How to Use Maca Root
A registered dietitian, pharmacist, or doctor should help you decide how to use supplements and make sure they are safe for you. No supplement is meant to treat, cure, or keep you from getting sick.
Few studies have been done on the possible health benefits. Even though maca root has been studied in the lab and on animals for some health problems, there isn’t enough research on humans and the sample sizes are too small to say for sure that it works for any of these problems. We need to do more research.
Here is a look at what research on people has shown:
May help men’s sexual health and libido.
In a randomised, double-blind clinical trial, 50 men with mild erectile dysfunction (ED) were put into either the treatment group, which got 2.4 grammes (gm) of maca, or the placebo group, which got an inactive pill.
After 12 weeks of treatment, the symptoms of both groups got better, but the group that got maca had better erectile function. Due to the small sample size and short amount of time, researchers wanted to do more research on this topic. 4
In a report that was published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers looked at four clinical trials that had already been done on how maca could help improve sexual function.
Some of the studies found that maca may help with problems like low sexual desire and erectile dysfunction. However, the researchers came to the conclusion that the number of trials, the number of patients, and the quality of the studies were too small to make any firm conclusions. They also said that not enough is known about the risks of eating maca. 5
In 2002, researchers found that maca may help men have more libido. The subjects took either 1,500 mg or 3,000 mg of maca or a sugar pill for 12 weeks. They found that both doses of maca made people want to be sexually active more than a placebo, but neither dose raised the levels of testosterone or oestrogen. 6
May help women with sexual problems caused by antidepressants.
A 2015 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggests that maca may help women with sexual problems caused by antidepressants. Some antidepressants are known to cause problems like low libido, dryness in the genital area, and trouble getting an orgasm. 7
In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 45 women who were taking antidepressants called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) or SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) or SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
7 At the end of the 12-week study, people who took maca were less likely to have sexual problems. Researchers pushed for more studies with bigger sample sizes and less subjective ways of keeping track of dates (like self-reporting). 7
May Help Men Have More Sperm and Move Them Around
In a small double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled study that was published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2015, semen quality and hormone levels were measured after 20 men were given either 1.75 gm/day of maca or a sugar pill.
After 12 weeks, there were no big changes in the number of sperm, their motility (how well they move), or hormone levels, but the number of sperm and how well they moved did get better.
May make women less depressed
A 2015 study in Climacteric said that maca may help people with depression feel better.
In this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study, maca (3.3 g/day) was given to 29 postmenopausal women for six weeks. Researchers found that women who took maca had fewer signs of depression than those who took a placebo. 9
What Does Maca Root Do to Your Body?
There could be side effects from taking a supplement like maca root. These side effects could be mild or very bad. We don’t know much about the safety and risks of using maca for a short time or for a long time.
Subjectively, there have been reports of changes in menstrual cycles, moodiness, cramps, gastritis, and lack of sleep.
We don’t know much about how maca affects hormone levels. For example, some studies have found that it has no effect on sex hormones, while others have found that luteinizing hormone, progesterone, and testosterone levels are higher in animals. 11
Because of these possible hormonal effects, you shouldn’t take maca if you have one of the following conditions without first talking to your doctor:
Cancer of the breast, uterus, or ovaries
As with many other supplements, maca hasn’t been tested to see if it’s safe for children, pregnant women, or women who are nursing. Because of this, it shouldn’t be taken. Before taking maca root, you should talk to your doctor if you are on any hormone treatments. 2
Maca soft gels
How much Maca Root do I need to take?
Before taking a supplement, you should always talk to a doctor or nurse to make sure that the supplement and dosage are right for your needs.
There isn’t enough evidence to say what a normal or right amount of maca root is. Studies on maca root have used different amounts, but the people who take part in the studies are usually under medical supervision.
More research needs to be done on the right doses for different health needs and groups of people. Alternative medicine experts say to start with 3 grammes (1 tablespoon of powder) and work your way up to 9 grammes per day, but more research is needed.
If I take too much maca root, what will happen?
As a general rule, you should never take more maca root than what the manufacturer says to. This is true no matter what form it takes! Stop taking maca root and call your health care provider if you have any side effects.
It is important to carefully read a supplement’s list of ingredients and nutrition facts to find out what ingredients are in it and how much of each ingredient is in it. Please look over the label of this supplement with your doctor to talk about how it might interact with foods, other supplements, and medications.
Maca might mess up testosterone immunoassays, which are a way to measure testosterone, so you don’t get the right results.
12 This was written up in one case report. Before you take maca root, you should talk to your doctor, especially if you are having tests or taking hormone replacement therapy.
How to Put Maca Root Away
Follow the directions on the package for how to store maca root. Follow the instructions on the package.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I take medication to treat hormones. Can I eat maca root?
Before taking maca root, you should talk to your doctor if you are on any hormone treatments.
What does maca root taste like?
It smells like butterscotch and tastes like nuts and dirt.1
I’m pregnant. Is it safe for me to take maca root?
No, pregnant women shouldn’t take maca root because there isn’t enough research on its safety right now.
How to Find Maca Root and Where to Get It
Maca is sold in health food stores as a powder, in capsules, as gelatin, and as a tincture. It can also be put in some foods. It goes well with cinnamon because of its nutty, earthy taste. 1
There are no rules about how maca should be used in any way. The Food and Drug Administration does not have strict rules about dietary supplements like maca root (FDA).
Maca root is a spice that is often added to food. It has been studied and found to help with sexual dysfunction and depression, but more research is still needed to prove these health benefits.
Since not much is known about the short-term and long-term side effects of maca root, you should talk to your doctor before taking it. Children, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and people with conditions that are sensitive to hormones should be especially careful.