Maca Root Benefits for Hormones, Fertility & More

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Maca Root Uses and Benefits
Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Remedies » Maca Root Benefits for Hormones, Fertility & More

I love using herbs and spices to support the body in healing itself. Maca root is a favorite because it’s so supportive of the body’s production of hormones. Since hormones rule a lot of the body’s processes, maca is a great natural supplement for female hormone support.

Maca: A Root for Almost Anything

Maca root (Lepidium meyenii) is a tuber or root about the size or shape of a radish that grows exclusively in the Andes mountains of Peru. These roots are commonly white and yellow, though they can come in pink and purple colors as well as gray and black.

While maca is about the size and shape of a radish, it has a nutty, almost sweet taste. Some explain it as being a bit like butterscotch! Some people add it to sweet treats because of this (though some people still don’t like the slightly earthy taste).

Maca Nutrition

Maca root contains many nutrients and other beneficial compounds that have made it famous as a superfood, such as:

  • Vitamin C
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • B6
  • Glucosinolates
  • Polyphenols
  • Antioxidants
  • Amino acids

But maca is more than its nutrient profile. Maca is also an adaptogen, meaning it’s an herb that helps support the body in adapting to stressors. This along with the compounds above make it an effective natural remedy that supports hormone production.

As we know, hormones cascade into other areas like thyroid health, fertility, libido, and more. Maca can help with all of these areas, and studies back it up!

Let’s dive deeper…

Health Benefits of Maca Root

Maca has gained a reputation for helping balance hormones and even reversing hypothyroidism. It is an endocrine adaptogen, meaning that it does not contain any hormones, but rather it contains the nutrients necessary to support normal hormone production.

Maca for Adrenal Support

Maca is often recommended to those with adrenal fatigue as it nourishes them and supports calm reduces stress hormones. Because maca is an adaptogen it can help support the adrenals when they become taxed (as happens during stress).

Research published in 2006 shows that maca contains alkaloids that act on the ovaries and the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis (HPA axis). By affecting the HPA access maca can support adrenal health as well as many other hormone-dependent functions of the body.

It’s thought that maca does this by nourishing and activating the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. As the “master glands” of the body, when these function better they can bring the adrenal, thyroid, pancreas, ovarian, and testicular glands into balance.

Maca for Libido

One of the ancient uses of maca root was as an aphrodisiac for libido and sexual health. Science backs up this ancient use as well. A small 2006 study found that men experiencing mild erectile dysfunction saw improvement with using maca. For this reason, it’s earned the nickname “nature’s Viagra.”

According to a 2010 Korean review, taking maca for at least six weeks increased sexual desire in participants in two of the 4 studies included. More research is needed to definitively tell whether maca works for this use based on the results of this review. While not definitive, this evidence suggests there may be a connection between maca and sexual desire.

Australian researchers found that maca given to postmenopausal women with sexual dysfunction helped with menopausal symptoms (like hot flashes) and increase sexual function but did not have any effect on sex hormone production. This study suggests that the support maca offers is not necessarily in affecting hormone production but in some other function of supporting hormone health.

Maca for Fertility

I have personally seen many cases of couples adding maca to their daily regimen and conceiving easily, even after struggling with infertility. (Note: It should not be consumed during pregnancy!)

But science also supports this function. A 2016 review found that maca increased the quality of sperm (and sperm count) in infertile as well as healthy men, indicating that maca may have a significant effect on fertility.

Women are also thought to benefit from maca. According to a Polish study, maca toned the hormonal processes along the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Ovarian axis, “balanced hormone levels” and “relieved symptoms of menopausal discomfort.”

Maca is also high in minerals (calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc) and essential fatty acids which can help support hormone production.

Here is more information about the ways to use maca to promote fertility. This post talks about its role in balancing hormones, as the two go hand in hand.

Maca for Mood

As anyone who has experienced puberty, pregnancy, or menopause knows, hormones can have a huge effect on mood. Since maca is thought to help with hormone health, it makes sense that it could help with mood as well.

A 2015 pilot study discovered that maca can support healthy blood pressure as well as a healthy mood. In this study, postmenopausal women were given maca for six weeks. Maca “appeared to reduce symptoms of depression and improve diastolic blood pressure” in these women. However, there was no measurable effect on hormones, suggesting that (like an earlier study) maca may affect hormone health in an unexpected way.

Also check out this podcast with Dr. Kelly Brogan about natural ways to support mental health and mood when it’s a struggle.

Safety and Side Effects of Maca

Maca root is considered safe for most people. However, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding it is not recommended. Because of this, it’s best to take maca between menses and ovulation to avoid possibly taking it while pregnant.

If you have hormone specific health concerns, like breast cancer, endometriosis, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, or uterine fibroids, check with your doctor to discuss whether this supplement is safe for you. As always, check with your doctor that using maca is a good idea for your situation.

How to Take Maca (and Where to Get It)

As maca is a root vegetable in the radish family, it can safely be taken in small amounts daily. It is available in powder form (this is the least expensive option) or in capsules (slightly more expensive).

If you opt for maca powder, add it into smoothies or coffee for easy ingestion.

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Scott Soerries, MD, Family Physician and Medical Director of SteadyMD. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Have you ever taken maca? Did you notice a difference? Share below!

Maca Root is a tuber native to Peru that is known to balance hormones, increase fertility, boost adrenal healthy and improve thyroid function.
  1. Meissner, H. O., Reich-Bilinska, H., Mscisz, A., & Kedzia, B. (2006, June). Therapeutic Effects of Pre-Gelatinized Maca (Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon) used as a Non-Hormonal Alternative to HRT in Perimenopausal Women – Clinical Pilot Study.
  2. Shin, B.-C., Lee, M. S., Yang, E. J., Lim, H.-S., & Ernst, E. (2010). Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systematic review. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 10(1).
  3. Brooks, N. A., Wilcox, G., Walker, K. Z., Ashton, J. F., Cox, M. B., & Stojanovska, L. (2008). 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, 15(6), 1157–1162.
  4. Lee, M. S., Lee, H. W., You, S., & Ha, K.-T. (2016). The use of maca ( Lepidium meyenii ) to improve semen quality: A systematic review. Maturitas, 92, 64–69.
  5. Meissner, H. O., Mscisz, A., Reich-Bilinska, H., Mrozikiewicz, P., Bobkiewicz-Kozlowska, T., Kedzia, B., … Barchia, I. (2006, December). Hormone-Balancing Effect of Pre-Gelatinized Organic Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon).
  6. Stojanovska, L., Law, C., Lai, B., Chung, T., Nelson, K., Day, S., … Haines, C. (2014). Maca reduces blood pressure and depression, in a pilot study in postmenopausal women. Climacteric, 18(1), 69–78.
  7. Zenico, T., Cicero, A. F. G., Valmorri, L., Mercuriali, M., & Bercovich, E. (2009). Subjective effects ofLepidium meyenii(Maca) extract on well-being and sexual performances in patients with mild erectile dysfunction: a randomised, double-blind clinical trial. Andrologia, 41(2), 95–99.

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Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


409 responses to “Maca Root Benefits for Hormones, Fertility & More”

  1. Abby Nelson Avatar
    Abby Nelson

    Hello! I am a holistic wellness coach and I am hoping to help my clients find a safe way of balancing hormones. I am looking in to maca powder for myself and my clients, however, I am coming across that maca powder is contaminated with lead. It was brought to my attention when I purchased some organic maca powder, which had the California Prop 65 Warning Label stating that the maca powder contains harmful effects for reproductive health. I thought maybe it was just the brand, but I then clicked on the link you provided, which I believe is a beautiful company with wonderful intentions. However, I checked their Certificates of Analysis and their products also contain lead. I know the FDA says that small amounts are “safe” especially since it is “naturally” found in the ground all over the world. Unfortunately, I don’t trust that recommendation and I don’t believe any exposure to lead is safe. What do you guys think of this? I would love to reap the benefits of this ancient remedy, but it may not be worth the risks. I looked to see if it can be grown in the US where there is less risk of lead exposure, but I see it needs to be grown at very high elevations (above 14,000 feet). Let me know what you guys think, I love this website and all you have to offer!

  2. Jo Avatar

    Maca works for a couple of days giving me more energy and easier muscle movement. Then even the smallest amounts cause anxiety and insomnia. Be careful – everyone is different.

  3. Melissa Marsh Avatar
    Melissa Marsh

    Please be aware that although Peru and Other South American countries used to be the only source for maca, please make sure of your source! Seems China is now on
    the bandwagon and it’s been realized, like the garlic from there, that bleach is used in toxic amounts to allow shipping these products from there…

  4. Tracy Avatar

    I learned Maca is high in iodine once I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. I blame Maca. I have started a natural program for fixing hyperthyroidism and it is working. I will never take maca again.

  5. Niki Avatar

    Can royal maca powder be taken while breastfeeding post pregnancy to help with hormone balance? I’m having extreme drops three months postpartum, and I’d like to find something that can help level this off a little. I also use my placenta, but I need more support right now. Will it affect milk supply or baby negatively?

    1. Audrey See Avatar
      Audrey See

      Hello! Years ago I was experiencing severe hormonal issues. I did not have a regular menstrual cycle for years, and developed ovarian cysts. I eventually had to have surgery to have one removed. My doctor told me that eventually I would have my ovaries taken out. At one point I had to have a biopsy done, and was leaning towards my issues developing into ovarian cancer! My husband went to GNC at the time and a guy there suggested maca. Within a week I had a regular period! I finished the bottle of 60 capsules and the rest was history! I didnt have any issues after that. Years later as I got older, I decided to look into it again and read about all the additional benefits. It mentioned being used for energy and muscle building. Ive played roller derby for the last 10 years so I decided to take it more regularly. I found a very reputable small scale company called The maca team! They are completely devoted to maca, and sell it in its most raw forms and their whole website is very informative! Everything you need to know about it! People ask me if I workout cause of my noticable lean muscle gain! I have energy like I never had before. I highly recommend incorporating maca into your daily regimen.

  6. Christina Avatar

    I am having bad hormonal imbalance and in perimenopause. It started with bad insomnia in January and extreme PMS (which included migraine and dizziness) along with bad anxiety.
    I had to resort to sleep medication which I hate and trying to ween off but when I lower the dose I’m still not sleeping. I went to a doctor who practices functional medicine and she put me on a dose of natural progesterone- which I take in the evening to help with sleep. It helps relax me but does not put me to sleep.
    I’m just wondering if Maca Root would be a good option for me and how long it takes before you see it’s results.

    Thank you.

  7. Brenda Avatar

    I love maca. I add 1 tsp to my overnight oats or morning yogurt. I’ve even sprinkled it on pancakes. I do believe it helps my mood and energy levels and I enjoy the taste too. I have the Navitas brand and bought it on sale at our local grocery store. Food is medicine!

  8. Julie Avatar

    I am in menopause and use it in a protein veggie/fruit smoothie. I have noticed more even temperament but the biggest thing is more energy, not as tired and sluggish. I was lucky and didn’t have many hot flashes so cannot speak to that.

  9. Mary Avatar

    I purchased maca from Raw Food World awhile back. I credit it with being a life-saver for my journey toward hormone/thyroid health. While I am being seen by a integrative medicine doctor and am using other supplements to correct imbalances, maca is by far the most obviously effective “supplement” I take. I do not enjoy the taste and for awhile wasn’t consuming it because of inconvenience. I have found out it is much helpful for me to skip it any longer! My husband and children will check to make sure I’ve taken it if they think I’m acting little neurotic, the difference for me has been that dramatic.

  10. Sandra Avatar

    I’ve been taking 2 tbsp daily for 2 months and my depression is almost nonexistent and my mood is so much better. It’s been a miracle for me.

  11. Saby J. Jimenez Avatar
    Saby J. Jimenez

    I am taking Maca now and I see amazing benefits immediately. I struggle with a sleuth of hormonal issues. One of the many is Menorrhagia. This works wonders for me. Bleeding in excess is very draining for me. I can barely get off of the bed and spend more time in the tub than out of it! Maca regulates all of this and I love it. It also boosts my energy almost immediately. I suffer from hypoparathyroidism and hypocalcemia. It gives my immune system the boosts it needs. I am still discovering natural remedies as drinking the medications prescribed by doctors irritates the hormonal balance for me and I begin to bleed excessively. I am not sure if it is the calcitriol or the calcium carbonate. I am almost sure it is one of the two. Immediately after taking these medications, I begin to bleed in excess. Any feedback will be appreciated.

  12. Ada Avatar

    pls how can maca be used to.boost fertility and improve estrogen

  13. Natalie Avatar

    Could you please inform as to why this is not suitable to take during pregnancy, I am currently pregnant, 7weeks, and really want a Maca and banana smoothie. I’ve had it every day for, forever!


    1. Eleanor Avatar

      Pretty sure I had it a little while pregnant, there are just no studies on safety so there’s many things that “aren’t recommended” during pregnancy. Look into it and make your own decision.

  14. larry Avatar

    I have to say this! My electrolite labs were always off for years I tried Maca (not for that) and wammo they dropped in place for a first! in years! I also noticed a relaxed calm after a few hours I think was Maca not the smoothie I made. I am convinced though by the labs this stuff did what no one has been able to do in hormone balancing act! I also notice Dr ozz recommends it for endocrine balance for women and men. I do believe the stuff works!!

  15. Kate Avatar

    it takes disgusting to me but I just made the powder into a tea by adding boiling water…and it was nice…so if you hate the taste try making it into a tea.

  16. Wendy J Avatar

    Can Maca and Chaste tree be taken together without interaction, in regards to fertility?

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