Considerations and Contraindications in taking Maca

Considerations and Contraindications in taking Maca

According to an article published in 2012 in "Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,” how maca is prepared may determine the benefits derived from it. Traditionally, maca is dried and boiled before being consumed.

Since most of the maca supplements available are in the form of loose or encapsulated raw powder, it is unknown whether consuming powdered maca long term is safe. In addition, reports, there is little information on the safety and effectiveness of maca for pregnant or nursing women.

The use of maca by those with hormone related disorders may be contraindicated, due to maca's ability to promote estrogens in the body. Individuals with thyroid conditions should stay away from maca, according to, because maca contains compounds called glucosinolates. These compounds, when consumed in excess, may cause goiters, especially if the diet is deficient in iodine.

How safe is it?

There is not known side-effects or contraindications for Maca. However its better to avoid to use in high doses, or for long periods like 3 consecutive months.


Patients with thyroid conditions should avoid maca because glucosinolates taken in excess and combined with a low-iodine diet can cause goiter.


Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


None well documented.
Side Effects
There is no evidence of adverse reactions with maca. Maca has been reported to have a low degree of acute oral toxicity in animals and low cellular toxicity in vitro.


No adverse reactions were reported in an animal study with rats fed Maca extract in doses up to 5 g/kg. Its long-time use as a food product suggests low potential for toxicity.


Due to its tonic effects, according to the principals and theory of Chinese Medicine its better to avoid Maca and other tonic herbs such Ginseng for some health problems where there is already an excess of energy, such us hypertension, headaches, and cardiac problems, or also irritability and insomnia.


Maca. Review of Natural Products. factsandcomparisons4.0 [online]. February 2008. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed January 17, 2008.


Posted by Dr. João Carrilho

Dr. João Carrilho
Doctor in Traditional Chinese Medicine by Southwest Medical University, China.
Licensed Acupuncturist (N.0500096) and Phytotherapist (N.0400028) by the Portuguese Health Ministry.
Post-Graduated in Health Sciences at Oporto University, Portugal

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