What Is Red Maca?
Red Maca (Lepidium meyenii or Lepidium peruvianum) is the rarest of all varieties of maca. It is sometimes called pink or purple maca, but is most generally referred to as “red maca.” It grows in the same regions and under similar conditions as other more common types of maca and yet has some unique properites that are quickly making it the maca of choice. Over the past few years it has gained quite a bit of popularity and quite honestly, after we tried it 2 years ago, it has become our favorite variety not only because of the increased potency, but also because of the taste.
How Is Red Maca Different?
If you were to visit a maca farm, before the roots are made into a powder, you’d quickly and easily be able to tell the difference between red maca, yellow/cream maca and black maca. As you can see from the photos here, each of the roots are of a different color – and in this way they are named.
Although all organically grown high quality maca powders share a nearly identical nutritional profile, red maca has been shown, under phytonutrient analysis, to be higher in certain compounds that support the body in antioxidant and antitumoral activity. It has also been showm among all macas to contain somewhat higher levels of other pythonutrients including alkaloids, tannins, saponis and steroids.
Another significant difference of red maca and yellow/cream and black macas is the taste. Most people find the taste to be more gentle and mild. We’ve found that to be true as well and would describe the taste as similar to a subtle caramel. One customer recently wrote us to let us know that her kids love red maca on their oatmeal instead of sugar because it tastes so sweet!
What Studies Have Been Done on Red Maca?
Interest in maca among medical professionals is growing as are research studies. In terms of studies on Red Maca in particular, there are three major notable ones.
1. The most important study done on red maca was published in the Journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 2005; 3:5. In it 8 medical researchers report that over the course of 42 days: “Red Maca but neither Yellow/Cream nor Black Maca reduced significantly ventral prostate size in rats.“ The study also goes on to report that in under pyhtochemical analysis for 7 functional nutrient groups, “Highest peak values were observed for Red Maca, intermediate values for Yellow/Cream Maca and low values for Black Maca.”
2. In 2010 researchers from the Universidad Peruana, Lima published a study on the effects of maca on bone structure in rats that had had their ovaries removed. The conclusion was that both “Red and black maca have protective effects on bone architecture in OVX rats without showing estrogenic effects on uterine weight.”
3. Finally another study from the same University in 2009 found that black maca to increase sperm production more than yellow or red maca. The study concluded that while red maca, like other macas, had a favorable effect on energy, mood and sexula desire, it did little to increase the volume of sperm produced in comparasion to black or yellow/cream maca.
How Can Red Maca Support Vibrant Health?
Red Maca, like the yellow/cream and black maca can do all of the following:
- Boost overall energy and vitality
- Balance hormones for both men and women – this can support with menopause, acne, fertility, thyroid and other health problems related to the endocrine system.
- Support a healhy libido and sex drive
In addition Red Maca in particular seems to be the best of all macas for:
- Prostate protection – most important for men and in particular men over 40
- Bone density – most important for women and children
Complete Nutritional Breakdown of Red Maca
Sample Size 100g:
Carbohydrates 62.6g, Fat 0.82g, Fiber 5.3g, Protein 17.9g
Protein Components (%): Albumins & Globulins 74, Glutelins 15.3, Prolamins 10.6, True Protein 42.1
Vitamin & Minerals (mg %): Ascorbic Acid 3.52, Boron 12, Calcium 490, Iron 80, Magnesium 70, Niacin 43, Phosphorous 320, Potassium 113, Riboflavin 0.61, Sodium 20, Thiamine 0.42, Zinc 32 Amino Acids: Alanine 63.1, Arginine 99.4, Asparatic Acid 91.7, Glutamatic Acid 156, Glycine 68.3, HO-Proline 26, Hystidine 21.9, Isoleucine 47.4, Leucine 91, Lysine 54.5 Methionine 28, Phenylalanine 55.3 Proline 0.5, Sarcosine 0.7, Serine 50.4, Threonine 33.1, Tyrosine 30.6, Valine 79.3
Final Thoughts On Red Maca
We love all kinds of maca and have enjoyed the benefits of them for years. We like to use a variety of maca colors for ourselves and usually have yellow, red and black maca on hand. That said, our favorite tasting maca is Red Maca. We highly recommend it as it provides nearly all of the advantages of the other kinds of maca with the exception of increasing sperm count (according to the study listed above).