Plants and roots have been used for thousands of years in vast regions of the world for medicinal purposes.
The maca root is no exception.
The pleasant tasting, nutrient dense maca root has a higher calcium level than milk and has been used for centuries by the people of the Andes Mountains to treat fertility in both humans and animals.
The maca root is commonly ground up into a powder form or pressed into capsules for efficient and convenient nutritional supplements.
What makes maca root powder so nutritious and are there any possible side effects? We’ll cover that later in this article, but first we’ve ranked the top 5 maca root powders according to price, product quality, and reviews.
So what’s the #1 maca root powder on the market?
1- NaturaLife Labs Organic Maca
Sourced from the alpine mountains of Peru, NaturaLife Labs Organic Maca offers one of the most potent and pure maca root powder supplements on the market.
Each capsule contains a healthy, 950 mg combination of red, yellow, and black maca roots, each with their unique nutritional qualities.
This product contains 100% pure organic maca root powder which does NOT contain fillers, magnesium sterate, dioxides, preservatives, gluten, soy, sugar, yeast, starch, or rice flour.
It is also manufactured in an FDA registered facility in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
Take two capsules per serving, 75 servings in the bottle.
2- NOW Foods Maca
For the price, it’s hard to compete with NOW Foods. They offer one of the most affordable maca root supplements on the market.
Made by a brand that has been around since 1968, NOW Foods holds a high reputation in the supplement industry. If you like buying supplements from well-known brands you can trust, this is a great option.
Note from the manufacturer:
“Contains no sugar, salt, starch, yeast, wheat, gluten, corn, soy, milk, egg, shellfish or preservatives.”
Each veggie capsule contains 500 mg of maca root extract, and the recommended dosage is to take one capsule 1 to 2 times daily.
250 capsules in the bottle.
3- Healthworks Maca Powder
If you’re looking for maca root in the raw powder form, Healthworks has the product for you.
The maca root in powder form makes it easy to add to snacks and meals – you can mix it with smoothies, coffee, juices, soups, energy bars, oatmeal, baked goods and even cereal.
Healthworks makes sure the powder is sourced from the purest quality plants. Here’s what they have to say about it:
“Healthworks partners with small farmers right from the source to ensure a product that meets our sustainable standards.”
You can get a full refund or replacement within 30 days if you are not completely satisfied, something you don’t always see in the supplement industry.
1 tsp per serving – about 50 servings in the 8 oz bag.
4- Anthony’s Organic Maca Root Powder
I don’t know Anthony personally, but his organic maca root powder has pretty solid reviews on Amazon.
This particular maca root powder is gelatinized, and according to the manufacturer, this makes it easier to digest and absorb than the non-gelatinized form.
Here’s what else they have to say about the powder:
“Chalk full of amino acids, plant sterols, essential minerals, and essential fatty acids – our Organic Maca Root Powder gives off a malted taste, reminiscent of toasted oats and butterscotch – it is a flavor that can be used in a variety of recipes.”
When they say organic, they really mean it. This maca root powder is 100% certified gluten-free by the CSA, it’s Non-GMO, Vegan & Kosher friendly.
Comes in a stylish 1 lb bag which is about 91 servings (1 tsp per serving).
5- aSquared Nutrition Black Maca
With 1000 mg of maca root extract per serving, aSquared Nutrition offers a great maca product, but it’s certainly not the cheapest one out there.
They focus on the black maca root, and here’s what the manufacturer has to say about it:
“Peruvian sourced Black Maca has many benefits that make it a superior choice for men, as opposed to red or yellow maca extract / powder.
Black Maca supports enhanced male potency & fertility, helps enhance libido & sex drive, and supports strength, stamina & energy. Additionally, Black Maca supports muscle building and athletic performance, may help with natural testosterone production, is a good source of protein, and helps balance your mood.”
This maca powder is also gelatinized using a special boiling process to remove starch content, typically making it easier to digest.
Take 2 capsules per serving, 180 capsules in the bottle (90 day supply).
What is maca root?
Maca is a plant that is native to the area of central Peru in the highest plateaus of the Andes Mountains.
Since it grows at an altitude of 11,000 feet, Maca is the highest growing food crop in the world. Grown as a vegetable crop for thousands of years, Maca is part of the radish family and has a distinctive smell that is similar to butterscotch. The root of this plant is used for medicinal purposes.
Maca is an adaptogen. This is a term given to a group of herbs and plans that help our bodies naturally adapt to stressors such as hectic work schedules, demanding jobs, and illnesses. It is also considered to be a natural aphrodisiac and one of the traditional fertility secrets of the people who have lived in the Andes for years.
Maca has been used for everything from treating anemia to increase fertility in livestock. It is considered a Superfood because it contains many vitamins and nutrients that can naturally energize the body.
The root has been used for many years to improve energy, stamina, and fertility for humans and animals.
It was domesticated between 1300 and 2000 years ago in San Blas, Junin, which is present-day Peru. In 1653, a Spanish priest named Cobo used the root for fertility purposes and also as a stimulant. The root is still used today in the Central Andes for its medicinal purposes.
Consuming maca has been known to make people feel more alive, have more energy, and leaves them with an overall sense of well-being. This is believed to be caused by the root’s ability to restore a natural hormone balance and improve the “feel good” endorphins in our body.
How does maca root powder work?
Maca root contains a large amount of amino acids as well as essential vitamins and minerals.
It is an adaptogen, which means that it supports our overall health and strength. Research has shown that the properties found in maca root can improve our body’s overall physical function and boost our spirits.
Maca is very nutritious and contains several important vitamins and minerals such as:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
Maca root is an excellent source of protein with 4 grams in each ounce. It also contains 20 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Plus, the root contains various plant compounds including polyphenols and glucosinolates.
What are the benefits of maca root powder?
There are several benefits associated with taking maca root, which is the obvious reason those living in the Andes Mountains have used the root for more than 3,000 years.
Here are some of the most well-known benefits:
- Reduces Sexual Dysfunction
Maca root has been shown to reduce the effect of sexual dysfunction caused by antidepressant drugs. Research has shown that taking a maca root supplement twice a day could improve the sexual dysfunction in women who take antidepressants regularly.
A study showed an improvement in mod and sexual libido in women, which was caused by the positive effects of increased serotonin levels. Another study performed on animals showed that the females taking maca had multiple egg follicles that successfully matured, which is essential for reproduction health and ovulation.
- Enhances Brain Function
It may also improve learning and memory by enhancing brain function. Studies show that maca improved the memory in rodents who had memory impairment. Traditionally black maca was used in Peru to improve children’s performance in school .
- Treating Male Infertility
Maca is also known for treating male infertility. The root has been used for generations to increase the fertility in livestock. Experts now believe that taking a maca root supplement daily for the course of 4 months can help increase sperm count in healthy men.
A recent study showed that maca root improve the semen quality in both healthy and infertile men . Another study on nine healthy men who took maca over the course of four months showed that there was an increase in the volume, motility, and count of sperm. However, even with this evidence, maca root is not a proven cure for fertility issues.
- Improves Testosterone Levels in Men
Clinical studies have also shown that serum levels of testosterone in men were positively affected after taking black maca. Those taking regular yellow maca did not see any results.
- Treats Post-Menopausal Symptoms in Women
Post-menopausal symptoms can be treated by taking maca supplements daily for 6 weeks. Studies show that taking the supplement can help to improve blood pressure levels and certain aspects of the mood such as depression and anxiety.
However, the benefits are very small. One study in menopausal women found that maca could help alleviate the symptoms including interrupted sleep and hot flashes. Additionally, some animal studies suggest that the root can help promote bone health. This is relevant since many women have a higher risk of osteoporosis after going through menopause .
- Improves Female Hormonal Balance
Maca is also believed to improve women’s hormonal balance by providing support to the endocrine system. It can help with the regulation of the adrenal and thyroid glands and promote healthy hormone production.
The adrenal and thyroid glands play a part in regulating our mood. They help with everything from combating stress (like chamomile) to restoring our appetite. Keeping these glands healthy is important for anyone who wants to feel their very best.
- Improves Libido
Early research on maca root shows that taking the supplement can also help with sexual desire in healthy men by increasing libido.
- Protects the Skin from UV Ray Damage
Maca can also be used to protect our skin from harmful UV rays. There is some evidence available that shows when applying maca extract to the skin, it can provide protection from UV ray exposure. The protective effect was due to the polyphenol antioxidants and glucosinolates found in the root .
- Improves Effects of Anemia
Maca root has also been shown to improve the negative effects of tired blood, also known as anemia.
Additional benefits of taking maca root supplements include:
- Treatment for leukemia
- Help with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Improve energy for athletes
- Combats depression and anxiety
- Help with menstrual issues and menopause symptoms
- Treat female hormone imbalance
- Treats osteoporosis
- Boosts the immune system (like probiotics)
- Treats stomach cancer
- Could treat HIV/AIDS
What are the side effects of maca root powder?
Maca root is considered safe when taken as recommended. It is a superfood and can be taken as a supplement in powder form or capsule.
However, it is important to understand the side effects involved with taking maca. Peruvian natives believe that eating the root raw can cause adverse health issues and they recommend boiling the root first.
Individuals who have thyroid issues should be careful when taking maca root. That’s because the root contains an ingredient known as goitrogens. These substances can interfere with the normal and healthy function of the thyroid gland.
The compounds are likely to affect you if you already have thyroid issues. Those who have a family history of thyroid disease should be careful when taking maca root.
It is advised that pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult with their doctor before taking a maca supplement since the effects of the root on infants is unknown.
How do you take maca root powder?
It’s easy to incorporate maca root into your everyday diet plan. The root can be taken as a supplement or added to various foods such as smoothies, breakfast shakes, baked goods, energy bars, and oatmeal, just to name a few.
There has not been a recommended dose for medicinal use established for maca root. However, the dosage of maca root powder used in studies ranges from 1.5 to 5 grams each day.
Maca can be found in supermarkets and health food stores as well as online. It is available in powder form, in 500 mg capsules, and as a liquid extract .
Although yellow maca is readily available, the darker variety such as red or black may contain different biological properties which could make them more beneficial.
Maca root is grown in the Andes Mountains of Peru and has been used for centuries to treat various issues such as fertility problems and hormone imbalance.
It is used today to treat everything from poor libido to lack of energy and depression.
Although Maca root is safe, it does contain ingredients that may be harmful to individuals who have thyroid disease or poor thyroid function.
Maca can be purchased as a capsule or in powder form and can be added to foods or drinks.