Have you heard about maca?
A Peruvian plant that has been cultivated for over 3,000 years in the harsh conditions of the Andes mountains, this superfood is gaining popularity and has popped up in everything from smoothies and supplements, to cosmetics.
For those who already take maca, it's hard not to love it. Black maca has benefits for both women and men and can help to boost energy and stamina, balance hormones, promote fertility, give you a sharp mind, and support a healthy libido.
Taking black maca supplements daily, also makes it super-easy to incorporate this incredible nutrient into your daily routine, helping you live a healthy, well-balanced life.
In this post, we'll discover what maca is, learn about its nutritional properties, and share top 10 magical black maca root benefits for women and men.
Table of Contents
- What is Maca?
- Maca Nutritional Benefits
- Black Maca vs. Other Types of Maca
- Top 10 Black Maca Root Benefits for Women and Men
- Maca for Libido in Men and Women
- Maca for Fertility in Men
- Maca for Sperm Production
- Maca for Erectile Dysfunction
- Maca for Hormonal Balance and Stress
- Maca for Menopause
- Maca for Bone Health
- Maca for Energy and Endurance
- Maca for Improving Mood
- Maca for Memory and Concentration
- Maca Side Effects
- Black Maca Powder Dosage
- How to Buy Maca Supplements
- Key Takeaways
What is Maca?
Maca, also known as Lepidium meyenii, is a plant native to Peru and belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables such as kale, radish, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.
Also known as Peruvian Ginseng, it is also referred to as a herb and grows at very high altitudes in the Andes mountains. Maca has been used for centuries as both food and medicine in Peru and can be traced back historically to the Inca civilization.
Maca resembles a turnip or radish, and the edible part of the plant is the root, which grows underground and can range in colors from white and yellow to purple and black. That is why maca is often referred to as "maca root." Maca root is usually dried and available as a powder or in supplement form.
The taste is described as butterscotch-like, earthy, and nutty.
So what can a small root dating all the way back to the Incas offer contemporary health enthusiasts? Let's find out.
Maca Nutritional Benefits
Maca root is a powerhouse of nutrition and is low in fat, and high in fiber. It provides essential vitamins, and minerals including vitamin C, iron, copper, potassium, and more.
It also contains 8 important amino acids and a plethora of phytonutrients (bioactive plant compounds) such as glucosinolates and polyphenols, all of which help to promote metabolism, boost energy, and increase endurance.
One ounce of maca root powder provides (% DV):
- Vitamin C: 133% of the daily value
- Copper: 84% of the daily value
- Iron: 23% of the daily value
- Manganese: 11% of the daily value
- Potassium: 16% of the daily value
- Protein: 8% of the daily value
- Fiber: 8% of the daily value
- Carbs: 7% of the daily value
- Calcium: 7% of the daily value
Black Maca vs. Other Types of Maca
Although there are other types of maca available, black maca, preferably organic and sourced from Peru is the one to go for. Over the past decade, research shows that black maca has several differences that sets it apart from other types of maca. The comprehensive research on this can be found here, but here are a few key points below:
In one study the "compositions of essential oil, lipid and polysaccharide in different phenotypes of Maca were analyzed," to show potential antioxidant effect. The study revealed that black maca demonstrated higher antioxidant effects than red and yellow maca.
An animal study showed that black maca specifically promotes the production and regulation of glucose and supports healthy metabolic activity. It concluded that "32 bioactive compounds in maca targeted 16 proteins involved in metabolism disorder," and revealed that black maca "supplementation positively affected lipid and glucose metabolism disorder prevention."
Next, we'll take a detailed look at all of the top benefits of black maca root for women and men, that you perhaps didn't know.
Top 10 Black Maca Root Benefits for Women and Men
Black maca has many amazing health benefits for both men and women.
It is known to increase stamina, boost fertility, and build sperm count in men.
For women, it helps balance hormones, increases libido, boosts energy, and alleviates fatigue and menopausal symptoms.
Men and women interested in building muscle and increasing endurance and stamina can also take it daily.
Black maca root is recommended for:
- Men who want to increase fertility
- Women who want to achieve hormonal balance
- Men and women wanting to boost libido
- Men and women athletes wanting to build stamina, strength, and endurance
- Men and women wanting to improve focus, concentration, and memory
- Men and women looking to improve bone density
Maca for Libido in Men and Women
Maca has been used in Peru to increase sex drive in both men and women and was traditionally taken as an aphrodisiac.
Research shows that maca increased sexual desire in men as early as 8 weeks after supplementation.
What's interesting in this study is that researchers also measured other aspects that can affect libido, such as anxiety, depression, and testosterone and estrogen levels. However, the study revealed that sexual desire and libido increased independent of these other factors.
And it's not just men who can benefit from this medicinal plant. A review that looked at four different clinical trials, found that in two of the trials that featured adult men and menopausal women, participants were able to boost libido with maca supplementation, after just six weeks.
Maca for Fertility in Men
When it comes to improving male fertility, both sperm quality and count (quantity) are essential.
A review combined the research of five separate studies and demonstrated that maca improved the quality of semen in both infertile and healthy men, and has also shown to reduce erectile dysfunction in men.
Maca for Sperm Production
One study revealed that after supplementing with maca for 4 months, sperm volume, motility and count increased in nine adult healthy men aged 24-44 years.
In another study, “sperm concentration and motility showed rising trends," in men who took 1400mg of maca daily for 3 months.
Another point to note is that when it comes to maca for fertility in men, black maca has shown to be more effective than the red or yellow variety.
An animal study showed that of all the different colors of maca, "black maca has better effects on spermatogenesis," and found that “black maca affects sperm count as early as 1 day after beginning of treatment.”
Another study also showed that compared to red or yellow maca, "black maca appeared to have more beneficial effect on sperm counts and epididymal sperm motility," and was the only type of maca that enhanced daily sperm production after 42 days of treatment.
Maca for Erectile Dysfunction
Maca is sometimes referred to as Peruvian Viagra, as it may help to reduce erectile dysfunction.
One study showed that 50 men with mild erectile dysfunction, who were given 2400mg (2.4gm) of maca as compared to a placebo for 3 months, reported a "significant effect" on their "general and sexual well-being" and performance.
Maca for Hormonal Balance and Stress
Research emphasizes that "Maca is a plant with great potential as an adaptogen and appears to be promising as a nutraceutical in the prevention of several diseases."
An adaptogen is a plant, herb, or root that helps the body adapt to outside environmental stressors.
For centuries maca root has "adapted" to stressors and disease, and still survived growing under harsh conditions.
Maca is able to pass along some of these adaptogenic properties to us as well!
One of these adaptogenic functions is its ability to balance hormones, especially adrenal hormones, which help combat stress. Maca helps the body deal with both physical and mental stress and assists hormonal imbalance whether they are thyroid hormones, sex hormones, and PMS and menopause-related imbalances.
Research has shown that "effects of Maca in humans are not limited to ovaries and testes, but through acting on the adrenals, gives a feeling of greater energy and vitality and through this possibly affecting the pancreas and thyroid."
Maca is known to balance hormonal levels and alleviate menopausal symptoms such as night sweats and hot flashes in menopausal women.
It's also important to note that maca itself is non-hormonal, so it does not contain any estrogens or phytohormones, which can cause problems for those who are estrogen sensitive.
A study conducted on premenopausal women showed maca as a natural alternative to HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and concluded that maca "may act as a toner of hormonal processes, leading to alleviation of discomfort felt by perimenopausal women, hence, its potential use as non-hormonal alternative to HRT program."
Maca for Menopause
With the end of the menstrual cycle, and a natural decline in estrogen levels, menopause can cause significant changes and hormonal imbalances in women, that can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as hot flashes, irritability, insomnia, vaginal dryness and more.
Maca has shown "favorable effects" in alleviating some symptoms of menopause in "healthy perimenopausal, early postmenopausal, and late postmenopausal women."
One study revealed that 3.5gm of maca powder for 6 weeks, "reduces psychological symptoms, including anxiety and depression, and lowers measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women."
A similar study with the same doses showed that improvement in regulating blood pressure and alleviating depression "were apparent after Maca treatment," in postmenopausal women.
Maca for Bone Health
Osteoporosis, a condition where the bones become more porous (reduce mass), and become fragile, is more predominant in women after entering menopause. Animal studies suggest that maca can help support healthy bones during the postmenopausal stage.
One study showed that "maca was effective in the prevention of estrogen deficient bone loss" in ovariectomized rats (rats with no ovaries), that displayed postmenopausal osteoporosis. Another rodent study also concluded that black maca has "protective effects on bone architecture," in ovariectomized (OVX) rats.
Maca for Energy and Endurance
Maca is very popular amongst athletes and those who enjoy bodybuilding, as it is thought to elevate performance, help gain muscle, and increase strength, stamina, and endurance.
Black maca's ability to promote, stabilize, and regulate glucose and metabolism could be one reason for helping to combat fatigue and positively impact energy and mood.
It's adaptogenic properties, especially in regulating adrenal hormones and health could also further impact energy and mood, along with its protein content, that can help promote muscle growth naturally.
One study featuring 8 trained male cyclists showed that maca supplementation significantly "improved 40 km cycling time trial performance and sexual desire" in the cyclists, after only 2 weeks of supplementation.
Maca for Improving Mood
Many studies have shown black maca's mood-boosting abilities. Maca is known to contain plant compounds called flavonoids which have shown to help with symptoms of anxiety and depression, mainly in postmenopausal women.
Another study showed that 3500mg of daily maca supplementation "reduces psychological symptoms, including anxiety and depression, and lowers measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women independent of estrogenic and androgenic activity."
Maca has also shown to help with "antidepressant‐induced sexual dysfunction," in both women and men, and a separate study showed that black maca can improve mood as well as support overall "quality of life."
Maca for Memory and Concentration
Apart from boosting mood, maca has shown to improve memory, learning, and brain function. One key reason for this could be the fact that maca helps to regulate the "hypothalamus-pituitary gland" which plays an important role in focus and energy balance.
Maca root has been used traditionally in Peru to help children improve "school performance," and enhance cognitive ability, and one study showed that "particularly black maca, improves learning and memory."
A rodent study showed that maca helped to slow down "age-related cognitive decline" and "improved cognitive function, motor coordination, and endurance capacity" in middle-aged mice. Several studies have shown that black maca can improve learning and memory in mice with memory impairment.
Maca root has also shown to help postmenopausal women with "reduced nervousness, less difficulties in falling asleep, better concentration improved ability to concentrate, feeling of being more energetic, less frequent feeling of numbness and headaches as well as a reduction in night sweating."
Maca Side Effects
However, if you are taking any prescription drugs, or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consult with their health practitioner before taking maca.
Black Maca Powder Dosage
Maca can be incorporated into your diet in several ways. It can be taken in a powdered form and can be added to oatmeal, smoothies, energy bars, yogurt, and more.
We find the easiest and most convenient way to incorporate this incredible herb into your daily routine is by taking a high-quality therapeutic black maca supplement, that has no unpleasant aftertaste that you may experience with maca powder.
The optimal dose is usually between 1500mg-3000mg per day, but we recommend to start with a daily dose of 1000mg (500mg per maca pill).
What results can you expect?
As with any type of nutrient supplementation, results vary and everyone responds differently, however, most people report many positive benefits after adding maca to their daily lives.
It may take a few days to a few weeks to notice the benefits of maca supplementation, so the key is to stay consistent and take it every day for at least 4-6 weeks.
Also, a lot of the benefits are dependent on the type of black maca supplement you buy, which we'll discuss more of below.
How to Buy Maca Supplements
There are several factors to keep in mind when buying maca supplements.
The place of origin is critical, as there is more and more maca coming out of countries such as China where the growing methods may be unregulated and the product may be grown using pesticides, contain pollutants such as heavy metals and may even be genetically modified.
It is important to carefully scrutinize labels and look for maca that is labeled as Lepidium meyenii, grown in Peru, is 100% certified organic, GMO-free, preferably vegan, and gelatinized.
What is gelatinization and why choose gelatinized maca over raw maca powder?
Gelatinization is a process that uses steam and pressure to extract and transform the active compounds in maca for enhanced bioavailability. This means that the maca is more easily digested and quickly absorbed by the body. Unlike the name, the process does not use gelatin, making the supplements 100% veggie-friendly.
- 100% Peruvian organic black maca root (Lepidium Meyenii)
- Vegetarian & Vegan safe
- No unpleasant aftertaste
- Gelatinized, high-absorption natural formula
- Gluten-free & no GMOs
- Made in a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)–certified facility
- 90 pills – 1000mg per serving, 500mg per veggie pill (45-day supply)
- No soybean or sunflower oil
- No magnesium stearates
- For men and women
- Maca is a herb that has been cultivated for over 3,000 years in the harsh climate of the Andes mountains in Peru
- Brimming with powerful nutrients, maca is known to boost energy and stamina, balance hormones, promote fertility, give you a sharp mind, and support a healthy libido
- Black maca root has demonstrated to have higher antioxidant effects and benefits as compared to red and yellow maca
- Maca is known to increase stamina, libido, boost fertility, and build sperm count in men
- For women, maca helps balance hormones, increases libido, boosts energy, and alleviates fatigue and menopausal symptoms
- It is important to choose 100% Peruvian organic black maca supplements that are GMO-free, vegan and gelatinized