Can Maca Help With Weight Gain
Gaining weight can be a challenge for some individuals and can lead them to explore various types of solutions. Maca root has been identified as one potential natural remedy for people hoping to put on weight. In this article we’ll have a deeper look at the question: “can maca help with weight gain?” We’ll cover what maca root is, what it does in the body, how this can potentially correlate to weight gain, which maca to use for weight gain and how to use it.
Understanding Maca Root
Maca root is a cruciferous vegetable in the mustard and horseradish family. It grows in the high Andes of Peru and Bolivia and has been used for 1000s of years as a source of food and natural medicine. It is extremely nutrient dense and is one of the only food crops that grows at extreme high elevations. Maca root has been increasingly used outside of South America over the past 50 years. Today it can be found in pantries all over the world. This is due to the many health benefits that are associated with adding maca to your diet.
How Maca Effects Hormones
A main reason that maca can lead to such wide-ranging benefits is that it stimulates the body to achieve hormonal balance. Since hormones play a key role in all sorts of bodily functions, maca’s impact can be varied.
When it comes to weight gain or loss, hormones have a number of important functions within the body. Here are some of the main ones involved in increasing appetite
- Motilin – this hormone comes from your small intestine and signals the brain that you need food
- NYP (neuropeptide Y) – your brain releases this short chain of amino acids in order to stimulate food intake
- Agouti-related protein (AgRp) – this is linked to Ghrelin and also supports increased food intake
- Ghrelin--known as the “hunger hormone” Ghrelin stimulates the hypothalamus which is an area of the brain responsible for hunger, glucose metabolism and the sleep cycle
It is not yet known how maca affects these specific hormones, but research is ongoing on maca’s effect on weight. One study from 2022 found that adding maca to the diets of birds increased their average body weight when compared to the control group. Another recent study found that in menopausal mice, maca actually supported weight loss.
Obviously, more research is necessary to make any definitive claims. Based on our experience of selling maca for more than 2 decades we have had customers report both weight loss and weight gains when taking maca. It is important to note that the majority of these reports come from those who have lost weight when taking maca. That doesn’t necessarily mean that maca is better for weight loss than weight gain, especially when we consider that significantly more people look to lose weight rather than gain weight.
The 4 Ways That Maca Can Support Weight Gain
On the surface and based on its nutritional data, maca root is not particularly suited for weight gain. It is low in calories (about 30 calories in 9 g serving) and contains no fat. Even so, there are a few ways that maca can stimulate your body to increase the likelihood of you gaining weight when eating it.
- Increasing appetite—as maca supports your body to achieve a balanced endocrine system it may indeed have a positive effect on the production of Ghrelin, the hunger hormone. With an increase in appetite you may naturally eat a higher calorie diet and thereby put on some weight.
- Regulating hormones – maca regulates other hormones in the body and promotes a healthy equilibrium. Reduction in stress and anxiety is common when taking maca products and may also support healthy eating habits.
- Muscle building – maca works to help build muscle. In addition, it contains nearly all amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Muscle is made of protein and weighs more than other types of tissue including fat. In this way, maca can promote health weight gain. As a side note, we do have several successful bodybuilders who love using maca.
- Increases in energy – maca is energizing. It encourages more movement which in turn can lead to a stronger appetite and increased calorie intake.
Which Maca Is Best for Weight Gain
Even though it is the least common of all maca colors, black maca has been found to be the best for muscle building. For that reason, we’d recommend choosing one of our black maca products when you are working toward weight gain. If for some reason you’d rather try another type of maca our second recommendation would be to try one of our tri-color maca products.
If you have generally strong digestion you can use a raw/uncooked maca product. However, if you have any issues with your digestive system, especially when it comes to digesting starch, we recommend using a gelatinized maca product instead. It has been pre-cooked to remove starch content, making it easier for your body to process.
How To Use Maca for Gaining Weight
There are four important tips to getting the most out of taking maca for weight gain.
- Make sure you are taking enough. Our maca serving guidelines will give you a more precise recommendation, but in general terms a minimum of 3-9 grams is recommended for most people.
- Maca sure you are taking your maca every day. This is especially important when you are starting out. Maca is a food and takes time to “build up” in the body. It is not an instant cure-all. Staying consistent with your serving of maca will give your body more time to respond and to bring you back into a balanced hormonal state.
- Expect to see initial results after about one month of taking maca. Maca does work over time, so be patient. It’s also important to note that you may only start to see preliminary results after a month or so of consistent usage. Results tend to get deeper and longer lasting when you continue taking it.
- Combine maca with regular exercise to promote overall health and muscle building.
While on the surface maca root is not particularly indicated for weight gain, there are several ways in which it can help people put on some pounds. If you’d like to use maca root for this purpose we recommend trying a black maca powder or capsule first. Give yourself some time to experience the results. You may just be surprised like this customer was:
"I usually have trouble maintaining weight, but I have been able to gain weight after I added this awesome item to my diet." - Brian Tweedy
Enjoy the day!