Before outlining the potential side effects that can come from using Maca powder, it’s important to note that Maca is not in any way similar to a pharmaceutical drug, which, as we know, often do have side effects. Maca is simply a nutritionally rich food that has been consumed for thousands of years in the Andes with no reported problems. Interestingly, farmers who grow Maca are known to eat up to 500 gms of fresh Maca or 100 gms of powdered Maca daily. Our recommended dosage is much less at 6-9 grams daily, but we do have some bodybuilding clients who use up to 50 gms daily and love it. Get our Maca dosage recommendation for you here.
Scientific Research on Potential Side Effects of Taking Maca
The most comprehensive scientific study done on Maca to date is "Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands" In this study author Gustavo E. Gonzales reviews all of the major research recently done on Maca. Near the end of his paper he concludes that Maca is "100% safe for human consumption has no toxicity or no notable side effects." He cites on study in particular that followed over 600 consumers of Maca from Peru that showed that their health status was generally improved while the subjects reported no Maca side effects at all.
Reported Maca Side Effects
Although science has turned up no real side effects from Maca, we have had reports from several of our customers about a few experiences they have had while taking Maca (especially for the first time). We want to list these here and what you can do about each one.
Feeling “jittery:” Some people report that they feel like they have had too much coffee after taking Maca powder. We’ve heard it described as feeling “jittery” or “wired.” Although Maca does provide a nice energy boost, it should not make you feel “too energized.” Usually this happens with people just starting with Maca who take too much at a time. The solution is simple: reduce your dosage.
Insomnia: A small number of people report feeling insomnia when first starting to take Maca. To alleviate this possibility we recommend to take Maca before 2pm and/or to reduce your dosage. Another interesting note is that Maca actually has helped many women in perimenopause or menopause to overcome insomnia.
Digestive Issues: About 5% of our customers report upset stomach, slight cramping or gas after taking Raw Maca. If this happens, know that it’s due to the starch content in Raw Maca. We recommend Gelatnized Maca for people with sensitive digestive systems.
Acne: Some customers have reported an increase in acne after starting with Maca. This is a temporary symptom. As your body balances its hormones the acne will lessen and likely disappear. Read About Maca and Acne Here
Iodine allergy and thyroid issues - we've had a couple of customers report issues related to the iodine content in Maca. Maca is generally considered to be an excellent food source for iodine, but if you are at all concerned with your iodine intake please read this article on Maca and iodine.
Factors Contributing To Potential Side Effects
What we’ve learned in over 15 years of taking and sourcing Maca is that not all of the products on the market are of top quality. Lower quality products may contribute to experiencing the effects listed above. Questions to consider when purchasing Maca:
Is this Maca organic?– To avoid chemicals and pesticides buy only certified organic Maca products
How fresh is this Maca? – The fresher the better. Maca is usually harvested in June-August each year and has a shelf life of about 2 years.
What type of Maca is this?– There are some important differences between Raw and Gelatinized Maca as well as between the different colors of Maca that everyone taking Maca should know about. Read more here…
We hope we’ve answered all your major questions about Maca side effects here. But if not, please let us know and we’ll get back to you quickly with an answer.