How Much Maca Should I Take a Day?
There’s no doubt that superfoods are amazing for our overall health and longevity, but how much should we be taking daily? Take maca powder for example; is there a specific amount we should aim for every single day?
Superfood maca coffee, superfood maca chocolate, superfood maca protein powder…they all claim improved sexual desire and sexual health, increased energy levels and mood, relief from menopause symptoms, help with sexual dysfunction, balancing out your sex hormones, and a bunch of other health benefits.
With all these new and upcoming brands featuring maca powder in their ingredients list, one can’t help but wonder, is there such thing as too much?
What is Maca Powder?
Maca, also known as Lepidium Meyenii, comes from the maca root, and it’s been known and used in the Peruvian culture for thousands of years, both as food and medicine. Also referred to as Peruvian ginseng, maca root is actually a cruciferous plant, related to broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and cabbage.
The maca root is the part of the plant that’s most commonly used and it features a ton of incredible nutrients boasting numerous health benefits in humans. It’s rich in fiber, bio-available amino acids (contains almost all essential ones), free fatty acids, Vitamin B1, Vitamin C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and more.
A real powerhouse of nutrients, this incredible superfood also contains another set of bioactive compounds which are responsible for its medicinal benefits. These include macamides, macaridine, alkaloids, and glucosinolates.
Potential Health Benefits of Maca
In recent years, maca powder has been known for its potential effect on the reproductive system and libido, sexual dysfunction, mild erectile dysfunction, female sexual function, and the effect on sex hormones, especially with postmenopausal women.
Although more studies need to be conducted, especially larger-scale and rigorously controlled, the ones that are out there point to positive results on its effectiveness.
- Improves Sexual Desire (Libido) - maca supplementation for sexual desire has scientific backing. Studies show a significant increase when compared with placebo, but after at least 6 weeks have passed.
- Relieves Symptoms of Menopause - menopausal symptoms are usually not very pleasant. Hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, vaginal dryness, headaches…these are all side effects of low levels of estrogen that naturally occur in menopause and are a reality for all postmenopausal women. Studies show how maca root can help alleviate some (if not all) of these symptoms, even in cases of surgically-induced menopause.
- Helps Adapt to Stress - Maca root is a known adaptogen, helping your body better deal with stressful situations. This, in turn, helps support your immune system and keep inflammation at bay.
- Improves Aspects of Male Fertility - there’s been a lot of scientific evidence on maca supplementation being helpful for adult healthy men struggling with fertility issues. It seems that maca may help improve sperm concentration, which next to sperm motility and quality is one of the main factors of male fertility.
- Improves Mood and Energy levels - There are studies that even link maca root supplementation to improved mood and increased energy levels. One of the most important ones concerns postmenopausal women and the reduction of anxiety and depression symptoms.
In addition to these, there are some important animal studies worth mentioning. One links maca to wound healing, another shows its potential benefit to benign prostatic hyperplasia, and then there’s one linking maca to improved cognitive function.
Even though there’s not an overwhelming amount of peer-reviewed studies that have conclusive results and more research needs to be conducted, even the ones mentioned are enough to take this superfood seriously and start taking maca powder in your daily smoothie. Still, if you’re experiencing specific medical conditions, consider talking to your doctor and obtaining professional medical advice before adding maca into your diet.
The maca plant has roots in different colors, and consequently, that’s where the different maca powders come from. Generally, there are three distinctive maca varieties and they each contain their own special health benefits:
- Black maca - male fertility, sexual function, and prostate health, increasing stamina and building muscle
- Red maca - women’s fertility, libido, mental focus, fatigue, depression and anxiety, stress, blood pressure, circulation, bone density, hair growth
- Yellow maca - mood, energy levels, anxiety, depression
So, how much maca should you take per day? Considering the fact that maca root is actual food, not a chemical, extract, or dietary supplement, its dosage should be treated differently than say, multivitamins or even collagen supplements. And just like every food (and in this case a cruciferous vegetable), there isn’t really a case of “too much maca.”
That being said, the usual serving recommendations are around 1 teaspoon or 5 grams. Maca affects different people differently, and since it belongs to medicinal plants, you might experience some side effects of taking a larger dose.
General daily recommendations of maca are 3-9 grams (1-2 teaspoons). These numbers might be different for your body weight, age, or activity levels, so it’s always best to test it out on yourself and see what works for you best.
It’s also important to note that taking maca as an alternative medicine for therapeutic reasons is different than general health dosage and it’s usually in much larger doses based on scientific research.
Who Should Avoid Maca?
Since maca root is incredibly potent, there are some groups of people who may be too sensitive to the strong hormonal effects maca can produce. Even though these findings come from animal studies, there have been reports of higher levels of luteinizing hormone, progesterone, and testosterone. For this reason, if you have one of the following hormone-sensitive conditions, talk to your doctor before taking maca:
- Breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer
- Uterine fibroids
- Thyroid disease or thyroid cancer
For the same reason, pregnant or breastfeeding women should also take precautions with this powerful superfood.
How To Use Maca Powder?
Ok, so you got your maca, and now what? How do you use it in your diet? With people mostly reporting on its caramel/nutty/slightly malty taste, there’s plenty you can try out. Here are some ideas:
- Add it to your smoothies and smoothie bowls
- Boost your coffee or hot chocolate with nutty maca notes
- Sprinkle some in your protein powder or chia seed pudding
- Make a chocolate-maca dessert such as vanilla-maca ice cream or raw vegan goji-maca cake
- Make a delicious caramel-flavored chocolate maca dip
- Get creative with your savory meals too and add it to your falafel or spice up your hummus
There are plenty of ideas to get creative in the kitchen, but be careful: maca is extremely potent and it can have a strong taste. Before you add a whole tablespoon, start with just a sprinkle. A little goes a long way with this incredible superfood.
Our organic, gelatinized maca powder is sourced directly from Peruvian farms of the Andes mountains. It’s a combination of red maca, black maca, and yellow maca, and it’s been cultivated naturally and sustainably grown at 14,000 feet above sea level. This impacts the levels of nutrients and antioxidants, keeping it at the highest level possible so you get the ultimate benefits.
This incredible superfood from the Peruvian highlands is an amazing addition to your daily diet. Maca is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber and full of potential beneficial effects. It may help increase your libido, boost your sexual function, increase your sperm count, enhance fertility, boost your energy levels, improve your mood, and even help relieve menopausal symptoms.
But even if it doesn’t do so, maca brings on a plethora of incredible micronutrients that improve your overall health and wellbeing. Even though you can’t technically overdo it, maca is incredibly potent and has a very strong taste. Start with small amounts and keep adding more over time.