Can Maca Powder Cause Diarrhea? A Full Guide

Maca powder has been touted as a superfood with numerous health benefits, from boosting energy levels to improving sexual function. However, some people have reported experiencing digestive issues after consuming maca powder, including diarrhea.

If you’re considering adding maca powder to your diet, it’s important to understand the potential side effects and how to avoid them. In this article, we’ll explore whether maca powder can cause diarrhea and what you can do to prevent it.

So, let’s dive in!

Can Maca Powder Cause Diarrhea?

While maca powder is generally considered safe for consumption, some people may experience digestive issues after consuming it. Diarrhea is one of the most commonly reported side effects of maca powder.

The reason why maca powder can cause diarrhea is due to its high fiber content. Maca belongs to the Brassicaceae family of plants, which also includes mustards and horseradish. Like these foods, maca is a strong food and should be eaten in relatively small amounts. Consuming too much maca powder can lead to an overload of fiber in the digestive system, which can cause diarrhea.

In addition to its high fiber content, maca powder can also cause diarrhea in people who are sensitive to it. Some people may have a mild allergy to maca, which can cause digestive issues such as diarrhea.

What Is Maca Powder And How Does It Work?

Maca powder is a superfood that has been used for thousands of years in the Incan empire. It is made from the dried root of the maca plant, which grows underground and has a unique earthy, malty flavor. Maca is often referred to as Peruvian ginseng because of its powerful adaptogenic properties. It is known for its ability to enhance energy levels and balance hormones.

Maca works by stimulating the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, which are responsible for regulating hormones in the body. It contains compounds called macamides and macaenes, which have been shown to have a positive effect on mood, energy levels, and sexual function. Maca also contains high levels of antioxidants, which can help protect the body against oxidative stress and inflammation.

Some of the benefits of maca powder include balancing hormones, increasing fertility, relieving menopausal symptoms, boosting libido in both men and women, enhancing strength, energy, stamina, and endurance, relieving stress, fatigue, and anxiety, and improving memory and brain function. However, it is important to note that while maca powder is generally safe for consumption, it can cause side effects in some people, such as diarrhea.

The Reported Side Effects Of Maca Powder

Although maca powder is generally safe for consumption, there have been reports of various side effects experienced by some people. These side effects include:

1. Feeling “jittery”: Some people have reported feeling jittery or wired after consuming maca powder, especially for the first time. This is likely due to taking too much maca powder at once. To alleviate this symptom, it is recommended to reduce the dosage.

2. Insomnia: A small number of people have reported experiencing insomnia after consuming maca powder, especially if taken later in the day. To avoid this, it is recommended to take maca powder before 2pm and/or reduce the dosage.

3. Digestive issues: Approximately 5% of people have reported experiencing upset stomach, slight cramping, or gas after consuming raw maca powder. This is due to the starch content in raw maca powder. It is recommended for people with sensitive digestive systems to consume gelatinized maca instead.

4. Acne: Some customers have reported an increase in acne after starting to consume maca powder. This is a temporary symptom that will likely disappear as the body balances its hormones.

5. Heartburn: Although rare, some people may experience heartburn after consuming maca powder.

6. Goiter: Prolonged intake of glucosinolates present in maca can cause swelling of the thyroid gland, leading to goiter and associated symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, hoarse voice, swelling in the neck region, and difficulty breathing.

7. Altered brain function and central nervous system: High doses of maca can cause headaches, insomnia, and mood swings, which can be problematic for people with migraine headaches or sleeplessness.

8. Allergic reactions: Some people who are sensitive to allergies may develop allergic reactions such as rashes, itching of the skin, difficulty breathing, pain, and tightness in the chest region.

9. Drug interactions: Maca can interact with certain drugs such as blood thinners, pain killers like ibuprofen, anti-coagulants, birth control medications, and herbs such as St. John’s Wart.

10. Other side effects: Increased brain activity from consuming maca can cause insomnia, drastic changes in mood, and hot flashes.

It is important to note that these side effects vary from person to person and are not experienced by everyone who consumes maca powder. If you experience any of these symptoms after consuming maca powder, it is recommended to consult a physician before continuing use.

How To Avoid Diarrhea When Taking Maca Powder

If you want to enjoy the health benefits of maca powder without experiencing diarrhea, there are a few things you can do:

1. Start with a small amount: If you are new to maca powder, start with a small amount and gradually increase it over time. This will give your body time to adjust to the fiber content and reduce the risk of diarrhea.

2. Cook the maca powder: As mentioned earlier, raw maca powder can cause digestive issues if the starches are not gelatinized. Cooking the maca powder at around 300*F can break down the enzymes and make it easier to digest.

3. Take maca with food: Consuming maca powder with food can help slow down its absorption and reduce the risk of diarrhea. You can add maca powder to smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt for a tasty and nutritious boost.

4. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help keep your digestive system functioning properly and reduce the risk of diarrhea.

5. Consult with a healthcare professional: If you have a history of digestive issues or are unsure if maca powder is right for you, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional before taking it.

Other Ways To Incorporate Maca Powder Into Your Diet

If you’re looking to incorporate maca powder into your diet but want to avoid the risk of diarrhea, there are several ways to do so. Here are some ideas:

1. Start with a small amount: As mentioned earlier, consuming too much maca powder can lead to digestive issues. Start with a small amount, such as 1/4-1/2 teaspoon per day, and gradually increase the amount over time.

2. Mix it into smoothies: Maca powder has a distinct flavor that goes well with sweet preparations, such as smoothies. Mix a small amount of maca powder into your favorite smoothie recipe for a nutrient boost.

3. Add it to oatmeal or yogurt: Another way to incorporate maca powder into your diet is by adding it to oatmeal or yogurt. Mix a small amount into your breakfast bowl for added nutrition.

4. Use it in baking: Maca powder can also be used in baking recipes, such as muffins or cookies. However, keep in mind that baking may reduce the nutrient content of maca powder.

5. Try gelatinized maca: If you’ve tried raw maca powder and experienced digestive issues, consider trying gelatinized maca instead. Gelatinized maca has had its starch content removed, making it easier to digest.

Remember, maca powder is a food and different bodies react differently to the same foods. If you experience any digestive issues after consuming maca powder, it may be best to consult with a healthcare provider before continuing use.