Q: I have been taking maca root capsules from another company (not Royal Maca®) and have been experiencing severe stomach spasms, gas and bloating. Do many people have problems like I have with maca or do some brands cause more of this than others. The brand I take uses raw maca.
A: 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.
A few years ago, the University of Pedro Cayetano in Lima Peru did a study to find out if the native custom of eating only cooked maca had some underlying scientific basis. The study involved studying the birth weight and growth rate of the offspring of three different groups of mice: one group was fed raw maca and animal feed; another group was fed cooked maca and animal feed; the control group was fed animal feed only – without any maca. Guess which group’s offspring had the lowest birth weight and growth rate? If you guessed the raw maca group, you are correct. The control group with no maca had a higher average birth weight and growth rate than the raw maca group. The baby mice fed cooked maca had the highest average birth weight and growth rate.
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 much 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.
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