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Red maca

January 15, 2021
the Andean red maca for benefits

After black maca, red maca is the second most studied type of Andean maca so far. It is considered a rare variety, representing only 25% of the annual Peruvian maca harvest. However, its production and consumption have seen a boost in recent years, not only because of its potential as a supplement, but also because of the sweetness of its flavor.

Keep reading below and discover what red maca is for, what is the recommended dose , what are its possible contraindications and what forms of consumption you should take into account when buying it.

Characteristics of the Andean red maca

The Red maca , scientific name Lepidium meyenii or Lepidium peruvianum , grows in the same regions as the black and yellow maca maca. The three main features that differentiate it from its sisters are: the color of the tuber, the taste and the concentration of active compounds.

  • As its name indicates, the outer skin of this maca has a reddish hue, similar to the color of common radish , but less intense. Although some call it pink maca or purple maca, the color red is the one that best defines it.
  • Compared to the strong flavor of black maca , his is smoother, sweeter and more palatable.
  • On the other hand, the phytonutrient analysis of red maca has revealed that its content of antioxidant, antitumor compounds, alkaloids, tannins, saponins and steroids is higher than that of other roots.

The maca flour Andean red is a highly nutritious and caloric food. In a portion of 28 grams we have, approximately:1

  • Calories: 91
  • Carbohydrates: 20 g
  • Fat: 1 g
  • Proteins: 4 g
  • Fibra: 5.3 g

Regarding the contribution of micronutrients, it is known to be a good source of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, riboflavin, thiamine, potassium, iron, copper and sodium. A fact that cannot be overlooked about the nutritional profile of red maca, or Andean maca in general, is its highly varied amino acid content; These include glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, and valine, among others.

What is red maca good for?

Many people have heard of this famous root, but are not very clear about its benefits. For starters, red maca shares most of the health properties attributed to maca, however researchers have found that it can be especially effective for certain therapeutic uses.2

See below: Properties, Benefits and Uses of Andean Maca What is it for?

For the women

It is said that among all types of maca, this is the special variety for women . Scientific research has associated regular consumption of red maca with increased energy, improved mood, and increased libido among the female population. But the positive effects of this tuber can be even more interesting.3 4

  • It is an excellent source of antioxidants . By having a high concentration of antioxidant compounds, red maca helps fight free radicals, reduce oxidative damage in cells, and slow down premature aging.
  • It is an excellent source of amino acids . Women who are trying to shape their figure and increase muscle mass through weight training can find a good ally in red maca, since its contribution of amino acids favors the reconstruction of muscles after hypertrophy.
  • Balances hormones and alleviates symptoms of menopause (sleep disturbances, hot flashes, poor sex drive). Currently, many women are turning to supplementation with red maca capsules to manage hormonal imbalances, especially during menopause.5  These benefits are attributed to the adaptogenic effect of maca, since it has been proven that its active compounds have the ability to correct imbalances in the body, guaranteeing a better functioning of all its systems.
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis . It is a known fact that as a woman enters the different stages of menopause, estrogen deficiency lowers the calcium concentration in the bones and therefore contributes to osteoporosis. Regular use of Andean red maca helps reduce this risk and protects bone density naturally.6 7

For fertility

The supplementation and consumption of red maca promote good reproductive health, both in men and women. Its compounds not only help to maintain adequate levels of hormones and regular menstrual cycles, but also act as an aphrodisiac (increased sexual appetite).

When it comes to male fertility, sperm quality and volume are two very important factors. This root has been seen to cause an increase in sperm count, improve sperm quality, and serve as a natural treatment for erectile dysfunction.8

A study conducted in 9 healthy men found that after consuming maca for 4 months, there had been an increase in the volume, quantity and motility of the participants’ sperm 9.

For the prostate

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlargement of the prostate gland, is a common condition among older men. Over time, this enlargement can cause difficulty urinating, urinary tract infections, and damage to the bladder or kidneys, among other complications.10

Interestingly, some studies in rodents suggest that red maca can reduce the size of the prostate , and therefore help treat prostatic hyperplasia. This effect has been linked to the high content of glucosinolates found in this tuber; glucosinolates are substances that have shown some ability to reduce the risk of prostate cancer11.

In a study published by the Journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, researchers found that after administering different maca products to rats for 42 days, red maca was the only one that showed significant results in the reduction in the size of the prostate. 12

For alopecia

Another of the most acclaimed benefits of Andean red maca is its power to combat hair loss and prevent alopecia in both sexes. Taking into account that this can be a multifactorial problem, the consumption of red maca is ideal to attack the following triggers:

  • Nutritional deficiency . Maca is rich in nutrients that are not only essential for our overall health, but also for hair growth. That is why it can curb alopecia caused by malnutrition.
  • Hormonal imbalances . By having adaptogenic properties, red maca helps regulate hormone levels and strengthens the functioning of the adrenal glands. Likewise, its unique alkaloid content has a very positive effect on the entire endocrine system.
  • Stress . Mental or emotional stress can lead to a vicious cycle of imbalance in cortisol levels, and this in turn can lead to hair thinning and alopecia. Again, red maca is a great ally in situations where we need to recover from stress and put cortisol under control.
  • Androgenic hair loss in men . It is usually a type of alopecia that begins at the temples and then slowly progresses to the top of the scalp (male pattern baldness). Most doctors claim that this hair loss is caused by genetic reasons and therefore there is not much that can be done about it; However, some claim that the regulatory and nutritional action of maca can help in cases of androgenetic alopecia.

Note: more research is needed to confirm the effects of red maca against alopecia.

Andean red maca products

Maca is commercially available in different formulations and prices, for example powders , capsules, extracts , and even chips. Specifically, red maca can be purchased in any of these forms, with capsules and powder being the most popular variants.

Red maca capsules

This option has very important advantages, for example a more exact dosage can be achieved, they are easier to use and transport on a day-to-day basis, and they can be taken without feeling the taste of maca (it is very strong for some people ). The recommended dose varies depending on the seller, the concentration of maca in each capsule, and the reason it is being taken, but it usually covers the range of 2 to 8 capsules daily. They can be taken with or without food. Buy a product that :

  • Contains only 100% pure red maca powder, no fillers or additives
  • Come from a source of Peruvian organic maca

More information in:

Gelatinized red maca

In the market we can find raw maca powder and gelatinized maca powder; The latter is obtained from a heating process that removes almost all the starch from the roots, resulting in a much more concentrated powder than unprocessed maca. Some nutrients have been found to be amplified and activated better due to the heat and pressure used during the manufacture of gelatinized maca.

If you are thinking of buying gelatinized red maca, keep in mind that it should be consumed in smaller doses than the raw variant; 1 to 3 teaspoons daily, mixed in water, juices, or smoothies, is enough to get all the health benefits. Because it is easier to digest, it is considered the best option for people with a sensitive stomach .

Atomized red maca

It is a more recent formulation, but it also offers certain advantages. Currently you can find atomized red maca products that claim to have a potency 10 times greater than raw maca . Its flavor is milder, its compounds have superior bioavailability, it is easier to consume and its total concentration of macamides can be up to 1.0%.

This version can be consumed hot (tea, infusions) or cold (additive for smoothies, cereals, juices or directly in water).

Where to buy the best red maca?

  • Health food stores or specialized in supplement sales
  • Local stores specializing in the sale of Peruvian products
  • Online stores, such as Amazon or other reputable sellers

All the details about where and how to buy red maca at:  Where to Buy Red, Pure and Organic Maca?

Contraindications and side effects

Most people can safely consume red maca , especially when taken responsibly, without exceeding the recommended dose. But there are several contraindications and possible negative effects to consider.13 14

In general, it is not recommended to consume red maca (without first consulting a doctor), in the following cases:

  • People who suffer from a health condition sensitive to the hormone estrogen, especially women who have fibroids, endometriosis or cancer in the reproductive system.
  • People with thyroid disease or who are under medical treatment for it.
  • People who have high blood pressure and are under treatment.
  • Women during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Among the possible side effects of red maca include:15

  • Stomach upset / gastritis (especially when consuming raw red maca powder)
  • Cramps
  • Menstrual cycle disorders
  • Sleep disorders / insomnia
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Fluctuations in mood / anxiety

Note: it should be noted that these adverse effects of maca are associated with excessive consumption or the presence of individual sensitivities.

Recommended Article: What Contraindications and Side Effects Does Maca Have?

What is the main difference between red and black maca?

Besides the color of their tubers , arguably the most important difference between red maca and black maca is the taste. While black maca is more aggressive due to its bitter and intense flavor, red maca is more palatable due to its smoothness, sweetness and malty notes.

Differences have also been established in terms of the concentration of active compounds and the most important health benefits in each case.

It may interest you:

Does red maca make you fat?

When consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet, maca is not fattening. Taking it as a supplement or including it in the daily diet, without exceeding the recommended dose, will not cause you to gain weight. However, maca is a root rich in carbohydrates and high in calories, hence its excessive use can make you fat in the long term, especially if you consume raw maca powder or maintain a sedentary lifestyle.

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My name is Louise Hammond, and I am the creator of this website, a place to find information about tubers, bulbs and medicinal roots. In I show the properties, benefits, characteristics, photos and images, ways of growing and how to make delicious meals from starchy vegetables.