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.



  • Louise dawson 2014-08-16 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 2014-08-17 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 2014-08-17 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 2014-08-18 at 05:42

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

  • Carla 2015-08-22 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.

  • Ashley 2016-07-24 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 2016-12-17 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 2017-01-12 at 10:04

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

    • Linda in BC 2017-04-08 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 2017-04-19 at 09:36

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

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    • Rasa Estee 2017-03-08 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 2017-03-10 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.


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