Maca: High Energy, Better Moods And Many Other Health Benefits


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by Cait Fortier

Did you know that maca provides sustained energy and other exciting health benefits that your morning coffee or tea cannot?

Maca is a root vegetable native to the Andes Mountains in Peru and belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family. This powerhouse plant (also known as Lepidium Meyenii) has been shown to support the body by regulating hormones, increasing energy levels, and elevating mood.

Don’t worry, there is no extra food prep required! Maca root is easily available in powder form and can be easily added to meals or taken in supplement form.

maca plant and plant extract in a glass bottle

Maca root, widely available in powder form, is an excellent ingredient that can easily be added to your meals.

Did you know?
Maca root powder has a nutty flavor and is often described as having hints of caramel or butterscotch! There are a number of different varieties including red, yellow and black maca.

What is maca good for?

Combat stress

The maca root plant is considered an adaptogen. (1) Adaptogenic plants often grow in harsh conditions and strengthen the body’s resistance to stress by increasing its ability to adapt. (2) Such stressors may include symptoms related to fatigue, inflammation or low energy levels, for example.

Although the exact mechanisms for how adaptogenic plants function to support the body continue to be studied, we know that they work to help regulate stress hormones and are key mediators of the regulation of homeostasis. (2)

Other examples of adaptogenic plants include ashwagandha, rhodiola and reishi mushroom. Each plant supports the body to combat stressors a little differently.

Nutrition powerhouse

Maca contains a wide variety of micronutrients including vitamin C, zinc, calcium, copper, and iron. It also contains over 19 amino acids and other phytonutrients that act as antioxidants in the body and help combat free radical damage. (3) Maca root is also a great source of fiber. With this in mind, it is no wonder maca enables the body to do such amazing things!

Regulate hormones

One of the most popular health benefits of maca these days is its ability to improve hormonal regulation. The impressive nutritional profile of maca helps to support the endocrine system – which is made up of glands that help produce hormones that regulate your body, including:

  • Sexual function
  • Reproduction
  • Development
  • Growth
  • Mood
  • Sleep

And who couldn’t use a little extra support with one or maybe even all of these?

Maca for women

Maca has been shown to benefit female hormonal health in several ways. For example, maca may help to balance estrogen and cortisol (our stress hormone) levels. When these and other hormones are balanced, women can benefit from a heightened sex drive, greater fertility, regularized menstrual cycles, more energy, and reduced symptoms associated with menopause such as hot flashes and low mood. (4)(5)

For example, a 2008 study found that maca root reduced the depression and anxiety associated with menopause after six weeks. (5)

Maca for men

Maca has also been shown to benefit male hormonal health. For example, it may help to balance testosterone and cortisol levels, and as a result, men may benefit from an increased sex drive, regular prostate function and greater sperm count. (4)(6)

father and son making a smoothie in the kitchen

An easy way to incorporate maca into your diet is by adding maca powder to your breakfast bowl or in a healthy smoothie!

Boost energy and mental focus

Regular intake of maca can increase your energy levels and help you feel more awake, focused, and improve your memory. A 2011 study on animals, found that intake of black maca root improved memory impairment in mice. (7)

Did you know?
Maca also has the added benefit of being caffeine-free!

The positive effect maca root has on our adrenal glands (which help regulate our immune system, blood pressure, response to stressors, metabolism, and other functions) and its high antioxidant content may be why people find it elevates their mood and improves their memory.

Incorporate maca into your diet

Maca root powder and maca capsules are available at health food stores, some major grocery stores, and on Fullscript. A simple way to consume maca root powder is by adding it to your morning smoothie. Sprinkling maca root powder on oatmeal or adding it to raw desserts is also a great option!

The benefits of maca root powder are plentiful and impressive, but you should consult with your primary healthcare provider before consuming it, especially if you have high blood pressure, thyroid conditions or are taking medication that alters hormone levels.

If you are a practitioner, consider signing up to Fullscript. If you are a patient, talk to your healthcare practitioner about Fullscript!

  1. (2012). Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21977053
  2. Panossian, A. G. Understanding adaptogens: new evidence on their possible effectiveness in stress-induced and ageing-associated disorders from a DNA microarray study of neuroglia. : Phytochemicals in Medicine and Food. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Alexander_Panossian2/publication/273615817_Understanding_adaptogens_new_evidence_on_their_possible_effectiveness_in_stress-induced_and_ageing-associated_disorders_from_a_DNA_microarray_study_of_neuroglia_cells/links/59ce0eef458515cc6aa9f03d/Understanding-adaptogens-new-evidence-on-their-possible-effectiveness-in-stress-induced-and-ageing-associated-disorders-from-a-DNA-microarray-study-of-neuroglia-cells.pdf
  3. Maca Powder. Self Nutrition Data. Retrieved from https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/2193874/0
  4. Gonzales, G. (2012). Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/193496/?utm_medium=wo&utm_source=link&utm_campaign=herbs-for-energy-vitality/
  5. Wilcox, G. Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. School of Biomedical and Health Science. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18784609
  6. A. C.. Lepidium meyenii (Maca) improved semen parameters in adult men. Department of Physiological Sciences. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11753476
  7. Yucra, S. (n.d.). Dose-response effect of black maca (Lepidium meyenii) in mice with memory impairment induced by ethanol. Department of Biological and Physiological Science. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21780878