Maca Powder Side Effects

Always do your research before trying something new. Even if it is a natural material or vitamin. Maybe, especially if. I didn’t read about what side effects eating maca powder raw could have, and I really should have.

I started taking maca powder raw in my coffee or smoothie to help regulate my periods and clear up my skin. It worked like a charm. I did this after reading one blog post. A month and a half later I could barely eat without getting stomach cramps or sweating and I was very gassy. I thought maybe drinking too much coffee was causing an ulcer or something…. Then it became so bad one afternoon that I was laying on the couch with severe stomach cramps, nauseous and sweating.maca-powder-and-root

I did look it up and a Google research found out this:

I started taking raw maca root powder a few weeks ago. It was effective at increasing energy levels and balancing my hormones out. It seemed like a good supplement without side effects. I had one of my friends try some one day and he proceeded to get sick and throw up for 5 hours. It was very strange; almost like an allergic reaction. I felt fine, and did not have any issues, so I thought it was just him.

Then about a week ago my stomach started hurting. It was just low level stomach upset at first. Then a few days later it hit me. I went from low level stomach upset to curled up in a ball on the floor with stomach spasms. I passed out from the pain, and woke up 4 hours later. The major pain had subsided, but my stomach was still very upset. I figured I have food poisoning and gave it a few days. It has now been a week and a half, and the stomach pain has not subsided.

I think I have narrowed it down to SBIO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). All of my symptoms fit, and I am pretty sure it was caused by the raw maca powder. Either the enzymes left in the root caused it, or there was bacteria in the powder. After doing some more research, raw maca powder can cause digestive issues if the starches are not gelatinized. Basically the powder needs to be cooked at around 300*F to break down the enzymes. I have been treating it with various methods, but it does not seem to be improving. Eating any dairy, fiber, sugars, etc makes the pain come back. If I fast, the pain stays at bay. If I eat spicy food, then surprisingly the pain only comes back a little. I have been trying digestive enzymes, probiotics, and activated charcoal to varying degrees of success. I think I am going to have to go on neomycin to beat it. I hate going on antibiotics!

So be careful if you are using raw maca. I would suggest baking it at 300*F for at least 30 min before ingesting it. You can also buy gelatinized maca for a little more. There’s also a chance that there was bacteria on the maca when I got it. Who knows what goes on in the packing center in Peru. Cooking it should kill the bacteria as well. Stupid...” (Source:


Dear Jenny, What you describe is a very common problem for people using raw maca.  Most of the maca powder and capsules sold in the U.S. are made from raw maca, yet the native people of Peru wouldn’t dream of eating raw maca! That is why Whole World Botanicals’ Royal Maca has always been cooked in a way called gelatinization.  (No gelatin is added; this is a cooked and extruded form of maca root).  Andeans in the maca growing region of Peru eat maca root either boiled for hours with sugar and drunk as maca juice, or boiled or roasted and eaten as a part of the meal along with quinoa, potatoes, and other Andean foods.  Children in the maca growing region of the Peruvian Andes are served boiled maca roots (very small) to which sugar and oatmeal has been added 3 times a week to increase their stamina, growth, and brain power.—–“Evidently, raw maca contains enzymes which inhibit the digestion and assimilation of food—proving that those native Peruvians knew what they were doing.  So it is not surprising that so many people suffer severe digestive problems from taking maca in its raw form.  Of course, it’s a lot cheaper to produce—that’s why companies sell it raw.  But it also has 20% more water weight than cooked maca – and requires a higher dosage for human consumption.  This makes it expensive and not cost-effective.  Another problem with raw maca is that it is a breeding ground for bacterial and fungal (yeast and mold) growth, due to its high moisture content.  This may be an additional significant factor in causing serious stomach and intestinal distress.” (Source :

So do your research people! You may think it’s natural which is good and it’s from Peru which is exotic and you are all happy with that until you feel like your stomach is being turned inside out and being scraped by jagged fingernails. Then you might change your mind. Natural doesn’t always equal good for you. And just because it comes in raw form in your health store doesn’t mean they did their proper research on it either.

Just wanted to warn you all since I said earlier it was amazing. I have changed my mind.


You may also want to check out:

The Thing I Did to Help My Gut.

Gut Health Help: Article Roundup.

Exploring Gut Health

Gut Health Update



  • Louise dawson August 16, 2014 at 13:46

    Hi, how long did your stomach cramps last? Did you need antibiotics? Im having exactly the same problems for the last 2-3 weeks after taking raw maca.

    • caffeinefueledfool August 17, 2014 at 00:04

      About a month. I recommend eating a lot of yogurt, avoiding caffeine and sugar for a couple of weeks and taking probiotic vitamins. Good luck!! Let me know how it goes.

      • kate dawson August 17, 2014 at 14:11

        Thanks! I’ll try that. I’ve got antibiotics too so hoping they also help. I’ve noticed carbs and sugar set it off so I’m avoiding them! If only I’d known the dangers of taking raw maca – it shouldn’t be allowed to be sold in a raw form.

        • caffeinefueledfool August 18, 2014 at 05:42

          Natural medicine and products need to be labeled more completely and more regulated.

        • Todd July 19, 2017 at 09:24

          I agree Kate… Im in the same boat… been in severe pain for two days. If I eat something the pain comes back to almost unbearable levels. Seems as if I eat anything it comes back. Raw maca shouldnt even be allowed to be sold. I bought it in capsules and thought it was in capsules that it would be fine.

          • Tianna Wynne July 20, 2017 at 10:15

            I’ve heard that activated charcoal can help flush it out. Or water with apple cider vinegar….although I just waited my symptoms out! I would recommend doing the Gut Makeover that I just did. I am putting a post up today about it, so be sure to check back and see if that would help.

          • Nicole Larson March 31, 2019 at 15:34

            I agree, I have i.b.s and am in pain in my belly after 3 days of use. Maca is horrible!!

    • Tianna Wynne July 20, 2017 at 11:17

      Also- I didn’t need antibiotics…but if your symptoms last longer than three weeks, I would.

      • Todd July 21, 2017 at 10:22

        Hi Tianna

        Would you know how much apple cider vinegar to mix with water to flush it out. And do you have a link for that gut makeover post. Very interested. Thanks again 🙂

    • Sher Raymond December 12, 2018 at 12:51

      The EXACT THING HAPPENED TO ME w/ MACA ROOT!! I read you couldn’t take too much and I’m having horrible Hot flashes & mood swings so I thought i would take 2 pills (1000 mg each) of the Nutra Champs MACA organically grown in Peru and 2 pills in the afternoon when i came home from work. By week 3 1/2 I was so CRAMPED UP WITH the worst PAIN I have ever felt I was a walking shell. I thought i had food poisoning? The only thing I could consume were basically RAW veggies like Green peppers,etc.. When I ate dairy, spicy, soda, I thought I would simply DIE! iT wasn’t until my g/f read blogs and basically forbid me ALL maca root that my stomach kinda-sorta started to get back to normal. But now I’m STILL not 100% and I drink Kombucha to get my stomach back in shape but that only lasts about an hour… The FDA seriously needs to just regulate this stuff. I’m sure it’s great, just not for everyone…

      • Tianna Wynne December 12, 2018 at 22:25

        I agree! There should be a disclaimer or something.

  • Carla August 22, 2015 at 11:49

    Thank you for this! I took Maca (raw) for a few weeks, and then it must have built up to an intolerable level in my system, because WOW, these stomach cramps hurt! I stopped taking the Maca two weeks ago today, and still having them. You are the first person who stated how long their cramps lasted. I sure hope this goes away soon. Miserable stuff.

    • Tianna Wynne July 20, 2017 at 11:18

      I hope you feel better!! Did they go away?? Isn’t it like being turned inside out and stabbed with jagged fingernails??

  • Ashley July 24, 2016 at 11:29

    I have been taking gelatinized (so the bottle says) capsules for about a month now myself and for the past week I’ve had stomache pain on and off consistently … My initial thought was its an ulcer but I’m 27 and healthy. Never had stomache issues my whole life. But I’m wondering if this may be the cause? Could that be it even though they are gelatinized maca capsules? Hmm …..

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  • Andrea Mungo December 17, 2016 at 14:38

    Just had similar reaction after drinking maca powder in a smoothie. Threw up multiple times, major diarrhea, somach cramps, sweats. Thanks for validating that my symptoms were from the maca powder.

    • Tianna Wynne January 12, 2017 at 10:04

      Oh man! Raw maca powder should just have warnings on it…. I hope you’re okay now!

      • Todd July 19, 2017 at 09:29

        Just wanted to say Thanks for writing this. Its the only article I could find about eating raw maca and having severe cramps. I’ll never take it again. Its not worth it. The pain was to much. Once again Thanks Tianna for writing this. Hoping my symptoms will pass soon, cause its just brutal.

        • Tianna Wynne July 20, 2017 at 10:14

          Raw Maca seems so dangerous! I am sure it is okay cooked or in smoothies from smoothie bars but I will never take it again either. I am so glad this post helped you. 🙂 I hope your symptoms fade very soon.

    • Linda in BC April 8, 2017 at 20:05

      I had the exact same experience, first time I’ve ever had Maca and it will be my last. Thanks for the confirmation.

      • Tianna Wynne April 19, 2017 at 09:36

        I feel the same. Never again! Did you stop before symptoms became too severe?

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    • Rasa Estee March 8, 2017 at 20:28

      I’ve been experiencing super distractingly itchy and hot rashes on my neck and my entire scalp for weeks now since I used organic Maca powder in my Booster drinks. My digestion is off balanced and I’m extra anxious and fatigued. I’ve been in a very specific diet to deal with other health issues and the hives/rash hasn’t gone away. Anyone has tips for remedy? Thank youuuu ??

      • Tianna Wynne March 10, 2017 at 11:11

        Really??? That isn’t a symptom I have read about in relation to this. I did read a lot of varying reactions to it and many of them went to the doctor and were able to get something to get rid of whatever they were suffering from. Have you gone to your doctor? As well, I would recommend anything that boosts the immune system. I am not a doctor, but from personal experience, I have found that fermented foods, green tea and probiotics help immensely. And eat lots of leafy greens. That’s helped me! Good luck. Keep me updated.

  • Alex May May 9, 2017 at 20:36

    I am so glad I discovered your page! I’m going on week 2 of stomach cramps. It took until reading your experience tof piece together that it was the maca root powder I was taking that caused this. I am now in aloe Vera juice and charcoal pills as well as probiotics. Good to know that fermented foods help. I was taking Gut Shots (fermented) while taking maca and I had no problem. But once I stopped the Gut Shots, my stomach cramps set in. I wonder if they were helping keep it at bay since I was mixing the 2.

    I can’t wait till this is all out of my system. Never again!! The bag I was using was raw and also never mentioned the effects. So wrong! But thank you!

    • Tianna Wynne May 12, 2017 at 10:23

      I am so glad this post helped! SO glad. You’re very welcome. My hope was that it would help people before the symptoms went too far.
      Also, I 100% agree, it is SO WRONG that there are no warnings of possible side effects.
      Where did you find the gut shots? They sound interesting. I am now having issues with gut problems- cramping and bloating and aversion to some foods- so I am doing an elimination diet followed by a gut healing one. I’ll keep you updated as it sounds like it would help you recover from the raw maca….that evil brew.

      • Diana November 11, 2017 at 22:38

        I’m on the verge of tears right now, my husband had taken the Maca years ago and was ok so I grabbed the Raw on thinking it would be better since it was Raw, and he’s in tears in pain. At what point to I take him to the hospital? He’s never sick, yet this is effecting him just like all those above! It’s really bad! What should I do for him to stop the pain? Do I hush him to the hospital to get antibiotics and do doctors even know what to do? HELP, HELP, my email is dayofpromise He’s 61 yrs old. Like I said almost never ill, and to see him in so much pain if horrible! Email: WHAT DO I GIVE HIM FOR THE PAIN???

        • Tianna Wynne November 28, 2017 at 13:38

          I’m sorry I missed this comment…I see there is a second one now and let me read that first.

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  • Palome October 12, 2017 at 06:58

    I took 2 doses (1 tsp each) of raw maca powder over 2 days. My tongue swelled, I had restricted breathing, dizzy, my throat & mucous membranes were all burning for 3-4 days afterwards. It was terrible. So painful. Please anyone trying this for the first time go slowly with a small dose. I ended up at my doctors office being treated for an anaphylactic reaction. Be careful.

    • Tianna Wynne October 18, 2017 at 09:21

      Omigosh! I am so sorry to hear about this. Are you okay now? I agree with your advice- go slow everyone!

  • Diana November 12, 2017 at 03:13

    We just got home from the hospital. They gave him Morphine etc. Now we’re home and he has 4 drugs to take one is Tramado it contains an OPIOID! His pain was out the roof! I’m unsure what else they gave him there as I’m so sleepy! Should I gave him Charcoal? They diagonal him with Food Poisoning. We usually take 6 only at the beginning for that condition and it works wonders. You mentioned Apple Cider Vinegar. How much did you take? I don’t want to give him these 4 drugs! They all have horrible possible side effects. We will NEVER buy this again! Again, he took a tablespoonful as directed on the package! He’s sleeping soundly now, but HELP! What would you do if it were you?

    • Tianna Wynne November 28, 2017 at 13:51

      Diana- I am going to email you! But for anyone coming across this comment on the blog and needing similar help…..First, I am not a doctor. But here is what worked for me and what I believe would work..Charcoal couldn’t hurt. It helps flush out the system and that could be a good thing. I take a tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar in my water every morning. I think your husband would benefit from 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar 3 times a day, before every meal. I would buy the best fruit and veg and the cleanest grass-fed meat you can find. I would assume that any extra pesticides, antibiotics or hormones would tip the scales out of his favour as his stomach and gut must be a mess. Look up articles by Jeannette Hyde and Terry Wahls. Make or buy high-quality bone broth! Have him drink at least a glass a day- when I eat gluten and feel poisoned, it helps me a lot!

      Look up “The Gut Makeover” post I did here….he may benefit from Dr Hyde’s 4 week program to reset his gut and stomach.
      These articles may help as well, as the food poisoning may have damaged his gut lining:
      Those are a good jumping off point, maybe.

      But start with bone broth, charcoal, apple cider vinegar and great quality meat, veg and fruit. Let me know if this helps or if you have any questions. I think, if you don’t want to go the traditional medicine route, go to a nutritionist and naturopath for pro help. My hopes for a speedy recovery are with your husband!

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  • Scarlet January 31, 2018 at 09:19

    Hi just found your post!
    I started taking maca powder a few weeks ago with smoothies and initially things were going good. Then I whisked some into juice and was drinking it after a workout. Then it hit. Stomach cramps and spasms and whatever food I ate called pain.
    Really upset over it all.
    Stopped the Maca powder about 4 days ago now but the pain is still there, comes and goes. If I eat any solid food it cramps and aches. The first couple of nights were the worst.
    It aches and pains before I pass a bowel moment, I feel like I’ve got IBS or something.

    I’ve started taking symprove which is a probiotic, Apple cider vinegar water and I drink Huel shakes to get my energy. If I’m lucky I can eat a banana or two.

    Feel like crying.
    How long will this last?

    • Tianna Wynne January 31, 2018 at 10:39

      Omigosh Scarlet- I’m SO SORRY this has happened to you. My cramps were intense for a couple of weeks, if I remember correctly, but lasted about a month. I would definitely add bone broth to the mix and make homemade shakes with a lot of veggies and fruit to trick your body into getting gut-healthy nutrients. If it lasts more than a week for you, I would go to the doctor. Let me know how it goes!! Keep me updated.

  • Sharon Lim March 7, 2018 at 13:50

    Hi Tianna, I just came across your page here after doing some immense research regarding raw maca powder and its reaction on my gastrointestinal tract here. I feel like I am DYING. The cramps/pain, sweating, heart racing and trembles are so painful and I cannot figure out what to do (it’s been one-one half weeks). I feel awful as I should have done more research before taking maca….but it was also in granola form which I didnt think would affect me this much. Anyway, THANK YOU for this information and thread of comments to help me get back on track. I’m dealing with autoimmune Hashimotos on the side so i was feeling absolutely lost. <3

    • Tianna Wynne March 8, 2018 at 10:38

      Hi Sharon! I’m so sorry you are going through this!! I know how awful it can be. Read the thread and take any suggestions that stand out to you. I’ve heard that Hashimotos effects are amplified when you eat sugar, gluten and green tea- green tea!- so avoid those if you haven’t read that already. I have a few friends who have Hashimotos and they always ask me to pass that on. 🙂 I would say another half a week and you should be okay- I think it took me two or three weeks to feel okay again. Baby your stomach as if you have just had the flu! That really helped me. I drank ginger tea, ate a lot of soup and avoided anything heavy or fried. Let me know when you’re feeling yourself again. Thinking of you.

  • Sally March 23, 2018 at 03:12

    Tianna, I was wondering if you’ve found any other supplements that help regulate your period. I loved how maca helped mine and the clear skin, but I don’t think I can bear the stomach issues any more. Any ideas?

    • Tianna Wynne March 24, 2018 at 18:31

      Hey Sally! Thank you for reading!

      As for your question…

      This is gonna sound lame but I have found that the only thing that helped was cutting out gluten, sugar and processed food as much as possible. I did an elimination diet and when I slowly added food back in, I kept a diary and logged how my skin was and how my periods were. I found that I have an extreme intolerance to gluten and that added sugar, caffeine and overeating processed food made my skin break out into painful cystic acne (think, pizza face) and made my periods really rough.

      I’m sorry that I don’t have a supplement answer- it would be so much easier!! I have heard -from doing personal polls of friends- that cleaning up your diet, exercise and sleep are the best bets. A lot of my friends have started to take collagen powder and say that helps as well. Oh- and making sure you take your Calcium-Magnesium vitamins every month.

      My periods have been rough lately and I have lost a whole day to cramps the last few months and I think it’s because I let my diet slide. Next month I am going to do a month of clean and real-food eating. You can follow along here if you want! It will be a weekly update every Saturday. We can do it together!!

      Whatever you decide, I wish you good luck. Being a woman is hard enough without dealing with acne and cramps!

  • Maya March 24, 2018 at 12:52

    Wow so glad to have found this. Two weeks of raw maca powder and I’m almost a week into pretty bad stomach cramps any time I eat 🙁
    Though I’d done my research before purchasing but clearly not! The sites I looked at that sell/promote it made vague notes about “small percentage of people may experience discomfort”, but that’s all. In hindsight, can’t believe I was so stupid to eat a raw root powder. There should be warnings on the packaging!
    Today’s my first day without taking it. I really hope these cramps don’t last too long – I feel so drained!
    Thank you for confirming what I’d started to think days ago but it hadn’t really clicked.

    • Tianna Wynne March 24, 2018 at 18:33

      Ack- so glad you stopped in time! I have read that the maca powder big chains put in smoothies ( I think Jugo Juice is doing it now?) is cooked maca powder….but even then I avoid it! I don’t trust it since it wrecked my stomach. I wish you a speedy recovery. Keep us updated!! Since you only took two weeks of raw maca, I would think you should be fine in a few days. Good luck!! We are thinking of you.

      • Maya March 25, 2018 at 08:19

        Thanks! I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone, but at the same time it’s so comforting to know that others have been through this. Weirdly enough, I’m noticing that I can get through breakfast with no hassle (muesli, hemp milk, and pro-bio yoghurt) but lunchtime the cramps are almost immediate and last through until bedtime. Think I’m eating stuff that’s just too heavy, so I might just having muesli tomorrow for lunch too, and see if it makes any difference! Or try soup like you mentioned above.
        I guess at least I’m getting a bit of a much needed detox this way – less heavy food and lots of tea!

        • Tianna Wynne March 27, 2018 at 18:20

          It is kind of validating to know you’re not the only one, isn’t it!! And yes- it is kind of a forced detox….which both sucks and is good. Haha. I found the same thing with food- I stuck to tea, water, soups and veggies. I only had meat twice a week and cut out carbs for a couple weeks. Hope you feel better soon.

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  • Renae May 6, 2018 at 22:49

    Wow…. SO glad you wrote this post. I bought Maca and had one dose.. just a teaspoon, in my smoothie. I was gassy and a bit crampy. Then the next day I had another dose, same amount, and drank it while I was at work. Within 40 minutes I had that SEVERE pain!! SO BAD!! I’m glad I’m a nurse and was working in the hospital. It got so bad I actually passed out. It was frightening the amount of pain I was in. I am so glad that it happened on my second try of it, and that I decide to google and found your post. I will NEVER take Maca again. And I even started at a small dose! So insane that there isn’t more on the packaging of the possible side effects for some people!!! I’ve had 2 kids, and can really say the amount of pain it caused was almost worse than child birth. I never fainted in childbirth. I fainted with the severity of this pain. Glad I do not have lingering effects other than gas now. Drinking a lot of gut shots and kombucha and yogurt to get my gut back to its regular self. Thanks for sharing your experience!!!

    • Tianna Wynne May 7, 2018 at 09:01

      You’re so welcome! I am glad this post helped. Kombucha sounds like a yummy recovery option!! 🙂

  • Claire May 17, 2018 at 11:18

    Thank you so much for posting this. I could not figure out what has been causing this bizarre intermittent illness. I am 25, healthy, but avoid gluten, dairy, soy and meat to maintain my gut health. Maca is no joke. Makes me vomit until there is nothing left in side of me. About 1.5-2 hours after taking it. The pain subsides in a few hours but bodily weakness and no appetite stays for around 36 hours.

    • Tianna Wynne May 17, 2018 at 11:22

      Oh I am glad this helped! I think the problem is that it’s not a regulated product so you never know what you’re getting. Maybe maca is cross-contaminated as well? Who knows! I went through the same thing and I feel your pain. Feel better!!

    • Katie May 24, 2020 at 06:53

      This describes my reaction to a t! Glad that I finally figured out what was causing it! Terrible stuff!

  • Rochelle June 5, 2018 at 10:24

    Hello Tianna, I’m glad I found this post. I used maca once last year and 3 hours later I spent hours puking up my guts. I thought I was bad almond milk so I tried it again about 3 weeks later. Again with the excessive vomiting. I was on my way to work that day and had to pull over on the highway. I threw the stuff out and never touched it again. Last Friday hubby and I went to a vegan restaurant and he talked me into the vegan lime cheesecake, It was awesome! But 3 hours later, I was puking my guts up again so I called and found out they put maca in the cheesecake! By reading these posts I wonder if it’s a blessing I have this reaction. It sounds better than what everyone here is going through!

    • Tianna Wynne June 5, 2018 at 10:48

      Oh my gosh! Was maca listed in the ingredients at all? I am beginning to wonder if I should ask for an ingredient list for everything I eat. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Jodi Bicher August 12, 2018 at 09:46

    I was taking Macafem for about ten days and then got terrible diarrhea and stomach cramps so I stopped taking, but still have symtoms. This is a tablet not raw powder. Could this be the cause?

    • Tianna Wynne August 12, 2018 at 19:12

      I haven’t seen Macafem before, but I bet if you check the ingredients it says raw maca on it. I could be wrong but it sounds like it. Hopefully the symptoms fade soon!! Keep us updated. 🙂

  • Christy September 20, 2018 at 22:21

    Thank you for sharing these experiences! I couldn’t imagine what was happening to my body! Just this past Monday, after taking Maca powder for about 3 weeks I found myself in my car with my young son pulled over in a parking lot with SEVERE abdominal pain/cramps, sweating and on the verge of passing out with pain while managing to call 911 for assistance! Thankfully, help came and the symptoms passed but after a terrifying experience and a trip to the ER, we still didn’t know what happened! I knew the only thing I had changed was taking the Maca powder at the advice of my Dr. to help with hormones so I begin to research “side effects” of Maca powder. I was surprised I didn’t find much information, but SO thankful I stumbled across your site and story! I shared with friends and family immediately…”these are my symptoms!” I instantly threw the Maca powder in the trash and NEVER will be taking it again but sadly the pain is still there every time I eat something! Your right, I notice it worse if I eat dark chocolate covered almonds (sugar) or broccoli (high fiber) and yogurt seems to be the ONLY time I don’t cramp up! I’m only 24 hrs off the Maca powder and Ican only hope and pray this is out of my system sooner than later!

    • Tianna Wynne September 25, 2018 at 11:34

      I’m so glad my post helped! There isn’t much advice out there- maybe most don’t experience these severe symptoms? I sure did and I’m glad you were able to figure it out. I hope you feel all better soon.

  • Sora September 30, 2018 at 19:28


    I have had exactly the same symptom. I started to add maca powder about two months ago in my breakfast and didn’t have any issues. Then my stomach cramps started very badly a month ago every morning. At first, I didn’t know the cause was maca. I thought I have some issues with my stomachs like gastritis or ulcer. But I suspected that it may be the maca powder because whenever I don’t eat maca powder, my stomach is totally fine and as soon as I add maca powder to breakfast, my stomach cramps come back.

    • Tianna Wynne October 1, 2018 at 12:55

      Oh yeah, it must have been the maca! Make sure to eat a lot of gut healthy food, just in case your gut is feeling a bit wrecked. I’m glad you were able to narrow down the problem!

  • Ariana Ruise February 1, 2019 at 11:12

    I just started using GNC Macao root and on day 3 started feeling gassy and having the needle like pains in my stomach. Also, feeling a lil anxious and my heart racing. Does this happen with all maca root or just a certain kinds because i see there’s a red, black, green, and i think yellow maca root?

    • Tianna Wynne February 4, 2019 at 13:26

      I’m not sure! I had the same reactions with yellow maca root. I will let you know if I find out! Does anyone here have answers for her? I’d be curious to know if anyone else who commented would know.

      • SB May 15, 2019 at 16:09

        Hello! Thk u for sharing I started taking maca root in pill format a month ago and it was 900mg it had a combination of all the maca root colord…..I noticed a month later I got severe abdominal pain and lower back pain I started researching miscarriage and the symtoms seemed very simular….Now that I came across this page it sounds like it was the maca root wow…I had the pain for 2 days the first day it lasted about 3hrs and then the 2nd day it came back it lasted about 4-5hrs….oh I forgot to mention my monthly cycle came back 1 week after my cycle ended…..I stopped taking the maca pills and my stomach is fine now.

  • Carmen March 31, 2019 at 01:53

    Hi, I’ve just come across your blog while researching maca side effects after I’ve had a really severe (and potentially life threatening!) one. I’ve previously used the maca yellow powder and had no ill effects BUT I’ve taken a maca tincture (liquid) for perimenopausal symptoms and to balance hormones and it’s caused EXCESSIVE menstrual bleeding (soaking a super tampon in 5 minutes!! Sorry for the gory details but I think it’s important that women are aware of this as it’s regarded as a great remedy for perimenopausal symptoms and PMS. I’ve since found out that anyone with fibroids (i have them), endometriosis, and breast, ovarian and uterine cancers should avoid it or use with great caution. It’s prolonged my period, the bleeding is still very heavy and I was already anaemic to begin with so take great care with using the maca tincture!!!

    • Tianna Wynne April 1, 2019 at 17:30

      This is a new one and VERY good to know. Thank you!! I’m sorry all of you have had problems with it.

      • Carmen Tonks April 3, 2019 at 02:25

        A scary update to my post. Several hours after writing this comment I was rushed to the emergency department hemorrhaging. I lost so much blood I fainted, convulsed and needed a blood tranfusion along with an iron infusion and lots of IV fluids. It took about 6 hours for the bleeding to stop. So for anyone with heavy menstrual bleeding, fibroids, breast, ovarian or uterine cancer AVOID maca!!!!

        • Tianna Wynne April 3, 2019 at 14:58

          Omigosh! Are you okay now? Scary stuff. Sorry that you had to go through that.

          • Carmen April 3, 2019 at 23:02

            Thanks! It was really awful! Still feeling weak and woozy and nearly fainted a few times yesterday but no more blood loss since Monday. Taking it very easy this week!! And making sure I take my iron supplements daily.

  • Nicole.L. March 31, 2019 at 11:59

    Hi there, I sure wish I had read this before even thinking of trying these pills, suggested from a person on Facebook. Anyways I took 1 500mg. pill for 3 days. I then stopped because I was bloating, having stomach ache, body pains and felt dizzy. Well I also have i.b.s. and already have a messed up gut. Soo needless to say this didnt help. It’s now 5 days since I stopped and I’m still having stomach aches and bloat after everything I eat. I hope it goes away soon. Not making me very happy. Maca is evil!!!

    • Tianna Wynne April 2, 2019 at 09:30

      Also- I often wonder if maca root CAUSED my IBS because I didn’t have symptoms before….wondering if, in some people, maca root irritates the gut lining, destroying villi and causing leaky gut syndrome. I have been researching leaky gut and the diet suggestions have been helpful in my recovery.

      • Madylon Harper June 13, 2019 at 22:13

        How long did it actually take everyone to recover from their maca nightmares? I am very worried having terrible stomach cramping, diarrhea and bad gerd problems. Going to make an appt with my Naturopath see if she cant help me.
        Was hoping to read some recovery stories.

        • Tianna Wynne June 17, 2019 at 16:12

          Yeah, not a lot of people sharing recovery! If anyone is reading this, let her know how you did. I recovered in about 3 weeks. Good luck!

      • Simon bryan November 8, 2020 at 07:59

        Wow, read most of your response and realize that maybe the stomach upset and aggravated ulcer I experienced might have been caused by the ultimate maca I took. When terrible stomach ache.

        • Tianna Wynne November 10, 2020 at 11:10

          Sounds like it was a variety of factors for you! I would recommend seeing a doctor and a nutritionist.

      • Simon bryan November 8, 2020 at 08:13

        I think it does,it destroys the gut

  • Nicole Larson March 31, 2019 at 13:21

    Are my comments getting through, 8vr recently tried maca pills and have i.b.s. and not doing well!!

    • Tianna Wynne April 2, 2019 at 09:26

      Hi Nicole! I’m a little behind on reading these comments. So sorry that you’re going through this, too! I found that it took about three weeks to get rid of the pain. Eat a lot of gut-friendly and soothing foods. No raw veggies, caffeine and avoid sugar. Avoid dairy if possible. Soups, smoothies and cooked veggies seemed to help me. Drink bone broth and let your stomach rest between meals. Herbal tea was hit and miss for me, so maybe stick to soothing blends like ginger, mint or chamomile. Protein also seemed to help but make sure you only eat well-done meat. Limit grains or white starchy foods as they can cause inflammation. I would say for week one, at the least, do this. If the pain is ebbing, try adding in fermented foods and a probiotic. Fermented foods like kombucha, cultured yogurt, pickles, sauerkraut…kefir is great if you can handle a bit of fermented dairy again! Then slowly reintroduce raw veggies and food you love. Let me know how it goes! Hope your pain resolves itself soon. If, after a couple of weeks (three max), you don’t see improvement, I would talk to a doctor. They can give you an anti-spasmodic or something to calm the inflammation in your gut and stomach lining. GOOD LUCK. Hoping for your speedy recovery.

  • Nicole L. April 3, 2019 at 14:38

    Hi lady, I’m still dealing with the bloating. I felt pretty good yesterday, but today I ate some carrots at lunch and some grapes and now I’m bloated. I have taken a charcoal pill at bedtime last night and the night before. Apparently this stuff isnt going to get out of my system easily. I hate the bloating, soo uncomfortable. Just sharing my story of going through this “Poisoning”!!!!

    • Tianna Wynne April 3, 2019 at 15:00

      I would say stop the charcoal pills: They can be very tough on the system and will strip good bacteria out when your body is stressed. Grape skin and any raw veggies will also take extra work to digest and will be tough on the system and its lining. I say stick to mild tastes and cooked veggies for the next week or so. Good luck.

  • Cheri May 22, 2019 at 15:46

    Did anyone take maca capsules from Wise Woman Herbals? When I called they said it wasn’t raw but on the website it also says unroasted. This stomach thing is happening to me and not sure if it is from that or something different.

    • Tianna Wynne May 23, 2019 at 09:12

      I would stop taking them for three weeks. If something is still bothering you, it wasn’t the pills! (But I suspect it is. 🙁 )

  • Natasha June 7, 2019 at 02:30

    I just had a teaspoon of Maca powder with boiling water as a drink and I got hot sweats and vomited out of no where. My guts feel wrecked.

    • Tianna Wynne June 17, 2019 at 16:11

      Wow- that’s the fastest I’ve heard of it affecting anyone!

  • Madylon Harper June 13, 2019 at 21:04

    Hi there, do glad I came across your site
    I have had terrible cramps, diarrhea, gas, stomach pain like Unbelievable. Started maca about a month and 1/2 ago trying to get healthy, so I thought. Put it in my smoothies every morning with some moringa, baobab and hemp seeds. I am a mess! Jitters, insomnia, horrible cramping. Thank goodness for your post. Truly one really needs to research thoroughly everything out there. I am going to make an appt with my Naturopath and see how we can improve my situation. Will never take anything again other than real food?

  • jen July 3, 2019 at 05:08

    Wow… As everyone else has said, i am so grateful for this post… Even 6+years after it was originally written. I was in my 3rd day of talking it, thought i did my research, etc, and had the terrible stomach cramps and some vomiting. I would’ve gone to the hospital if i didn’t read this, so i just waited it out. Of course I’m scared to eat today, but i will follow the advice you’ve given. Has anyone written the companies that make the maca? We need to make sure they know our stories, I’m the last one who wants FDA control, but a warning on the package could be helpful!

    • Tianna Wynne July 3, 2019 at 10:06

      glad the conversation here helped! Reaching out to ask for a possible side effect on the package would be helpful!

  • jen July 3, 2019 at 10:57

    This was Navitas response… They do have a business to protect.

    “We’re very sorry to hear that our maca powder did not agree with you. The reaction you described is rare and is not representative of what most people experience with maca. Everyone reacts to foods differently, and we unfortunately cannot predict every person’s individual sensitivities.

    We do offer a gelatinized maca as well for those who do not tolerate minimally processed maca, but we remain committed to offering our superfoods in minimally processed forms, so will continue to offer this option as well.

    If would like to reach out to us directly at we would be happy to send you a bag of the gelatinized maca as a replacement.”

    My friend sent me this which has the science… Although I’m done with maca forever.

    • Tianna Wynne July 5, 2019 at 10:13

      I think it all has science but just like with food allergies- what is good for one person can be toxic to another! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Pain is My Middle Name • Babbling Panda October 9, 2019 at 11:37

    […] It Happens Sometimes When the Weather Changes. Maca Powder Side Effects […]

  • Yassine laboudi October 15, 2019 at 06:04

    Hi everyone! Thanx for sharing you experiences about maca root , I have been using maca powder for almost 4 months now from time to time I felt stomach cramp and bloating I didn’t think that maca could be the cause till recently I woke up with dizziness and pain I made my research I found that page I threw that herb away and whenever I eat something feels bloating I’m trying to reduce the amount of food I eat regularly specially at night ( gut healthy food ) I hope that my body starts to recover i know that human body has the power to heals its self as long as we believe in in and we give him tools to help .

  • Haylee Hicken December 9, 2019 at 19:08

    Oh man I think this is happening to me! So weird that the reaction is so delayed. I’ve been taking my capsules for about a month now and loved it up until yesterday. Painful cramping for 3+ hrs after eating. And very bloated. Ugh! My maca is supposedly gelatinized so I have no idea why this is still happening. So bummed because I loved how well it was working otherwise.

    • Tianna Wynne December 11, 2019 at 08:45

      Taking probiotics and drinking/eating fermented foods may help your gut get back on track. So sorry this happened to you!

  • Jeanette December 19, 2019 at 12:26

    I just drank a smoothie and decide to put maca powder in. Ugh. I feel so nauseous and bloated. Thanks for this info. I thought I may have appendicitis or something.

    • Tianna Wynne January 2, 2020 at 17:00

      Yeah, that’s a good way to describe the pain it causes! It’s not for everyone, for sure.

  • Goldbrg February 22, 2020 at 17:30

    Glad, to have found this site.
    Never ever did I experience something similar.
    I am a healty person. I found maca or should I say maca found me :-[ by browsing the internet. Looking for something to keep me up.
    i do no like coffee or energy drinks. Maca sounded like it could be a good alternative.

    I had major diarrhea and a rapid heart rate for about 2 days
    measured at 124bpm. Also felt very nauseous and bloated.

    Could not sleep for the last three days straight.
    If your heart is racing at or upto 124bpm it is hard to fall asleep.
    The worse part was that you are not in Control of it.
    Like when breathing in and breathing out. But it was racing faster that that. I never had been anxious before. But with a rapid hear rate I started to feel anxious.

    I immediately started to drink apple cinder vinegar, lemons, apples, natron and did some fasting for 2 days.

    Now it has been 6 days so far, i had finally a good rest today. Slept for 11hours. Woke up, did some sports. Everything seems normal, so far.
    I honestly can say I feel better now but I have to admit Maca gave me some push, I felt more energy at first (or I thought It did)
    I WILL never touch this stuff again I started very low at 2 tsp for a week.
    Side Effects started at day 2/3

    Bought maca from Amazon labeled Raw Sevenhills Maca. 13$ 1Kg
    I noticed late that when mixing it with clean water and leaving the glass for about 2 minutes it had some kind of a chemical reaction the water started to bubble and the water on the surface turned almost white with bubbles. I can replicate this behavior. I also used bottled water.

    Is this normal? Thinking about getting this charge tested. Sevenhills says its orgin is peru but could as well be china?

    • Tianna Wynne February 27, 2020 at 08:49

      My first concern is why your energy is so low. Why did you need something to keep you up? That could be low iron or low levels of Vitamin D. I think a trip to the doctor for a blood pressure check and a couple of quick blood tests would be very beneficial for you.

      It does seem that the people here, like me, have a very violent reaction to maca. I’m beginning to think we have an allergy to it. Perhaps, for us, it causes inflammation in gut and stomach lining.

      I prefer to buy things in store where the store owner can answer questions and (hopefully) feels more accountable than Amazon. Not sure why it reacted like that.

      Good luck on recovery. Hopefully the doctor can figure out why you periodically feel so tired.

      • Simon bryan November 8, 2020 at 08:08

        I think it does too, months after taking it and experiencing severe abdominal pain and discomfort ,I tried taking it again and had the worst chest pain on day 5 of taking ultimate maca. Now I can eat anything spicy,fried or pepperish. Not happy at all. Browsed the net for side effects of Ultimate Maca but there isn’t any.

  • Katherine May 23, 2020 at 18:15

    Thank you for this post & all those that commented. I’m a 39 yr old female – very into cycling & over health, I’m thin & fit, and I’m vegan. After reading this, I’m almost 100% sure that maca is causing my issues. Basically, over the last 14 days, I’ve had maca 3x – all three times, I’ve experienced nausea and vomiting about 2 hrs after ingesting, followed by exhaustion. I’ve been using it for about 6 wks a few times per week without issue, and then suddenly one night, extreme nausea and vomiting. It’s taken me until this third incident to realize the common denominator was maca. I even went to the doctor after the second occurrence and he couldn’t figure out anything wrong with me. After today’s nausea & vomiting that seemed to come out of nowhere (I’ve been fine for a week!), I’ve been getting very concerned that something is seriously wrong with me. Again, today, fine all day. Had a smoothie with maca, 2 hrs later – vomiting. Until two weeks ago, I would’ve told you that I was in the best shape of my life. I’m hoping it’s the maca.

  • Anthony Barrett August 7, 2020 at 20:42

    I took macca root it messed up my vision I have really bad headaches now I was healthy I dont eat meat, drink, or smoke and I love to run macca root destroyed all of that and I lost weight please do not take this stuff it’s sad we had to experience these things in order to say this absolute destroyed my life

  • corin October 8, 2020 at 23:16

    Here’s a really good article on why you should eat maca raw:

    • Tianna Wynne October 14, 2020 at 12:26

      Everyone, please note that ‘corin’ meant “shouldn’t eat maca raw”.

      Thanks for this! Helpful. I have tried both kinds of maca but BOTH really bugged me- a LOT. I think I may just have a general intolerance for it.

      • Pooh September 13, 2021 at 10:16

        Hi, a new Maca victim here…
        I bought gelatanised maca some time ago and had add it to porridge like very very little of it. I already had read it may cause some stomach stuff and I did notice a bit of a difference in bowel movement but nothing too concerning. I only tried once or twice in the span of two-three months. Recently, I decided to try out hemp protein powder, I thought so many people consume protein powder, surely it is safe… I did a smoothie and added a little bit of maca and a bit of hemp powder. First time I did this, felt good, I liked it. One or two weeks later, same thing again, adding slightly more than last time. I noticed some difference in bowel movement but nothing too concerning again…. 2-3 days later, I decided to make a smoothie for me and my bf so I put a bit more than usual (measuring for two people) but in my opinion less than recommended dosage… My bf was too full then so he never tried the smoothie, so I thought ok, I have half today, half of it the day after..m what bad can happen…. Well got constipated and nauseous everytime I eat food on the next day. I thought it may be the protein and contisipation causing the nauseous but contisipation got resolved, feeling nauseous when eating is still present…. It’s 3rd day now. I don’t have any pain, just whenever I eat, and I get nauseous and need to move around for 15-20 min…. I am planning on doing the apple cider vinegar cleaning as well … I don’t know if not having pain is a good or a bad thing, but I am worried I also messed up my gut for life… At least I am hoping the magical hormones balancing powers of maca have worked otherwise all that stuggle for nothing… Thanks for writing this blog post! I do hope u r feeling much better now!

  • Jeannine M. Desmarais October 18, 2020 at 12:53

    Wow, I have suspected that it was the maca in a protein drink that gave me uncontrollable vomiting. It was the only ingredient in the drink that I had never had before. I had to be taken to the emergency room and the only medication that stopped the vomiting was heavy duty barbiturates. It was truly terrible.

  • Simon bryan November 8, 2020 at 08:24

    Wow,so many posts.If only I had read these post before trying Ultimate Maca. Started with mild abdominal pains but continued the pills anyway,was driving one day and felt like vomiting,I did when I got home and had serious bloating and abdominal pain later that evening but didn’t suspect the Maca pill.Took a lot of antibiotics and probiotics felt a bit better not completely then took Maca again and day 5 was hell,had to call a doctor for severe chest pain after eating. Now I believe the Maca pill might be the culprit. I was ok before the Maca pill, could eat anything but now I can’t.i only eat non spicy meal,no pepper,no alcohol,no fried meals. Wish I stop when I felt the abdominal pain maybe it was my gut saying something and it causes indigestion too.

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