What Are Contraindications for Taking Maca Root?

contraindications-for-taking-maca-root.jpgAs maca root has gained in popularity over the past decade, more and more people have learned of its potential to improve quality of life in various ways.  Indeed, maca has been associated with a number of benefits, both in scientific research and in reports from consumers.   

With many more people new to maca than in the past, we’ve started receiving quite a few questions like these: 

  • Who should avoid taking maca?
  • What are the contraindications for taking maca root?
  • Is maca suitable for everyone?

These are all important questions and deserve a thorough answer.   

In this article we’ll do our best to provide answers based on all the research we are aware of as well as over 20 years of experience sourcing and selling high quality maca products.

What Is A Contraindication? (And why the term doesn’t exactly fit for maca root).

The generally accepted definition of “contraindication” is “a specific situation in which a drug, procedure or surgery should not be used because it may be harmful to the person.”

In practice, doctors divide contraindications into 2 types

  1. Relative contraindications – these are cases when caution should be used when taking a drug (but it’s generally ok to do so if benefits outweigh risks).  An example of this type of contraindication is someone taking blood thinning medication should generally avoid taking aspirin at the same time, but if they do take it for a specific issue, the benefits may outweigh the risks.
  2. Absolute contraindications – these cases mean that a procedure or drug could be life threatening to an individual and should be avoided.   For example, pregnant women should not take certain medicines that are associated with causing birth defects.

When it comes to maca root, this definition of a contraindication doesn’t really fit because maca is not a drug or a medicine.  In other words, the term contraindication is typically used when speaking about pharmaceutical medicines.     Maca root, is simply a vegetable and is consumed as a food or supplement.   

Technically speaking, it follows that there are no contraindications for taking maca root.  It’s also worth noting that maca has been used safely for 1000s of years by countless people as a regular food source.   Beyond that, medical research on maca has not identified any absolute contraindications for adding it to your diet.

At the same time, maca root is a very nutrient dense food with some unique properties compared to most foods and because of that there are cases when certain people should be extra careful when taking it.  

When It’s Best To Use Caution When Starting to Take Maca Root

In all of these cases below, it is advisable to consult with a trusted medical professional before adding maca to your diet.   

  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, use caution when starting to take maca.   This may sound counterintuitive to some people.  After all, one of maca root’s most known uses is to promote fertility. And pregnant women in Peru are known to continue consuming it after conception and while nursing.   Even so, because maca has a significant effect on hormones, it’s best to work with a trusted medical professional when adding it during these crucial developmental times.  
  • If you have hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer and endometriosis, you should use extra caution when considering adding maca root to your diet.   Maca contains compounds that can mimic the effects of estrogen, and may potentially make these conditions worse.  
  • If you are taking blood thinning or medications for high blood pressure, be very careful when adding maca to your diet.  Maca root itself supports healthy circulation as well as lower blood pressure.  When used in addition to other medicines that have similar effects, it can be detrimental.   A competent medical professional should be able to advise you and monitor your progress if you do decide to try maca in this case.  
  • If you have thyroid issues, consult with your doctor before taking maca root.   Maca contains significant amounts of iodine, which can either be helpful or harmful to the thyroid depending on the condition of an individual’s thyroid.  

Final Words On Contraindications For Taking Macawho-should-avoid-maca.jpg

In conclusion, while maca does have many potential health benefits, it is not 100% suitable for everyone.

Individuals who should use extra care before taking Maca include those with hormone-sensitive conditions, pregnant and breastfeeding women, those taking blood thinning medications and those with thyroid issues.  

Keep in mind that this article is not meant to give or be a substitute for medical advice.  If you have any doubts about adding maca root products to your diet, please consult with a competent and knowledgeable medical professional for specific recommendations.   He or she will be able to help determine if maca is appropriate for you and if so how much to start taking.   

Finally, if you do decide to add maca into your diet, make sure that you purchase a high-quality Peruvian grown product that has been tested thoroughly for heavy metal and other types of contamination.    

We hope that this article has helped answer your questions.  If there is anything else we can do to support you, please let us know.

Enjoy the day!


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