If you’re looking for the best maca root supplements to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Maca Root Supplements Guide.
Top 10 Maca Root Supplements
|#1||HealthWorks Maca Root Powder||More Info|
|#2||Maca Team Organic Red Maca Root Powder||More Info|
|#3||Gaia Herbs Maca Root Capsules||More Info|
|#4||Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Maca||More Info|
|#5||Solaray Maca||More Info|
|#6||Gaia Herbs Gelatinized Maca Powder||More Info|
|#7||Halison Health Maca Marvel||More Info|
|#8||Pure Mountain Botanicals Maca||More Info|
|#9||Imlak’esh Organics Maca Powder||More Info|
|#10||Pure Encapsulations Maca-3||More Info|
Maca, or maca root, is a plant native to Peru, Bolivia, and northern Argentina. Its scientific name is Lepidium meyenii Walpers. The tuber is a root vegetable similar to a potato, radish, or turnip, although it is sometimes referred to as an herb.
Its nutritional benefits include carbohydrates, dietary fiber, fats, and protein as well as vitamins and minerals. Calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and selenium are all found in maca root.
At the higher elevations in the Peruvian Andes, only maca and potatoes will grow, so the plant is a dietary staple of the human population there. The fresh plant is said to have negative health effects, so South American consumers of maca dry the root until it becomes as hard as a stone. It can then be stored for several months before being boiled in milk or water.
The liquid is then consumed. A study of the residents of one Peruvian town showed that those who consumed maca had lower rates of bone fractures, lower body mass index, lower blood pressure, and fewer symptoms of chronic mountain sickness than residents who didn’t consume maca.
What is Maca?
Maca has been cultivated in Peru for three centuries. In Peruvian folk medicine, the plant has been used as a treatment for complaints that include:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Erectile dysfunction
- Stomach cancer
The maca plant has many common names, including Andean ginseng, ayak chichira, ayuk willku, maca maca, maka, maino, Peruvian ginseng, and Peruvian maca. It is not actually related to the ginseng plant.
According to some supplement marketers, maca root supplements can be used to stimulate the libido in men and women. The herbal supplement is also alleged to help improve sperm quality, reduce an enlarged prostate, and help alleviate the unpleasant symptoms of perimenopause. Although much more scientific investigation into these claims is needed, there does seem to be some clinical evidence that maca root supplements have some effect for many of these purposes.
Maca supplements have also been alleged to increase endurance. For this reason, maca supplements are popular among athletes, who are looking to improve their athletic performance using the root. However, little scientific evidence supports these claims.
Benefits of Maca Supplements
Some evidence shows that women who take maca root supplements twice a day for 12 weeks as a treatment for sexual dysfunction related to taking antidepressant drugs showed improvement in their symptoms. A small amount of research also shows that maca supplements can help increase the sperm count of healthy males, although it is still unknown whether this is correlated with increased fertility.
In men, one study showed that the men who took maca supplements for three months reported increased sexual desire after eight weeks and again after 12 weeks. The effect was seen in one experimental group that took 1,500 mg per day and in another group that took 3,000 mg per day. A third group who took a placebo did not report any increases in sexual desire. Studies in animals have also suggested that maca supplements may help with benign prostatic hyperplasia, a type of enlargement of the prostate.
One Australian study showed women who took maca supplements for relief of menopausal symptoms experienced lessening of symptoms that included depression and anxiety. However, the lessening of symptoms was said to be small for this last group of clinical study participants. A study of men who appeared to be healthy showed that those who took maca supplements reported lower levels of depression and anxiety than men who were given a placebo.
The alkaloids in maca supplements are thought to promote the action of the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. Although maca does not contain the botanical substances that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body the way that black cohosh, licorice root, red clover, soy, and wild yam do, the action of maca supplements on the pituitary gland and hypothalamus affect the actions of hormones in the body. Scientists are investigating whether maca supplements could act as a safer alternative to so-called phytoestrogen supplements; more research is needed.
Are There any Side Effects?
Some people in the Andes eat about half a pound of maca every day and do not seem to have any side effects, so the plant is generally thought to be safe for most people. It is not considered to be clinically toxic, and few adverse effects have been reported. Some study has also suggested that maca supplements are correlated with a slight increase in blood pressure, so those who have concerns about high blood pressure may wish to avoid taking maca supplements.
Because the maca plant contains some chemicals that act like hormones, people who have certain hormone-sensitive conditions may wish to avoid maca supplements. These conditions include breast cancer, uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, ovarian cancer, and endometriosis. Any condition that could be worsened by estrogen could also be affected by maca supplements.
Those who have thyroid conditions should also consult with a health care provider before taking maca supplements, since these supplements are known to stimulate the thyroid gland. Although goiter has not been reported in those using maca supplements, goiter can be caused by consumption of other foods that contain substances similar to those found in maca. Since thyroid dysfunction is most likely to affect women over the age of 50, this age group must be especially cautious about using maca supplements.
Drug interactions with maca supplements are still being studied. The plant and supplements made from it may interact with prescription antidepressant drugs, such as citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Cipralex, Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), and paroxetine (Paxil). As a food, maca contains relatively large amounts of vitamin K, which can interact with some blood thinning medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin).
There is not enough evidence to conclusively demonstrate that maca supplements are safe for people who are pregnant or breast feeding. Children should avoid taking maca supplements until research has been done to show that maca supplements are safe for children.
How to Take Maca Root
Maca supplements are commercially available in capsule, tablet, and powder form. Even though maca is a natural product and people seem to be able to eat it regularly without any ill effects, consumers should consult with a health care professional before taking this or any other supplement. A dose of up to three grams per day for up to four months is considered to be safe for most people.
Maca root, as a food, is high in potassium. Those who are on potassium-restricted diets, such as those who have kidney or liver disease, should limit the amount of maca root they eat. Such consumers will also want to check the amount of potassium in any maca supplements they decide to take and check with a health care provider to determine a safe amount of potassium for them to take.
What to Look for in a Good Maca Root Product
Dietary supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Safe daily amounts of maca supplements have not been conclusively established. Many studies investigation the effectiveness of maca supplements used 1,500 to 3,000 mg per day as a clinical dose. The dosage recommended by many manufacturers is 450 mg per day.
The quality of maca supplement products could vary widely between manufacturers. For some assurance of safe and reliable manufacturing, consumers can look for supplements that have the seal of approval of a trusted consumer organization. ConsumerLab.com, NSF International, and U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) all lend their seals of approval to products that meet certain quality and safety guidelines; consumers can look for at least one of these three seals on a maca supplement product.