Maca root powder is a popular herbal supplement. It’s got a lot of claims around it - including that it’s a great way to gain weight and build muscle mass.
Are the rumors true? Does maca root make you gain weight in your stomach?
Can Maca really help you get bigger and stronger?
Does Maca root have other health benefits?
Today we’re going to discuss these big questions around this herbal supplement. We’re looking at whether it’s a natural appetite booster or just marketing hype - and what it can do for you. So let’s look at what Maca actually is...
Basics: What is Maca Root?
Maca root powder is a concentrated, powdered version of the popular Maca vegetable. It’s actually a powder from a vegetable in the cruciferous family, closely related to broccoli - which is obviously very healthy.
The root powder is a form of traditional medicine and foodstuff, which is eaten directly in Peru. The root powder form is more potent and contains a wide range of phytochemicals that are related to different functions in the body, similar to its cousin, Broccoli.
However, Maca has some specific applications that have made it popular. The main implication is simple: people feel better when they eat or drink Maca (or its powder). This has been expanded out into scientific trials on Maca: why do people feel good when they ingest it? Does it have powerful medical benefits? What might they be?
Maca has caught on as a cult classic herbal extract because of this hype. There have been a wide range of studies on the ingredient, though many of them are low quality or serve as little more than marketing for a particular product trying to be the ‘next big thing’ in fitness. Those studies don’t tell us much.
The real questions we care about today are whether Maca Root Powder can cause weight gain - and what else it might do. Let’s start with weight gain and muscle mass, the most important areas for hardgainers and skinny guys looking to bulk up.
Does Maca Root Powder Cause Weight Gain?
Maca Root powder doesn’t cause weight gain directly. It’s effects are subjective and tend to be related to how you feel. Sadly, that doesn’t translate to more weight gain. Obviously, that’s still a benefit that many people use Maca for.
The improvements are in the way you feel, which can be useful for weight gain. It can help you to make better choices about food and exercise. It can also reduce fatigue throughout the day, which might be a good way to support your workout performance and gains.
How does maca root help you gain weight? There’s no direct effect on weight gain but these indirect benefits can be useful.
It’s not a superfood with enormous benefits, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s a simple drinkable powder that you can add to your diet to improve how you feel. That might be reason enough to use it!
Maca is one of many herbal extracts that help how you feel and support a better lifestyle. If you want to use Maca Root powder, this is how you should think about it. Combine it with other supplementary choices like valerian, chamomile, ginger, etc. These all help improve wellbeing in different ways and a diet packed with plant extracts can be great for health and performance.
What does Maca Root Do?
So, while Maca powder doesn’t directly cause any weight gain, it does seem to be something positive to add into your diet. It’s a functional food that contributes to your wellbeing and has some real science behind those feelings of wellbeing and happiness.
We all want to feel better, after all - but where do those come from?
Fatigue-Protection and Daily Energy
The first benefit that contributes to these feelings is fatigue-resistance. Maca helps with anti-fatigue, offering a foundation of better energy levels and supporting better performance across the range of processes your body performs.
This helps with some minor benefits like potentially improving your energy levels through the day. Not only that but it also supports and maintains your exercise performance, especially during tougher times when you’re under stress and/or fatigue.
This is one of the main benefits of Maca and how it functions as both a food and supplement. Regular intake can help with lifestyle, mood, and fatigue-resistance. It makes a sensible, if unimpressive, addition to life to keep you happy and well-rested. It’s more of a daily supplement than a dedicated weight gain supplement.
Fatigue protection will be important for shifting the mind, however. This is the indirect benefit of Maca: it lets you relax, reduces stress, and can contribute to a better overall feeding environment...
Maca Root Powder: Anti-Stress, Anti-Fatigue?
The anti-stress protections are one of the main benefits we see with Maca.
In existing studies, Maca’s main power is ‘protecting normality’. It’s a way of helping your body normalise function during stressful events. These range from work stress to menopause, and there are countless other areas where the effects of Maca depend on something being a little bit ‘off’ somewhere else.
These are adaptogens: compounds that help you deal with stress. The anti-fatigue benefits mentioned above go a long way, helping you combat the stress and anxiety that tend to come from low energy levels. Subjective feelings of wellbeing are easier when you’re feeling less stressed, and that stress is having less impact on your body.
This is circular with anti-fatigue. Less stress means less rapidly fatiguing, while less fatigue means better response to stress. It’s easy to see how these two effects spiral upwards towards better health and wellbeing.
Maca is a Libido Enhancer
Maca is actually most potent as a libido-enhancer. It’s a contributor to those subjective feelings of wellness in men, where the edge of desire and motivation are closely tied into male wellbeing.
In women, the effects on estrogen are regulatory. They help improve mental and physical wellbeing by regulating testosterone and estrogen relationships, which can be useful for wellbeing but doesn’t seem to have powerful effects when it comes to gaining weight or controlling other physical changes.
This makes Maca a basic wellbeing support compound and offers sexual health benefits, as well as stress reduction and better protection against the stresses of life and age.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much maca root should I take to gain weight?
It doesn’t matter how much maca root you take because it doesn’t change weight-gain.
The difference between smaller and larger doses of maca are mostly related to the dsoe you get for overall health and wellbeing. That said, most people take Maca root powder in 1-3 g doses.
However, the most effective trials that produce results perform at higher levels with higher doses. Maca is used natively as a food, not a supplement, and usual recommendations are around 12-30g of Maca root as a whole.
The important part is that Maca root works as a food, and you’re not likely to cause yourself any problems. You can take however much you want, just don’t expect it to cause weight gain.
Does maca root make you gain weight?
No. Maca root doesn’t have any powerful effects on weight gain in any of the evidence that exists so far. It does seem to have some health benefits through things like stress-reduction and combatting fatigue.
People who take maca are less stressed and feel better. Those might be very-indirect ways of improving things like adherence to a stressful high-calorie diet and training regime, but that’s not causing weight gain.
Maca can be a part of a healthy lifestyle and a high-quality weight gain process, but it’s not causing weight gain. If you really want to use it, then you can and should, but it’s a question of whether the small benefits of Maca outweigh the cost of buying it - which they don’t seem to.
Can Maca root cause weight gain?
No. Maca doesn’t cause weight gain - either in muscle or fat. It reduces fatigue-sensitivity and seems to be useful for reducing stress and feeling better, but doesn’t cause much of anything - except erections.
Maca has some slight health benefits which may support weight gain indirectly. Things like switching to a more relaxed state and reducing stress can be used to focus on eating. These are very modest in their effect and can be out-performed by other types of herbal supplement.
Weight Gain Supplements: What Does Work?
They’re out there. There are better extracts and powders that do offer real benefits to weight gain. Things like Ashwagandha do everything that Maca does - and more - offering real appetite and hormonal support.
Equally, basic vitamin and mineral ingredients offer support on the inside, supporting healthy metabolism once you’ve eaten.
Vitamins B1, B12, and D are key to supporting both subjective wellbeing and the behavioral factors and metabolism that make high-quality weight gain possible.
You can also get high-quality appetite support from other sources - as well as digestive support, intestinal absorption supplements, and hormonal benefits. Maca might not be the savior of weight gain but there are ingredients out there that do everything Maca falls short of.
Fullness and food turnover are also key. Compounds that get you ‘re-hungry’ after feeding are a great way to improve your appetite and overall intake. These include things like digestive enzymes and piperine, which help you digest and absorb food both faster and more effectively, meaning you get more nutrient-effect per gram plus a faster return to hunger.
You can also get digestive support in the form of herbal extracts that regulate the gut and support better food-uptake. Both piperine and ginseng extract are great for this, helping metabolize essential amino acids, uptake of powerful plant extract ingredients, and supporting the gut while it’s working on larger meals.
Focus on supplements that use proven ingredients like these. You should also focus on synergists: ingredients that work together to be more than the sum of their parts. These unlock the incredible benefits of herbal extracts and offer appetite boosting, digestion-supporting weight-gain results.
So, can maca root cause weight gain? Maca isn’t a weight-gain supplement. It might be popular for it’s wellbeing benefits but those don’t help you gain muscle or weight. There might be some very far-extended indirect benefits to that wellbeing and reduction of fatigue but they’re less effective than a cup of green tea in the evening.
Maca is an interesting root powder and may be something you add to your life for the feelings it produces - subjective happiness and libido. It isn’t a weight-gain aid, however, so you’re not going to get natural appetite boosting benefits.
The field of natural appetite boosters is quite limited - which is why effective appetite boosters are concentrated and evidence-based supplements.
The natural options are limited but they can be distilled and concentrated, combining the best effects of natural ingredients - like AppetiteMax.