Q & A – Does Maca Powder Really Work?

Peruvian Maca Health Benefits

What is maca powder good for?

Maca does many other incredible things for the body. Historically, this root has been used for centuries by Peruvian people to enhance sexuality and fertility.  And based on additional recent human studies, when consumed maca, after several weeks, not only sexuality and fertility is improved, but also stamina and sperm count, endurance and overall performance. Personally, it helped me balance hormones after giving birth to my child and also helped me (significantly) boost energy levels.

Is maca powder good for you?

Well, it depends. Are you often feeling tired? Do you have a problem concentrating on a task? Are you having troubles getting out of bed and doing some exercise? Are you often moody? If a man, do you experience a low libido? Do you have a low testosterone level? If a woman, do you have a fertility problem? How about hot flashes?

If you answer yes to a few or most of the above questions, then maca might be very good for you.

How does maca powder work?

Based on recent studies it is shown that maca is able to balance hormones, without affecting blood hormone levels. How is this possible? Well, all hormonal communication occurs between pituitary gland and hypothalamus thus signalling what types of hormones to release and what quantities at what time. What it has to do with maca you might ask? Maca improves communication and allows the messages of hormones to do their job more effectively in the body. It also boosts body’s abilities to cope with stress (it nourishes the adrenal gland) and it can help you optimize the adrenal function.

So, in addition to being a nutrient dense food, maca is also an adaptogen plant, which makes this root highly valuable. What does it mean adaptogen? Adaptogenic means, it increases resistance to stress and decreases stress on adrenal glands. Meaning, it helps the body better adapt and deal with stressors.

How is maca powder made?

To release maca root healing qualities, once harvested and stored, this root is being heated. To do this, traditional way Peruvian people would do is to either boil or roast (huatia) the root, just like you’d boil a potato, or, by dry powdering raw maca and then boiling it.

Is maca powder safe?

Maca is a staple food just like potatoes. So yes, maca is safe for the consumer. However, as not everyone enjoys eating or reacts the same way to spinach or eggplants, perhaps not everyone will enjoy using maca.

How does maca powder taste?

There are different maca types and colours and taste a bit differently, some have a stronger while others have a milder taste. In general, Maca has a bit nutty taste with a hint of malt-like flavour.

What is raw maca?

Traditionally, once harvested, Peruvian farmers will let this root to dry in the sun for about two weeks. Once dry, they would store the roots for up to two years. These dry roots are then (when needed) hydrated and boiled in water and milk until they are soft enough to eat as a porridge. This is how the Peruvian people will prepare maca for consumption.

When it comes to waw maca that we buy from shops, well it is almost prepared in the same way as above. Once harvested roots are dried, then cleaned and ground into a micro powder. During this process, the roots are never heated above 45C in order to preserve the maximum amount of nutrients. Vola, maca is ready to be packed in bags and ready to be shipped around the world. This kind of raw mac we can easily mix in our favourite drinks and foods.

What is gelatinized maca?

Gelatinized maca means the starch has been removed from the root. So, the sun-dried roots are first boiled and then pressurised in order to remove all starch. During this process, nutrients are altered to some degree (such as loss of enzymes and glucosinolates), but the powder becomes easy to digest and it is an ideal alternative for all those with a sensitive stomach or difficulties digesting starch.

The main difference between raw and gelatinized maca root is that the latter has been cooked and has had the starch removed.

Is maca powder gluten free?

Maca is 100% gluten-free.

How much maca powder per day?

It depends if you are being maca in powder or maca in capsules as well as if you are a new maca user or not. As I have been using maca for over ten years now, I use one tablespoon of maca powder with rice milk daily. For more information check this article: Maca Dosage.

How much maca powder in a smoothie?

It really depends. If you are just starting to use maca, then one teaspoon is enough, until you get used to the flavours and until you see your body reaction. If you have been using maca for a while and needs some extra energy boost, a soup spoon a day is good. Also, when making a smoothie do not add lots of different superfoods and in large quantities. It is not going to taste well and you might feel

Can I take maca root supplement with omega fish oil supplement at the same time?

Again, this depends on your current health situation. I have been using maca with different supplements including the omega 3 fish oil and have not had any troubles. But as people are different, if not absolutely sure or you have a medical condition, ideally consult your health practitioner before mixing maca with other supplements and medications.

Maca powder or capsules?

It all depends. When I travel I make sure I take maca capsules with me. They are more convenient and easy to use. Maca powder is my preference when at home.

Which maca powder is the best to buy?

There are a few good maca products on the market. However, as I travel a lot, I tend to purchase maca from a local shop or buy it from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. Here are my favourites:

Is maca a stimulant?

Maca is a hormonal regulator, it stimulates and regulates the entire endocrine system. Maca does not contain hormones. Rather it provides a unique set of nutrients that directly affect the endocrine system and help the adrenal glands to produce necessary hormones according to individual needs, in both men and women.

Does Maca root help you develop rounder curves?

The answer to this is simple. NOPE. I mean seriously! Maca is a super nutritious staple food. Stop. If you have a weight trouble, ideally consult a health practitioner or a nutritionist so they can help you figure out why you are below your desired weight and what are the next steps to be taken in order to achieve your desired goals. Or, have a talk with a gym instructor. Rounder curves? Enjoy a different kind of good food, and lots of it and be happy.

Does maca root improve memory?

Yes! This is something I have experienced when my body and mind was so exhausted and yet I had to juggle between my family (young kids) and exams. Before taking maca, nothing seems to work. I could not focus, I had no energy and could not remember much what I read or listened to lectures. I tried different herbal tricks and remedies but with no help, nothing worked (ginseng did boost my energy levels though), until I started taking Maca. I was using maca in the morning and early in the afternoon in my smoothies. Soon after, my study days became joyful where I had no problem remembering the text I’d read. I even remember moments when fellow students commented the way I discussed specific topics, I memorized sentences and paragraphs from books. :) Nothing intentionally, really, I just started absorbing everything I read. Fancy, right.

Can I take Maca Root meant for women over 40?

I do not think there is a maca product for a specific age. Maca is food and it is given to both young and not so young. I am over 40 and still take maca almost every day. Sometimes I take maca pills (when on the road) but most of the time I use Maca Powder.

Does consumption of maca root increase one’s sex drive?

Oh yeah, it does. This is something which both men and women will notice within a week of taking Maca. The mind will calm down, thoughts will get cleared, and the body will start reacting positively towards the person you are interested in (especially if you are a new mom, or experiencing low libido or going through menopause). Suddenly, things will change to your and your partner satisfaction. You’d need to try maca to feel and to experience the change.

Is it OK to take maca when you have erectile dysfunction?

Yes. There are also studies suggests that maca especially black maca helps in combating erectile dysfunction in men.

What are the main differences between maca and ginseng?

These two roots are similar in many ways. For example, they both improve an overall wellbeing, combat menopausal symptoms, improve libido and energy levels. Also, both roots are considered to be aphrodisiacs, they both improve focus and erectile dysfunction.

Can I take ashwagandha while taking maca root?

Yes, you can take both Maca root and Ashwagandha, especially in a milkshake. Just make sure you follow the label instructions (and if in doubt, always consult your health adviser).

Please note. Even though maca root is a staple food, it is always good to consult your doctor before consuming this healthy food, especially if having a medical condition, adrenal or a thyroid condition, or you are taking medications.