Side effects and things to know before taking maca powder

Maca powder is rich in properties but not all of them are confirmed by science. Also beware of possible side effects

Maca powder is rich in properties but not all of them are confirmed by science. Also beware of possible side effects

La maca powder is a very popular natural remedy, especially for improving mood, increasing energy and promoting libido. But what's true and what are the possible side effects of maca? (Also Read: Maca: Benefits, Uses (and Side Effects) of Peruvian Root That Boosts Craving and Fertility)

Sometimes in case of severe tiredness, low mood and low libido it is recommended to take maca, a folk remedy that comes from afar. The inhabitants of the Andes have used it for centuries to naturally treat a variety of physical and psychological ailments.

What is commonly called maca is the root of the plant botanically known as Lepidium meyenii, of the same mustard family also known as "Peruvian Ginseng". The name, however, should not deceive, with the more common ginseng in fact it has nothing to do.

Currently, the most common way to take maca is to buy the powder, a kind of dosable supplement that can be mixed with drinks or smoothies, for example.

But is it really that effective and what should you look out for before taking maca powder? 

Like many other popular alternatives, the purported and scientifically proven benefits don't always coincide. It must also be considered that scientific research on maca is not numerous and has often been conducted on animals. Therefore, to confirm its reliability it is necessary to deepen with extensive studies on humans.

Here's what we need to know about maca before taking it.



Many people take maca root powder for its ability to increase libido. But does it really work? "Nobody knows," said Dr. Flora Waples, medical director at Restor Medical Spa.

"Although claims that it improves libido have been made based on traditional uses, to date there have been no conclusive studies in humans."

However, Dr. Waples confirms an important property of maca root: the ability to help sperm motility and therefore the benefits for fertility.

“There is a slow-growing body of evidence indicating that maca root improves sperm motility, which could improve fertility. (…) However, much work remains to be done and the exact molecular mechanism of this is not yet certain ".

Erectile dysfunction 

Another popular belief about maca is that it is capable of treating erectile dysfunction. But from a scientific point of view this is by no means certain.

A 2016 review of various clinical studies published in the journal Maturitas found "suggestive evidence of maca's efficacy in improving sperm quality" but not its ability to act on erectile dysfunction. 

Dr. Karyn Eilber, a urologist at Cedars-Sinai, believes that maca can improve erectile dysfunction as well as low libido and stated that:

"There are studies showing improved sexual desire with maca compared to placebo, but the exact way it works is not known."

However, Dr. Waples remains skeptical:

“I am not aware of any high quality studies showing real improvements in erectile function. The difficulty in this type of study often stems from the fact that human sexual responses are known to be very prone to the placebo effect ”.

In short, if a man thinks that a remedy will work, this often comes true, which could however distort the data of any studies.

More energy

Often those who take maca do so for its ability to increase energy. Again, Dr. Waples dampens her enthusiasm by saying that there is no conclusive evidence that she has such property.

In fact, there are currently mainly animal studies that have looked at increased energy and only a small study of male cyclists suggests that maca may increase endurance. Therefore more research is needed to confirm or not this potential. 


Maca powder is believed to help with depression and promote a better mood. But as for the other points, there is still a lot to investigate on a scientific level.  

Dr. Waples believes maca has shown promise for some mood problems.

“Over the years there have been claims that it can help a variety of neurological conditions But, as with other claims, it's impossible to tell if it's a placebo effect. There are still no clear data on any of these statements ”.

Hormonal problems

During the menopause, or in the period immediately preceding it, women can suddenly experience a variety of problems, including the famous hot flashes, vaginal dryness, insomnia and mood swings.

As an adaptogen, maca is thought to help address such problems and indeed remedies like this root are known to reduce the effects of stress, support the immune system and help balance hormones. As a result, maca may actually help alleviate various problems related to the female reproductive system. 

In fact, a review of some previous studies conducted on postmenopausal women found that maca is actually effective in reducing menopausal symptoms. 

Warnings and side effects

As with all other natural remedies or supplements, it would be good to consult your doctor before taking maca.

In maca powder a possible safety problem is represented by the presence of MTCA inside which:

"It is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, which is a class of compounds that can increase blood pressure and heart rate and interacts dangerously with some prescription drugs," explains Dr. Waples, adding that it is not known whether this compound is deactivated or not by the drug. cooking.

It is also not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women to take maca but also:

"Those with hormone sensitive conditions such as those with cancer, endometriosis or uterine fibroids should consider avoiding maca, as maca extracts can act as estrogen."

Maca powder is also not recommended in case of thyroid problems (especially hypothyroidism) as it contains some substances that can interfere with the normal function of the thyroid gland. 

Even those who are healthy and take maca must always do so with the utmost caution considering that, even if it is a plant extract, it can still have a very strong effect on the body.

It is essential to always follow the instructions for taking maca on the package or specified by your doctor and do not exceed the recommended dosage.

Fonte: The Healthy

On maca read also:

  • Maca: the plant of desire and fertility
  • Superfood: 6 superfoods made in Peru
  • 10 alternative drinks to coffee
  • 5 things you should consider before taking any supplements
  • Natural energizers: 10 foods against fatigue
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