Editors note: This maca powder review is different from most other reviews in two ways. First, this review covers only raw maca, as opposed to maca that’s processed and cooked. Second, because of the potential of raw supplements to contain harmful fungus byproducts such as aflotoxin, we partnered with a national food testing laboratory to test each brand of raw maca reviewed here, using their industry-standard aflatoxin testing platform. We ordered the samples we tested from Amazon, just like a consumer would.
Aside from reviewing 5 different raw maca powders, we additionally answer common questions such as “what’s the best time to take maca root?” “What’s the best raw organic maca powder?” and “What’s the best maca supplement?”
For many people, our regular diet isn’t enough to give us all the nutrients that we need to perform at optimal levels. And because of this, many people turn to supplements like maca to give them a performance edge or improve their nutritional health.
Maca is a supplement that can boost energy and stamina. It’s commonly known as the “Peruvian ginseng.” So what is maca, how can it improve your health, and which maca supplements are the best options for you to use?
What is Maca?
Maca is a plant native to the Andes mountains in Peru. It’s a cruciferous vegetable related to cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale. It’s well-documented in natural medicines and various cultural dishes from Peru.
Normally, maca is dried and eaten in powder form. But it’s also taken in capsules or as a liquid extract. Maca is categorized as an adaptogen.
Health Benefits of Maca
The scientific literature about maca is limited. For now, most of the research on maca comes from small studies, often conducted on animals. However, there are a few verifiable claims that make maca a promising natural health supplement.
Maca’s high nutrition content
Research shows that just one ounce of maca root powder contains four grams of protein, two grams of fiber, 20 grams of carbs, and many essential vitamins including:
- 133% Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of Vitamin C
- 85% RDI of Copper
- 23% RDI of Iron
- 16% RDI of Potassium
- 15% RDI of Vitamin B6
- 10% RDI of Manganese
Maca And Sexual Health
If you’re struggling with reduced sexual desire, maca might be able to help. A 2010 study found that when taken regularly, maca powder can naturally boost libido. Respondents noted that after six weeks of consuming maca, their sexual desire increased. Additionally, this study shows it improved sexual experience for men with sexual dysfunction, and has notable use for mild erectile dysfunction.
Maca And Fertility
In a study that concentrated on male fertility after consistent use for four months, researchers noted that the sperm quality had improved in terms of volume, sperm count, and motility.
Other Maca Benefits
Studies suggest maca may:
- Relieve menopause symptoms like hot flashes and interrupted sleep
- Help boost mood by reducing anxiety and depression symptoms
- Improve energy and sports performance
- Act as a natural sunscreen
- Improve brain function
- Reduce prostate size in older men
What’s The Best Time To Take Maca Root? And What’s The Maca Recommended Daily Dosage?
Though the expert community has not come to consensus on the optimal maca dose, people generally take between 1.5 to 5 grams per day.
What time of day should you take maca? Natives of the high Andes of Peru consume maca pretty much all day. Though maca doesn’t contain caffeine or any other stimulant, it can boost your energy levels or performance. That’s why it’s generally recommended that you take maca with breakfast. You can also take it at midday to stave off your post-lunch crash.
Lab-Testing Raw Maca For Aflatoxin
Maca generally comes in two forms: gelatinized and raw. Gelatinized maca has been cooked to remove the starch. This sanitizes the powder, but can also alter nutrients like vitamin C. Raw maca root is traditionally harvested in the summer months and sun-dried for 30 days before it is cleaned and ground to powder. This preserves the full nutrient profile, but is not without its drawbacks.
The biggest concern with raw maca is the presence of aflatoxin. Aflatoxins are a type of mycotoxin – toxins produced as a byproduct of the metabolism of various types of fungus. (What we think of as “mold”, like we might see on old bread or berries from the grocery store, is a sub-group of fungi.) The molds that produce aflatoxin commonly grow in poorly-kept agricultural products, like corn or nuts. Aflatoxins are carcinogenic (cancer-causing). For this reason, the U.S. FDA imposes limits of 20 ppb (parts per billion) of detectable aflatoxin in food products.
Because maca root is produced by rural farmers in the mountains of Peru, is sun-dried, and is then shipped and stored, some have expressed concern that raw maca powder may contain aflatoxin. This is a valid concern for any supplement product, as supplements receive lower regulatory scrutiny from the FDA.
However, studies show the full nutrient profile of raw maca can be eminently valuable. Therefore, The Unwinder partnered with a national food-testing laboratory to test each brand of raw maca reviewed here, using their industry-standard aflatoxin testing platform. We ordered the samples we tested from Amazon, just like a consumer would. Every brand included here had an aflatoxin level below 10ppb—less than half the FDA food limit.
While pricier, The Maca Team’s maca is super convenient to use—and super safe
These capsules are The Unwinder’s top raw maca choice for the every day user for two reasons. First, the capsule form makes the Maca an easy everyday habit, no need to break out the blender or stir up a smoothie. Second, The Maca Team is the safest raw Maca brand, with no detectable level of aflatoxin. While you pay a little extra for this level of convenience and quality, in the case of a potent adaptogen like Maca, that extra pays off in the long run.
Best Raw Maca Supplements Reviews
|Brand||Price per package||Price per oz|
|The Maca Team||$23.01||$4.34|
Healthworks maca powder offers the best deal on this review, so it’s great for cost-focused shoppers. This apparently does come at the expense of convenient packaging, however—negative shopper reviews tend be focused on the fact that the powder gets everywhere upon opening.
- Keto-friendly, vegan & non-GMO
- Peruvian origin
- Subscribe and save option available on Amazon
- USDA-certified Organic
- 100% money-back guarantee
What We Like
People on low-carb or ketogenic diets may be conflicted about taking maca. Thankfully, Healthworks raw maca powder is keto-friendly with only 1.6 carbs per serving. Healthworks is also vegan-friendly, and certified non-GMO. Plus the raw powder makes it perfect for adding into smoothies or for baking.
A common issue we found was poor packaging. Many shoppers complained that they struggled to open the bag, and had powder exploding all over their countertops.
Healthworks has been operating for over 15 years and prioritizes organic, vegan-friendly natural supplements that are ethically sourced. Sustainability is at the forefront of their operations, working with local farmers from South America and Asia to responsibly grow and harvest ingredients. All of their superfoods are minimally processed, certified organic by a third party, and grown sustainably.
Great for first-timers
Harvested from Junín Peru, around 2,700 to 4,300 meters above sea level
Zen Spirit’s package of maca is small, so in our view, offers a great solution for people who are just dipping their toes into the water. If you’ve never tried maca before, try Zen Spirit—it offers half-pound packages at a fair price, where most other maca brands start at one pound, and go from there.
- USDA-certified organic
- Subscribe and save option on Amazon
- Non-GMO & vegan-friendly
- Sourced from Peru
What We Like
If you’re just starting with supplements, you might not be ready to spend a lot of money. Zen Spirit’s maca powder is a great starter option at only $9.99 per pack. Plus the powdered form means that if you don’t like the nutty taste, you can mix it into smoothies or recipes to mask the flavor. And you’ll also appreciate that this powder is certified USDA organic, non-GMO and vegan-friendly.
This specific product is not marketed as keto-friendly and has a higher carb count at six grams per serving. This may be a concern for those on ketogenic diets.
About Zen Spirit
Zen Spirit is an online retailer that exclusively produces organic maca and matcha powders, and chia seeds. They pride themselves on creating affordable superfoods for budget-focused shoppers.
Affordable, middle-of-the-road option
Harvested from the Andes Mountains of Peru
While we don’t see much to distinguish Kiva from the competition, their raw maca powder is fairly priced, especially using Amazon’s Subscrive and Save feature.
- Certified-raw & certified USDA organic
- Non-GMO, vegan-friendly
- Subscribe & save option available
- Sourced from Peru and fair trade
- Minimally processed
What We Like
We like that ethical behavior is a priority with Kiva. They prominently feature the fair trade logo, to highlight their focus on sustainability and supporting local farmers in Peru.
Common complaints we found were that this maca had a grainy texture that doesn’t mix well in drinks. Likewise, some shoppers also noted that taking this maca powder brand made them nauseous and for some, raised their blood pressure.
Kiva Health Food is an online retailer that creates superfoods, supplements, and premium spices. They believe in working directly with local farmers to ethically source and harvest ingredients. Their farming network practices sustainable and eco-friendly methods for growing and harvesting materials. And all of their products are non-GMO verified.
Also on offer: black maca and yellow maca
Anthony’s offers several variety of maca: red, black, and yellow. Though each has its own properties, we review the red maca here. As for the value and quality you’re getting—we find Anthony’s perfectly acceptable.
Editor’s Note, July 1, 2020: Anthony’s Red Maca Root Powder is currently out of stock. However, Anthony’s Yellow Maca Root Powder is available on Amazon as a reasonable substitute.
- Non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan-friendly
- $14.99, $0.94/ounce
- Subscribe & save
- Red & purple maca roots
- Sourced in Peru, packed in California
- USDA certified organic
What We Like
Anthony’s Red Maca Root Powder has a slightly sweet flavor, which makes it preferable for adding to drinks like smoothies or coffee. Just as many of the other options in our guide, this maca powder is USDA-certified organic, non-GMO and gluten-free. Plus this brand shares yummy recipes such as maca vanilla ice cream or no-bake Anthony’s superfood brownies, to give you innovative ways to make taking this supplement more fun.
You might want to try less than the recommended amount (1 teaspoon) when starting this supplement, as some shoppers noted that it made them nauseous.
About Anthony’s Goods
Anthony’s is an organic brand that creates natural flours, meals, and foods. It’s a brand that was created after its founders felt that there weren’t enough large-sized options for alternative flours and powders. Frustrated with finding only one-pound options for alternatives, they created their brand to fill that void.
We lab tested every maca product in this review for harmful aflotoxin, and the Maca Team’s product had no detectable level. The convenient capsule form here makes it so you don’t have to worry about figuring out a recipe for it.
- Certified USDA organic
- Non-GMO, gluten-free
- Blend of black, red & cream maca powder
- Vegan-friendly capsules
- Harvested in Peru
What We Like
If you shied away from the other maca powders in our roundup because you don’t like the taste, The Maca Team’s Maca capsules are a better option. We like that The Maca Team combines cream, black and red maca powder in a 40/30/30 ratio to improve the potency. Secondly. The Maca Team uses premium, dehydrator-dried maca in these capsules, which means even less susceptibility to aflatoxin than traditional sun-drying. Unsurprisingly, this did show up in our tests, with The Maca Team being the only product with undetectable aflatoxin levels.
If you struggle to take pills, this might be a tough sell for you.
About The Maca Team
The Maca Team is a brand that solely creates a range of products that are all maca-based. In addition to the maca powder capsules we highlighted, they also make maca coffee, liquid maca extracts, and maca chips. All of their products are organic, fair trade, non-GMO, vegan-friendly, and gluten-free.