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5 Maca Benefits | What Is Maca Root & What Does It Do?

5 Maca Benefits | What Is Maca Root & What Does It Do?
Claire Muszalski
Writer and expert9 months ago
View Claire Muszalski's profile

Maca root is produced from an ancient plant that's still very commonly used today. It's become extremely popular as a supplement, although it has been used by the native people in Peru, where it grows, for many years. With properties with the potential to enhance strength and stamina, maca, sometimes known as “Peruvian ginseng”, has loads of benefits. So, if you're thinking of trying this underrated supp, here are all the benefits.

What is Maca? 

Maca is a plant that grows in some of the harshest conditions in the world—on top of a high mountain in less-than-ideal soil. A member of the Cruciferae family, it's related to the mustard plant as well as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. It contains nutrients including Vitamin C, zinc, iron, and calcium. Its botanical name is Lepidium Meyenii, and while it does produce leaves, the root is the source of the supplement’s nutrition. These roots are dried and then processed into powder, which is then packaged up ready for you to add to smoothies, shakes, or whatever you like. But if that's not your thing, you can also find maca root in capsule form.

maca root

Maca Benefits: 

There are a wide variety of potential maca benefits, which makes some consider it an adaptogen—a supplement that can help your body better handle stressors and challenges to protect itself. With so many nutrients, maca root is definitely a supp worth considering.

1. Maca can improve your mood

Like other cruciferous plants, maca is packed with healthy compounds. It contains antioxidants called flavonoids, which are largely linked to improving mood and reducing anxiety. Several maca root studies have noted reduction in feelings of anxiety and depression.2


2. Maca May Improve Your Blood Pressure

The same study that showed benefits with depression and anxiety symptoms also noted that post-menopausal women taking maca had reduced diastolic blood pressure—the pressure in your arteries when the heart is resting between beats. We know that other cruciferous vegetables support overall health, and maca is no different.2


3. Supporting fertility

One of the primary early uses for maca was to support reproductive health. 

Further research is being done on the impact of maca on all reproductive-related hormones to investigate other potential benefits. Many women report that it helps to “balance” their hormones and moderate some of the symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes.4


4. Increasing Stamina

Thanks to all of maca’s other benefits, continued research has shown that it can even increase your stamina during exercise. Just like it has been used for centuries to boost energy, in Peru, a study showed an improvement in a cycling time trial with consistent maca supplementation.3


5. Increasing Energy

The Vitamin C, iron, and B6 content of maca all help support a healthy immune system and reduced fatigue. While no direct correlation has been shown with strength or muscle building, being able to push harder in your workouts can have many resulting benefits. If you’re struggling with energy or finishing your workout strong, maca could be the solution you’re looking for.1
maca supplement

When is the best time to take Maca?

The timing of your maca supplement doesn’t have as strong of an impact as the consistency at which you take it. The majority of research studies that showed benefits had the participants taking a consistent dose—the timing of ingestion related to your workout isn’t as important. You could add it to a post-workout shake or a pre-workout snack, however works best for you. 


Take home message 

Maca powder is an incredibly nutritious and powerful supplement—reflected in the wide range of benefits and long-time historical use. Whether you want to help improve your mood or boost your energy in the gym, adding some maca powder into your routine is a simple way to support your goals.


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Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you're concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

  1. Balick, M., & Lee, R. (2002). Maca: from traditional food crop to energy and libido stimulant. Alternative therapies in health and medicine, 8 2, 96-8 .
  2. Stojanovska, L., Law, C., Lai, B., Chung, T., Nelson, K., Day, S., … & Haines, C. (2015). Maca reduces blood pressure and depression, in a pilot study in postmenopausal women. Climacteric, 18(1), 69-78.
  3. Stone, M., Ibarra, A., Roller, M., Zangara, A., & Stevenson, E. (2009). A pilot investigation into the effect of maca supplementation on physical activity and sexual desire in sportsmen. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 126(3), 574-576.
  4. Brooks, N. A., Wilcox, G., Walker, K. Z., Ashton, J. F., Cox, M. B., & Stojanovska, L. (2008). 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. Menopause (New York, N.Y.), 15(6), 1157–1162.
Claire Muszalski
Writer and expert
View Claire Muszalski's profile

Claire is a Registered Dietitian through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a board-certified Health and Wellness Coach through the International Consortium for Health and Wellness Coaching. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master’s degree in Clinical Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Pittsburgh.

Talking and writing about food and fitness is at the heart of Claire’s ethos as she loves to use her experience to help others meet their health and wellness goals.

Claire is also a certified indoor cycling instructor and loves the mental and physical boost she gets from regular runs and yoga classes. When she’s not keeping fit herself, she’s cheering on her hometown’s sports teams in Pittsburgh, or cooking for her family in the kitchen.

Find out more about Claire’s experience here.