Are Maca Capsules as Effective as Maca Powder
Maca root is a nutrient rich vegetable that grows in the highlands of Peru and Bolivia. It is both a traditional food of those native to the area, and, over the past 40 years, a potent superfood worldwide. Maca is rich in essential amino acids, minerals, glucosinolates and other important constituents that help it have a positive effect on overall health and hormone health in particular.
While maca root is eaten whole (usually baked or boiled) in the areas where it is grown, it is available outside of those areas most commonly in powder or capsule form. One question we’ve received often is if maca capsules are as effective and potent as maca powder. In this article we’ll answer that question and give you an idea of what to look for so you get the most out of adding this amazing superfood to your life.
About Maca Root and How It’s Grown
Maca roots grow at very high elevations in rocky soil and take 9 months to fully mature. During their growth, they strip the earth of many nutrients. In fact, after just 2 years of growing maca roots, a given piece of land must be rested and rehabilitated for 10 years before it can be productive again.
The farmers who grow maca root are experts in knowing exactly when and how to plant the seeds, how to care for the sprouting plants, when to harvest the roots, how to dry the fresh roots and how to store them for maximizing their efficacy. These traditions have been handed down from generation to generation since well before the Incan empire. And, even in spite of various modern and more technological attempts to grow maca, they have not been improved upon. The best and most nutrient dense maca roots are the ones grown with these traditional methods.
Understanding Maca Powder
Once maca roots have been harvested and dried they are stored until it’s time to process them into a powder. Maca powder that is pure should contain nothing more than maca roots that have been ground up. The processers we use at The Maca Team have proprietary machinery that first cleanses the maca roots to remove any remaining dirt, bacteria, etc. The roots are then run through a series of grinders that reduce the whole maca roots to a fine powder. Our powders are typically “80 mesh” which means they are about as fine as baby powder. The advantage of taking maca in this very fine powder form is that since each individual grain of powder is so small there is a greater likelihood for your intestine to absorb it fully.
The Pluses and Minuses of Maca Powder
Maca powder is the most common and popular way of consuming maca. And there is good reason for that. The main advantages of taking maca in powder form are:
- Maca powder is versatile. It is easy to mix in a smoothie or another type of recipe. It can be used similar to a flour (for example, maca pancakes). It can also simply be mixed into water or milk and consumed quickly.
- Maca powder absorbs more quickly than capsules. With capsules your body needs to break down the capsule itself before maca can be absorbed. This isn’t necessarily a negative but it does require more energy from your body and potentially could prevent some maca from being absorbed.
- Maca powder is less expensive. Since the machinery and labor needed to make maca powder is less complicated and demanding than the same needed to make maca capsules, maca powder is significantly less costly than maca capsules ounce for ounce / gram for gram.
The main disadvantage of maca powder for some customers is the taste. While many customers enjoy the malty, caramel-like taste of maca root powder, others do not. It may taste a bit too “earthy” for some. That is especially true of our premium maca powders, which taste stronger and more spicy than our standard ones. This makes sense when you consider that maca comes from the same family as horseradish.
The Pluses and Minuses of Maca Capsules
- Maca capsules make it easy to get a standard serving size. It’s easier to count out 8 capsules than it is to measure 6 grams of maca powder. For that reason, maca capsules make consistency in serving size simpler for most people.
- Maca capsules hide the taste of maca. For some people this is a must. The only way to benefit from maca root is if you take it. If you don’t like the taste it’s going to be harder to take daily. But capsules solve this problem. They are easy to take with a glass of water first thing in the morning.
- Maca capsules are easier to take with you. Because of their smaller footprint, a jar of capsules is easier to travel with than powder. It’s also easy to put them into a supplement/medicine organizer.
On the other hand, maca capsules are more expensive than their corresponding powders and do take a bit longer to be fully absorbed in the digestive tract.
Not All Maca Capsules Are The Same
At The Maca Team, we first started selling maca in powder form. A few years later we decided to offer capsules. At that time, we were surprised to learn that most manufacturers include other ingredients in their formulations. They use flow agents, anti-caking agents, fillers and other artificial ingredients as they fill their capsules. Here’s a list of ingredients we’ve seen in maca capsules:
- Cellulose is a popular binding and coating agent
- Gelatin is another popular capsule coating and binding agent
- Stearic Acid
- Magnesium Stearate
- Silicon Dioxide
- Titanium Dioxide
- Artificial Colors and Flavors
We were told that large scale machinery requires these types of ingredients in order to successfully and efficiently encapsulate maca powder. We didn’t want to sell capsules with any of that in there so we investigated on our own and ended up investing in our own encapsulation machinery. With that machinery we are 100% sure that the only thing inside of our vegan capsules is our pure maca powder.
The One Way Maca Capsules Can Be As Effective as Maca Powder
We truly wanted our capsules to work as well as our powders and that’s why we decided to make sure they contained zero additional ingredients. For us, the extra time and cost is worth it because we do see that our customers get similar results with both forms of maca. In addition, it’s important to note that the capsules that you receive from us are made with fresh maca powder on a weekly basis, so they simply do not sit around for very long before they are into your hands.
So, to answer the original question of whether or not maca capsules work as well as maca powders we say this:
If the maca capsules you are taking contain 100% pure, fresh maca powder then we are confident in saying that they will be as effective in terms of the overall benefits they provide. If, however, they contain different ingredients as listed above we are not confident that they will work as well.
As it is with other nutritionally rich foods, you can see from this article that quality is they key factor that influences the efficacy of maca root products. Quality control, all the way from choosing the correct lands, to planting, to harvesting, to processing, to storage and packaging, is crucial to getting the most possible benefit from adding maca to your diet.
The question between taking our capsules and our powders really comes down to preference. If you like the taste of maca powder and enjoy using it in smoothies and other recipes, that’s what we’d recommend. If, on the other hand, the taste doesn’t agree with you, you can easily avoid that using maca capsules instead. As long as you are taking a large enough serving size on a consistent basis we are confident that maca will have a positive impact on your life.
We hope that this article has helped answer the question of the efficacy of maca capsules vs. maca powder. If you have any further doubts, please let us know. We’re always happy to help!
Enjoy the day!