Can Maca Powder Boost Your Energy and Sex Drive? Here’s What You Should Know

You’ve added a scoop of whey protein powder to your smoothie before —but there are other powders your daily shake could benefit from. You might have heard of turmeric and matcha, but according to a recent list of 2018 trend predictions from Whole Foods, maca root powder might also be one to add to your list.

This cruciferous vegetable (meaning it’s related to broccoli, kale, and cabbage) isn’t exactly new, though, says Luiza Petre, M.D., a certified cardiologist and weight management specialist. In fact, maca is a Peruvian plant that has been cultivated in the Andes Mountains for at least 3,000 years.

While researchers are still figuring out how it can truly benefit your health, preliminary evidence suggests that maca, which is often ground into powder form, may be a nutritional powerhouse. Here are four health benefits surrounding maca and what you should know before sprinkling it into your food.


Maca is chock-full of vitamins, including B1, B2, C, and E. It also contains calcium, zinc, iron, and essential amino acids.

“One serving of a tablespoon has more than 20 amino acids, including eight essential amino acids, or the ones we have to get from our diet because the body cannot produce them,” says Josh Axe, D.C., C.N.S. “It’s a really great way to add some extra nutrients into your diet easily.”

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Amino acids are particularly important, because they help your body grow, break down food, and repair tissue, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Related: Here’s What You Should Know About Taking BCAAs


Preliminary research suggests that maca has the ability to modestly boost your libido. In one study, published in the journal Andrologia, researchers gave men aged 21 to 56 a placebo or 3 grams of maca per day. After eight weeks, the guys taking maca saw a bump in their sexual desire compared to the placebo poppers.

And in a similar study published in the same journal, researchers gave 50 men with mild erectile dysfunction 2.4 grams of maca extract or a placebo. After 12 weeks, the men downing maca experienced a significant boost in their sexual performance.

Some experts are skeptical, though. When it comes to keeping your penis healthy and sex drive humming along, “patients often feel they can bypass the diet and exercise because they are on supplements, but the reality is for the best long term benefit, stick to what’s been proven to work for generations—a healthy diet and exercise,” says Jamin Brahmbhatt, M.D., a urologist at Orlando Health.

Maca can certainly be a part of that balanced diet, but it’s not a magic cure-all for your penis problems on its own. You’ll be much better off incorporating it with these 15 foods your penis needs to perform.

6 Things Every Man Should Know About His Penis:


Maca acts like a stimulant, but doesn’t actually contain any stimulants like caffeine, explains Paul Salter, M.S., R.D. “It’s thought that maca has a positive impact on stabilizing blood glucose levels, which is why people often report an increase in energy after enjoying,” he says.

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When your blood sugar spikes, your body typically tries to correct that by producing more insulin, which results in an energy crash. But when your sugar levels are more stable, you can prevent those peaks and crashes and maintain more consistent energy throughout your day.

Though more studies need to be done to confirm its energy-boosting potential, some evidence suggests it might be a solid pick-me-up.

Related: The 8 Best Foods For All-Day Energy


“Researchers are finding promising results of maca’s protective effect on the brain, specifically with the levels of fatty acids found in the root,” says Dr. Petre. “Fatty acids, such as omega-3s, support brain function, cognitive skills, rational thinking, and analytical skills.”

In fact, research shows that omega 3 fatty acids may even be powerful enough to aid in the treatment of neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Related: Eat This Sweet Treat to Boost Your Brain Health


A standard dose of maca is roughly 1.5 to 3 grams, says Salter. You can easily find that in less than a tablespoon of the stuff. You can add it to your oatmeal or yogurt bowl, but the easiest (and most delicious) way to incorporate it into your diet is by adding it to a smoothie. Check out this recipe from Dr. Petre.

Ginger Maca Smoothie

Blend this:

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About the Author: Tung Chi