Maca for Bone Health and Osteoporosis
If you’re wondering if maca root can help with osteoporosis, in healing fractures and/or in supporting overall bone health, you’re in the right place. In this article, we take a look at one of the often overlooked dietary benefits of this amazing superfood for strong bones. We’ll cover the following topics:
- The Importance of Healthy Bones
- What Research Says About Maca And Bone Health
- Maca For Healing Broken Bones
- Does Maca Help Osteoporosis?
- Maca For Preserving Bone Density
- Which Maca Is Best For Bone Health?
- How To Take Maca To Maximize Your Results
- Serving Suggestion: Vegan Maca Pancakes
Our bones play several important roles in our bodies. The not only give us form, they also anchor our muscles, protect our internal organs and store important minerals such as phosphorus and calcium. Developing and maintaining a strong skeletal system is key to a long healthful life and fortunately there is a lot we can do to support that.
According to the Mayo Clinic most people achieve the highest bone mass of their lives at around age 30. After that, the body slowly loses bone density over time. The likelihood of developing brittle bones (osteoporosis) depends on how much bone mass we have to start with and how fast we lose it over time. Tips to preserve bone mass as we age include: getting plenty of calcium, staying physically active, limiting nicotine and alcohol and maintaining healthy hormone levels.
That last point is where maca root comes in. Its ability to support hormone balance combined with its unique nutrient profile and ability to improve circulation make it an excellent food to add to your diet to help maintain strong and healthy bones. In this article we’ll cover what research says about maca and osteoporosis and bone health, what people share about adding maca to their diets, which maca is best to take for bones, how best to take it and more.
As more and more people began taking maca root starting in the late 1990s, attention on this traditional food grew both in the natural health and scientific communities. Naturopaths began recommending that clients add the food to their diets and medical researchers began studying the root in earnest. To date there are well over 1000 peer reviewed studies dedicated to understanding how maca works in the body. A handful of these studies have focused directly on maca for osteoporosis and bone health.
Several studies ranging from 2006-2009 found that adding maca to the diets of rats significantly improved bone structure. Similarly, in 2010 a team of researchers from Peru studied the effect of adding red and black maca to the diets of rats that had had their ovaries removed. They concluded that maca had “protective effects on bone architecture” in these rats.
A veterinary research team published findings in 2022 that when maca was added to the diet of both young and older quail, the resulting eggs had stronger shells and the bones of the older quail improved in quality as compared to quail that did not consume maca.
Other recent studies have begun to look at how this might occur. While maca root does contain some calcium, it is almost certainly not enough to cause such positive outcomes in bone health. What may account for these results are macamides and macaenes, which are fatty acids unique to maca. These nutrients have been researched as a key in the prevention of osteoporosis.
More research is currently being done, but at this point, we’d say that it’s fair to say that maca may indeed be a key to preserving healthy bones as we age.
Over the course of using and selling maca for over 2 decades, we’ve heard quite a few stories from customers who used maca to speed healing from a broken bone. One story in particular came from a young man who fractured a bone in his leg while hiking. On the advice of his mother, who was a naturopath, he consumed several cups of sesame seed milk (high in calcium) and 2-3 tablespoons of maca powder daily. On his follow up visit less than 3 weeks later, the doctors were amazed to discover that the bone had completely healed, showing almost no sign of ever having been fractured.
Here are a couple more comments we recently received on using maca superfood for strong bones:
"I used Raw Yellow Maca for 2 months for a broken ankle. Within one month, the crack was sealed and back in place. It took less than a day for a very high pain level to come down to a tolerable level. . Nerve pain in shoulder, pelvic, sciatic nerve and brain/face, eye and jaw pain went down a lot! too! Thank you for providing this great product! - Janice
“Thank you so much for a wonderful product. The black maca has sped up healing of my shoulder injury so fast I was blown away. I bought black maca to help with libido. But to my surprise, my shoulder healed quickly! It also supported libido. I will keep taking it because it is hard to find products that truly works. Believe me,I've looked. I am 61 years old, still training in martial arts, and will not be without taking my black maca!” Aloha, -Harry D
The simple answer to this question, is “yes, maca can help osteoporosis.” Over the years, we’ve had several reports from people who have added maca root to their diets and found that their symptoms of osteoporosis lessened. Here is an example:
"Two years ago, I was diagnosed with osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis. My doctor was considering medicating me :(. I had already been taking maca, but very sporadically - whenever I'd think about it. After the diagnosis, I started being very faithful and consistent in taking Red Maca. Last week, I received the results of my most-recent DEXA (bone density) test and my numbers have improved greatly. The doctor said it's not even worth mentioning anymore and to continue doing what I have been as 'it works!'. The only thing I did, as I already said, was to become faithful and consistent in taking Red Maca every day. I highly recommend using maca and The Maca Team as your source. " - Cyndi
If you’re on the fence about using maca for bone health, you might want to consider this lovely testimonial we recently received from a new customer:
"I was admitted to the hospital in early March of this year with kidney stone pain.. Eventually an aid wheeled me to the X-ray dept to locate where the kidney stone was and determine its size. The aid assisted to to the X-ray table, and after the X-rays were taken she moved me into a room across the hallway for a few minutes until it was determined the X-rays were sufficient. A few minutes later the aid came out and said, “I apologize Mr Doxtad, the X-ray technician asked me to check your wrist band to make sure that the name and date of birth match because your X-ray photos look more like they belong to a healthy young athlete than a 73 year old.” At first, I was puzzled by her statement … but then I remembered that X-rays reveal, among other things, bone health. And it is common knowledge that bone health generally suffers as we age. Which is the very reason I began taking your product. I saw ‘bone health’ as one of the benefits and made the purchase about three years ago. I felt immediate benefit from using your product but it was reassuring to hear from the X-ray technician that your product was doing what I bought it to do … maintain my bone health. After all, I am a healthy old athlete of sorts!" - David Doxtad
The research studies cited above used both red and black maca in the experiments performed. Yellow maca has also been used effectively. Also, in our experience, more important than the actual color of maca when it comes to healthy bones is the quality of the maca. Making sure you purchase Peruvian grown, organic, fair-trade maca that is fresh will help you get the best results possible. For bone health we recommend trying one of our Tri-Color maca products. We have both raw and gelatinized (pre-cooked) maca powders, capsules and even a liquid extract. Click the image below for more information about our tri-color maca.
There are several things you can do to make sure that you get the best results when adding maca to your diet to support a healthy skeletal system. First, it’s important to understand that maca is a food and that it takes time to work in your system. In other words, don’t expect overnight results. We typically see that people experience initial results with 3-4 weeks of starting to add maca to their diets. For some people it’s more time and for some less. In terms of bone health both consistency (taking maca every day) and longevity (taking it over many months) are important. We recommend that it simply become a staple of your diet as it is for people in the high Andes where osteoporosis is rare.
- 1 banana, peeled
- 1/2 c almond milk
- 3/4 c spelt or buckwheat flour
- 1 t baking powder
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 1/4 t vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 T maca powder
- Combine banana, vanilla and milk in high speed blender, blend on highest speed to a smooth liquid.
- In mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and maca.
- Pour banana milk into dry ingredients, whisk until just combined.
- Using 1/4 cup scoop, form pancakes onto prepared (buttered, sprayed) griddle over low heat.
- Pancakes will not bubble, will easily come up to turn after about one minute.
- Flip and cook another half minute or so, until cooked through.
- Serve with sliced banana and maple syrup.
For more inspritation check our full maca recipes section.
Also, to learn more powerful ways adding this root vegetable to your diet can support your health, see our extensive maca benefits page.
Enjoy the day!