Maca Root Experiment – More Erections and Less Anxiety
“Do you have any experience with maca root (Lepidium meyenii) it’s promoted as erection booster and aphrodisiac.”
Yes, I have tested alot maca root powders and supplements. In this article, I share my experiences with a maca root. What exactly happened when I took maca root 30 days straight.
What is Maca root?
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a plant which belong to the crucifer and cabbage family and is usually grow in high altitudes (7000-11000 feet) Peruvian Andes.
Traditionally maca has been mainly consumed as a food source (like a potato or stocked as powder and consumed with hot drinks), but they also believed that maca can increase fertility. Currently, maca root is marketed as a “superfood”, mostly with wild claims that really don’t have any scientifical evidence behind them.
I recently made a experiment with a maca root powder. In this maca experiment I took gelatinized yellow maca powder for 30 days straight. Here is the real benefits I noticed.
Maca root really increases sex drive and erections
The first thing I noticed with this maca supplementation experiment was notable libido increase (sexual desire and more erections). This benefit started about one week after I started to take maca powder. Increased sex drive is the most common benefit of maca root, and there are even trials where maca root has found to be effective improving sex drive and erection.
This study tested maca 1500mg and 3000mg doses on healthy adults and noted 24-42% increase in self-reported sex-drive:
“An improvement in sexual desire was observed with Maca since 8 weeks of treatment. Serum testosterone and oestradiol levels were not different in men treated with Maca and in those treated with placebo (P:NS). Logistic regression analysis showed that Maca has an independent effect on sexual desire at 8 and 12 weeks of treatment, and this effect is not because of changes in either Hamilton scores for depression or anxiety or serum testosterone and oestradiol levels. In conclusion, treatment with Maca improved sexual desire.” – Source
In this study maca extract improved sex drive on trained male cyclists:
“ME administration significantly improved 40 km cycling time performance compared to the baseline test (P=0.01), but not compared to the placebo trial after supplementation (P>0.05). ME administration significantly improved the self-rated sexual desire score compared to the baseline test (P=0.01), and compared to the placebo trial after supplementation (P=0.03).” – Source
2400 mg of dry maca extract improved mild erectile dysfunction (ED) in Caucasian men
“After 12 weeks of treatment, both Maca- and placebo-treated patients experienced a significant increase in IIEF-5 score (P < 0.05 for both). However, patients taking Maca experienced a more significant increase than those taking placebo (1.6 +/- 1.1 versus 0.5 +/- 0.6, P < 0.001). Both Maca- and placebo-treated subjects experienced a significant improvement in psychological performance-related SAT-P score, but the Maca group higher than that of placebo group (+9 +/- 6 versus +6 +/- 5, P < 0.05)." - Source
Maca worked even on SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction in this study:
“Ten subjects completed the study, and 16 subjects (9 on 3.0 g/day; 7 on 1.5 g/day) were eligible for intent-to-treat (ITT) analyses on the basis of having had at least one postbaseline visit. ITT subjects on 3.0 g/day maca had a significant improvement in ASEX (from 22.8+/-3.8 to 16.9+/-6.2; z=-2.20, P=0.028) and in MGH-SFQ scores (from 24.1+/-1.9 to 17.0+/-5.7; z=-2.39, P=0.017), but subjects on 1.5 g/day maca did not. Libido improved significantly (P<0.05) for the ITT and completer groups based on ASEX item #1, but not by dosing groups. Maca was well tolerated. Maca root may alleviate SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction, and there may be a dose-related effect. Maca may also have a beneficial effect on libido." - Source
Even though these were small trials with small sample size, maca root shows promising results as a sex drive booster and it may be even effective for people suffering with a sexual dysfunction. I noticed improved libido roughly after 1 week of supplementation, but according studies, it seems that maca root starts to work even better after 4-6 weeks of supplementation.
Maca root increases well-being
After 2 weeks of maca experiment, I noticed increased well-being (happier mood). Does maca root have some kinda component that affects mood?
I started doing some research and found a couple of studies:
Maca root has anti-depressant effect according to animals studies:
“In the forced swimming test, we observed that all three varieties, Yellow, Red and Black Maca reduced the immobility time in OVX mice without differences between them. The antidepressant activity of Maca could be due to the presence of phytoestrogens such as quercetin and anthocyanins. Quercetin presents antidepressant activity . However, it is possible that other principles may be acting as anti-depressants, since in previous study it has been demonstrated that scores for depression were reduced after Maca treatment without changes in serum estradiol levels [3,16]. – Source
In this above-mentioned study it was noted that maca also improved physical and social performance-related SAT-P score:
“However, only Maca-treated patients experienced a significant improvement in physical and social performance-related SAT-P score compared with the baseline (+7 +/- 6 and +7 +/- 6, both P < 0.05). In conclusion, our data support a small but significant effect of Maca supplementation on subjective perception of general and sexual well-being in adult patients with mild ED." - Study
Maca has been also shown to reduce anxiety and depression in postmenopausal women:
“Preliminary findings show that Lepidium meyenii (Maca) (3.5 g/d) reduces psychological symptoms, including anxiety and depression, and lowers measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women independent of estrogenic and androgenic activity.” – Source
Studies are very limited but it seems that maca root might have some kinda component that affects mind and mood. It might be maca root’s ability to reduced anxiety and depression that might explain why many people experience energy and sports performance boost when using maca. (In this pilot study maca did not beat placebo in sport performance.)
How maca should be consumed?
Raw maca root contains starch that is very hard to digest for humans, thus it might create stomach aches and other problems. Traditionally maca root was always heated or boiled to minimize stomach aches and other problems that raw maca root starch can cause. It’s always a good idea to heat your raw maca powder or at least take it with a hot drink (coffee, tea, chocolate).
Alternatively, you can get gelatinized version of maca powder. Gelatinization removes harmful starch and makes maca easier to digest, so you don’t necessary need to heat it as the starch is already removed.
Also, it might be a good idea to cycle maca supplements, for example, take a 1-month break after 3 months usage. If you use it all the time, you might not notice these benefits anymore. In studies, the best result were obtained after 4-6 weeks of supplementation.
Uncommon benefits of maca root
Maca root has many alleged benefits from enlarged butt size, larger sperm volume, strength and muscle size gains and so on. Here are some of the benefits which have at least some kinda scientifical evidence behind them.
Increasing sperm count with black maca?
Traditionally maca root was used for increasing fertility and many marketers are claiming that maca is good for fertility. While there are not many studies about this subject, black maca could potentially be a good thing for men, as it seems to increase sperm volume, according to animal studies.
“In conclusion, Black maca affects sperm count as early as 1 day after beginning of treatment.” – Study
“Black Maca appeared to have more beneficial effect on sperm counts and epididymal sperm motility.” – Study
Gelatinized black maca powder can be found on Amazon.
Red maca might reduce prostate size according to animal studies
“Red Maca but neither Yellow nor Black Maca reduced significantly ventral prostate size in rats. Serum T or E2 levels were not affected by any of the ecotypes of Maca assessed. Red Maca also prevented the prostate weight increase induced by TE treatment. Red Maca administered for 42 days reduced ventral prostatic epithelial height. TE increased ventral prostatic epithelial height and duct luminal area. These increases by TE were reduced after treatment with Red Maca for 42 days” – Study
“Prostate weight was similar in rats treated with freeze-dried aqueous extract of red maca prepared after 2 and 3 hours of boiling. Freeze-dried aqueous extract of red maca, hydroalcoholic extract of red maca and finasteride reduced prostate weight in rats with prostatic hyperplasia. No difference was observed between the data obtained from aqueous extract or hydroalcoholic extract of red maca. A dose dependent reduction of prostate weight was observed with the increase of the dose of benzylglucosinolates in red maca extracts.” – Study
“After treatment, the animals were sacrificed, and the ventral prostate was extracted, and weighed. HPLC was used to determine the presence of glucosinolates in Red Maca. The prostate weight diminished in a dose-dependent fashion in rats treated with Red Maca. The effect of Red Maca was better than that observed with Finasteride. Finasteride, but not Red Maca, reduced seminal vesicles weight.” – Study
If you are interested trying red maca powder you can find it on here.
What maca does not do
Many maca marketers claim that maca promotes “hormone balance”. However, this is false claim, as it very clearly proven in studies that maca does not affect hormone levels (testosterone, estrogen, FSH, LH, or prolactin). Maca roots benefits to sex-drive are not hormone related.
There is no single human study where maca have changed hormone levels, but there are many where it did not change them:
“No differences were seen in serum concentrations of estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and sex hormone-binding globulin between baseline, Maca treatment, and placebo (P > 0.05).” (study)
“Serum testosterone and oestradiol levels were not different in men treated with Maca and in those treated with placebo (P:NS).” (study)
“Data showed that compared with placebo Maca had no effect on any of the hormones studied nor did the hormones show any changes over time. Multiple regression analysis showed that serum testosterone levels were not affected by treatment with Maca at any of the times studied (P, not significant). In conclusion, treatment with Maca does not affect serum reproductive hormone levels.” (study)
Choosing maca products
Which maca your should take red, black or yellow?
There are more than 10 variants of maca root, but yellow, black and red are the most common in the market and has most studies behind them.
– Yellow maca (also know as cream maca) is the most common variant of maca root in the market. It’s usually cheapest form of maca and works well in all aspects. I used this gelatinized version.
– Red maca is the only maca variant which has shown to reduce prostate size in animal studies. But you really can’t make any conclusion for humans before we get real trials made with humans.
– Black maca is a good choice for men, as animal studies have shown it to be the best maca variant for increasing sperm volume. Black maca seems to work best for anxiety and might also have neuroprotective benefits according to animal studies.
As a man, I would go mostly with a black maca but yellow is also a viable option. For women, yellow maca seems to be every way good choice.
Gelatinized or raw maca?
I would go always with a gelatinized maca first. While there are some people who can tolerate raw maca, others can get serious stomach aches and even fewer after ingesting raw maca. If you can tolerate gelatinized maca you can always try raw maca later.
Is maca extract good choice?
Maca root in form of pills or alcohol extract is good choice for those who can’t tolerate taste of maca, or does not have time to make maca drinks or smoothies.
Maca root benefits conclusion
Maca root is wildly over-hyped and marketed superfood and there is not yet enough human trials to prove most of the claims about it. However, maca root seems to be effective for libido boosting for men and women and might even lower anxiety and increase well-being in some people. If you are interested to boost sex drive and erections maca root might worth of try.