cacao and other superfoods.

  • ameena

     I have been using Maca and I love the way I feel.  The brand I use is Sunfood, and I use it in my smoothies.

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      ammena, if you wanted to enter the giveaway make sure to do it here: http://www.vega-licious.com/2011/05/navitas-naturals-maca-root-powder-review-and-giveaway/, following all of the required rules.  Best of all! 

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  • cristina

    good info on maca root, 

    • Jane

      do you know where I can buy MACA? does it matter if it is in capsule form or powder form? which one is safer/more beneficial? Thank you!!

      • ReddVelvet

        If u purchase powder..make sure its gelatainized …most capsules are gelatainized already..raw maca is harder on the digestive system for new users…and even for some of us who are regular users. ..the “g” maca is also more concentrated. ..Whole Foods sells the Navita brand..which I love!!..it has done miraculous things for my skin..mood and shape..;)

        • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

          Great point. I know some people are more sensitive than others. Is Navita’s brand gelatainized?

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