Are You Using the Right Type of Maca?

Red yellow or black maca for fertility.jpg

You may have heard of maca as a miracle supplement that enhances libido, energy and fertility. The tradition of using maca came from native Peruvians, using it as food and medicine to promote fertility, endurance, energy, vitality, and sexual virility.  The magic of mana may reside in specific alkaloid compounds seen to support hormonal balance. 

Maca Varieties

Maca is considered a tuber, similar to a potato.  It is cultivated in central Peruvian Andes at 12-14,000 feet under harsh conditions. Just like the potato, there are many varieties of maca including red, black and yellow.  Each variety has a wide range of active compounds, and each has a different effect on our hormones. Maximum benefit depends on if you are male or female, using maca for fertility, or to help with menopausal symptoms.  

Dr. Gustavo F. Gonzales from the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru has published research in the different phenotypes of maca.  He discovered several important distinctions based on color: 

  • Red maca proved to be the most effective in improving mood.

  • Black maca is considered the strongest in promoting energy and the ability to reduce blood glucose levels. It was the only type to improve sperm motility and count.

  • Black and red maca improved libido and bone health, while yellow did not.

  • Yellow maca was found to improve fertility in females, but not males.

Bottom line, black maca powder seems more effective for male fertility and yellow powder is most effective for women.  If you are looking for several of these effects, it may be beneficial to combine the color varieties each day or mix up what variety you take on a day to day basis. 

What Does Gelatinized Maca Mean? 

Maca powder comes in two forms. Raw maca powder or gelatinized maca powder. Maca in raw form is naturally hard to digest. For that reason, the native Peruvians traditionally cooked maca the same way we would a potato. This process is called gelatinization - a process of breaking down the intermolecular bonds of starch molecules in the presence of water and heat. It allows for maximal absorption by making it more water-soluble.  It is suggested to only use gelatinized maca due to it being more concentrated and easily digestible. 

How to Take Maca

Maca comes in powder, capsule or tincture form.  The typical dose is about 2000 to 4000 mg or about a teaspoon a day.  However, some may take up to a tablespoon a day. The powder can be added smoothies, yogurt or hot cereal. It has a nice malty flavor which goes well with foods. Our favorite way of drinking maca is adding to smoothies or making a maca latte.  


Maca Latte:

1 Tablespoon coconut cream

1 Tablespoon gelatinized maca powder

1 Teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 cup of hot water

Add all the ingredient in a blender, blend and enjoy!