Maca is a potent aphrodisiac and energy tonic, but too high an intake can lead to restlessness and insomnia. Find out the maca dosage you need to benefit without experiencing maca root side effects.

Maca can boost your energy levels, mood and libido - TRY IT TODAY!

Maca can boost your energy levels, mood and libido – TRY IT TODAY!

I haven’t written anything about maca since writing ‘The benefits of maca root’ last year. In that article I go into depth about what maca can and cannot do for you:

Maca improves glucose tolerance dramatically in only a few weeks and raises body temperature through modulation of the endocrine system. Maca also improves sperm counts and combats erectile dysfunction in men and fights infertility in women.

I note that most studies show that maca does not actually alter hormone levels, despite claims to the contrary by many sellers. However, there are a couple of recent studies that do suggest that maca can increase testosterone levels.

Some bodybuilding coaches are recommending that trainers increase their maca dosage to upwards of 4 tablespoons per day to improve hormone levels.

I’m a big fan of maca and want to clarify what I feel is an effective dose for treating various problems/ issues and for general health improvement.

The vast majority of people and trainers will not need to take nearly as much as 4 tablespoons a day– normally amounts like 1 teaspoon every other day will be all you need to experience the many benefits that maca has to offer.

Four tablespoons a day?

Some bodybuilding nutritionists recommend a maca dosage of 4 tablespoons a day to increase DHEA and subsequently testosterone levels.

The argument is made that you can eat as much maca as you want because it’s a natural food. I find this argument to be overly simplistic, however, as people react differently to many different everyday foods and a whole lot of natural foods should, in my opinion, be eaten in limited quantities.

Too stimulating?

Maca is considered to be an adaptogen, a herb that exerts a normalising tonic effect on the body, but I think it’s fair to say that, whilst maca helps people with a wide range of different hormonal problems, it is stimulating and these effects may increase with a higher dosage.

I expect that sensitive people will suffer from problems such as worsened sleep quality or mild headaches if they choose to take such a high daily maca dosage for a period of time. Not all people will react to maca in this way though…

If you regularly take 4 tablespoons a day and don’t notice any negative effects then that’s great, but I’d question whether you are building up a tolerance to maca and whether you would not gain the same hormonal benefits from taking a much smaller dosage.

Traditionally used as a condiment:

It appears that maca was traditionally generally eaten as a condiment.

Lots of foods are ‘natural’ and good for us but are not great when taken in huge quantities – obvious examples are cocoa and coffee beans that are high in caffeine, or healthy natural sweeteners like raw honey that are too high in fructose to eat huge amounts of each day.

A bit Sugary…

One of the problems that I can see with taking a higher maca dosage such as 4 tablespoons a day is that maca is actually fairly sugary. Quite a lot of this sugar is in the form of free fructose.

I’m not one of those people that think all sugar, be it natural or refined, is the same, but I do tend to limit the amount of sweet fruit I eat to keep my overall daily fructose load low and my blood sugar levels even.

Maca has been shown to quite dramatically improve glucose tolerance (1)so, if you like taking a higher maca dosage, I wouldn’t worry about the sugar in it. But for those of you who, like myself, feel better on a low sugar diet, including natural sugar, I would suggest you take a lower maca dosage like 1 to 3 teaspoons a day.

Dried maca powder contains around 1.1 grams of sugar per teaspoon, so 4 tablespoons will actually contain quite a lot. It might be good to take maca after working out if you choose to take a higher dose. At this time the body benefits from the ingestion of sugars, even fructose, and maca’s hormone rejuvenation properties may help you to recover from working out more quickly.

A lower dose works fine…

Studies show that maca dosages of around 3.5 grams are effective in treating hormonal issues such as ‘anxiety, depression and sexual dysfunction’ in women(2), and many other problems such as adrenal fatigue, low body temperature etc. benefit from similar doses.

I’m not saying that taking a high dose will damage your health in any way, I’m just pointing out that a low dose, i.e. 1 to 3 teaspoons, is extremely effective and may be all you need.

Pretty expensive!

Even if you do the sensible thing and buy maca in powder form and in quite large quantities, it is a pretty expensive supplement. A 16 oz. bag of maca powder will last quite a long time if you take about a teaspoon a day; it’s gonna get used up pretty quickly, however, if you take 4 tablespoons a day.

If you take a higher dose of maca and find it noticeably improves your weights training, or any other issue you have, when a lower dose doesn’t, then it is probably worth the expense. If you don’t, then be confident taking the lower dosage without feeling that your missing out…

My maca dosage recommendations:

I would recommend you take between 1 to 3 teaspoons a day of maca powder, and not to worry if you miss a day here or there.

Whilst maca is a natural food it is, in a sense, a stimulant. Good rules for using any herb is to take a couple of days off each week, or a week off each month etc. so that you don’t build up a tolerance to it and also so that it doesn’t build up to toxic levels in the system.

Maca appears to be non toxic so you certainly can take it every day if you like, but people who are sensitive to stimulating herbs may experience side effects such as insomnia from too much energy if they take a high maca dosage every day.

I personally don’t choose to take many supplements every day because I don’t like to feel that I’m dependent on them. If you’re like me then a good strategy for you would be to take a few teaspoons of maca every other day.

Finally…

Maca can boost your energy levels, mood and libido - TRY IT TODAY!

Maca can boost your energy levels, mood and libido – TRY IT TODAY!

Maca is a great addition to your diet and can really help people to improve their hormone balances.

Take 4 tablespoons a day if this helps you but don’t feel obliged to follow such advice as small doses are extremely effective.

As with other natural foods such as coffee beans and unfiltered honey, maca may do you more good when taken in relatively small quantities than in large amounts.

If you’re interested in trying maca, I’d highly recommend that you try ‘Maca Gold’. This is a great tasting, affordable and highly effective brand of maca powder.

Ed Clements is a fitness and health writer who offers advice to men and women explaining how to optimise hormone balance through diet, training, lifestyle improvement and through intelligent supplementation.

References and Footnotes:

(1)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17333395
(2)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. 2008 Sep 6.

 

27 Responses to The Optimum Maca Dosage?

  1. Joseph says:

    Thanks for the very informative article. Question: Does the body develop a tolerance to Maca? If so, will the beneficial effects diminish with consistent use, and if so, is there a suggested strategy or recommended time-frame for taking Maca?

    • Hi,

      Thanks for the positive feedback.

      Whilst I wouldn’t suggest that you can build up a tolerance, you will notice the effects more clearly if you take a few days off the supplement every now and then.

      One strategy would be 5 days on 2 days off, which is a good pattern for taking many different supplements. If you find it highly stimulating, you could try taking it every other day and allowing the benefits to cumulate more slowly.

      If you feel good taking maca everyday, however, I wouldn’t feel concerned about having to take days off; maca is a safe, healthy natural food.

      If you have further questions, please drop me another note.

      All the best,

      Ed

  2. laura says:

    Wait, what? This is the first thing I read saying that maca increases testosterone, everything else i read says it decreases it in women. Which is the fact? This is vital for women with pcos to know.

    • Hi Laura, maca hasn’t been shown in the majority of studies to raise testosterone in men. In men, however, it can improve erectile function, libido and energy, so it’s effects are similar to men using a testosterone enhancer such as tongkat ali.

      Maca is an adaptogen so it will not raise testosterone levels in women, unless these are too low. Women with PCOS tend to be insulin resistant, which also throws out the balance of other hormones such as testosterone. When insulin sensitivity is restored through diet, training, lifestyle adjustments and supplementation, the abnormally high testosterone levels tend to return to normal levels. Since maca has been shown in a number of studies to improve blood glucose control, it will likely be of benefit to women with PCOS.

      Any further questions, please let me know.

      All the best,

      Ed

  3. Arthur says:

    Is maca powder safe for type II diabetics and anyone with blood pressure controlled with medication?

    Thanks

    • Author – yes, maca is a generally a very good supplement for diabetics and those suffering from high blood pressure.

      If you have either of these conditions, as with any new supplement, I would monitor your blood sugar and blood pressure levels as you begin taking maca in order to see what effect it is having.

      Maca tends to be helpful for controlling blood sugar levels.

  4. dawn says:

    Great article. I just received my bag of Red Maca today (themacateam) and I’ve taken 1/2 tsp. I’m working nights so I’m taking mine after 2pm. I will take another 1/2 before midnight.

    I have hypothyroidism, and although I’m told my bloodwork is normal, the weight is not moving, and I have other mild complications associated with it. I work out, I eat right (guilty of not eating enough), but the weight will not shed unless I take Phentermine, which I’m on now, but won’t take while taking the Maca Powder.

    I also take Armour Thyroid .50 (half grain) I do feel better than 3-4 years ago, but I’m still not there. I’ve been struggling with my weight and this illness since 1999. I pray this Maca will get me back on track. Anywho, again great article.

    • Thanks for the positive feedback, Dawn. I hope the maca helps you to feel even better. If you have any questions, please drop me a note via the contact page and I’ll be happy to do my best to help. Ed

  5. Isabell says:

    Hi,

    This is just so confusing.. I have PCOS and I was thinking about supplementing with maca. But will it decrease testosterone ? It’s quite easy for me to build muscle. I don’t want that advantage to disappear if I take these.

    • Hi – if you have a hormonal imbalance, it’s possible that maca will correct it (as it’s an adaptogen). Please note, however, that small increases or decreases in your testosterone levels will not affect your ability to build muscle. I would be amazed if taking maca lowered your ability to build muscle.

  6. Pete says:

    Thanks for a most informative article, I’ve been taking 4gms raw maca and 6gms he shou wu with no break for several months now. I’m thinking of changing to a 20:1 maca extract, would a dosage of 1gm per day be too much? I believe these supplements compliment each other. Many thanks in advance. Pete

  7. Dan says:

    Hi Ed: I found Maca lowered my blood pressure quite a bit 102/90. I take the capsules and had taken 2 the day before. Before that I took one a day for four days.

    The capsules are 500mg 4:1 concentrate or equivalent to 2000mg.

    I found my pulse was fairly weak too and a bit irregular. I skipped a day and now it seems normal.

    Have you heard of Maca ever causing a decrease in libido?

    Thanks for all the information on your site!

    • Hi Dan – that’s interesting feedback on MACA. I have heard of it lowering blood pressure; the likely mechanism is through an increase in NO (this is also the reason it improves most men’s erections).

      I haven’t specifically heard of MACA causing a decrease in libido but everyone reacts differently to different supplements so, if you are not feeling good on it, unfortunately you may have to drop it.

      I have heard of people feeling slightly nauseas and weak from taking MACA so you aren’t alone in experiencing negative side effects.

      Ed

  8. Bob says:

    Hi Ed,
    A very informative and helpful article.

    I have just started with the raw powder, the dosage recommends I should be taking 15g per day. Now this seems a tad high to me.

    I am a male average size and weight(70kilo)and almost 70 years of age.

    Also as you mention its going to be a fair cost.
    What would 1-3 teaspoons equivalent be in grams?

    Regards

    Bob.

    • Hi Bob, thanks for the positive feedback.

      1 teaspoon of maca is around 3 grams.

      I doubt you’ll need 15 grams. I suggest you start on 1 teaspoon a day, see how you feel, and then if necessary increase to 2 or 3 teaspoons per day.

      My experience recommending maca is that most people don’t need more than 3 teaspoons per day.

      Best,
      Ed

  9. Nathan says:

    Strangely enough, it gave me no effects last week, either in small doses and high doses. But last year I also bought maca when I was traveling. It didn’t really give me extra energy, but the wind on my body felt so great, and every girl was extra beautiful. The good feeling made me happy which gave me energy, but not all of the time. I felt the energy coming right out of my sacral chakra area (sexuality is located in the sacral chakra).

    I also had some boners, some even spontaneous. It was too weird to ride the bike this way, so I masturbated in the bushes to get rid of the boner (which I would normally never do but I had a good reason). It was very hard to finish, but damn that felt good. 20 min later my boner was back.

    So beware guys, huge spontaneous boners might occur, especially with high doses. And certainly if you’re around pretty girls.

    Also, funny story, I opened up a jar of creamy peanut butter when the maca effects started to kick in. I kind of fell in love with that jar of peanut butter. Because of the super good taste, perfect texture and the simultaneous increase in libido. Eating from that particular jar was such a sensual experience from that moment on. I even miss that jar now I’m writing about it.

  10. Chandani says:

    If I’m taking capsules, can I take the 3 recommended capsules all at once? Also, when’s the best time to take them, with food?

    • Yes, it’s fine to take 3 at once. If taking 4, I’d tend to take in 2 split doses. Most people prefer to take with food as they can lead to slight stomach upset in some when taken on an empty stomach.

  11. Brian says:

    Hi Ed,

    I just began taking Maca powder to boost my libido and hopefully improve my sexual performance. Can you tell me how long it will likely take for me to begin to experience the effects of the Maca? Also, are there any other natural supplements that you might recommend taking along with the Maca powder to help with this?

    • Hi Brian – taking 3 teaspoons per day, maca normally results in improvements within 1 to 3 weeks. Improvements are significant at the 12 week mark. Check out the below study from pubmed:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19260845

      The conclusion reads as follows: ‘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.’

      The best product to use alongside maca is tongkat ali, which can significantly boost a guy’s testosterone levels, raise libido and improve sexual performance.

  12. Krissy says:

    Hi, i think i may have pcos, i have hirsutism which is very embarrassing, and irregular menses, as well as muscle bulk, it makes me feel like a man sometime, lol anyway im thinking it’s do to pcos, Do you think Maca would help me with these embarrassing issues? Thanks.

  13. Robson says:

    I’m using Dhea, since the litter contains DIM, what would be the recommended dosage of maca per milligrams of Dhea?

  14. Gabriella visser says:

    Hi thank for te informative article . I bought in a capsule form in hopes of mentrual cycle regulation
    And overall feeling of well being . What Agikam benanrugjt dosage in capsules . Ali is it ok to take it with milk thistle simultaneously?
    Thank you
    Gabriella

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