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Benefits of Maca Root: How It Potentially Boosts Energy, Libido, and Mood

You might have heard through the grapevine about this: Maca root boosts libido! The science says there might be some truth to this maca root benefit.

Maca, an ancient root, is native to the high-altitude regions of the Andes in Peru. It is often called “Peruvian Ginseng.” People consumed this potent food for centuries to enhance vitality. This blog explores the potential health benefits of maca root.

Understand why you might want to consider adding it to your daily diet:

  • What is maca root?
  • What are its potential health benefits?
  • How does it work in your body?
  • Where to find and how to take maca root?

Understanding The Historical and Modern Benefits Of Maca Root

The maca plant is scientifically known as Lepidium meyenii. It is part of the mustard (Brassicaceae) family, related to cabbage, cauliflower, and turnips. It grows in harsh conditions with cold and strong winds.

People have cultivated maca root for over 2,000 years for its nutritional and medicinal properties. People in Peru eat its root, often after drying it.

The part you eat is the tuber, like a radish. It gets dried and shrinks but can last many years in this form. Peruvians say boiling it is safer for health. Moreover, the root is typically dried and ground into a fine powder; powder form is easy to add to various dishes and beverages.

According to scientists, each color has its health benefits. Maca comes in white, black, yellow, and red. These roots also contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Experts call it a “superfood” or the “Peruvian Viagra.” This is because it could boost energy and help with sexual health. Plus, it can even ease the symptoms of women undergoing menopause. 

Scientists looked at whether maca can help improve sexual function. They reviewed four high-quality studies comparing maca to a placebo. Two studies found that maca improved sexual desire in healthy men and menopausal women.

Another study saw positive effects for men who have trouble getting or keeping an erection. However, one study didn’t find any benefit in healthy cyclists or physically active men. In sum, the research suggests maca might help with sexual function. But there aren’t enough studies yet to be sure. More research is needed to draw a solid conclusion.

Discovering The Potential Health Benefits Of Maca Root

Researchers found that 55 of 57 studies found it may be effective. Based on their review, maca seems to do more than help with sexual health and mood swings. It has many other positive effects on the body.

However, scientists need more detailed studies to confirm these health benefits. So, if you intend to take maca roots or supplements, seek advice from a healthcare professional.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of maca root:

1. Provides Nutrients

The maca plant is like a super-vegetable. It looks like a turnip and has a lot in common with radishes. Experts suggest it is rich in fatty acids, vitamin C, and copper.

Experts also claim that it’s packed with carbohydrates and protein. It has fiber, similar to grains like corn and rice. Plus, it contains vitamins and minerals like calcium, potassium, and iron.

What’s extra special is that it has high levels of amino acids. These acids are the building blocks in your body that help communicate to the brain. The experts link these nutrients with potential benefits of maca root:

  1. Vitamins B1, B2, B12, C, and E, zinc, alkaloids, tannins, and saponins – They support endocrine health (including thyroid and adrenal glands), promote healthy metabolism, and combat harmful microbes. 
  2. High amino acids boost sexual function and fertility
  3. Amino acids like histidine, phenylalanine, and tyrosine ease menopause symptoms and depression

Superfoods,” like maca, are like nature’s medicine cabinet. They are packed with substances that help keep you healthy. They can fill in the gaps where your diet might be lacking. But they shouldn’t be the only thing you eat.

If you want superfoods in your diet, check with a healthcare professional to ensure they’re right.

2. Boosts Energy and Stamina

Your body goes through processes during physical activity or exercise. For one, oxidative stress happens when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells during exercise.

Another process is energy metabolism, where your body converts food into energy. As a result, it burns calories to fuel your body during exercise. A byproduct of exercise is lactic acid, which can cause muscle fatigue.

Scientists tested maca on rats to see its impact on exercise. The rats swam longer and had less fatigue when given Maca. Specifically, maca decreased lactic acid buildup and protected against oxidative stress.

The researchers think that maca works by regulating energy metabolism. It could also reduce free radical production.

Other scientists found similar results. Plus, they also suggest that maca can increase muscle strength. It does this by upping NAD+/NADH, which is a molecule that helps make energy in the muscles.

In a study, athletes took black maca supplements for eight weeks and saw changes. For different groups of athletes, specific markers that show inflammation went down.

For example, in running, swimming, and a combo of the two, things like IL-6, TNF-α, and CRP improved. Not only that, athletes also got better at their sports! Swimmers got stronger, more flexible, and faster.

Runners and other athletes also saw improvements in their strength and speed. So, taking black maca seems a good idea for athletes who want to perform better and stay healthier.

Maca is a promising natural way to improve endurance and health during physical activity. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings in people.

3. Eases Menopause Symptoms

Menopause is a time in a woman’s life, usually between ages 45-52, when her menstrual cycle stops and hormones change. By 2030, about 1.2 billion women worldwide will go through it, and most will have symptoms like hot flashes and trouble sleeping.

Healthcare providers often suggest hormone therapy. Yet, it’s not for everyone because it can have risks. After menopause, some women take estrogen to feel better, but others prefer natural options.

Plant extracts like pine bark, linseed, and maca can help with symptoms. It includes hot flashes and mood swings, also called vasomotor symptoms.

Researchers tested if maca could help women who have gone through menopause feel better. Fourteen women took maca powder for six weeks and a placebo for another six weeks. The researchers checked the hormone levels. Then, the researcher asked about how they felt and any menopause symptoms.

Researchers found that Maca didn’t change hormone levels, but it made the women feel less anxious or depressed. It also improved their sexual well-being. So, maca seems to help with some menopause symptoms. However, it did not change hormone levels.

Other scientists checked four studies to see if Maca can help women who are going through menopause feel better. All the studies showed that Maca did help improve symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings. But, the researchers say they need more studies and information to ensure maca is effective and safe for this purpose.

4. Enhances Sexual Health

Many couples have fertility issues or a hard time having a baby. So, they turn to alternative and herbal remedies like maca. Some research suggests that maca might improve the quality of semen, which is vital for male fertility. However, the evidence is mixed and needs more solid research.

A review of studies shows that maca may improve sperm quality in men experiencing infertility. They suggest that maca can increase sperm concentration. Moreover, it can enhance sperm movement and appearance or size and shape.

However, other studies have yet to find this effect. A meta-analysis of 5 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) found that maca did not increase sperm concentration compared to placebo.

The researchers conclude that it’s hard to make a firm conclusion because there weren’t enough studies or people tested.

Another issue related to sexual health is a man’s difficulty having and keeping an erection. It is also called erectile dysfunction (ED). Researchers wanted to see if maca works for this problem. So, they looked at scientific studies comparing maca to a placebo.

They found only two good studies. One study showed that maca helped, but the other didn’t. Overall, the research suggests that maca might help men with mild ED, but there need to be more studies. Researchers have to do more studies to make a solid conclusion.

Additionally, maca is traditionally used for balancing female hormones. Researchers wanted to see what scientific studies say about maca’s benefits. They looked at systematic reviews. They found three reviews examining maca for menopause, sexual function, and sperm quality.

Although the reviews were well-done, the studies they included were not very strong. The result? There’s some suggestion that maca could help with menopause and sexual issues, but the evidence isn’t strong enough to be sure.

5. Improves Mood

Researchers reviewed 21 studies or trials of different plant-based therapies. They aimed to see if they could help women who have gone through menopause feel less anxious or depressed.

They found that fenugreek and maca did help lower anxiety and depression. However, the results from the different studies didn’t all agree with each other often. So, while some herbal remedies seem to help with mood, more research is needed.

A study examined how maca affects stressed and depressed mice. The mice fed on different amounts of maca extract. Results show that the mice that got 250 and 500 mg/kg of maca acted less depressed. These mice had a thicker layer of specific brain cells. 

Moreover, the mice had lower stress hormone levels in their blood. Their brains also had more of certain “feel good” chemicals like noradrenaline and dopamine. The study suggests that maca might help to improve mood and reduce stress.

Knowing Other Potential Health Benefits of Maca Root

Prevents Bone Loss

After women go through menopause, their bones can get weak and easily break. Experts say it is mainly because of lower estrogen levels, a hormone. Healthcare providers sometimes give women hormone medicine. But, it can have harmful side effects like cancer risk.

Scientists studied maca to see if it helps weak bones in rats like older women with menopause. They gave some rats a special maca drink and others just water. After 28 weeks, they found out that the rats who drank the maca had stronger bones.

It means maca might help older women keep their bones strong. However, scientists have to delve more into studies on people to confirm this benefit.

Improves Memory and Thinking or Cognitive Function

Recently, scientists have been curious about how maca can help the brain. They aimed to know how it affects people as they age and start to forget things. So, they used middle-aged mice to see if maca could help improve memory and other brain functions.

The mice fed on maca for five weeks. The results show that these mice did better in tests that measure smarts. Moreover, the mice had better coordination and stamina. The scientists also looked inside the mice’s brains. 

They saw that maca helped the “powerhouses” of their cells work better. At the same time, it helped clean up waste inside the cells. The scientists propose that maca is a good food to keep brains sharp as people age.

However, this is the first-ever study, and scientists need more details on how maca works for the brain. Additionally, further studies are required to confirm these findings in people.

Boosts Immune System

Maca root contains polysaccharides, a type of carbohydrate. Scientists suggest it has immunomodulatory effects. It means that they can help to regulate the immune system.

Scientists studied how maca helps boost the immune system. They used 60 mice and gave some a drug to weaken their immune systems. They found that maca helped the mice recover their weight and strengthened their immune systems.

Maca seems to work by keeping important immune cells alive and helping them work better. So, Maca could be a natural way to help the immune systems stay strong.

However, more research is needed to confirm these findings. Also, scientists have to determine the optimal dose for boosting the immune system.

Reduces Blood Sugar Levels

Diabetes is a serious health issue where your blood sugar is too high. People who have Type 2 diabetes have a hard time using insulin properly; this can lead to other health problems like heart disease.

A study is the first to explore how maca plant extracts can help cells with sugar and fat metabolism issues similar to diabetes. The findings show that certain parts of the maca plant, the NBT phase, benefit greatly. They can help these cells handle sugar and fats better.

The study also discovered a special ingredient in the NBT phase called benzyl glucosinolate. It plays a key role in this improvement. This ingredient boosts the activity of some molecules (PI3K and AKT). These molecules help cells manage sugar and fats.

Thus, maca could be helpful for problems with blood sugar and fats.

Promotes Skin Health

Researchers found that maca root can be fermented using Lactobacilli bacteria. It keeps its antioxidant benefits and even gains some new perks. It shows strong anti-inflammatory effects. At the same time, it helps to reduce skin darkening, known as melanogenesis. The fermented maca root was more effective than the regular, non-fermented version.

Postbiotics like fermented maca root are gaining attention for being safe and effective ingredients. The researchers suggest that fermented maca root could be used in future clinical trials. Manufacturers can use them in developing new beauty and skincare products.

Appreciating The Role of Maca Root

Scientists looked at three different colors of Maca plants (yellow, red, and black). They aimed to understand their chemical makeup. Moreover, they studied how maca works as an antioxidant or how well they fight off harmful molecules.

Researchers found out that essential oils, fats, and certain sugars are the key ingredients to the benefits of maca root. Essential oils were the most powerful in fighting off harmful molecules. Black macas were the strongest in this benefit compared to yellow and red ones.  

Moreover, scientists suggest black maca helps with sperm production. It may also enhance memory and energy levels. In contrast, red maca can benefit enlarged prostate and bone health. Additionally, some scientists say maca reduces blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

According to scientists, how maca exactly works in the body is currently unknown. Some experts did studies and proposed its possible mechanism of action. Three of these actions refer to maca’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and adaptogenic properties.


Antioxidants are molecules that help your body stop free radicals. Free radicals are compounds that can be bad for your body if there are too many of them. Oxidative stress (OS) is a condition that occurs when there are too many free radicals in your body. It can damage your cells.

If your body does not get rid of them quickly enough, it can hurt cells and make you sick. They can cause high blood sugar levels or diabetes, heart conditions, and cancer.

Your body makes its antioxidants to fight the free radicals. There are also natural sources of antioxidants. It includes foods from plants and other sources like supplements, too.

Scientists also identified specific substances in maca. Maca contains oils, fats, and sugars, which are good at being antioxidants. Other scientists discovered that maca has antioxidant and energy metabolism-boosting effects. It can help protect cells from damage and improve energy levels.

For example, the maca plant has a maca polysaccharide (MP) component. Scientists looked at how MP can protect the liver from damage caused by a strong medicine called CYP. They found that MP helps activate a system in the body. This system is also known as the Keap1-Nrf2 pathway, which fights off harmful substances.

OS is a damaging process that can happen in cells. This system is crucial for protecting the liver from OS. MP improves the liver’s ability to deal with stress and toxins by activating the pathway.


Your body may experience inflammation at one time. It happens when your body is trying to fight off something harmful. Examples are an infection or injury. You might notice some signs in a specific body area. It includes turning red and warm, swelling up, hurting, or not working as well as usual.

These signs mean your immune system is in action, called inflammation. To counter this condition, people use anti-inflammatory agents or substances. They relieve pain, redness, and swelling.

Sometimes, it also happens internally in your body.  The area where inflammation is happening goes through a lot of changes. Think of it like a mini construction site inside your body. It uses up more nutrients and oxygen than usual. It produces certain molecules that help in the healing process. These changes help your immune system do its job.

Scientists aimed to see if black maca could help elite athletes get stronger and have less inflammation. Athletes from different sports like shooting, racket, and fin swimming took black maca capsules for eight weeks.

The results show that the fin swimmers got better at using energy efficiently. At the same time, the black maca seemed to boost the body’s natural defense system. These effects can help to prevent the accumulation of ROS.

ROS are harmful molecules that can damage cells and tissues. So, reducing their buildup can help to improve physical fitness and reduce inflammation.


Adaptogens are specific plants like herbs and roots that help your body deal with stress. They come in different forms, like pills, teas, or powders you can mix into food. Physical, emotional, or hormonal factors can cause stress. Sometimes, it’s even caused by what you eat.

Adaptogens can help calm your body down when you’re stressed. They work with a specific system in your body that’s in charge of how you react to stress. As a result, it helps you feel more balanced.

Scientists wanted to see if maca helps with stress, so they tested it on rats. They found that maca helped reduce the harmful effects of stress. It includes stress-induced ulcers and high blood sugar or glucose levels.

Moreover, it lowered the levels of the stress hormone cortisone. Not only that, but maca reduced weight gain in the adrenal glands. But at the same time, maca increases free fatty acids in the body, which is good when stressed. So, this root could be suitable for handling stress or is adaptogenic.

Finding Maca Root

You can buy maca, which comes in various forms. There’s maca flour for baking; supplements in capsules, pills, and liquid extracts can be easily taken; and gelatinized flour, which is easier to digest.

You can also find maca in drinks, mayonnaise, and even chocolate, so there are lots of ways to enjoy the benefits of maca. It depends on what you like and how you consume it.

A typical dosage for maca powder supplements is 1.5 to 3.5 grams daily. It’s usually divided into doses, which can be taken from 6 to 16 weeks. Studies show this amount and duration is safe.

When looking for maca supplements, consider how they are made. For example, scientists studied what’s inside maca. They found that maca compounds or macamides are a sign of their quality. They are vital because they can improve sperm quality and hormone levels in your body.

But, the amount of macamides can change based on how the maca root is treated after it’s harvested. It includes how it’s dried or stored. Some studies show that air and oven drying are the best methods to keep more macamides in the maca. So, if you want the best quality maca, it’s essential to know how it was processed and stored.

Moreover, scientists identified 35 special ingredients in air-dried maca root, including 19 macamides and 16 fatty acids. Some of these were even new discoveries! They found that drying maca in the air gave it more of these good things than freeze-drying. So, air-dried maca could be a better option.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Benefits of Maca Root

Questions 1: What is maca root?

Maca is a Peruvian herb that has been used for centuries for its positive effects on health. It is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family. Examples are broccoli, Brussels sports, and cabbage. Maca is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Because of these healthy components, experts suggest there are some potential benefits of maca root.

Questions 2: What are the potential benefits of maca root?

The potential benefits of maca root include improved energy levels and mood. Scientists suggest maca boosts libido and fertility. However, more studies on people are needed to support these positive health effects. It’s always best to talk to a healthcare professional about taking supplements.

Questions 3: How do I take maca root?

To get the most of the benefits of maca root, people take it as capsules, powder, or tea. The recommended maca root dosage varies depending on the individual and the desired benefits. A typical 1-3 grams of maca root powder daily seems safe. Before taking supplements, check with a healthcare professional for the best advice.


Maca roots have a long history of traditional use. Scientists have also studied the potential health benefits of maca root.

Adding maca root into your daily routine can provide some health benefits. It includes increased energy and improved mood. However, it’s crucial to remember that individual responses may vary. So, seek advice from a healthcare professional before taking maca root supplements.

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