Q & A – Does Maca Powder Really Work?

Peruvian Maca Health Benefits

Will maca work for me?

Well, it depends and the short answer is Yes, maca powder really does work and no, it might not work for everyone.

To find out if maca will work for you, consider the following. Are you often feeling tired? Do you have a problem concentrating on a task? Are you having trouble 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.

On the other hand, if you are in poor health, using a variety of different medications, you have digestive problems, maca still might be good for you, but you’ ideally consult your doctor before start using maca.

What is maca powder used for?

Often you’d hear that maca improves mainly sexual drive and fertility. But maca does many 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 this root is consumed, after several weeks, not only sexuality and fertility is improved, but also stamina and sperm count, endurance and overall body performance, both mental and physical. Personally, I started using this Peruvian root after giving birth to my child, it helped me balance hormones, and it helped me (significantly) boost energy levels.

How does maca powder work?

Based on recent studies it is shown that maca can balance hormones, without affecting blood hormone levels. How is this possible? Well, all hormonal communication occurs between pituitary gland and hypothalamus thus signaling what types of hormones to release and what quantities at what time. What it has to do with maca you might ask? What maca does it improves communication and allows the messages of hormones to do their job more effectively in the body? It also boosts the body’s ability 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 heated. To do this, the 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 cooking 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 not everyone 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 colors, and each maca type tastes a bit differently, some have a stronger taste while others have a milder taste. In general, Maca has a bit nutty flavor with a hint of malt-like taste.

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. The steps mentioned above are how the Peruvian people will prepare maca for consumption.

When it comes to raw 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 micro powder. During this process, the roots are never heated above 45C 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 favorite drinks and foods.

What is gelatinized maca?

Gelatinized maca means the starch is removed from the root. So, the sun-dried roots are first boiled and then pressurized 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 per day?

The amount of maca you consume a day will depend on three main factors.

  1. First, what type of maca are you using, is it in powder or capsule form?
  2. Second, what is the concentration of maca product you have purchased?
  3. Are you a complete maca newbie or you’ve been using maca for some time now?

As I am a ‘veteran’ when it comes to using maca (I have been using maca for over ten years now), I use one tablespoon of maca powder with rice milk, almost on a daily basis.

How much maca powder in a smoothie?

Again, it all depends on the following three factors:

  • If you are new to maca, then one teaspoon is enough until you get used to the flavors and until you see how your body react to maca.
  • If you have been using maca for a while and you need just a bit of that extra energy boost with a few other superfoods, a soup spoon of maca powder a day would be a right amount.
  • The number of superfoods and other ingredients you are using in your smoothie will also determine how much maca to add. If you are making smoothies with different kinds of superfoods,  don’t overdo with the quantity. First, add only 1-3 superfoods (maca should be among these), and based on your current needs and health, as well as the superfoods potency, add each ingredient accordingly, or else, it is not going to taste well plus; you’ll end up feeling unwell. So, start with a half teaspoon of each product, taste, drink and if afterward, you feel OK, you did well. :)

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-three fish oil and have not had any troubles. But as people are different, if not entirely sure or you have a medical condition, ideally consult your health practitioner before mixing maca with other supplements and medications.

Maca powder or capsules?

There are two main points to consider when choosing whether to opt for maca capsules or maca powder.

  • The strength or potency levels. For Example, If you compared a Maca powder capsule to a Maca 12:1 extract capsule you would find it would take twelve pills of the powder to equal one capsule of 12:1 extract.
  • Convenience. 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. How about you?

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 favorites:

Is maca a stimulant?

Maca is a hormonal regulator, it stimulates and regulates the entire endocrine system. Maca does not contain hormones. Instead, 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. Not really. Maca is a super nutritious staple food. If you have weight trouble, 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 to achieve your desired goals. Or, 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! Memory boost is something I had experienced when my body and mind were so exhausted, and yet I had to juggle between my family (young kids) and university 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 on 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.

A small warning. Try not to consume maca later in the afternoon because you might be like a jo-jo in the evening experiencing tons of energy and not being able to fall asleep.

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 consumed by both young and not so young, regardless of their age. For example, I am over 40 and still take maca almost every day, more or less the same products I used when I was 30. However, if you have let say a hormonal imbalance history or a low libido for a longer period of time, then you might want to choose to buy maca products based on its potency levels. For example, extracts can be 10, 20 or even 100 times the concentration of a powder.

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

Oh yeah, it does. Claims that maca improves sexual drive in men and women are valid. Often, within just a week of taking Maca results are seen. Also, 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’s 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 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.

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