Do you have complaints during your menstruation or the menopause, but prefer to rely on natural products? Then you are on the right track. As a superfood, red maca is said to have special healing and nutritional properties. We would like to show you what is hidden behind this unique root.
In our big red maca test 2021 it is our goal to inform you about the topic. We have dealt with the effect of this plant as well as compared different application possibilities. In this way, we want to inform you completely about red maca and also make your purchase decision as easy as possible.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 The most important facts
- 3 The Best Red Maca: Our Picks
- 4 Buying and evaluation criteria for red maca
- 5 Guide: Frequently asked questions about red maca answered in detail
- 5.1 What is red maca and how does it work?
- 5.2 When and for whom is red Maca useful?
- 5.3 What types of red maca are there and which one is right for you?
- 5.4 How much does red maca cost?
- 5.5 How should red maca be dosed?
- 5.6 What are the side effects of taking red maca?
- 5.7 What alternatives are there to red Maca?
The most important facts
- Red maca grows in the Peruvian Andes and was already used as a medicinal plant in the times of the Incas. The root of the plant is very rich in nutrients and is characterised above all by high potassium and iron values.
- The active substances and ingredients of maca make the plant a superfood. It helps with menstrual and menopausal complaints in women, but also generally with iron deficiency and high blood pressure.
- You can take red maca in the form of powder, capsules and drops. They differ in dosage and open up a variety of ways to consume Maca.
The Best Red Maca: Our Picks
To give you a clear overview of the quality features of Maca products, we have compiled our favourites below.
Buying and evaluation criteria for red maca
In the following section we would like to show you which aspects you should consider if you are planning to buy red maca. In summary, these are:
- Dosage form
- Dosage/ Concentration
In the corresponding paragraphs we will explain to you what is important in the individual criteria so that you can make the right choice.
In the guide, we explain in detail what you need to know about the different dosage forms.
Red maca is available as powder, capsules or as a tincture. Each application has its advantages and disadvantages. You have to decide for yourself what is best for you.
They differ mainly in price. Raw powder is usually much cheaper than drops and capsules.
The latter, on the other hand, are available in large quantities and can be stored for a long time in a space-saving way. In addition, it is easier and less complicated to take.
Before buying, we recommend that you inform yourself about the concentration of the individual Maca products. It varies depending on the dosage form and thus determines the dosage.
Capsules and tinctures usually have a high dosage and are therefore somewhat more expensive.
Their concentration ratio can range from 4:1 to 20:1. The recommended daily amount also depends on the concentration. Make sure that you do not take too much and see it as a supplement to your diet.
If you want to buy products with red maca, it is also important to take a closer look at the processing. Capsules are often made with gelatine for the shell. As a vegan, it is recommended to buy capsules with a cellulose shell.
If it is important to you, you can find out if the products are free of additives such as colourings and preservatives. Ingredients such as additional vitamin C are of no further concern.
The use of the maca plant has gained popularity in recent years.
The demand has steadily increased worldwide, especially in China, where the demand for the root has grown rapidly. However, due to the conditions, maca is only cultivated in the Peruvian Andes.
For this reason, it is advisable to make sure that you buy fair trade products from an organic cultivation.
In addition, pesticides and chemical fertilisers should be avoided. This way, you can not only support nature sustainably, but also enable the farmers to receive a fair wage.
Guide: Frequently asked questions about red maca answered in detail
In the following section we take a closer look at the properties and effects of red maca. For this purpose, we have summarised and answered frequently asked questions in order to clear up any ambiguities.
What is red maca and how does it work?
The tuber is interesting for use in this case. It is rich in nutrients and minerals and also has special active substances such as macamides or mustard oil glycosides.
Because of these important ingredients, the tuber is becoming more and more popular. It is mainly used against women's complaints and high blood pressure. But the tuber is also said to be helpful against stress and exhaustion (5, 6, 7).
Besides red maca, there is also yellow and black maca. Although they are similar in structure, they are said to have different effects.
Unlike other plants, the maca plant draws a relatively large amount of minerals from its environment. The red maca has a particularly high proportion of iron and potassium.
Many people have regular experience with iron deficiency and its consequences and could prevent it with the help of the red tuber. In addition, the high potassium content of red maca can significantly lower blood pressure (4, 7).
It can also have an effect on chronic fatigue, which is often caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Due to the ingested transport proteins, mineral absorption can be improved, whereby the body receives the required amount of minerals. (3, 10)
In some cases, red maca can also be an adequate remedy for anxiety and depression. These are currently thought to be caused by a serotonin deficiency. It ensures that the serotonin level is not inhibited too much and consequently lowers the stress level. (3, 12)
Effect on women's complaints
Red maca is particularly helpful for women's complaints, such as infertility, loss of libido, menstrual and menopausal problems. The main cause of these problems is the lack of progesterone.
Progesterone is produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands. Oestrogens are formed from progesterones through hormone synthesis. If there are more oestrogens than progesterones in the female body, this is called a progesterone deficiency(1, 11).
Through its plant sterols, red maca stimulates progesterone production. This can reduce or even completely alleviate cycle complaints such as pain in the lower abdomen or the "emotional rollercoaster". However, it depends on the correct dose and the period of use.
During the menopause there are often hormonal fluctuations and deficiencies of progesterone and estradiol. For this reason, red marca, which stimulates progesterone production, can also be used here. In this way, medical hormone therapies can be avoided(1, 11).
This promotes testosterone production and the number or motility of sperm.
Women who have fertility problems due to progesterone deficiency are also recommended to take red Maca during the fertility phase to balance oestrogen and progesterone(2, 3).
Effect on prostate and hair loss
Several studies have shown that red Maca can have an effect on an enlarged prostate. This can often be a result of ageing in men or steroid abuse.
As a result, the prostate is pressed against the bladder and causes frequent urination. Scientists believe that the hormone DHT is responsible for the tissue growth (8, 9).
Some studies have shown a reduction in prostate size in rats in connection with red maca. The reduction was related to DHT levels and was also dependent on dose and regularity of intake. This gives reason to believe that it is also successful in humans. Studies in this regard do not yet exist (8, 9).
DHT is also cited as one of the causes of hair loss. By lowering the DHT level, this process could possibly be inhibited prematurely. Studies that can directly prove this have not yet been conducted.
When and for whom is red Maca useful?
It is safe for children to take as long as the extracts are not alcohol-based. (5, 7)
In specific use, it is often used for pain or discomfort in women during menstruation or menopause.
So for women who are still in the pre-menopausal phase, red maca is particularly recommended. This makes it a popular and natural remedy for gynaecology (1, 11)
As already mentioned, red maca can also be beneficial for men. The specific benefits for men have not yet been fully proven, but research is proving promising.
Therefore, red maca is particularly effective for men of advanced age, but because of the nutrients, it is not to be discouraged even at a young age.
What types of red maca are there and which one is right for you?
- Red Maca as powder
- Red Maca as capsules
- Red Maca as tincture
These types are most commonly found for consumption. You can find out what they are and what advantages and disadvantages they offer in this section.
Red Maca as a powder
A common way to consume Maca in the most natural way possible is Maca powder. A distinction must be made between raw powder and gelatinised powder.
Raw powder can be produced by drying the roots and then pulverising them. Raw powder is especially recommended in its natural state or in raw food quality. In this state, it still contains valuable enzymes and mustard oil glycosides that strengthen the immune system.
In gelatinisation, the already powdered tuber is carefully boiled again. Once this mass has dried, it can also be used as a powder. During this process, the mustard oil glycosides are split off, as allergy sufferers may suffer from intolerances. It also has a higher bioavailability. This means that a larger proportion of the active ingredients is available to the body unchanged.
Mustard oil glycosides are also found in radish, horseradish and mustard and are responsible for the bitter taste. In nature, they act as a repellent against animals. In humans, they can prevent infections and cancer, according to research.
Red Maca as capsules
Capsules are extremely popular when it comes to food supplements because of their properties. Red maca is also available in the form of capsules. The gelatinised maca powder provides the basis for this.
Many suppliers add other important substances such as vitamin C or zinc to the capsules. This way you can combine several active ingredients at once. You can take them individually, but it is recommended to take them in combination with a meal.
Due to their form and high concentration, the capsules will last a long time and can be stored for a long time.
Red Maca as a tincture
Tinctures are drop solutions containing the extracts of the Maca root. They are usually produced on the basis of alcohol or glycerine. An integrated pipette allows the liquid to be dosed exactly to the drop.
However, the disadvantage with alcohol-based tinctures is that they are not suitable for children, alcoholics or people with liver disease. These restrictions do not apply to glycerine-based drops. In addition, the active substances of the tuber, including the mustard oil glycosides, are preserved.
You can take the drops orally. If you don't like the taste, you can use them to dilute your drinks or to give your smoothie an even better effect.
How much does red maca cost?
In addition, it has to be exported from the Andes all the way to Germany, which makes the price of the supposed superfood high. The colour of the tuber plays a rather minor role.
In any case, the price of the products depends on how they are prepared. The raw powder is usually the cheapest, as it undergoes the simplest process in production. The more complex production of the capsules and drops is reflected in the price.
|Type||Price per 100 g/ml|
|Raw powder||approx. 2.50 to 4 euros|
|Gelatinised powder||approx. 3.50 to 12 euros|
|Capsules||14 to 24 euros|
|Tinctures||20 to 37 euros|
In addition, the price depends on other factors such as cultivation, additional ingredients and quantity. Capsules range from 80 to 200 pieces, while the powder is sold in half or whole kilogram packages.
How should red maca be dosed?
In a study, test persons did not show any complaints after a daily dose. Nevertheless, we could unfortunately not find any scientifically proven information about the recommended daily amount.
In general, it is advisable to approach Maca products slowly and to start with a small dose. This gives your body time to get used to the active ingredients, as red maca takes effect quite quickly.
After you have become accustomed to taking it, you can increase the amount to meet your needs.
Since different dosage forms are offered, they also have to be dosed differently. The raw powder has the lowest concentration, which is why one to two heaped tablespoons a day are sufficient. For the gelatinised powder, about a quarter to half of this amount is recommended.
The number of capsules should be taken according to the concentration. The recommended daily amount is usually given in the package inserts. With tinctures, a few drops are usually enough for an effective effect.
What are the side effects of taking red maca?
However, you should be careful that you are not allergic to the mustard oil glycosides. Ingestion may irritate your mucous membranes. An alternative is gelatinised powder or capsules.
If you have kidney problems, you should hardly consume food containing potassium, which is why you should also avoid red maca. The manufacturers recommend not taking it during pregnancy due to a lack of studies.
What alternatives are there to red Maca?
|Legumes||Legumes such as flaxseed are rich in magnesium, iron and potassium. The intake of potassium can lower blood pressure. Stomachesium promotes natural muscle function, making cramps less painful during contraction.|
|Bananas||Bananas contain a large amount of magnesium, similar to bananas. The effect is equal to those of legumes.|
|Lady's mantle||The plant lady's mantle can be taken as a tea. This harmonises the cycle by having an anti-inflammatory effect and relieves cramps.|
Red maca is becoming increasingly popular as a so-called superfood in our shopping. However, sourcing it is comparatively quite expensive and importing it from South America is not necessarily environmentally friendly. That is why these alternatives can also be a good choice.
Image source: Hofacker / 123rf
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