In Inca time people ate maca as food every day. They also eat this root to this day cooked or roasted, as porridge or jam. However, occasionally, there is a report from people outside of Peru which report some side effects such as diarrhoea and/or gas problems. Some believe that if a person feels sick when taking maca, it is because the body is detoxing the waste (it means the healing process starts) and one may experience sudden weakness or fatigue. So far, there have not been any serious contra-indications. Anyhow, it is recommended to consult a health practitioner if there are any important issues (especially if pregnant, nursing or with serious medical history).
- An upset belly is one of the most common side effects.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- When using maca with coffee or other stimulants it can sometimes make people feel “hyper.”
- Heat sensations.
- It can increase fertility in men and woman (this is a positive side effect in most cases!).
- It can cause more frequent menstruation. Once the dose is lowered or stopped the cycle returns to normal.
- It can produce cramping in some women (experienced in some cases where women have had their tubes tied, or when taking this root the day before or during their period), especially with those who eat a lot of maca for a long time.
- High doses can sometimes cause fatigue.
- It can speed up the menstruation cycle.
Tips to avoid the side effects
Ideally, you will need to make sure maca product you buy comes from a reliable source and it has not been too much processed (which means: it is not irradiated, no fillers. It should be organic maca). In addition, it is good to try and not to mix maca with other supplements. This way you will know how well your body can tolerate this food. It is good to make experiments with dosage and start slowly taking an only half spoon, so the body will adjust naturally without any side effects. It is also good to find out what products suits you most: powdered, capsulated or extract form. A good quality and organic raw maca products are a good start.
Maca and Upset Stomach
To avoid having an upset stomach, find out if you do not tolerate fibre. Some people have problems with their intestines when taking maca. This is because of the great amount of fibre and starch found in maca. In that case, it is good to try gelatinized maca, it doesn’t have starch, it is easier to digest and you will not experience belly problems and avoid having stomach pain. It is always good to get rid of bad habits and negative external resistances, such as: If you drink or smoke, STOP now! At least stop using tobacco or alcohol while trying to get healthier. Do not mess up your system even more! If you cannot give up nicotine, alcohol, non-description drugs, then this “miracle healthy food” is simply not for you.
Do you drink coffee a lot during the day? Well, stop if you start using maca. Or, at least reduce it to two cups a day, max. This natural food is an energy booster so this is why some people can experience feelings like a faster heartbeat, or they suddenly cannot sleep. Too much caffeine in a combination with maca, can cause some uncomfortable “sleepless” symptoms.
For optimal results, this root should be taken together with a balanced diet high in vegetables and fruits (not white processed wheat) in order for the system to get balanced.