Is Black Maca Better Than Yellow Maca


Maca root is a unique vegetable native to the high Andes mountains of South America.  It has been cultivated and used as an essential food source for thousands of years.  Owing to its rich nutritional profile combined with its ability to support overall health and wellness, maca root is considered to be one of the most important superfoods available anywhere.

Maca root comes in 3 basic color ranges, black, red and yellow and in this article we’ll have a look at the question if black maca is better than yellow or red.    To start answering this question let’s first look at how maca root grows.  Baskets of Fresh Black and Yellow Maca Roots

How Maca Grows

Maca root only grows well and develops fully at high elevations above about 12,000 feet (3500 m) in the mountains of Peru and Bolivia.  Attempts have been made to grow maca in Germany, the U.S. and China, but the results have been poor and largely abandoned.   

The best soil and climactic conditions in which to grow maca root are in and around Junin, Peru.  The hills in this high mountain area are conducive to growing quality roots that are nutritionally rich and dense.   

The first step in growing maca is planting seeds.  This happens usually in September to October.  Over the course of the next few months a small top develops above the soil and then starting on month 4 after planting the actual roots start to form.   It takes 9 full months for the roots to be ready for harvest.

At harvest time maca roots are pulled from the ground and prepared for drying.  Traditionally, the roots were all lumped together for drying.  But over the past 30 years farmers have begun to separate the roots by color groups – black, red and yellow.   Black roots range from light to very dark gray.  Red roots are light pink to deep purple and yellow roots are light beige to golden in color.   Interestingly all these colors come from the same seed stock.  It’s also interesting to note that the color of all maca roots is largely found in the skin.  On the inside maca roots are all a similar beige or off-white color. 

Black Maca vs. Yellow Maca

fresh-black-maca-root-cut-open-on-board.jpgBlack and yellow maca are on the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to quantity produced.   In any given harvest, black maca roots account for about 15%, red maca for about 25% and yellow maca for about 60% of the total harvest.   

Because it is more readily available yellow maca has been the most scientifically researched of all three maca colors.   This is especially true of early research on the root.   This research found that yellow maca is rich in nutrients that can help support hormone balance and overall health.  Benefits associated with it include improved energy levels, reduction in stress, fertility and enhanced drive.  

Black maca has been researched separately over the past 15 years or so and it has been seen to have a somewhat stronger effect on energy levels, endurance, muscle building and male libido.   Also, it has been shown to improve sperm motility and volume better than red or yellow maca.   For this reason, black maca is sometimes referred to as “male or men’s maca.”   But you should know that women can and do take black maca regularly.

Which Is Better, Black or Yellow Maca?

When you’re deciding between black and yellow maca, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Both types have their own unique benefits and both can be effective.  Yellow maca is more widely available and is less expensive.   As we’ve seen,  it has been more extensively studied and has associated with a range of health benefits.

Black maca is less common and has shown in research to be somewhat more potent for energy levels, endurance, muscle building and libido.  However, there have been fewer studies on black maca, so its benefits are not as well-documented and established as yellow maca.

In the end, the choice between black and yellow maca depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you are looking for a food to boost energy levels and enhance overall wellbeing at an economical price, yellow is a good choice. If you are looking for a more potent supplement that may be particularly beneficial for men's health and/or for muscle building, stamina and energy black maca may be the way to go.  We also have a more traditional style maca that contains all three colors.  See our Tri-color maca products.

What’s More Important Than Maca Color?yellow-maca-root-cut-open-fresh.jpg

Maca root color is just one of the factors that makes a difference in the effect maca has.  There are some other considerations beyond color to keep in mind when choosing the maca product you take.

  1. Where and how was the maca grown – the most potent maca comes from in and around Junin, Peru and the best of the best is always grown organically in soils that have been rested for the appropriate amount of time.   Avoid maca products that originate outside of the Andes as they simply will not have the same nutritional profile and same effects.
  2. How maca roots are dried – After harvest, maca roots can either be dried in the sun (the traditional method) or they can be flash dried in large dehydrators.   The second more modern process leaves more glucosinolate content in the final product and is considered to be a premium maca.  We sell both kinds.   
  3. How was the maca stored and handled before and after processing – maca is sensitive to light, humidity and oxidation.  For that reason, it should be stored in a dark, dry and fully sealed environment.   This will ensure freshness and potency.
  4. Gelatinized or raw maca – gelatinized maca has been pre-cooked to remove starch content.   It is easier to digest for some people than raw maca.  The process does destroy some nutrients, but at the same time it concentrates others.   Make sure you get the right one for your purposes.   Read more about gelatinized vs. raw maca
  5. Capsules, Powders, Chips or Extracts – A final consideration is how you want to take maca.  Powders are the most common as they are more versatile and the least expensive.  Capsules make getting a precise serving size easier but are more costly.  Liquid extracts are easy to take with you on the go.  And maca chips are the closest thing to whole maca roots legally available outside of the high Andes.  

How To Find The Best Maca For Youwhich-maca-to-choose.png

If all of this has left you wondering how to make the best choice for yourself when it comes to maca, we’re here to help.  Over the years we’ve developed an extensive amount of information as well as a product selection tool that will help you decide which maca to start out with.   You can find out which maca we recommend for you by clicking the link.   Note that the page has both a written description as well as a dynamic tool to help you.    Also, we’re always happy to help and if you call or email us you’ll receive answers to your questions and suggestions from a knowledgeable maca expert on our customer service team.Black vs yellow maca root products

We hope this article sheds some light on the differences between black maca and yellow maca.   Thanks for reading and enjoy the day!

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