Maca root is an herbal extract used in supplements to increase men’s libido , sexual arousal and desire, and reduce problems with erectile dysfunction.
It has a long history of use as an herbal remedy and aphrodisiac in folk medicine, but increasingly, scientific research has supported it as an alternative treatment for men looking for better sexual wellness and performance.
There is evidence supporting it as an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction, as an agent for improving sexual satisfaction and wellness, and as an antidote to the negative sexual side effects of some antidepressants.
Want the best shot of improving your sexual well-being with this herbal supplement? We’ve ranked the ten best maca root extracts on the market.
1. NaturaLife Organic Maca
NaturaLife makes a high dose maca supplement that delivers 950 mg per capsule with zero extra ingredients. The capsules are cellulose-based, making this a vegetarian-friendly option.
It’s also made with certified organic maca, making it a good choice for those who are conscientious about the sourcing of their supplement ingredients.
2. NutraChamps Maca
NutraChamps comes a solid 500 mg dosage, delivered via a cellulose capsule and combined with 5 mg of the proprietary black pepper extract BioPerine, which is widely used to boost supplement absorption and bioavailability.
This should amplify the effects of NutraChamps Maca, so it may punch above its weight when it comes to dosage.
As far as purity goes, its maca is organically sourced and there are no binders or fillers included in the formula, so it’s a great all-around choice.
3. Superior Labs Maca
Superior Labs Maca comes in a higher dose than most, at 750 mg per capsule.
This is great to see, and the rest of the ingredients list is pretty clean as well, making this a good choice for those seeking a higher dose than what most maca supplements offer.
4. Viva Naturals Maca
Viva Naturals uses a standard 500 mg dose of maca root plus a vegetarian capsule to deliver this certified organic supplement.
There’s a bit of vitamin C included for a better shelf life, but aside from that, this is a pretty straightforward maca supplement.
5. Peruvian Naturals Maca
Peruvian Naturals Maca is a higher-dose maca supplement, with 800 mg of maca root powder per tablet.
Unlike many other maca supplements, this is a pressed tablet, not a capsule, so that necessarily means there are some extra binders, fillers, and additives to keep the tablet held together.
The high dose is great, but the extra ingredients like silicon dioxide and talc powder are not.
6. NOW Maca
NOW Maca is simple and standard: it contains 500 mg of maca in a cellulose capsule, along with magnesium stearate as a binder and filler.
The maca it uses is non-GMO, but not organic. It’ a fairly run of the mill maca supplement in just about every resposet, but that doesn’t make it a bad choice, necessarily.
7. Gaia Herbs Gelatinized Maca Root
Gaia Herbs Gelatinized Maca Root has the usual 500 mg dose of maca root per capsule, and the only unique aspect of this supplement is that its capsule is from pullulan, as opposed to the usual cellulose.
Both are vegan-friendly, however, so there isn’t’ a clear advantage to the maca supplement from Gaia Herbs.
8. Nature’s Way Maca Root
At 525 mg per capsule, Nature’s Way Maca Root is marginally higher-dosage than usual, but not tremendously so.
Purists won’t like the use of silica as a filler, and unlike some of the competition, it is not certified organic. While it’s not an awful supplement, other competitors offer a few extra perks that Nature’s Way does not.
9. Herbal Secrets Maca
Herbal Secrets Maca has the typical 500 mg dosage, though vegans and vegetarians will be disappointed to know that it, unlike most maca supplements, uses animal-derived gelatin for its capsule.
Magnesium stearate is included as a binder as well, which bumps Herbal Secrets Maca down in the rankings.
10. aSquared Nutrition Black Maca
aSquared Nutrition Black Maca puts a unique twist on its maca root supplement by using the black maca variety.
However, it isn’t clear that black maca offers any advantages over standard maca, and standard maca is the variety that is more heavily researched, so unless you have a specific reason to try black maca instead, you’re more likely to have success with more traditional maca supplements.
Who Should Buy Maca Root Supplements?
Maca is generally considered safe for both men and women, helping to improve libido and sexual performance. It may also help lessen the side effects of various prescription medications. However, you should check with your doctor before to ensure there is no negative interaction.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid maca as there isn’t enough research to ensure its safety in these populations. People with hormone-sensitive conditions should avoid maca as well since it can act like estrogen and possibly worsen the conditions.
How We Ranked
One of the most important factors to a good quality maca supplement is purity. For our rankings, we proffered that maca products were organically certified, as to avoid harmful chemicals and pesticides. Products that were 3rd party tested for purity, like Now Maca, ranked higher on our list.
The type of maca used was also analyzed. According to some research, powdered maca root provides many more benefits than the maca leaves. As such, we decided to only include maca root products on our list.
Next, we looked at the origin of the maca root. The best maca root powders came from Peru. This is because maca grown here tends to be more powerful due to the near-perfect climate and terrain of the Peruvian Andes. This is why products like Peruvian Naturals and Super Labs ranked so highly on our list.
Dosage is also important to consider. According to research, up to 3500mg per day can be used to treat sexual dysfunction and libido. However, smaller doses of 1200mg have also been shown to be effective. We preferred products that were closer to the lower end of the range than the higher end, as this allowed for better individual tailoring. This is the main reason why Nutralife Organic Maca ranked so highly.
Lastly, we looked at harvesting methods. Harsh machine-based harvesting methods destroy a lot of nutrients in the crops. Companies that used this method did not rank well in our books. Furthermore, we preferred maca root to be treated with minimal heat (ideally below 55 degrees Celsius), to avoid damaging the delicate nutrients.
Maca root increases sexual desire, but not by promoting testosterone levels. Early interest in maca root as a supplement for male sexual health took off because of its long history as an aphrodisiac.
Researchers initially thought that maca might act as a testosterone booster, increasing levels of this and other androgens in the blood. However, scientists soon discovered that this was not the case.
A study published in the journal of the Society for Endocrinology tested the hormonal effects of a 1500 mg and a 3000 mg dosage regimen of maca root in a group of men over the course of 12 weeks (1).
Though they looked at several different hormones at multiple points in time, they found that maca root extract had no effect on testosterone levels.
However, other research showed that maca did still have beneficial sexual effects for men. A different study published in the journal Andrologia used similar dosage levels and study design, and again did not find a difference in testosterone levels, but did find significant increases in levels of sexual desire among the men in the study (2).
Further, using a more detailed statistical analysis, they were able to show that the changes in sexual desire were completely independent of changes in testosterone, suggesting that maca root stimulates a completely different pathway than other supplements for men that target androgens like testosterone.
Maca root can treat erectile dysfunction and improve sexual satisfaction. Like many other male enhancement supplements like tribulus terrestris and horny goat weed, maca root has been studied as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, one of the most common and most frustrating sexual disorders among men.
A 2009 study by researchers in Italy investigated the effects of maca root in a group of men with erectile dysfunction (3). Half the men received a 2400 mg daily dose of maca root, while the other half received a placebo pill.
The researchers tracked the men for twelve weeks and used a standard questionnaire to evaluate their erectile dysfunction and sexual satisfaction.
The researchers found that, while both the maca root group and the placebo group showed improvements on their erectile dysfunction scores, the maca group had a greater improvement compared to the placebo group.
The researchers also noticed greater sexual satisfaction in the group taking the maca supplement, providing further evidence for the usefulness of maca root at improving sexual wellness in men.
Maca root may help alleviate sexual dysfunction from antidepressants. One of the most frustrating side effects that comes along with common antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, is the sexual side effects.
These prescription drugs can cause erectile dysfunction, loss of libido and sexual desire, and an inability to orgasm. Maca root has been investigated as a possible treatment for these SSRI-related side effects. A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and published in the journal CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics (4).
Though it was a small study, the subjects were followed long enough for the researchers to determine that a three gram (3000 mg) dose of maca root was enough to significantly improve both libido and reduce symptoms of sexual dysfunction, as measured on a standardized scoring scale.
While this was a preliminary study, it’s very promising for people who take SSRIs for depression or anxiety who suffer from the negative sexual side effects.
It may take up to six weeks for maca root to achieve its full effects. A systematic review study of the clinical trials on maca root conducted thus far was carried out in 2010 and published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (5).
In it, the authors reviewed all of the maca root clinical trials that have been conducted, and concluded that, while many were small preliminary studies, there is consistent evidence for a benefit of maca root when it comes to increasing sexual wellness and function.
Further, when analyzing the various studies, they noted that it appears to take up to six weeks for maca’s effects to achieve full strength.
The trials that did not find maca root useful were only two to four weeks long, and in the longer trials, significant differences between the placebo groups and the maca root groups did not appear until around the six week mark of the study.
While some male enhancement supplements can be taken “on demand,” the benefits of maca root seem to reward taking it consistently for at least a month and a half before you evaluate whether it’s working as well as you’d like.
Maca root is often consumed in raw form as a food by people native to the Andes mountains, sometimes in quantities of several hundred grams, with no apparent ill effects (6).
No side effects have been reported thus far in the small number of clinical trials of maca root, and animal studies have indicated that fairly large doses of maca root are safe.
However, as with any supplement this does not guarantee safety: given the lack of large clinical trials, maca still needs to be studied in more detail to fully characterize its profile of side effects (if any).
One benefit of the clinical trials to date is that, while they have not reported details on any side effects, they have consistently identified an effective dosage level.
To treat male sexual dysfunction or to improve arousal, maca is typically taken at doses from 1200 mg to 3500 mg (7).
The most common dosage range that’s achieved positive results for sexual wellness and sexual performance appears to be in the 2000 to 2400 mg per day range, sometimes (though not always) split into two doses per day.
As noted earlier, you may need to take maca root for up to six weeks to get the benefits of the supplement.
Is maca root popular as a male enhancement supplement? Maca root is a herbal supplement that is used by men to boost sexual arousal, desire, and as a treatment for erectile dysfunction.
For this reason, maca is a popular ingredient in male enhancement pills, but many people take it by itself to isolate the effects of maca root alone.
Does maca root help with prescription medication side effects? Maca root has found a niche use as an adjunctive treatment in people taking SSRIs for depression and anxiety, because it seems to help reduce the negative sexual side effects of these prescription medications.
Do you need a prescription to buy maca root? Maca root is a herbal product, and hence, you will not require a prescription to buy it. However, if you have a chronic health condition, it is always better to consult with your doctor before including Maca Root as part of your routine.
When buying the Maca Root from various vendors, make sure that you check for their verified license and certifications.
Can maca root cause weight gain? Maca Root does aid in weight gain, so it can be good for people who want to gain muscle mass. However, it is important to note that just taking maca root alone is not effective. Maca root must be combined with an adequate exercise regime and a good diet, which then may lead to weight gain or increased muscle mass.
Is there any scientific proof regarding the health benefits of maca root in treating sexual dysfunctions? There have been some studies done both on humans and animals regarding the effect of maca root consumption in treating sexual dysfunctions.
These studies show mixed results. maca root can be helpful for people with mild erectile dysfunction as well as in increasing sexual desires in both the genders. Some studies prove that maca root helps in increasing sex drive and can be effective in dealing with other sexual dysfunctions (8).
What should be the regular dosage of maca root? Initially, the dosage of Maca Root should be one tablespoon, which is 1 gram, when consumed in powdered form. Eventually, you can increase your intake to a maximum of 9 grams per day. Since maca is a kind of vegetable, it can be consumed in larger quantities as well.
How do you take maca root? Maca root can be consumed in different forms. If you are eating the vegetable, it can be added to soups or salads and eaten just like any other food. Maca is also available in the form of powders and capsules and in the form of liquids and extracts.
When consuming powdered or liquid maca root, it is best to take it along with the smoothies and shakes and not cook it at all. Cooking the powder can lead to the loss of nutrients, which will eventually decrease its effects.
Can maca root cause allergic reactions? Maca root can cause allergies in some users. The symptoms of allergies include mild rashes, itchy skin, hives, and swollen patches. In severe cases, symptoms such as difficulty in breathing and chest pain may also occur.
People who are allergic to various food substances should consult their doctors before consuming maca root in any form.
Can maca root help deal with depression? Certain studies prove that maca root may help in regulating some symptoms of depression. Consuming maca root in any form for a few weeks results in better moods, lesser depressive episodes, and an overall improvement in the mental state of the patient. Maca root also helps in increasing the effect of antidepressant drugs that are given to patients with depression.
Where can you buy maca root? Maca root is not difficult to find in the local pharmacies. Some grocery stores also sell maca root products, and you can find these products at various websites online. When buying the product online, make sure you only buy from certified dealers to avoid consuming products that can be toxic to your health.
Can maca root be used as a stimulant? There has been scientific evidence showing that the Maca Root increases the energy levels of the body. However, it does not act as a stimulant. Maca root can be considered as an energizer which gives the body energy and strength to perform better under stressful conditions. Unlike stimulants, Maca Root does not give sudden bouts of energy. Rather, it provides constant energy when taken in small quantities for a longer period of time.
Who should avoid taking maca root? People who take medicines, including blood thinners, should avoid consuming the Maca Root. The plant has vitamin K, which is the main vitamin used to form blood clots, which means it will counteract with these medications.
Also, women who have hormonal sensitivity, with conditions such as ovarian cancer, should stay away from using maca root. People with thyroid problems should also take maca root supplements in moderation, especially in the case of hypothyroidism. People with high blood pressure and chronic conditions should also consult their doctors before consuming maca.
Can maca root cause miss periods? No, maca root does not cause missed periods. On the contrary, maca root consumption has been seen to maintain the consistency of menstruation in women who suffer from PCOS.
Further, there have been a lot of cases where women have seen a better balance in their hormonal levels and have also experienced more regular periods over time when taking maca root. However, more research needs to be done to find out exactly how maca root affects the hormones in women.
Is maca root a superfood? Yes, maca root is considered a superfood. It comes packed with numerous macro and micronutrients, which makes it healthy for consumption. The major macronutrient in maca root is carbohydrates, but it is also a good source of protein and fibers.
The root also has Vitamin C, B6, B3, B2, and K. The minerals present in maca root include iron, calcium, copper, zinc, manganese, and potassium. It also has all eight essential amino acids and phytonutrients. Since maca root comes packed with these nutrients, it has become one of the most famous superfoods.
Is maca root an ‘adaptogen’? Yes, maca root is considered an ‘Adaptogen,’ which means that it has the natural ability to aid the human body in adapting to stressful situations both physically and mentally. Peruvian natives have been using maca root for increasing stamina, both mentally and physically, for many years.
Is maca root rich in antioxidants? Yes, maca root is rich in antioxidant compounds, including alkamides, phenols, polysaccharides, and glucosinolates. These antioxidant compounds help in the promotion of the antioxidant activities in the body. In turn, they help fight free radicals, preventing harm to the body.
What are the hormonal benefits of maca root? Maca root has hormone-normalizing effects. Yet, maca does not affect the hormones directly, but the combination of nutrients available helps in balancing the hormones in both men and women.
In the case of menopausal women, maca is seen to suppress FSH levels and increase the levels of HDL to reduce symptoms such as hot flashes and anxiety. It is also helpful in the stimulation of the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus to restore the balance of the other glands in the body.
Which maca root is best? Maca root comes in a variety of different types. There are mainly three kinds of maca roots, including black, yellow, and red. Each of these comes with their unique properties, and the difference can be seen in the outer cover of the Maca root. Red and Black Maca are the ones that are most commonly seen in demand and are also priced higher.
The red maca is perfect for people who want to use the product for sexual dysfunctions. The yellow maca is good for people who want to use maca for its nutrient-rich properties. Both red and black maca has better medicinal properties, but for someone who is looking for a cheaper alternative, yellow or mixed maca powers are also rich in nutrients and show similar effects.
The best quality of maca comes from Peru since the quality of the soil, and the growth strategy makes a huge difference in the quality of the nutrients of maca. Also, it is best if the maca, used for the supplement, is harvested organically.
Why is it important to get hand picked maca root? Crops that are harvested by machines tend to be lower quality as the nutrients get destroyed during harvest. Hand picked products, while more expensive, preserve all their nutrients which leads to bettie results.
Is maca root safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women? There are no studies that show that maca root is harmful to pregnant as well as breastfeeding women. Peruvian women have always consumed a good amount of maca during their pregnancy, as it is said to help them deliver a healthier baby.
Also, no toxic substances have been found in maca that can cause any harm to the mother both during pregnancy and during breastfeeding. However, as a precautionary measure, it is advisable to seek the permission of your doctor before consuming maca root. Also, it is advisable to use the product in moderate amounts.
Is maca root suitable for a keto diet? Yes, maca can be a part of your diet if you follow keto. Maca is derived from plants and can be a healthy way for you to boost your energy and maintain your ketosis.
The apoptogenic characteristics of maca root make it a good addition to any keto diet.
Can maca root help you lose weight? In some contexts, the maca root may help an individual lose weight. It can do this by helping the body cope with various stressors, re-balancing hormones, and improving sleep.
Why is heat-treated maca bad? When maca powder is treating with temperatures of 55 degrees Celsius, it loses a lot of its nutrients and potency. As such, it’s important to make sure your maca root is treated with as little heat as possible to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Maca is a unique supplement for enhancing male sexual performance and sexual wellness. It improves erectile function, sexual desire, and sexual arousal through a different biochemical pathway than other male enhancement supplements, which typically focus on boosting testosterone levels.
Maca may work well on its own, or in conjunction with other supplements to boost testosterone, energy levels, and vitality in men. It also appears useful at treating the negative sexual side effects that can accompany prescription SSRIs used to treat depression and anxiety.
So far, maca appears to be a safe supplement with no side effects, and its most effective dosage range appears to be 2000 to 2400 mg per day.
When used correctly, maca root could help you overcome sexual dysfunction, increase your libido, and feel more sexual vigor and energy, making it an excellent choice for many men.
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