Sourced from the root of a turnip-like plant called lepidium meyenii, maca root is a very popular vegetable supplement. Traditionally grown in Peru at high altitudes, maca root is known for its natural nutritional profile as well as some unique benefits. Although more research is needed to understand maca root, it is believed to increase libido, or sex drive, among men and women (1) (2) (3). The limited research indicates that maca root does not increase testosterone or estrogen levels. It’s wise to consult with a medical professional rather than relying on this supplement to treat any sexual issues. Maca root may also help women cope with symptoms related to menopause, though again, more research is needed to solidify these claims (4) (5).

Maca roots are grown in a variety of colors, including red, pink, black and yellow. Part of maca’s popularity stems from its natural nutritional profile, including Vitamin C, iron, and potassium. It’s typically available in either a capsule or powdered form. Some folks dislike its earthy taste, and avoid it in powdered form, while others sprinkle it into smoothies or desserts. We took a look under the hood at some of the best maca root available and gave our picks.

best maca root

Best Capsule:

NaturaLife Labs Maca

Pros:

  • NaturaLife Labs Maca is made up of black, red, and yellow organic maca root. 
  • Each 2 capsule serving contains 1900mg of organic maca root. 
  • Made without any GMOs, fillers, or preservatives, and does not contain gluten or soy. 
  • Made with gelatinized maca to ease digestion, these 3rd party tested capsules are vegan friendly. 

Cons:

  • From a cost per serving basis, these are a bit pricey compared to some of the competitors on the market.
NaturaLife Labs Maca
NaturaLife Labs Maca
NaturaLife Labs Maca

Folks looking for high dosage capsules of maca root may want to check out the offering from NaturaLife Labs. At 1900mg per serving, this is among the highest doses of maca available in capsule form on the market.

Contender:

Viva Naturals Organic Maca Root Capsules

Pros:

  • Viva Naturals Organic Maca Root Capsules use gelatinized maca to make for easier digestion.
  • Capsules are vegan friendly. 
  • On a cost per serving basis, these are very affordably priced. 

Cons:

  • Each capsule contains 500mg of maca root, placing this at the low end of the maca root supplements we looked at in terms of serving size. While that can obviously be mitigated by taking more capsules, it does start to encroach on the bang for your buck.
Viva Naturals Organic Maca Root Capsules
Viva Naturals Organic Maca Root Capsules
Viva Naturals Organic Maca Root Capsules

Viva Naturals offers an affordably priced source of maca root in vegan friendly capsules. Sourced from the Andes mountains in Peru and encapsulated in the USA, this is a high quality form of maca root.

Best Powder:

Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Gelatinized Maca Powder

Pros:

  • Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Gelatinized Maca Powder is made from yellow, red, and black maca roots. 
  • While this version is gelatinized to ease digestion, a raw version is also available from the same seller. 
  • Terrasoul Superfoods uses third party testing to ensure purity in their maca root powder. 
  • Delivered in a resealable pouch. 
  • Each ½ tsp serving of this maca powder contains 2g of maca root. 

Cons:

  • There’s no scoop included with this pouch, so folks will have to measure for themselves. 
  • Those who are not familiar with the taste of maca powder and not eager to try new vegetables may want to stick to capsules. 
Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Gelatinized Maca Powder
Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Gelatinized Maca Powder
Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Gelatinized Maca Powder

Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Gelatinized Maca Powder is made from a blend of yellow, red, and black maca roots. Packaged in a resealable pouch, this may be a great option for folks looking to sprinkle maca into coffee, smoothies, or other food items. 

Competing Powder:

BulkSupplements Maca Root Extract Powder

Pros:

  • Each ½ tsp serving of Bulk Supplements Maca Root Extract Powder contains 1,000mg of maca root extract. 
  • Comes in a resealable foil zip pouch. 
  • Third party tested for purity. 
  • Only ingredient is maca root extract powder.
  • Very reasonably priced on a cost per serving basis.

Cons:

  • Some folks complained that the taste of this powder was pretty strong. 
BulkSupplements Maca Root Extract Powder
BulkSupplements Maca Root Extract Powder
BulkSupplements Maca Root Extract Powder

Folks looking for a very straightforward source of maca powder may want to check out this offering from BulkSupplements. Each ½ tsp serving of this reasonably priced supplement contains 1,000mg of maca root.

Methodology

Maca root is a popular supplement derived from a turnip-like plant typically grown in the mountains of Peru. More research is needed to ascertain how it works, but it has long believed to be an effective supplement in bolstering libido among men and women. Before checking out a particular brand of maca root, check out some of the key features to consider while shopping. 

Raw vs. Gelatinized

Though the term gelatinized may sound like gelatin has been added, that’s not the case; it’s still a vegan product. Gelatinized maca is boiled before it’s ground up, which takes out some of its starchiness. While this does deplete some of the natural nutrients as well, it makes it easier to digest for many folks. 

Raw maca, on the other hand, is simply dried before being ground up into a powder. This process keeps all of its nutrients intact. However, some folks have a harder time digesting raw maca. 

Maca Color

Maca root is grown in a variety of colors, the most common being yellow, black, and red. While there are some who believe each color has its own unique properties, no research exists to back this up. 

Dosage

While there’s no widely agreed upon dosage for maca root, most studies that have been conducted to test its efficacy utilize around 1g to 5g daily. It’s wise to consult a medical professional about what’s best for you. 

Powder vs. Capsule

Many people enjoy the unique flavor of maca, claiming that the nuttiness and earthiness is a great compliment to coffees and desserts. Others disagree with that assessment and stick to capsules. While capsules are a bit more expensive on a per serving basis, they may be more convenient. 

Cost

Divide the total cost of each product by the amount of servings. Note that some brands actually require multiple capsules per serving, so don’t just divide by the amount of pills in the bottle. 

Purity

When shopping for any supplement it’s important to know what’s inside the capsule or the powder. Take a close look at the ingredients list to ensure no additives, preservatives, or other unnecessary fillers have been mixed in. Independent third party testing for maca root is not widely available at this time, but some brands will make their third party test results available upon request. 

FAQ

Can maca root make you gain weight?

Maca root itself is not intended to make anyone gain weight. However, some folks do report an increased appetite upon taking it. If weight management is a goal, it’s wise to consult a dietician or a health professional. 

What does maca root do for you?

Maca root may have a handful of benefits, including increased libido and helping to stave off symptoms of menopause. However, much more research is needed to substantiate these claims.

How long do you have to take maca to see results?

The effectiveness of maca will vary from person to person. However, as with most supplements, it’s important to try to take it as regularly as possible. 

BarBend Tips

  • Consult a medical professional before adding any supplement to a daily health regimen. 
  • If maca root is right for you, try to be consistent with when it’s taken. 

Maca root is an intriguing natural supplement. Although more research is needed to ascertain how it works, it may have some beneficial effects for a lot of folks. 

References

  1. Gonzales GF, Córdova A, Vega K, et al. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men. Andrologia. 2002;34(6):367-372.‌
  2. Stone M, Ibarra A, Roller M, Zangara A, Stevenson E. A pilot investigation into the effect of maca supplementation on physical activity and sexual desire in sportsmen. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2009;126(3):574-576.‌
  3. Shin B-C, Lee MS, Yang EJ, Lim H-S, Ernst E. Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systematic review. BMC complementary and alternative medicine. 2010;10:44.
  4. Brooks NA, Wilcox G, Walker KZ, Ashton JF, Cox MB, Stojanovska L. Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. Menopause (New York, NY). 2008;15(6):1157-1162.
  5. Lee MS, Shin B-C, Yang EJ, Lim H-J, Ernst E. Maca (Lepidium meyenii) for treatment of menopausal symptoms: A systematic review. Maturitas. 2011;70(3):227-233.