I don’t think I\’m alone talking about when one health fad or another decides to turn around and bite you.  Maca root bit me.  I wanted to talk about it, not just to raise awareness about maca root, but really just as a general voice of warning.  Really know what you’re ingesting.  Read up on the possible side effects.  I did a little bit of research but I sure could have done more.  I had a good friend have a similar reaction to having too much soy in her diet (she was an edamame lover) so I know this stuff just happens sometimes.

I love green smoothies.  I\’m constantly on the hunt for new yummy things to put in my green smoothies, particularly protein powder.  In my search I found supermixme.


I don’t want to say anything negative about their company or their product-if anything the fact that I was consuming this every single day in my smoothie should be a testament to just how yummy their stuff is!  Cacao, Coconut and Maca is delicious together and I started adding it to my green smoothie every morning.  I did a quick read about maca and was hoping it would help balance my cortisol levels (my job does a lot of damage to my adrenals and I\’m on the hunt to find things to fix my hormones).

After 2 weeks or so of taking the powder (I was taking half a dose daily, I wanted this yummy stuff to last!) I started to notice my sex drive falling.  I figured I was tired (also part of my jobs) but it continued to fall which is very strange for me.  Then I started getting more emotional-I just couldn’t keep it together.  Things that normally wouldn’t make me cry started making me cry.  I started to have less control over all of my emotions.  I stopped losing weight (I really only kind of was, let’s be honest BUT it was starting to budge).  Then I started bouncing back and forth between sad and happy in a maniac way.  It was then that I started to recognize this weird PMS feeling that I couldn’t seem to get out of.  It clicked.  I remembered being on estrogen-based birth control and having this type of feeling for the week of my period.  Only this wasn’t just a week.  This was all the time.

SEE MORE: What is Maca?

I figured this was it, this was menopause (my biological sisters went through menopause around this age).  Or was I pregnant? (I still have an IUD, but I also have 2 good friends that got knocked up with IUD’s so I\’m beginning to lose faith in them) Then I thought I\’d killed my adrenals.  It was my husband that said something about the powder.  I started doing research about maca. It turns out I\’m not the first to have some weird side effects.

Use of maca powderwidth=1 for extended periods can cause some to suffer from aggressiveness, anxiety, depression and emotional instability.

Extracts from maca might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, do not use these extracts.

Changes in hormone levels can also lead to menstrual problems, decreased sex drive and weight gain or even hot flashes.

Yep.  When put like that it 100% describes me for the last 2 months or so.  So I quit maca a few weeks ago and WOW.  Big difference.  It took almost 2 full weeks off before I started to feel different and now I\’d say I\’m back to only semi-crazy (so normal).

So yeah.  Don’t ingest things until you\’ve done your full research.  It could make you a crazy person, and no one wants that.  Even if they are super-foods.

Commiserate with me and tell me I\’m not the only one that’s done this to themselves?  Comment below if you\’ve been taken advantage of by a super food:

80 thoughts on “MACA ROOT: A VOICE OF WARNING”

  1. Ive tried 2 types of Maca. The first was the Maca root raw pill form, the first day i had a lot of energy and felt great, however, by the third day, i was starting to feel depressed about everything and would constantly cry at anything that would happen to me. I decided to stop the pills after 2 weeks or so and try the gelatinized maca root powder. The powder made me almost stoic, i felt like i had no feelings for the first few days. Then it put me in constant state of PMS all the time, and it would be even worse if i drank alcohol. For some reason the alcohol made my feelings even worse over very minor things. The only thing good about the powder is that my butt grew lol. But seriously, if you are even a little bit sensitive to anything like i am, really do your research and take it with caution. I haven’t felt like myself now for over a month and decided to quit the maca a few days ago. Cant wait to be back to normal.

    1. So I’ve been taking maca for almost 10 years I think. Yes that’s right, 10 years. An herbalist suggested it to help with libido and regulation of hormones (I was 39 at the time and my hormones were out of whack). It did nothing for my libido and while it did initially help with energy that was a rollercoaster. At age 42 I started on natural hormone replacement, and at age 45 added thyroid medication into the mix. And yet I was so fatigued, had constant stomach issues, and reactions to many foods. Never once did I think it might all be caused by what I was putting into my daily smoothies (5 grams a day). I was doing all the right stuff according to my hormone sr (estrogen patch, progesterone pill, dhea, thyroid medication) but still felt like I plateaued at 80% energy. So just recently I started thinking about what was causing my constant stomachache. Came up with maca. I stopped taking the maca and my stomachaches went away. My energy levels increased and so did my mood. But then I started having problems sleeping and being anxious and jittery. Thinking back to when it started a month ago I remembered my issues started when I stopped the maca. Upon doing research on maca including reading this article I am now positive that my body is probably over medicated because for the first time in a long time I don’t have an adaptogen interfering with my hormones. Can you see the huge light that went on above my head?!

      1. Hello, so the exact thing happened to me, and I happened to be going through a major change in my life. I quit this under two weeks ago. I feel a little better, but I certainly felt the same way when I was birth taking birth control. I took a medication during the time of my birth control to balance my moods. Macca root mimicked the side effects to the t. I ended up getting more depressed and stayed that way for like a month. You said it took two weeks for you to feel somewhat yourself. How much time in all did it take for you to get back to your complete self. I just went from depressed to apathetic and I hate it! I am in a very sensitive place in my life and I was very happy. Now I am sad and low energy due to this stuff and it certainly is not situational.

  2. This is so important. I tried a raw form and it gave me terrible cramps around my body. Then I read, people should never consume it raw. I tried it cooked capsul form. Wow…I went crazy. Happy – sad – angry. I couldn’t figure it out. I thought I was pregnant. Maca is not for everyone.

  3. Idk about Maca as a superfood, but it is considered a natural form of DHEA for women experiencing menopause or having thyroid problems. I have been experimenting with what to use–creams, DHEA pills, or Maca. I feel that it causes me to become emotional the very day I use it, as if I’m on my period. I’m not really sure what it IS good for, but I read that people indigenous to where it grows eat the stuff like potatoes and are healthy. And ya, it tastes good in smoothies.

  4. It made me feel like I was going crazy, really. Sweaty hands, rapid heart, thinking I was going to the nut house and that I had lost my mind, I even said I’m losing my mind. I started maca root powder 1/4 teaspoon and chaste tree and ashwaghnda for 7 days and they were the worst days ever!!!!!

    1. I took a teaspoon at breakfast. At lunch I started to feel dizzy and it got worse during the day. And I did not get much sleep during the night either.

  5. Sara Mackenzie

    Hi April and all! Maca dosage particularly for women is extremely important. If you take too much for you it causes stimulation which is what all the above experiences sound like. You want Balance effect not stimulation. For this you need to start out low and possibly remain there. And Maca does not work well with other herbs ie Agnus castus or ashwaganda or any other herbs or drugs that work on hormones- it is best taken alone. Most women do well to start on just 500 mg or 1 gram daily and see how you feel on that. It is likely the mix of herbs or too much Maca that caused these results.. it is a powerful root and dosage is individual. Cacao is also powerful- a little goes along way as it’s full of theobromine which can aggravate your nervous system. It’s a shame manufacturers are not providing this information to their customers.

    1. Thank you so much for the information! I’m nervous to go near it again so we’ll see!

    2. Thanks for the reply. Wish I would’ve known not to mix with other hormonal herbs such as ashwaghwanda. It was a awful experience. I feel better with your comment, to help validate I wasn’t crazy. Thanks again!

  6. I’m sitting here, researching… because I’ve gained 10 pounds in 6 weeks, and that is a LOT on my 5’0″ frame. I’ve also had to stop running and let my Plantar Fasciitis heal, so I was attributing it to not running. But 10 pounds?!? Since I had to take a running break, I started researching PF and started drinking smoothies in the morning – adding calcium aspartate, collagen, and glucosamine to help heal my body. Well… since I was drinking smoothies anyway, I also added maca. I’d bought it a couple months ago to try it out. After the first couple pounds of weight gain, I got super strict with my diet and carb intake. But the weight kept increasing. And the two periods I’ve had during this time were BRUTAL. Extra heavy and extra long! This morning I got on the scale and saw that I’m up a total of 10 pounds. I.CAN’T.EVEN.COPE. So I started looking deeper into everything I was adding to my smoothie… the rest are benign, but the maca is a freaking giant red flag. I’m reading endlessly about women having major weight gains (and other side effects). I didn’t add it to my smoothie this morning. And I’ll continue a strict diet. And I’m supposed to be able to start running again next week.

    Does anyone have any idea how long it will take for my body to return to “normal”?

      1. Here’s hoping! How long would you say before you started noticing positive changes (mood, weight, PMS type symptoms, etc)? Days, weeks, longer?

  7. My sister SWEARS by maca and has been singing it’s praises to me for months. We both have Hashimoto’s and it sounded like a miraculous energy-giving, stress-busting superfood (it certainly was for her!) and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some and reap the benefits for myself. Well… lesson learned (not for the first time) that not all “superfoods” and supplements work the same for everybody! I felt the negative side effects almost immediately. About an hour or so after downing my regular smoothie + maca, I started experiencing symptoms that I haven’t had since I quit drinking coffee: sudden extreme moodiness, depression, irritability.. basically horrible PMS symptoms. I suspected immediately it was the maca but I thought I would give it another shot to be sure… and when I experienced the same results the second and third time I tried, I threw in the towel and haven’t looked back.

  8. I just started taking it and I haven’t had any problems other than being abnormally sleepy lol. Maybe this happened becasue of your birth control + the maca?? Glad it didn’t take long to be back to normal

  9. Angela Blanco Dopazo

    Hi, April! I am so happy I stumbled upon this because I thought I was just making ‘this’ stuff up in my head. I, too read about maca and its benefits as an adaptogen that helps balance your hormones. I took one small capsule of the powder a day for the last two days. The first day I noticed I became angry at everything. The second day I was swinging from overwhelmed to sad to angry to irritable (like PMS as many of you have mentioned). I chose to forego taking it today and I feel less angry, etc., but there’s still some lingering of it. I am so glad to hear other women have experienced this as well – it helps me feel slightly less nutso. I decided to take my tried-and-true PMS-fighting combo of vitamin E + Evening Primrose oil to see if that would help offset the symptoms. It’s been a few hours and I think it’s working. I will be retiring my maca to a drawer for now.

  10. I was taking 3/4 – 1 teaspoon of maca powder each day for a few weeks and the final week felt like I was actually going crazy. I was depressed, anxious, didn’t want to see friends or leave the house and crying all the time. I was also taking ashwaganda. I was told that the amount of Maca I was taking would not have caused this as it was such a small amount, but it seems like too much of a coincidence to me. It took a week of not taking it before I felt normal again. To those of you who have experienced these symptoms, what amount were you taking?

    1. Oh my goodness i think you are on to something here. I also used to put about 2 teaspoons of Maca powder into my smoothies and I it made me feel extremely tired and and my face looked washed out and drained. This natural root isn’t good when it makes you feel low.

      1. My face also looked really washed out afterwards! I only took 1/4 tsp today to try for peri-menopausal symptoms. I am very sensitive to basically everything. I also have severe ME/CFS as a baseline medical condition (we tend to be very sensitive to everything: herbs, Rxs). I got the powder from the store yesterday, and even muscle tested it before eating it w/my oatmeal. It was very weird effect. I got sleepy, then a very warm feeling in my neck, ears and hands. That scared me a bit…i thought maybe I was going to have an allergic reaction. Luckily nothing really noticeable. Then I showered: I thought maybe try to metabolize it out of my system! Then I got racy and irritable. The racy bit is no good for someone with MECFS. I have not been able to concentrate on the things I’d like to today…as much as I’d like to I should say. I feel a bit deadened right now emotionally and physically. Luckily Wegman’s takes back everything – so I am going to have it returned. I did read some online and also warnings. Glad I took such a small amount. I just hope I feel better tomorrow! :/ Also, no warnings on the packet it came in, except not to take when pregnant or nursing, etc.

  11. Hello. I’m male and maca has worked great for me however I’ve noticed if I take too much maca I start feeling aggressive. If I work out my aggressiveness leaves me. If I take the right dose I experience a great energy boost and mood lift without aggression. I was going to recommend it to my girlfriend however I did some research. Maca and birth control do not play well together. You could actually reduce the effectiveness of your birth control AND can get weird hormonal effects.

    So just a PSA don’t take maca and hormonal birth control.

    1. I have noticed that it is positive for me for mood and sex drive when I am conscious of reducing caffeine consumption. There is some kind of synergistic effect with coffee, for me. And I definitely need to stay away from soy (all the time, anyway).

    2. Don’t know anything about how Maca could affect women on birth control but as a dude I must tell my story. I’m 27 about to be 28 and I thought I was losing my sex drive as a result of getting older. Man Maca has made my joint feel like I’m 16! I wake up with morning wood everyday now. My errections are harder and last long. I definitely recommend Maca to every man and woman not on the pill.

  12. I started taking it the last week in January. I chose Raw Red Maca extract. The Red was more specific to my needs. I chose the extract because the powder isn’t great for sensitive stomachs and I was 220lbs and wanted immediate results (eating it takes longer to see results). I place the drops under my tongue, let sit for 30 secs then swallow so that it enters my bloodstream. I started with 1/4 tsp and gradually increased to 1/2-3/4 tsp. I feel GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have PCOS (hormonal imbalance) and it has helped me tremendously. I have more energy, increased sex drive, stable appetite, etc, etc.. I’m now 189 lbs and have done absolutely no exercise. My experience is vastly different from you ladies. I’m so sorry. I would suggest lowering the dosage and choosing a specific color as opposed to a blend. I only know of Red, Black, and Yellow. Good luck all!

  13. I believe I am figuring out what’s been going on with me. I’ve been taking 500mg of maca extract per day with my husband for a long time now maybe at least a year. I have been asking myself if maybe I’m developing anxiety because for so long now I feel anxious, sometimes depressed and often angry for not really good reasons. I am going to try to stop taking the maca and see what happens. Also my sex drive is gone. I mean gone. Which is def not normal for me. Hopefully I’ll start to see things improve in the coming months. Tbc…

  14. Started taking Maca capsules just a week or so ago and felt amazing for the first few days. Fast forward to this weekend and I’m an emotional wreck. I literally stood around quivering and sobbing yesterday – totally not me, not even with PMS. I have been a miserable *fill in the blank** for the past 3-4 days, and started to get that instinct that it might be the maca this morning. Sure enough, seems like it must be since I’m not normally a depressed/raging nut bag on my own. Stopping that supplement immediately. No need to make myself crazy (literally).

    Just for informational purposes, I have no imbalances and am not taking any medications/herbal supplements, so I can only imagine what it does if your body doesn’t need/like it and you are taking other stuff.

  15. Soo I started adding this to my smoothies and didn’t do enough research. The book I read with info on Maca powder said it gives you energy and creases your libido. Ummm nope. Not for me. I would put 1-2 teaspoons in my smoothies. And need a nap afterwards. Yawning and tired! Killer my libido in a major way! And I’ve been emotional and acting grumpy like I’ve got pms. I also take birth control pills and after reading all these comments should have done more research! Thank you for posting this blog topic!

  16. I just started taking it a few days ago. I read that it helps with Menopause so I thought I would try it.

    The first day I was fine. No real difference in the way I felt but the second day, I could not get rid of this feeling of despair.

    I even told my boyfriend I was having a hard time getting up and going. I cryed most of the day. That is totally opposite of the way I normally am.
    So today I took it again today. I’m not crying and Feeling sad but my breasts are aching and I’m feeling this weird tingling all over. Just like I used to feel when I was on my period.

    I’ve decided it’s not worth all of the crazy mood swings. I’m gonna stop taking it and see what happens.

    1. Hi. Do you not think its possible that we get all these types of symptoms mentioned in all the posts because our bodies are trying to balance the hormones ? Does this not take time ? I too have been an emotional wreck & have spent the last few days crying !!!

      1. Might I also add I’m Vegan and I believe Maca also detoxes our bodies powerfully especially the Liver. All these symptoms everyone seems to be describing are most likely a result of a detox. They’re most likely that strong as a result of not being on a plant based diet.

  17. nikki morrison

    I feel sooooooooo tired and i am normally a very high energy person. I am also experiencing some depression 🙁


      Yep, I’m having the same experience. Extreme fatigue and short of breath. I was wondering if I need to take it at night. But I think I’m just going to give it up. I’ve also gained weight, and have very tender breasts. I guess it’s not for me.

    2. I was wondering if we don’t get these symptoms because the body is trying to correct the hormonal imbalance ?? I too am crying all the time, to the point of scary!

  18. This stuff not only decreased my sex drive but it also gave me acne (which i never have), put at least 10lbs on me (mostly in my mid-section), gave me crazy dreams and night sweats, made me feel like I constantly have to pee, and jacked my stomach up. BEWARE!!!

  19. I am so happy it’s not just me. I started using Maca about three months ago and at first it just made me kind of gassy and bloated. I decided to stick it out. I have hypothalamic amenorrhea and am desperate to try anything to get my hormones back to normal. So I started getting really fatigued and feeling out of it everyday about half and hour after lunch( maca) I didn’t really put it together until today reading this. I also have been experiencing swollen glands in my neck. Anyone else? My thyroid hormones are low due to my HA. Thank you for this information. I feel like all of what is out there praises this stuff!

    1. I would advise you to please stop!!! This is awful. It made me such a different depressed person. And you don’t even realize it until you start acting weird.

  20. Millions of people in Peru eat Maca Root regularly. However unlike many people posting here they would never consumer it raw. They use it as flour and it must be cooked at high temperature.

    After reading all these “OMG I’m gonna die” posts here I wonder how in the hell Peruvians survived all these centuries eating Maca several times a week or even daily. Well, then I realized you people here are eating raw Maca, whereas in Peru they would never touch it raw, it must be geltanized Maca root which just means it’s cooked at a high temperature.

  21. I have just started taking maca tablets and it’s made me completely emotional (after just 3 days). It is like the worst PMS symptoms ever. Definitely not for me!

  22. I think your reaction had to do with the IUD. Have you tried maca with birth control in your body? Also, these are all detox symptoms. Maca causes detox but if your eating and lifestyle doesn’t support detox, you hold the emotions that are supposed to be coming out, in which makes you feel crazy! Someone mentioned they feel good if they workout in conjunction with it. How active are you guys while taking maca? Working out helps to purge the emotions that are trying to come out. Cry, scream, do some kick boxing. Work with the maca to get the past trauma out.

  23. Karla Van Wagner

    I had been taking Maca for about 2 months almost every day and probably too much. My husband made a great coconut cream/maca desert that we would have 4 or 5 times a week. Well last week must have been the tipping point for me. After one of our deserts I was hit with really bad diarrhea that lasted 2 days. I did some research and found out all of Maca’s side effects and stopped taking it. Finally after about 5 days of quitting, I feel more energized and my emotions are balanced. I really had no idea that it was THAT powerfull. It looked so innocent hanging in it’s bag at Trader Joe’s next to the Cocoa.

  24. Karla Van Wagner

    I forgot to add that 2 months in a row my period was over 7 days early! So not a fun surprise when you are camping!

  25. Hi. Im so glad i found this article. I know this is mainly about macas effects on women, but i am a 40 year old male and i get all the same adverse side effects as being described here. Ive been taking it for its supposed libido and vitality enhancement and all it seems to do is exacerbate my anxiety and depression ten fold and gives me extreme irritability and sadness and feeling of despair to the point i dont wanna leave the house or talk to anybody. And also i have had zero libido and erectile dysfunction on this too when its claimed to do the opposite. And i only take half the recommended dosage (500-750mg) of the gelatinized powder extract. I obviously didnt research maca enough first but all i could find is nothing but positive reviews and praises. I guess it works well for some people but if you are prone to anxiety and/or depression i would steer clear of this stuff. But what im wondering now though is 1) are women more prone to these side effects then men? Can any other guys chime in thatve had similar experience? And 2) how long will it take for my emorions and hormones to return to baseline? Ive only been taking it for a month

  26. Thank you for this post.

    Friday – bought Maca capsules from Go Vita and took one 500g Maca capsule that afternoon. Libido up that night.

    Saturday – took my regular pills (Microgynon pill, iron tablet, Dong Quai capsule) PLUS Maca capsule. Experienced itchiness on arms, mood swing from really loving to crying at a miscellaneous comment. Immediately took 2 Dong Quai capsules which helped balance the hormone for the rest of the day. Libido up that night.

    Sunday – Libido up in the morning. Took my regular pills (Microgynon pill, iron tablet, Dong Quai capsule) PLUS Maca capsule. Experienced immediate itchiness on arms. Took Zyrtec antihistamine tablet which took the edge off itchiness. Itchiness returned by afternoon on arms. Took second Zyrtec which calmed itchiness. No extreme mood swings, but felt slight aggressiveness but not sufficient to create an outburst. Immediately read blogs about side effects of Maca confirming libido increase, itchiness, mood swing, slight period-like cramping. Pill + Maca are definitely not a good combo. Felt tired by the afternoon and fell asleep for 2 hours!

    Now wondering if I should take Maca at night time only, or cut the pill in half, or stop altogether. Hubby is loving the libido up effect but happy for me to stop if side effects get too much for me. It’s only day 3.

  27. Addendum:
    Monday (today) – Today is day 4. Itchiness on arm persist despite not taking Maca capsule this morning. Took Zyrtec and it is now 2:51pm and itchiness gone. Have decided to throw away Maca bottle as the negative side effects are just not worth it. Thanks again for sharing! 🙂

    1. Hi Cindy, I wrote some of my side effects under another comment. But, my left arm started itching too! And, I’d only tried it for the 1st time today… 1/4 tsp in my oatmeal. Interesting to see you had the itchiness too. Thank you for sharing this.

  28. Ludmila Ellsworth

    So happy I found this site! I couldn’t figure out what has been happening to me. I’m fit, 43 years old health coach. I’ve been a health freak all my life. I use to add 1 tbsp of gelatinized maca in my morning shakes and gained almost 10lbs in 2 months! I don’t eat sugar, I excise regularly, my diet consists of salads and proteins. After 5 months in, with my emotions being all over the place, road rage, and diminished libido (which sucks, because I never experienced that before!) I started doing my research. It’s not for everyone, I guess!

  29. I discovered Maca several years ago and I LOVED it. I started with 500mg every morning and it gave me an amazing energy boost and really helped lower my anxiety. I was happy and peppy! I was in heaven and raved about it to everyone! Fast forward to now, and I feel like I have a few more pounds on me that I can’t shake no matter what (I workout 3-4 times a week and am practically vegan) and my energy levels are very low. I feel back to how I was–tired all the time with anxiety. I would try taking breaks like they suggest but then I would have crazy night sweats. This week has been rough–a lot of crying and anxiety and tender boobs. Oh, AND my libido is gone. I’m thinking I should really give it a try and quit it for a while and give my body a chance to recover. Makes me so sad because I loved it so much in the beginning!

  30. Wow. I am hearing all this bad stuff about Maca and I think it is the best thing I have ever done. I went
    through early menopause and did not have many issues I have always had a little underlying depression
    The maca makes me happy. I thought maybe it was in my mind so I quit taking the Maca and found I
    definitely felt better while taking it. I have been taking it for a couple years now. Maybe it is a better quality Maca??

    1. We are all different, Lisa. I think the people commenting on here are those who have literally googled key words to find verification of their own experience. For me I googled: “Can maca make you sleepy?” I talked to a woman today who’d tried maca a number of times, and she basically had zero reaction to it. Neither positive or negative. Like some people tolerate CBD oil really well. If I take CBD oil, it messes me up very badly for 5 days. Just an example.

  31. Wow. I’m not crazy. Last year around this time I started adding maca powder to my smoothies. Great taste, loved it….but then I noticed a change in my mood. I had those irritable PMS feelings for no reason. I would snap at my kids and husband for the smallest things. I felt so angry – I would wake up angry. I couldn’t figure it our until I started to think about what the trigger could be. It was exhausting to feel so angry all the time.
    I realized maca was the only thing different in my day to day routine for the two week period this was all happening. I tried to research on adverse effects, but everything I came across seemed to be positive effects. I’m not sure how I didn’t see this blog article last year, but reading the post and all the comments makes me finally know I wasn’t crazy! It WAS the maca.
    I was just looking at recipes and saw a naval smoothie one and out of curiosity decided to do a quick google search on maca and mood swings again. So, so happy I came across this article. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  32. I had one dose and it made me feel crap. Like everyone is saying, it feels like instant PMS. Will not be trying again

  33. I started about a month ago. I feel awful emotionally and tired. But it did kinda get me in the mood which is weird. I don’t want to give it up because I previously had no libido. It’s been low all my life and being post menopausal does not help. But golly. The rest of my life looks so bleak. I don’t know what to do.

    1. Ann, have you talked to your gyn? There may be other things you can try, and perhaps plant-based things.

  34. Pretty sure this article and comments just saved my ass. Four days in and this is happening to me. Bye bye maca.

  35. Wow, thank you for this!! I started drinking Organic Traditions Macaccino a couple of weeks ago, right before my period started. I noticed that my period seemed lighter but then my skin broke out LIKE CRAZY; worst acne I have had in a long time. And then my period ended and I couldn’t figure out why I was still PMSing?? Moodiness, anxiety, and depression. Not to mention that I have also been EXHAUSTED. I have 3 little boys, okay? I know what tired feels like. But this is crushing fatigue that has actually caused me to lay down on the living room floor and let my children climb all over me while I try to catch some Z’s. Yikes!! I stopped drinking the stuff days ago and still feel like garbage. Also… My period decided to re-appear this morning and it was supposed to have ended like 4 days ago. Maca and I are through.

  36. I have to mention that in trying to find any commentary about negative side effects of Maca–it was really difficult.. I am in the perimenopausal sliding into menopause and want to lessen and perhaps stop some of the many depressing symptoms that go along with “the change”. So, of course I wanted to find something natural and found the million positive testimonials(sponsored and otherwise) and was curious. I started taking the gelatinized capsules. I didn’t feel much except sort of bloated but thought that was food. I check my weight everyday because that is the only thing that motivates me to eat less and healthier and noticed a gradual weight gain. Plus(sorry) more constipated. So, I stopped taking it and started to get back to normal. Lately, I have been getting hot flashes and less energy, sigh. I have already had crazy hormonal things in the last few years but here are these symptoms and well, here I go. I decided to try again and at first, I thought I hadn’t adjusted yet because the flashes seemed to increase, tired more easily. Well, I did an experiment. I stopped taking it and symptoms subsided. This week I started again and had more hot flashes, worse and then night sweats. After reading this, goodbye MACA. I am an outlier and I think I have found my tribe hahah There must be other ways to diminish these effects and I will have to find them.

  37. Just took it for a month and lost my mind. I’ve never been depressed or anxious in my life. It put me into a tailspin of mood swings, I was crying constantly for no reason. I had to stop taking it!

  38. I noticed that this maca stuff is in a libido formula that I am taking. It’s such a small amount but I’m a guy and it seems to increase feelings, if I am a little sad it makes me very sad, if I am a little worried it makes me very worried, I actually think it makes me sad to start with and then increases those feelings. I hate this feeling, it’s horrible. I never felt like this before until taking this maca. I’ll try to not take it for a week and see if it goes away. I need to find a formula that doesn’t include maca. Could be only a few of us are reacting to this, might not affect everyone.

  39. Im a guy in my 30s. Started taking Maca a few weeks ago for libido.

    It worked well on libido, but I ended up in hospital yesterday due to tightness in my chest/back, anxiety, tingling sensation throughout my body and hyperventilating. Basically felt like all the symptoms of a heart attack, but blood work / xrays came back fine. They can’t find anything wrong. I still have some tightness in my chest today, although it’s reduced.

    I haven’t needed to go to the hospital in over 8 years. I’m normally perfectly healthy.

    Going to stop the Maca and see if it goes away. I feel awful!

  40. I stumbled upon this and wanted to point out that most likely your symptoms were due to the CACAO – not the maca – being you were only taking it for 2 weeks when symptoms started. I’m a Holistic Practitioner and have been warning people off cacao for at least 15 years now as it’s pretty much toxic and KILLS the adrenals – which will create hormone imbalance. While some can have adverse reactions to maca (and it should NEVER be consumed raw) – the side effects that you experienced, especially taking 1/2 dose of the product definitely scream to me of cacao (which ONLY a small amount will create dysfunction).

    I also ONLY recommend supplements that can modulate hormone balance AFTER you know your specific levels. As innocent as these herbal remedies can be (I’m trained in herbalism and plant medicine), they can be harmful if taken under the wrong circumstances. Especially when it comes to adrenal health – these one size fits all supplements are the worst thing ever. How can you address an imbalance without truly knowing what it is?

  41. I am so glad I ran into this blog. I started maca 2 days ago. And today I feel so horrible. A depression that is beyond normal. I get depressed every now and then, but they are normal depression. But tonight, I was just so depress that is also very emotional. It overtook my entire body and mind. I started googling for side effects of maca since it is the only new thing I started. I am surprised I did not see this article prior when I was researching for side effects of maca prior using it.
    Thank you so much.

  42. Weight has been increased almost instantly after beginning maca. I can normally drop weight anytime without trouble, so I have been consumed wondering what was causing the problem. Started maca a month ago, the only thing I have changed, stopping maca today. Hopefully I’ll soon return to normal.

  43. I heard if u are estrogen dominant it can cause a lot of pms feelings and make things worse …if u are low in the hormone department or have an imbalance it should be ok ….

  44. I came here because I wanted to try out Maca powder for my anxiety. I took one teaspoon 2 days ago and in the evening I was having extreme tingling on my scalp and down my spine. Today I decided to give it one more shot and I took half a teaspoon instead and it’s doing the same thing! Even quicker this time within 30 minutes. The same thing happened when I tried Ashwaganda about a month ago. What is up with these supposed superfood supplements? It’s just making the anxiety worse. I don’t recommend if you are sensitive to medication like me. I’ve been trying to regulate my anxiety the natural way without getting on medication but so far I’m disappointed in the results.

  45. OMGosh! I am so elated to have found this article and reading others experiences. Exhaustion! Freaking EXHAUSTION! Son of a …..! On one tsp of gelatinized maca in my smoothies for six weeks now. Nonstop pms, weight gain around the middle, apathy, lethargic, depression switching out with anxiety like some sick tag team, rage, insomnia, weird dreams, joint pain mainly in my neck and upper back. I stopped going to the gym entirely during these six weeks wherein I used to go 5 days a week. Libido? Sex? What are those?!?! This is nothing more than devil dust! No more maca for me…..fricking ever! Thanks so much, all of you and the author, for sharing your experiences. Maca raises estrogen levels. Too much estrogen increases risk for cancer of the breast and prostate. Jeesh!

  46. Maca impacts me in an odd way too. I started red maca about a week ago, cooked it on the stove, and drank it with ashwaghanda and camu camu. Now, I am an emotional mess. I don’t even recognize myself.

  47. I’ve given this a good couple of goes and each time I’m encountering side effects. I did my research and got good quality red maca from Peru, from two reputable sources with great feedback. I am a female late 30s with low estrogen pms – mood swings ranging from anxiety to depression and everything in between. The first time I took it my libido picked up a little, but nothing amazing, and I may have had a bit more energy. I also had several panic attacks before relating it to possibly being the maca. A few years later I tried a blended maca extract in supplement form, this gave me more severe hyperventilating panic attacks that would come on suddenly. I found I could alleviate them with selenium and zinc and suspect it could have been over stimulating my thyroid. I would also wake in the night with adrenal surges and anxiety. I put this down to maybe the supplement being too strong so I gave it a few months to get my equilibrium back and tried again but with a smaller dose of the straight powder.. I’ve been taking it for 4 days now and have not had anxiety from it but have been feeling myself sinking into depression. I also can’t seem to satiate my hunger. I don’t know if this is just an adjustment phase with hormones being stimulated before they come into balance… perhaps, but I plan to stop taking it until I can find reliable information that has not been commissioned for marketing purposes by the industry. Obviously it works great for some, but anyone selling the idea that maca is a cure-all for all things hormonal is not offering a complete and honest view of this product.
    Thank you for writing this blog post, people need to know both sides of the maca story.

  48. So glad I stumbled on this! I had severe depression earlier in my 40’s and once I had it under control I then turned to maca as a way to increase healthy living, libido, etc after reading about its positive attributes. So for two years now I have been adding it to my meals, and salads several times a week. But here’s the thing. My anxiety has been through the roof during the same period and I honestly thought until now it was lingering traits of depression. Not to mention heart palpitations, incredible sweats, and periods of low energy followed by thoughts of I need to work NOW. I thought I had done all my research, but honestly until now couldn’t find any bad reviews. So THANK you! I’m getting off of it right away and see how I feel. I take responsibility for not telling my doctor I was on it, I honestly just considered it a food. Major lesson learned.

  49. Thank you for writing this article. I’ve been flirting with Maca for years and thought that perhaps it was just the early stages of ingestion – but the fact is, for my particular constitution, it’s just not good for me. I believe every human is different, with different needs. I understand now we just need to listen to ourselves and our body. It tells us everything. Something that makes me feel anxious and moody is just not good for me, period – no matter how helpful it is for another. Hugs ? to all.

  50. I’m a middle-aged woman, stressed out, really stressful profession, and after taking the gelatinized powder form of yellow maca, I felt AMAZING!! Until a couple of days ago, when I began to feel so blue, and angry! Raging angry! And depressed. I have some hypothyroid issues, but never enought to get meds for. And, I’d read that although maca can be bad for hypothyroids, if it is cooked, it can actually be good! It’s all so confusing. I googled today (Christmas Eve), to see if anyone else is feeling as sad and hopeless as I am (anyone, that is, who had been taking maca), and here are all of you. I’m glad I’m not alone. And I’m DONE with that maca.

  51. Yep the crying thing….PMS-y the very day I take it. Age 55, periods still regular. It makes my skin and boobs full and sex feels kinda intense…but the crying thing……I use about 1 third of a teaspoon of gelatinised hoping it will do good things… seriously I can do without it!

  52. Started taking maca to boost my work outs, within 2 weeks I was itching to lift weights all the time but my family noticed I was becoming one angry nasty man which is not me at all, I’m also having bouts of highs and depression so it’s time to give this stuff the boot

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