Maca Root Powder Supplements
Maca powder is a super food made from maca root. The root of this herb has been worshipped by the Incas for its aphrodisiac and energizing properties. Today, maca is often included in sports supplements and other formulas designed to recharge and revitalize the body.
What is Maca?
It is a radishlike root vegetable that is related to the potato family. Maca is grown for its root, which resembles that of the radish, and is off-white, yellow, purple, or yellow in color. Sometimes purple bands streak through the root. Below ground, maca is slightly larger on average than a radish, with a typical diameter of two to three inches. Above ground, maca is quite a bit smaller than its relatives (family of plants that includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips, and radishes).
- Latin names: Lepidium meyenii, Lepidium peruvianum
- Common names: Maca, maca root, Peruvian ginseng
- Superfood type: Root
Where Does Maca Come From (Origin)?
Maca has been cultivated and grown high in the Peruvian Andes of South America for approximately 2,600 years.
Maca Root Active Ingredients
Maca contains significant amounts of amino acids, carbohydrates, minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, and iron, and vitamins B1, B2, B12, C, and E. Peruvian maca also includes a number of glycosides (sugar molecules that help remove toxic waste from the body). Dried maca powder contains approximately 59 percent carbohydrates, 8.5 percent fiber, and slightly more than 10 percent protein. The protein in dried maca powder contains twenty amino acids and seven essential amino acids. Although maca is not a complete protein, it is such a great source of hormone precursors and amino acids that it provides many of the same effects created by a high-protein diet.
Possible Health Benefits of Maca
These claims are among the ads for maca root products.
- enchases male fertility and libido (sexual potency)
- aphrodisiac qualities
- powerful strength and stamina enhancer
- energy-enhancing properties (energizing effects)
- powerful adaptogen*
- maca is known to improve the following conditions: anemia, chronic fatigue, depression, malnutrition, menopausal symptoms, menstrual discomfort and disorders, poor memory, stomach cancer, stress tension, tuberculosis
These promising results encourage long-term clinical studies involving more volunteers, to further evaluate the efficacy of ME (maca extract) in athletes and normal individuals and also to explore its possible mechanisms of action.
Onset of action
Although some people may notice the enhancement within a day or two, it usually takes several days or up to a week or two for the benefits to be noticed.
The Benefits of Maca Root Supplementation for Athletes and Bodybuilders
Its use has grown in popularity among athletes. It is possible that maca improves various markers associated with sports performance. Maca is often used to increase energy, stamina and endurance in athletes, while promoting mental clarity. It is used as an alternative to anabolic steroids by bodybuilders due to its richness in sterols.
Maca contains substantial amounts of potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. It also contains a significant amount of essential amino acids, is easy to digest and its nutrients are highly assimilable, even for those with digestive problems. Consumption of maca has tentatively been linked with an increase in testosterone in some but not all studies. Whether or not the postulated benefits of maca consumption are of scientific merit is not yet known.
Maca and Testosterone Levels
As you will discover when you begin to look for the best testosterone boosters on the market, there are a wide range of ingredients. Some are effective, others are less than ideal. Maca is one of the most common ingredients found in testosterone boosters.
The old stories of maca’s libido boosting benefits and the modern day research that supports the fact of maca truly being an aphrodisiac, has mistakenly caused it also to be called a testosterone booster. When in reality it’s not a testosterone booster, just an aphrodisiac. Maca has been shown not to change testosterone levels.
In clinical studies, serum levels of testosterone were not shown to be affected by maca.
What does it taste like? Maca Smoothie?
Maca has a very distinctive flavor, so the best strategy is to taste test the powder both plain and mixed into a small amount of smoothie or other drink to determine whether it is to your liking. It is commonly added to smoothies and other drinks as a sweetener, but also for its nutritional benefits.
Different people say different things about the taste, and raw maca tastes different than dried but in general, maca has an earthy taste that is mildly nutty with a hint of butterscotch. It’s easily blended into superfood smoothies, various milks, chocolates, or mixed into flour for dessert recipes and doesn’t have a strong taste when combined with other foods or liquids.
Maca Root Powder Side Effects
No significant maca side effects have been reported. Maca is likely safe for most people when taken in amounts found in foods. Maca is possibly safe when taken in larger amounts as medicine (up to 3 grams daily) for up to four months. Maca seems to be well tolerated by most people, but you should consult a physician before using maca root powder.
Maca is a relatively new comer to the supplement market. It can be found as a stand-alone maca supplement. However it is not often found in many other supplements (testosterone boosters).
It is best to take your maca with a meal, especially in the stages when your body is only getting used to maca supplements. Doesn’t matter what you decide to take, maca powder, liquid, or maca pills (maca capsules). Powder or liquid forms are best if using it in a smoothie.
In traditional Peruvian medicine, maca powder is delivered at doses of 5 to 20 g in tablets or capsules, stirred into water or juice, or sprinkled over the food twice daily.
In the United States and elsewhere, maca is sold in drug stores and health food stores in capsule or powder form. Most commercially available preparations of maca contain about 500 mg of ground tuber in each capsule. Recommended dosages range from 3 to 6 g per day (3000-6000 mg per day) divided into 2 or 3 dosages, but no consensus has been reached on the optimal therapeutic dose of maca.
For the highest quality, look for Maca that is grown and processed following organic standards. Also, look for authentic maca root powder (not the stem, leaves, etc.), as only the root has medicinal properties.
Maca is not replacing hormones, so it is fine to start and stop at any time without stressing the body. Some health practitioners advise not to use it continuously, but to alternate with periods of taking the supplement with periods of rest from the herb to maximize the body’s response.
Because we can’t trust supplement companies and random people on internet forums, let’s check a few independent studies. Maca is an herb with plenty of anecdotal information about its usefulness passed down from generation to generation. But scientific evidence on its effectiveness is limited. Great positive studies on animals don’t necessarily mean the same amazing results on humans.
The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies** (excluding animal/petri-dish studies) to tell you what effect maca has in your body, and how strong these effects are.
|Effect||Change||Magnitude of effect size||Scientific consensus|
|Testosterone||No change||-||100% (4 studies)|
|Luteinizing Hormone||No change||-||100% (3 studies)|
|Libido||Increased||Notable||100% (3 studies)|
|Depression||Decreased||Minor||50% (2 studies)|
|Anxiety||Decreased||Minor||50% (2 studies)|
|Anaerobic Running Capacity||No change||-||100% (1 study)|
|Erections||Increased||Minor||100% (1 study)|
|Symptoms of Menopause||Decreased||Minor||100% (1 study)|
* Nutritive substance that counters adverse physical, chemical, or biological sources of stress by raising nonspecific resistance, allowing the organism to “adapt” to stressful circumstances.
** Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled.