Gelatinization refers to the method of quickly cooking maca roots to break down the starch chains – this process makes maca’s unique hormonal-balancing phytochemicals more bioavailable (more easily digested by the body). The precooked (gelatinized) maca roots are then cooled and milled. Gelatinized Maca Root powder is still 100% pure maca root (with nothing else added); it is more concentrated than Raw Maca Root Powder as part of the moisture is removed during the gelatinization process.
Maca has no known contraindications or toxicity. It is well tolerated by most people with proper use and at the right dosage. Maca is not in any way similar to a pharmaceutical drug or medicine which often does have side effects. Maca is simply a nutrient-dense whole food that has been consumed for thousands of years in the Andes of Peru. Having said the above, excessive intake of maca root powder may lead to worsened sleep quality, digestive issues, increased heart rate or mild headaches for some people. If you experience these symptoms, the solution is simple - reduce your dosage. If your daily diet comprises more of processed/cooked foods and very little fruits and vegetables, you may experience detoxification symptoms after taking Maca, such as headaches , flu-like symptoms, gas and bloating, coughing, etc. If this happens, do not worry, it generally lasts only a few days. Those who often suffer with allergies may develop allergic reactions to Maca. Allergic symptoms may include skin rashes/itch, pain/ tightness in the chest. Those with a sensitive digestive system may not tolerate raw maca root powder that well, and should consider taking the gelatinized(pre-cooked) form of maca root powder instead. A brief explanation of gelatinization is given above.
You should consult a competent medical professional before taking Maca if you have thyroid conditions. From our research, Maca seems to have helped people with conditions of under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism) ie their thyroid numbers improved over time. However, not everyone will respond to Maca the same way. Some may experience instant improvements, while others need a longer time. Note that Maca, a cruciferous (Brassica) vegetable, contains good amounts of iodine which is required for thyroid function; it also contains glucosinolates which are associated with lower risks of certain types of cancer such as breast, prostate and colon cancers. Some are concerned that the presence of glucosinolates in Maca may inhibit iodine uptake by the thyroid. In such cases, we would recommend Gelatinized Maca Powder (pre-cooked) for people with underactive thyroids instead of the raw maca version, as cooking reduces and/or deactivates glucosinolates. It is best to avoid Maca if you have an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) as Maca can actually stimulate that gland.
One-third (1/3) or half (½) level teaspoon (2g) a day is a good place to start. Work your way up slowly after a few days, up to 1 teaspoon (4g) or more, depending on how much extra energy you require. It is also completely fine to maintain daily dosage at ½ tsp a day or less; the important thing is to listen to your body- how it is responding. Avoid consuming maca at night. If you experience too much energy when taking Maca, simply consume less. Take a day off a week, or a week off a month, so that your body remains responsive to maca’s phytonutrients in the long run.
At the time of writing, there was no known or documented report of drug interactions attributed to the use of Maca. However, please consult your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, just had an operation, or if you have a complicated medical condition.
To date, there has been no studies evaluating the safety of Maca during pregnancy. Hence, most have adopted a more cautionary approach, advising against the consumption of maca root during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, as a whole food, Maca has been consumed by Peruvians as part of their normal diet for centuries, including during pregnancy.
Can I take Maca without food?
YES! Maca Root is a food that has lots of nutrients - rich in essential amino acids, complex carbohydrates, vitamins (including Vitamin B12 which is hardly found in plant foods), calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, selenium, zinc, iodine, sterols, and many more. In a 1997 study done in Peru, children aged 1-6, who suffered from malnourishment and anemia, showed marked improvement in their conditions upon taking maca for a period of 1 month. Maca is also known to improve mental clarity and concentration. Add a little Maca (one-quarter teaspoon for example) to your child’s breakfast to improve his/her energy and concentration level.