Peruvians have eaten maca root for thousands of years without incident, so it can be assumed that the food is safe to consume. However, it's important to note that residents of the Andes eat maca root as a regional crop that's a staple of their diets.
The maca root supplement you purchase online or at a local health store will likely be in capsule or powder form. Therefore, it's impossible to know what all occurred during processing. With any supplement, there's always the possibility that impurities or inappropriate amounts of the plant made their way into the final product.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn't regulate supplements, so it's best to be cautious. There are a couple of ways you can do this. For starters, always talk to your physician about taking a supplement -- whether it's maca root or something else. The next thing you should do is make sure you buy supplements from reputable brands and dealers.
Wondering about just cutting out the middle man and growing your own maca root? That's probably not going to happen. There's a reason why maca root is exclusive to the Andes region. It grows only in cold, high-elevation areas with poor soil quality.
Want to learn more about maca root and fertility? We have a lot more information in our next section.
- Castleman, Michael. "The New Healing Herbs." Rodale, 2010. (June 30, 2012) http://books.google.com/books?id=mlyszsVFQ1kC&dq=maca+root+fertility&source=gbs_navlinks_s
- Chillemi, Stacey and Chillemi, Michael. "The Complete Herbal Guide: A Natural Approach to Healing the Body." Lulu.com. 2007 (June 30, 2012) http://books.google.com/books?id=PTSg-kXnBrIC&dq=maca+root+fertility&source=gbs_navlinks_s
- Cleveland Clinic. "Increasing Iron in Your Diet During Pregnancy." Dec. 21, 2009. (June 30, 2012) http://my.clevelandclinic.org/healthy_living/pregnancy/hic_increasing_iron_in_your_diet_during_pregnancy.aspx
- Gonzales, GF; Cordova, A; Gonzales, C; Chung, A; Vega, K; and Villena, A. "Lepidium meyenii (Maca) improved semen parameters in adult men." Asian Journal of Andrology. Dec. 2001. (June 30, 2012) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11753476?dopt=Citation
- Gonzales, GF; Nieto, J; Rubio, J; and Gasco, M. "Effect of Black maca (Lepidium meyenii) on one spermatogenic cycle in rats." Andrologia. Oct. 2006. (June 30, 2012) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16961569
- Hermann, Michael and Heller, Joachim. "Andean Roots and Tubers: Ahipa, Arracacha, Maca and Yacon." International Potato Center. 1997. (June 30, 2012) http://books.google.com/books?id=j7pgT1lDoggC&dq=maca+root+fertility&source=gbs_navlinks_s
- Ley, Beth M. "Maca: Adaptogen and Hormonal Regulator." Bl Publications. 2003. (June 30, 2012) http://books.google.com/books?id=-_etK2PJlkwC&dq=maca+root+fertility&source=gbs_navlinks_s
- NYU Langone Medical Center. "Maca." (June 30, 2012) http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=104590
- Rubio, J; Riqueros, MI; Gasco, M; Yucra, S; Miranda, S; and Gonzales, GF. "Lepidium meyenii (Maca) reversed the lead acetate induced -- damage on reproductive function in male rats." Food and Chemical Toxicology. July 2006. (June 30, 2012) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16510228
- Ruiz-Luna, Ana C; Salazar, Stephanie; Aspajo, Norma J; Julio Rubio, Julio; Gasco, Manuel; and Gonzales, Gustavo F. "Lepidium meyenii (Maca) increases litter size in normal adult female mice." Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology. 2005. (June 30, 2012) http://www.rbej.com/content/3/1/16
- WebMD. "Semen Analysis." Oct. 31, 2011. (June 30, 2012) http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/semen-analysis?page=1
- WomensHealth.gov. "Preconception Health. Sept. 27, 2010. (June 30, 2012) http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/before-you-get-pregnant/preconception-health.cfm
- Zelman, Kathleen M. "The Truth about Maca." WebMD. 2010. (June 30, 2012) http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/the-truth-about-maca