Maca, Wonder Herb For Fertility…

Maca, Wonder Herb For Fertility…

Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a root-like cruciferous vegetable from the Andes of Peru. It grows in some of the harshest farmlands in the world, where the soil is rich in volcanic minerals, experiencing freezing temperatures, fierce winds and intense sunlight. Maca is the only plant known in the world that can grow and thrive at such a high altitude and in such harsh weather. For more than two millennia, native Peruvians have used maca root as food and medicine to promote fertility, endurance, energy, vitality, and sexual virility.

Stories of maca’s fertility supporting effects have been passed down through history in a story that took place in the 1500’s. Soon after the Spanish Conquest in South America occurred the Spanish began to experience poor health and infertility in themselves as well as in their livestock. This was due to the high altitude of the Andes. The native Peruvians recommended that they feed their livestock and themselves maca. The results were so dramatic that many of the first written records ever kept for the Andean region were passages about maca. There are also historical notes recording that the Conquistadors began demanding to be paid in maca instead of gold.

How Maca Works

Maca root is an adaptogenic herb that has been shown in studies to improve fertility in both men and women.

Containing 31 different minerals and 60 different phytonutrients, maca is a nourishing food for the endocrine system, aiding both the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands (all involved in hormonal balance.) Maca has the ability to affect key hormones in both women and men without containing hormones itself.

Maca has been scientifically researched for the use of increasing fertility since 1961 and has been shown to contain specific compounds called glucosinolates which directly can affect fertility for both men and women. These alkaloids are responsible for maca’s ability to support hormonal balance.

Benefits of maca:

  • Supports hormonal balance
  • Increases energy, stamina, and mental clarity
  • Supports the thyroid
  • Supports normal sexual function

Adaptogenic
Maca also has adaptogenic properties which means it helps to strengthen the body so it is able to better resist disease and stress, support the adrenal glands and balances the body’s functions. In order for an herb to be considered an adaptogen it must be non-toxic or harmless to any organ of the body and must be able to be ingested for long periods of time safely. Maca is classified as an adaptogen.

Endocrine system tonic
One of maca’s main actions is to stimulate and nourish the hypothalamus which regulates the pituitary gland, acting as a tonic for the hormone system. When the pituitary gland functions optimally, the entire endocrine system becomes balanced, because the pituitary gland controls the hormone output of the other three glands.

Promotes Hormonal Balance
In women, maca works by controlling estrogen in the body. Estrogen levels that are high or low at the wrong time can keep a woman from becoming pregnant or keep her from carrying to term. Excess estrogen levels also cause progesterone levels to become too low. Taking maca may help to increase the progesterone levels which are essential to carrying a healthy pregnancy.

Estrogen in men produces erectile dysfunction or lack of libido, low sperm count, and lowered production of seminal fluid. Studies have shown that men who use maca may experience an increased libido and an increase in sperm health.

In one study with rats and maca, it was found that animals given maca powder showed multiple egg follicle maturation in females (important for ovulation) and the males had significantly higher sperm production and motility rates.

Supports normal sexual function
In a human study of 9 men who were given gelatinized maca for 4 months at 1,500 – 3,000 mg a day experienced an increase in libido, sperm count, mobillity of sperm, increased DHEA levels, decreased anxiety and stress, lowered blood pressure, balanced iron levels and an increase in adrenal androgens.

How to Use Maca

When purchasing maca you want to make sure the product you are using has only maca root in it, not leaves or stem. Maca is available in powder, capsules or tincture. It is also available in varying strengths.

Maca powder: Maca powder comes in two forms. Plain maca powder that is just powdered maca root or gelatinized maca. Gelatinization is a completely vegetarian process that removes the starch from maca to improve assimilation and increases the concentration.

We find that gelatinized maca is easier to digest than the plain powder and is also more cost effective since it is more concentrated. The studies mentioned above used gelatinized maca. Gelatinization does not refer to “gelatin”, and no animal derived ingredients are incorporated into this process.

Maca powder can be added to juice, smoothies, yogurt or baked goods. It has a nice malty flavor which goes well with foods. I like to add it to all of my smoothies.

Maca capsules: Maca capsules are a convenient way to get maca daily. Many people will find using the maca capsules to be easier since they can be taken at any time with some water.

Maca tincture: A tincture of maca root is a liquid extract of the medicinal properties of maca. Maca tincture can be taken with water, in juice or added to smoothies.

Dosage
General suggested usage is 500-3000 mg a day. To obtain desired results, maca needs to be taken regularly. It can be taken in one dose or throughout the day.

Safety & Side Effects

Maca is a beneficial herb that has been used for thousands of years and consumed everyday as a food and medicine by the Peruvians. Based on its long history of use as a food it appears to be very safe. Toxicity studies (conducted at Product Safety Labs of East Brunswick, N.J.) showed absolutely no toxicity and no adverse pharmacological effects.

In a small amount of women, some using plain maca root (not gelatinized) experienced stomach upset. Some women experience spotting or a change in their menstrual cycle when they first begin using maca. This is normal and a sign that the body is beginning to balance the hormonal system.

Maca Use During Pregnancy

As a safety precaution most manufacturers state that their supplements should not be used during pregnancy. There have been no studies on the use of maca during pregnancy. Acute toxicity studies and cytotoxicity evaluations have demonstrated absence of any evidence of potential toxicity of maca. The Peruvians have been consuming maca as a food for thousands of years. Since there have been no studies on the use of maca during pregnancy we can not state that it is proven safe to use during pregnancy. Please do your own research and make a personal decision on the use of maca during your pregnancy.

Summary

As you can see from all the actions maca can have on the body, it is a wonderful fertility superfood and tonic. Maca can complement any fertility program and should be used on a daily basis for best results. It can also be used in conjunction with other fertility herbs and supplements.

View All References

Comments

Let your voice be heard... Leave a brief comment or question related to this article.

Current day month ye@r *

 characters available

[-] 147 Comments
  1. I am interested in taking maca after 2 back to back miscarriages. I have PCOS and am currently taking metformin and am also slightly hypothyroid and taking synthroid. Can I take maca with these two medicines? Thank you!

    • Dear Beth,

      I am so sorry for your losses!

      Fertilica Maca may have an action on hormonal balance and is not to be combined with Metformin or Synthroid unless being guided in doing so by a qualified healthcare practitioner.

      Dietary and lifestyle changes can be consider when supporting the bodyin re-learning balance by promoting healthy hormonal balance, a healthy uterine lining, regular ovulation, improved estrogen metabolism, reduced cravings for sweets and improved digestion. You can learn more and how to do the above in the following article: How to Reduce the Damaging Effects of PCOS on Fertility Through Diet and Herbs

      Best wishes!

  2. Good Morning! I was wonder if you can please help us. We are trying to get pregnant. We don’t know what Maca to take, raw or gelatinized. Some people say Maca is better raw for all the benefits that are not cooked out. We are taking raw Maca and doing ok with the stomach about one month. Can you tell us, does gelatinized Maca still have all the benefit as the raw Maca? Thanks

    • Dear Santiago,

      We have found that those unaccustomed to consuming Maca, digest and assimilate it best when it is gelatinized. Gelatinizing Maca also makes it more concentrated.

      If not experiencing digestion issues, raw Maca may be fine for you.

  3. Can you take Maca in conjunction with progesterone cream? I know the cream can be used after pregnant to prevent miscarriage while Maca cannot. So, can I use both now and then just use the cream while pregnant?

    • Dear Deb,

      Fertilica Maca and Fertilica Natural Progesterone Cream can be used together. Upon confirming pregnancy, we suggest discontinuing Fertilica Maca and continuing with a plain natural progesterone cream such as Emerita Pro-Gest. Fertilica Natural Progesterone Cream is not to be used in pregnancy as it contains herbs not intended for use in pregnancy.

  4. Hi! Is Maca the best, or is Chastetree berry (Vitex) for stenosis, ovarian cysts (not said to be pcos as it’s only on one side – left). FET has now failed twice. I am willing to try anything! Please reply.

  5. I am already taking vitex and seem to be getting pretty good results with it. My cycles have gone from 33 days to 28 and my ovulation from day 21 to day 17. It has taken about 5 months for these changes to occur. I am not yet pregnant and was considering taking Maca but I know it can take a few months to start working and could cause some changes to my cycle initially. Would you recommend taking the Maca in combination with the vitex or just continuing with the vitex. My concern is that the Maca might reverse all the progress I have already made with the vitex. Thank you so much for all your help! Your website is amazing and have told all the girls at my support group about it! :)

    • Dear cslorraine,

      Hello again! Fertilica Maca can be taken with Fertilica Vitex. While Fertilica Maca may in part support hormone balance, its primary fertility benefits are that it offers support for libido and energy levels, a healthy stress response in the body and nourishment for the body’s endocrine and immune systems, as well as provide a variety of nutrients – it is a fertility super food that provides 31 different minerals and 60 different micronutrients.

      I have not seen or experienced Fertilica Maca reversing the hormone balance support offered by Fertilica Vitex, rather they complement one another.

      I hope this is helpful and thank you for sharing with others the work that we do! We are grateful!

  6. Hello. I have PCOS. I conceived my son and daughter naturally (they are 11 months apart). We want 3 or 4 children, so right after I had #2, we started trying again. It has been 4 years and I’ve had a period maybe two times since then. I started taking Maca and Vitex and working out 5 – 6 days each week for 30 minutes to an hour each time. Nothing happened, so I stopped, but this January I began again. I just ran out of Vitex, but kept taking the Maca. On Thursday, I got my period for the first time in over two years. Now I’m scared. Do I keep taking it? Add Vitex again? When do I ovulate? Do I keep taking Maca when (I’m not going to say “if”!) I get pregnant? I had a doctor’s appointment on Friday, but it got cancelled due to the weather. Her next open appointment isn’t until April, and I am afraid I’m going to miss that one time I ovulate if I wait to see her! Thank you.

    • Hello Ashley!

      Fertilica Maca can be taken while trying to conceive and discontinued when learning of pregnancy. We can not suggest taking it in pregnancy because there have been no studies proving to safe, or not, in pregnancy. It is up to you whether you begin Vitex again. From what you have shared, it appears it may have been helpful and Vitex is a fertility herb most beneficial when used consistently. Vitex is best weaned off of in early pregnancy.

      Regarding learning when you ovulate, ovulation typically occurs mid-cycle – with a 28 day cycle, ovulation could happen around cycle days 12-14. This being said, given you haven’t had a normal cycle for quite some, it may help to learn about the variety of tools available to help pinpoint your fertile window. These tools range from ovulation predictor tests and devices, to basal body temperature (BBT) and cervical mucus charting, to Apps for smart phones. Our Guide to Fertility Charting will share more information about these tools as well the article Chart Your Fertility with a Fertility App on Your Mobile Device.

      I hope I have been helpful!

  7. Is Maca safe to take while breastfeeding? I saw the “do your own research” note about pregnancy, and can assume the same about taking while BFing but just thought I’d ask to see if you know of any studies or experiences. I’m not cycling yet (14mths PP) and would like to get my cycle back in order to TTC. Although w/our history I may need to completely wean to cycle & conceive. Past history includes poor semen anaylsis (low count, motility and morphology), as well as a thin endometrial lining (6-7mm, with regular cycles and ovulation). An IUI cycle with me on FSH shots to thicken lining (got 2 ovulatory follices) and hcg trigger was successful but we’d like to conceive on our own. Advice? Thx

  8. Hi. This is my first month taking Maca. My period is 5 days late now. I’ve tested and it turned out negative. So I guess I’m not pregnant. I stopped taking Maca for now and am waiting for my period to come. I want to know, should I continue taking Maca or should I stop?

    • Dear Nadia,

      How are you doing? Has menstruation started? For some women, the hormone balancing actions of herbs and fertility superfoods, including Fertilica Maca, can cause temporary shifts in the menstrual cycle. We view these shifts as signs that the body is responding to actions of the herb or superfood, and often see shifts work themselves out within 1-3 cycles of use.

      General suggested use of Fertilica Maca is 1000mg-3000mg per day each day of the menstrual cycle without taking a break.

      Take care!

  9. What is Indian name specially in Marathi or Hindi for the fertility superfood Maca?

    • Dear Rajendra,

      Maca is Lepidium meyenii, or Peruvian Ginseng and other names include maca-maca, maino, ayak chichira, and ayak willku. I am sorry I do not know Marathi or Hindi, or if there is a name for Maca in these languages.

  10. Hello! I bought a Peru bag of oatmeal with Maca. Every morning I’ll have a cup of milk with Maca and oatmeal. By drinking this every morning with oatmeal does it have same effect?

  11. Hi! I have PCOS and got pregnant with medications, but it ended with miscarriage 2 weeks back. For the past 6 months I have been following the natural fertility tips from your website and it’s really useful. From yesterday onwards I started to take Maca powder. Want to know about the chance of getting pregnant naturally soon.

    • Dear Indumathi,

      I am very sorry for your loss! I am however thankful that all you have learned from us has been helpful.

      Fertilica Maca Fertilica Maca is a nourishing fertility super food that provides a variety of minerals and nutrient supportive of egg (even sperm) health, energy and libido, the body’s stress response and even thyroid health. Fertilica Maca nourishes the endocrine and immune systems as well. While we feel it an incredibly supportive fertility superfood, it alone many not be all to consider when supporting the body in managing PCOS. Consider taking to learn additional ways to support your fertility health via our article How to Reduce the Damaging Effects of PCOS on Fertility Through Diet and Herbs.

      All my best!

  12. Hello,
    I started taking Maca about 3 weeks ago. Felt great, no side effects, easy to digest and felt a slight energy boost and concentration. Now, I’m 6 days late on my period. I am not taking any other medication (prescribed or over the counter). I have always been regular on my periods, 31 day cycles. I have taken home pregnancy test and they have all been negative! I’m worried I’ve messed up my cycle. Has this happened to anyone else?

    • Dear Kam,

      Not to worry! Maca in part has an action on hormonal balance and some women who start taking herbs with hormone balancing fertility benefits experience temporary, minor shifts in the menstrual cycle. These shifts are not cause for concern, rather a sign the body is responding to the actions of the herb. We typically see these shifts work themselves out within 1-3 cycles of use.

  13. Hello, I’m just wondering if taking maca would be good for me. I have PCOS, the dr said my progesterone levels are too high and this comment made me wonder if this would be right for me-

    Taking maca may help to increase the progesterone levels which are essential to carrying a healthy pregnancy.

    Everything else about maca sounds really good. I want to try natural methods to treat PCOS so I can get pregnant naturally rather than take the fertility drugs.

    Thanks!

  14. I’ve had trouble getting pregnant in the past, but recently within the last 3 months I’ve gotten pregnant twice with no medication or supplements, but both ended in miscarriage. I’m curious if Maca would help me at all to sustain a pregnancy or improve egg quality so I don’t miscarry because of chromosomal abnormalities which is what my doctor think happened both times (although I’m not so sure). I just want to do whatever I can so I don’t suffer another miscarriage.

    • Dear Carrie,

      I am very sorry for your losses and wanting to do all that you can to support your body in sustaining pregnancy is understandable.

      Fertilica Maca is know as as a fertility superfood that provides 31 different minerals and 60 different micronutrients. We consider it a foundational superfood for sperm and egg health support, energy and libido, if experiencing high stress and even for thyroid health because it nourishes the endocrine and immune systems and supports a healthy stress response in the body.

      While it certainly can be considered, also take time to learn the most important 5 Steps To Decreasing the Chance of Recurrent Miscarriages.

      You may also appreciate the information offered in our guide on How to Increase Your Egg Health in 90 Days.

      All my best!

  15. Hi! Your website is amazing… very informative! Is it okay to take DIM, Wobenzym N, Maca and Vitex all at the same time? I’m also doing Castor Oil Packs (after menses till I ovulate as I’m TTC). I have an ovarian cyst that I’m trying to reduce and am following the advice from your website. Thanks!

    • Dear Layla,

      Thank you for your praise of our website!

      DIM, Wobenzym N, Fertilica Maca and Fertilica Vitex can all be used together along with Castor Oil Packs.

  16. Hi,
    I have one question about Maca. I have been taking it now for 4 months constantly to improve my fertility. How long can I keep taking it i.e. do I have to stop for awhile and then start using it again or can I just keep using it?

    • Dear Viviann,

      Maca can be taken long term without taking a break. In general when supporting fertility health, we suggest taking an herb for a minimum of three months, but for as long as 6 months to a year before taking a break to see how your body responds on its own. This being said, Maca is a nourishing food that has been consumed by many people for extended periods of time without negative effects. Acute toxicity and cytotoxicity studies have shown no potential toxicity for Maca.

  17. My wife has Primary Ovarian Insufficiency and we are wondering if maca or vitex or whatever you suggest to balance out her hormone levels and produce a positive result in ovulation?

  18. Please tell the name of Maca in order so it is easy to buy.

  19. Hi!
    I stumbled upon your site while searching for a good source of maca root. I was told taking capsule form of maca root & stem could help my sleep “disorder”. Are there any brands you favor over others? Best to take during the day? Sleep Apnea has been ruled out by an at home sleep study (results read at a sleep clinic) though I can’t remember the last time I felt truly rested. Some nights I wake around 2/3am and then go back to sleep. Sometimes I wake around 5/6am and can’t go back to sleep. I don’t have any problems falling asleep it’s more waking too early. I’m hoping to find my own solution before doing an in-clinic sleep study which will cost around $2500. Any info helpful. Thanks!

    • Dear Zoe,

      I am sorry you are going through this!

      While we don’t have information regarding Maca in relationship to sleep disorders, we support the use of Fertilica Maca (root) for a variety of reasons which you have read in this article. Maca is best taken before 1pm as it does have the potential to increase energy levels which for some is not supportive of being able to easily fall asleep.

      Have you considered talking with an Acupucturist or naturopathic doctor. There is a theory of thought in Traditional Chinese Medicine that the “liver hour” or the time at which the liver does it’s most strenuous work is between 1am and 3am. This liver activity can result in wakefulness during this time. There are also emotions associated with each organ and TCM suggests addressing these emotions in order to support restfulness. I am not a TCM practitioner, so working with one will better help you understand these theories.

      I hope you sleep well soon!

  20. Hi! I was diagnosed with Endometriosis stage 4. I had the laproscopy done in June 2014 and we have also been told that I only have one ovary working at age 26. So odds are not in my favor. My doctor told me my only chance now in conceiving is this medicine that has horrible side affects and puts me into menopause for a year! SO THAT option is a NO. So I am not taking anything else, I just started today with Maca root (2)525 mg capsules a day for 3 days (as I read). Is there anything else I can do side by side to help our chances?

    • Dear Bre,

      I am very sorry for the challenges with which you are faced! How are you doing?

      There are considerations to make as you work to support your body’s natural ability to remove excess estrogen from the body, maintain its natural inflammatory response, provide it relief from occasional discomfort in the reproductive system and encourage normal circulation, helping to bring fresh blood and oxygen to the entire reproductive system. Consider learning how to support healthy endometrial lining growth here…

      The aforementioned is suggested because endometriosis is estrogen-sensitive, meaning that it responds to estrogen — growing in response to circulating estrogen. Excess estrogen in one of the main culprits in causing not only it’s growth, but also hormonal imbalance which then causes disordered ovulation and it’s growth outside of the uterus.

      I hope that the information at that link is very helpful! Our fertility herbalist is also happy to work one on one with you through a Fertility Consultation. This offers you the opportunity to have a personalized natural fertility program created specifically for your fertility health needs.

      Take care!

  21. Hello!
    We have been through every fertility drug and treatment leaving up to IVF which isn’t financially feasable. I’m going to start some herbal supplements but I was wondering if maca and vitex should be used together? Thanks!
    (I’m also going to take vitamin D, coq10, royal jelly and my prenatal vitamin)

    • Dear Stefanie,

      Fertilica Maca and Fertilica Vitex can be taken together and are taken together by many, although it is not “required” that they be taken together. They do however compliment one another. Each can also be taken with Vitamin D, CoQ10 Ubiquinol, Royal Jelly and a prenatal multivitamin.

      Best wishes!

  22. Hi, I have been taking macs on and off for a few weeks and have seen no improvement in my libido. I am taking a tea spoon in terms of quantity and its the gelatinised version. I am so taking 1000mg of vitex in the morning. I have read that vitex can also decrease libido (they say monks used to take it to stop libido). So I am confused. I am convinced I have low progesterone as I have had problems sleeping and gained weight around middle section of body. My libido has literally crashed and is non existent. I am 32 years old and very upset. Will the maca and vitex work, do i have to wait for a long time for it to kick in???? pls advise! Others are saying i should consider taking damiana!

    • Dear Jane,

      While Maca tends to be faster acting in most cases that Vitex, each can take some time to show effects. I am not certain taking it inconsistently for a few weeks is long enough. Consider taking the general suggested dose of 1000-3000mg each day of the menstrual cycle and for up to 3 cycles while paying attention to how you feel.

      Hormonal imbalances, the emotions of this journey, that intercourse can become a chore, diet, stress levels and many other things can impact libido. Take some time to learn 10 Natural Ways to Increase Baby Making Libido as well. Damiana is an herbal aphrodisiac that has been shown to support healthy libido yes.

      Low progesterone levels can be detected through testing with your healthcare provider or at-home saliva tests. Refer to our Progesterone Fertility Guide for more information.

      Wishing you the best!

  23. Hi, I am 38 years old and my husband and I are TTC baby #1 together. I have two children (twins) from a previous marriage that were conceived through IVF. My previous infertility was never explained after 4 years of trying. Now, I have been charting for 3 months and started taking Dandelion, Vitex (1200 mg), Royal Jelly, Raspberry Leaf tea last month and noticed a change in my period. I started taking Maca this month and read on another website that women should only take Maca until they ovulate each month. Is this true or is it okay to take throughout the month?

    • Dear Michele,

      How wonderful that you have seen results!

      Fertilica Maca can be taken each day of the entire cycle without taking a break. We have not seen evidence proving otherwise.

      Best wishes!