What are the benefits of Maca Root?

As health trends shift and evolve, the public continually seeks natural alternatives that offer numerous health benefits. One such alternative gaining global popularity is Maca root. Native to the Andean region, it has been revered for its medicinal properties and dietary benefits for millennia.

What Is Maca?

Maca, also known as Lepidium meyenii, is a root vegetable that grows high in the mountains of Peru. Resembling a turnip or radish, Maca comes in various colors, the most common being yellow, red, and black. It’s usually consumed in powdered form, added to smoothies, baked goods, or nutritional supplements.

History of Maca Root

The use of Maca dates back over 3,000 years to the time of the ancient Incan civilization. It was consumed for its nutritional value and believed to enhance stamina, strength, and fertility. During the Spanish conquest of South America, it was introduced to Europe and gradually spread worldwide, its reputation as a superfood growing over time.

Nutrient Facts

Maca root is rich in numerous essential nutrients. It’s an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber, Vitamin C, copper, and iron. It also contains other minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and is a good source of several B-vitamins.

7 Benefits of Maca Root

  1. Energy and Endurance: Maca is hailed as a natural powerhouse of endurance-boosting properties. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts worldwide use this supplement for its ability to increase stamina and combat fatigue. Maca contains a unique blend of proteins, fibers, carbohydrates, and minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, and zinc. These nutrients work together to optimize bodily functions, enhance energy production, and fight against exhaustion. It’s also worth noting that Maca’s low glycemic index means it provides long-lasting, slow-release energy, which can be invaluable during a grueling workout or an endurance event.
  2. Mental Well-being: Maca root is well known for its potential to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, in part due to its hormone-balancing effects. Hormonal imbalances can lead to various mental health issues, including mood swings, anxiety, depression, and difficulty concentrating. The exact mechanism by which Maca achieves this balance isn’t entirely understood, but it’s thought that the root’s high concentration of bioactive compounds can interact with the endocrine system, helping to regulate hormone production and promote mental well-being.
  3. Skin Health: Maca root is a treasure trove of skin-beneficial nutrients, including proteins, unsaturated fats, and minerals. Its high content of vitamin C boosts the immune system and acts as an antioxidant, fighting against free radicals that cause damage to skin cells. In addition, Maca’s high zinc content aids in repairing skin wounds, while its fatty acids nourish the skin, maintaining its softness and reducing inflammation. Moreover, some research indicates that Maca can help reduce skin sensitivity to extreme weather conditions, making it beneficial for people living in harsh climates.
  4. Fertility and Libido Boost: Historically, Maca has been used as an aphrodisiac, and it is still sought after today for its ability to increase sexual desire. Research has also pointed towards Maca’s ability to enhance fertility in both men and women. In men, it may improve sperm production, mobility, and volume. In women, it might promote healthy follicle development and hormone balance, crucial for reproduction. These benefits are often attributed to the plant’s high concentration of p-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate, a natural aromatic compound with reputed aphrodisiac properties.
  5. Bone Health: Maca is a valuable source of essential minerals, particularly calcium, which is a critical element in bone health. It provides more calcium than milk, making it an excellent choice for people who can’t consume dairy. Additionally, Maca’s richness in other bone-supporting nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, and vitamin K, aids in protecting against osteoporosis and other bone health disorders. Particularly in postmenopausal women, who are at a higher risk for osteoporosis, Maca supplementation may help preserve bone density.
  6. Antioxidant Booster: Maca root is loaded with powerful antioxidants, such as glutathione and superoxide dismutase, that help to fight off harmful free radicals in the body, thereby preventing cell damage. These antioxidants can protect against chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer by limiting the oxidative stress in the body. Furthermore, the antioxidants in Maca have anti-aging properties, helping to prevent age-related macular degeneration and reducing wrinkles by boosting collagen synthesis.
  7. Balance Hormones: Maca’s classification as an adaptogen means it’s capable of helping the body adapt to stressors. It achieves this by supporting the adrenal glands, which control the hormones released during stress. By aiding the body’s hormonal control center, Maca can help maintain overall balance during times of stress, whether it be physical or mental. This may result in improved mood, lower stress levels, and an overall increase in vitality and well-being.

Risks and Side Effects

Despite its many benefits, Maca root can cause side effects in some individuals. These may include minor digestive upset, mood changes, and, in some cases, altered menstrual cycles in women. As it’s a cruciferous vegetable, it may affect those with thyroid issues, and as such, those with thyroid problems should consult a healthcare professional before consuming Maca.


Maca root, with its rich history and nutrient profile, offers a range of benefits, from enhancing energy and mood to promoting skin and bone health. While it’s generally safe for most people, it’s essential to start with small amounts to monitor your body’s reaction. As with any dietary supplement, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before adding Maca root to your diet. Ultimately, this humble root can be a powerful addition to a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.


What is Maca root?

Maca root is a plant native to Peru, particularly known for its bulbous root, which is consumed as a food and a medicinal supplement. It has been a part of Peruvian indigenous diets for thousands of years.

What does Maca root taste like?

Raw Maca powder has a slightly sweet, nutty taste with hints of butterscotch. The flavor can vary depending on the type of Maca, with black Maca being a bit more bitter and red Maca having a milder, sweeter taste.

How do you consume Maca root?

Maca can be consumed in several ways. It’s available in powdered form, which can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, or baked goods. You can also find Maca in capsule and liquid extract form.

How much Maca root should I consume daily?

The recommended daily dose can vary depending on the individual and the intended use, but a general guideline is to start with 1-3 teaspoons of Maca powder per day. It’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

What are the side effects of Maca root?

Maca is generally considered safe. However, some people may experience mild side effects like bloating, indigestion, or changes in menstrual cycle. People with thyroid issues should consult with their healthcare provider before consuming Maca because it contains goitrogens, which can interfere with normal thyroid function.