Maca benefits, dosage, and side effects (2024)

What is maca?

“Maca” is the common name for two species of cruciferous vegetable in the Brassicaceae family: Lepidium meyenii (wild maca) and Lepidium peruvianum (cultivated maca). In the literature, and according to large regulatory bodies, these maca species are considered synonymous and interchangeable. However, some scientists posit that these are truly different maca types with dissimilar morphology, chemical content, and DNA.[1] The roots of the plants can be red, black, pink, or yellow. As a supplement, maca root is usually sold in the form of dried powder, which is often mixed into smoothies and other beverages.

What’s the difference between gelatinized maca and maca powder?What potentially bioactive ingredients does maca have?

What are maca’s main benefits?

Maca is high in nutrients such as essential amino acids, iron, iodine, and other minerals.[1] Although maca has been widely marketed for improving reproductive and sexual health, there is no strong research supporting its use for these goals. Limited evidence suggests that maca may improve sexual desire[2] and alleviate antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction.[3] Maca might also improve mood[4][5] and improve some sem*n parameters in men.[6]

What are maca’s main drawbacks?

Maca seems to be pretty safe. There is no evidence that maca causes serious adverse effects or has concerning safety issues. Anecdotally, raw maca should not be consumed; the root should be boiled and/or dehydrated first. For thousands of years in Peru, maca has been used for food and medicinal purposes, sometimes in amounts greater than 100 grams per day.[1]

Does maca have any drug interactions?

How does maca work?

It is currently unclear how maca works. However, its aphrodisiac effects do not appear to be mediated by altering levels of hormones usually involved in aphrodisia, such as testosterone, estrogen, and luteinizing hormone. Maca contains various chemicals, some of which are unique to this plant and some of which may have bioactive effects. These include alkaloids (imidazole, hydantoins and thiohydantoin), glucosinolates, and meyeniins.[1]

What are other names for Maca?

Note that Maca is also known as:

  • Lepidium meyenii
  • Maca root
  • Peruvian Ginseng
  • Lepidium peruvianum

Dosage information

The standard dose for maca is 1,500-3,000 mg.

Maca can be supplemented by eating maca root or through a maca extract. Extracts should be water or ethyl acetate-based.

Maca should be taken daily, alongside food.

Examine Database: Maca

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Update History

2023-06-27 16:56:05

FAQ and database update

major

We added newly published studies to our FAQs and database.

Written By

Marina Shkayeva

Edited By

Natalka Roshak

Reviewed By

Nick Milazzo

Research Breakdown

🚧 Under Renovation 🚧

The information in this section is slated for renovation — it will soon be transformed into a more usable (and readable!) form in the coming months. As such, the text in this section may be out of date and not up to Examine’s current standards for writing style.

1Sources and Composition
1.1Sources
1.2Composition
1.3Formulations and Variants
2Neurology
2.1Aphrodisia
2.2Anxiety and Depression
2.3Memory and Cognition
2.4Neuroprotection
3Cardiovascular Health
3.1Blood Pressure
4Interactions with Glucose Metabolism
4.1Absorption
4.2Interventions
5Exercise and Performance
5.1Aerobic Performance
6Immunology and Inflammation
6.1Interventions
7Interactions with Hormones
7.1Testosterone
7.2Estrogen
7.3Follicle-Stimulating Hormone
7.4Luteinizing Hormone
8Interactions with Bone Metabolism
9Interactions with Organ Systems
9.1Liver
9.2Prostate
9.3testicl*s
10Safety and Toxicology
10.1General
10.2Pregnancy

References

  1. ^Beharry S, Heinrich MIs the hype around the reproductive health claims of maca (Lepidium meyenii Walp.) justified?J Ethnopharmacol.(2018-Jan-30)
  2. ^Gonzales GF, Córdova A, Vega K, Chung A, Villena A, Góñez C, Castillo SEffect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy menAndrologia.(2002 Dec)
  3. ^Dording CM, Schettler PJ, Dalton ED, Parkin SR, Walker RS, Fehling KB, Fava M, Mischoulon DA double-blind placebo-controlled trial of maca root as treatment for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction in womenEvid Based Complement Alternat Med.(2015)
  4. ^Stojanovska L, Law C, Lai B, Chung T, Nelson K, Day S, Apostolopoulos V, Haines CMaca reduces blood pressure and depression, in a pilot study in postmenopausal womenClimacteric.(2015 Feb)
  5. ^Gonzales-Arimborgo C, Yupanqui I, Montero E, Alarcón-Yaquetto DE, Zevallos-Concha A, Caballero L, Gasco M, Zhao J, Khan IA, Gonzales GFAcceptability, Safety, and Efficacy of Oral Administration of Extracts of Black or Red Maca (Lepidium meyenii) in Adult Human Subjects: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled StudyPharmaceuticals (Basel).(2016 Aug 18)
  6. ^Lee HW, Lee MS, Qu F, Lee JW, Kim EMaca ( Walp) on sem*n quality parameters: A systematic review and meta-analysis.Front Pharmacol.(2022)
  7. ^Valentová K, Buckiová D, Kren V, Peknicová J, Ulrichová J, Simánek VThe in vitro biological activity of Lepidium meyenii extracts.Cell Biol Toxicol.(2006-Mar)
  8. ^Lee MS, Shin BC, Yang EJ, Lim HJ, Ernst EMaca (Lepidium meyenii) for treatment of menopausal symptoms: A systematic review.Maturitas.(2011-Nov)
  9. ^Zhang Y, Rants'o TA, Jung D, Lopez E, Abbott K, Pondugula SR, McLendon L, Qian J, Hansen RA, Calderón AIScreening for CYP3A4 inhibition and induction coupled to parallel artificial membrane permeability assay (PAMPA) for prediction of botanical-drug interactions: The case of açaí and maca.Phytomedicine.(2019-Jun)
  10. ^Meissner HO, Reich-Bilinska H, Mscisz A, Kedzia BTherapeutic Effects of Pre-Gelatinized Maca (Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon) used as a Non-Hormonal Alternative to HRT in Perimenopausal Women - Clinical Pilot Study.Int J Biomed Sci.(2006-Jun)
  11. ^Capuano E, Oliviero T, Fogliano V, Pellegrini NRole of the food matrix and digestion on calculation of the actual energy content of food.Nutr Rev.(2018-Apr-01)
  12. ^Gonzales GFEthnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands.Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.(2012)
  13. ^Valerio LG, Gonzales GFToxicological aspects of the South American herbs cat's claw (Uncaria tomentosa) and Maca (Lepidium meyenii) : a critical synopsis.Toxicol Rev.(2005)

Examine Database References

  1. Progesterone - Meissner HO, Mscisz A, Reich-Bilinska H, Mrozikiewicz P, Bobkiewicz-Kozlowska T, Kedzia B, Lowicka A, Barchia IHormone-Balancing Effect of Pre-Gelatinized Organic Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon): (III) Clinical responses of early-postmenopausal women to Maca in double blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled, crossover configuration, outpatient studyInt J Biomed Sci.(2006 Dec)
  2. Progesterone - Meissner HO, Mscisz A, Reich-Bilinska H, Kapczynski W, Mrozikiewicz P, Bobkiewicz-Kozlowska T, Kedzia B, Lowicka A, Barchia IHormone-Balancing Effect of Pre-Gelatinized Organic Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon): (II) Physiological and Symptomatic Responses of Early-Postmenopausal Women to Standardized doses of Maca in Double Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Multi-Centre Clinical StudyInt J Biomed Sci.(2006 Dec)
  3. Progesterone - Tsuyoshi Takewaka, Kiyoshi HaraClinical Effect of Oral Administration of Maca (Lepidium meyenii) Extract on Japanese Peri-Menopausal Women Subjects: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled StudyInt J Biomed Sci.()
  4. Progesterone - Meissner HO, Kapczynski W, Mscisz A, Lutomski JUse of gelatinized maca (lepidium peruvianum) in early postmenopausal womenInt J Biomed Sci.(2005 Jun)
  5. Chronic Mountain Sickness Symptoms - Gonzales-Arimborgo C, Yupanqui I, Montero E, Alarcón-Yaquetto DE, Zevallos-Concha A, Caballero L, Gasco M, Zhao J, Khan IA, Gonzales GFAcceptability, Safety, and Efficacy of Oral Administration of Extracts of Black or Red Maca (Lepidium meyenii) in Adult Human Subjects: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled StudyPharmaceuticals (Basel).(2016 Aug 18)
  6. Estrogen - Brooks NA, Wilcox G, Walker KZ, Ashton JF, Cox MB, Stojanovska LBeneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen contentMenopause.(2008 Nov-Dec)
  7. Testosterone - Gonzales GF, Córdova A, Vega K, Chung A, Villena A, Góñez C, Castillo SEffect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy menAndrologia.(2002 Dec)
  8. Follicle-Stimulating Hormone - Gonzales GF, Córdova A, Vega K, Chung A, Villena A, Góñez CEffect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a root with aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing properties, on serum reproductive hormone levels in adult healthy menJ Endocrinol.(2003 Jan)
  9. Follicle-Stimulating Hormone - Melnikovova I, Fait T, Kolarova M, Fernandez EC, Milella LEffect of Lepidium meyenii Walp. on sem*n Parameters and Serum Hormone Levels in Healthy Adult Men: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Pilot StudyEvid Based Complement Alternat Med.(2015)
  10. Sperm Concentration - Lee HW, Lee MS, Qu F, Lee JW, Kim EMaca ( Walp) on sem*n quality parameters: A systematic review and meta-analysis.Front Pharmacol.(2022)
  11. Libido - Stone M, Ibarra A, Roller M, Zangara A, Stevenson EA pilot investigation into the effect of maca supplementation on physical activity and sexual desire in sportsmenJ Ethnopharmacol.(2009 Dec 10)
  12. Follicle-Stimulating Hormone - Zenico T, Cicero AF, Valmorri L, Mercuriali M, Bercovich ESubjective effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) extract on well-being and sexual performances in patients with mild erectile dysfunction: a randomised, double-blind clinical trialAndrologia.(2009 Apr)
  13. Sexual Function - Dording CM, Schettler PJ, Dalton ED, Parkin SR, Walker RS, Fehling KB, Fava M, Mischoulon DA double-blind placebo-controlled trial of maca root as treatment for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction in womenEvid Based Complement Alternat Med.(2015)
  14. Sexual Function - Dording CM, Fisher L, Papakostas G, Farabaugh A, Sonawalla S, Fava M, Mischoulon DA double-blind, randomized, pilot dose-finding study of maca root (L. meyenii) for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunctionCNS Neurosci Ther.(2008 Fall)
Maca benefits, dosage, and side effects (2024)
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