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Does Raw Maca cause burning stomach pains and cramping?

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Q: I’ve been taking raw maca for a few weeks now and have been experiencing burning stomach pains and cramps for several days.

A:  If you look around the Internet you will see that this is a common problem with Raw Maca.  Most of the maca root sold in the U.S. is raw.  It is much cheaper to process Raw Maca than to flash cooking (gelatinize) the maca roots.  Whole World Botanicals does this flash cooking because native people of the Peruvian highlands who grow and consume maca NEVER eat it raw.  Why?  It causes digestive upset and is not as effective for hormone balance. Cooking the maca destroys the enzymes that cause indigestion.  It is common for certain food plants to be almost indigestible raw:  this protects the plants from being devoured by animals.

A recent university study of “raw maca” vs. “cooked maca” vs. “no maca” groups of mice fed with these different diets confirmed the ancient wisdom of cooking.  This research showed that the offspring of mice fed “no maca” had a lower birth weight and growth rate than the offspring of mice fed “cooked maca”.  But the baby mice with the lowest birth weight and growth rate of all was the group fed the “raw maca” – even lower than the “no maca” group.

Just as big an issue with raw maca as digestive problems is the fact that since it is not assimilated well it will not be nearly as effective for hormone balancing as a premium quality organically grown, sundried, and flash cooked (gelantized) maca root product.  Whole World Botanicals’ premium quality Royal Maca works very well for young women who have problems of one kind or another with their menstrual cycle, for PMS in perimenopausal women and for women in menopause for their symptoms, including hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness and for libido issues.  It is also very helpful for bone health.  Even postmenopausal women find it essential for good sleep, energy, vaginal health, bone strength and libido.

Of course, since maca root is a natural adaptogen, men love it too for energy, stamina in sports, and for sexual function and libido. In fact, in Peru more men consume maca than women!

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6 Responses to “Does Raw Maca cause burning stomach pains and cramping?”

  1. Thank you for the information. I had a poor experience with maca a year ago which I thought was due to consuming to much of it. Could you provide the information for the university study with mice and maca? Thanks!

  2. Hi! Well, I always feel when we are using traditional herbs, it is good to use them in the traditional way! Unfortunately, I just purchased a big, expensive bottle of raw maca, based on the enthusiastic testimony of another woman who had used the product. I am so glad it worked for her, but even with very small amounts – as small as 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of the powder – I experience a lot of abdominal pain.

    In the future, I would be happy to purchase your cooked product, however my question is:

    Can I cook the raw maca powder I have? If so, how?


  3. Just as Eleanor, I am also curious about cooking with the raw maca powder I have. In the future, I will not be buying the raw powder!

  4. Hi Eleanor!

    I have been using raw maca for a couple of years – with good results but minor digestive discomfort. However, I heard that heating it could make it more effective so I tried to roast some of my raw powder at a low heat until it turned golden brown. It seemed to work: I could have more without any discomfort and felt even more benefits from it. Perhaps this could be something for you to try with yours?



  5. I took maca in capsule form for about a month, and I experienced abdominal pain. Because I had an ulcer a couple of years ago, my gastroenterologist wanted to do an endoscopy. Found moderate inflammation. The only thing I had been doing differently was taking maca. Something to keep in mind, any time you try a new supplement. Start slowly and pay attention to your body.

  6. What kind of maca were you taking–raw or gelatinized? Royal Maca is gelatinized and doesn’t contain the somewhat toxic enzymes which raw maca has. Still, some people have trouble digesting it and need to take it in divided doses and with meals.

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