Ingredient Spotlight: Maca Root


In this newly-launched blog, we will be featuring regular, detailed spotlights on the ingredients that qualify Shakeology® as the Healthiest Meal of the Day®. By now, hopefully you are “in the know” about this incredible, nutrient-dense shake comprised of some of the most amazing, healthy, and potent superfoods on the planet. But which one led Shakeology co-creator Darin Olien and his team to altitudes of 13,000 feet in the Andes region of Junin, Peru, in search of the only crop that can grow and flourish up there? Well, in our first “Ingredient Spotlight,” we’ll be getting to the “root” of that issue . . . maca root, that is!

Maca has been used in indigenous South American societies as a source of nourishment and healing for thousands of years. Its other known names include:Lepidium meyenii, maca-maca, maino, ayak chichira, and ayak willku. A distant relative of radishes and turnips, maca grows in a variety of colors ranging from purple to golden. For this crop, there is only one season or yield per year. Each variety offers its own strengths: cream-colored means sweeter, while darker variations generally provide a better boost of energy. Maca has a strong, pungent aroma and is traditionally grown at altitudes of approximately 8,000 to 14,500 feet. For Shakeology, we use a blend of these roots, grown and sourced by local Andean farmers in a sustainable manner, which helps not only the land to thrive but the farmers, their families, and the communities in the process!

(Fun fact: The Spaniards valued maca so much, they made it a form of currency. So, when Peru was a Spanish colony, you could pay your taxes with it!)


d011627e-6baf-4e71-ba9e-dd59b6a4db42Maca is widely known to promote endurance, strength, stamina, and potency. In fact, ancient Peruvian women would give maca to their men before they went off to battle. It contains high amounts of protein and has been known to energize the central nervous system. For centuries, maca root has been used to combat stress and fatigue, increase stamina, and yes, even boost libido! Maca is a nutrient-dense whole food packed with vitamins, plant sterols, dietary fiber, essential fatty acids, minerals (including calcium, magnesium, and iron), as well as 19 of the 22 essential amino acids. An adaptogen herb, it also may help support a healthy immune system. (Studies have identified four alkaloids present in maca known to nourish the endocrine system.) Ah . . . and let’s not forget the extra-special benefit that is attributed to maca; it’s an aphrodisiac! The root is sometimes referred to as “Nature’s Viagra®.” Lest you doubt the credibility of the aphrodisiac claim, it is in fact rooted in science. Maca root naturally contains high amounts of p-methoxybenzyl isothiacyanate, which studies show does have a positive effect on the libido. But hey, we’re just citing the known science . . . You be the judge!


1b136bb6-2d0a-4569-b56b-512bdfbda6a8We’re very proud to say there is very little “processing” at all. Because maca grows best at high altitudes, it’s easy for it to be organic. There are few pests that naturally occur at such high altitudes. Once harvested by the local farmers, the maca roots are dried, pulverized by hand into a powder, and go into the final product just like that. There are very few steps from field to finished product, and that’s the way we like it. This ensures the natural nutrient profiles stay in place, keeping it as potent as it can be. Whatever it takes for Shakeology, Darin and team will climb the highest mountain to ensure that you get the best quality ingredients available.


e37c8368-c363-4a1d-85ab-606a4ba09116So let’s break it down in terms of cost to you. A bag of maca powder at a nutrition store alone would cost you between $15 and $30. And it’s highly unlikely you’ll be privy to the knowledge of how that bag of maca was sourced, at what altitude it was grown, or how potent it is. If you were to separately attempt to purchase Shakeology’s 70+ healthy ingredients from whole food sources from around the world (including anti-oxidants, phytonutrients, adaptogen herbs, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, vitamins, and minerals) and match the benefits and nutritional content of Shakeology, you would easily spend over $300 every month—that’s two and half times the cost of Shakeology!

To see photos and learn more about how the maca for Shakeology is sourced, check out Shakeology: Book Two, now available to download

There are at least 67 published studies on maca root that have been conducted over the past 12 years, ranging from effects on mice to randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical studies on humans. Here are a few highlights:

  • A review of major studies by Gonzalez at the Universidad Peruana in Lima, Peru, cites: “Evidence from experimental studies indicates effects of maca on nutrition, fertility, memory, and mood. Randomized clinical trials have shown that maca has favorable effects on energy and mood, may decrease anxiety and improve sexual desire. Maca has also been shown to improve sperm production, sperm motility, and semen volume.” Read more here.
  • You can also follow the links below to read more results of published double-blind studies on maca’s effect on improving sexual function and menopausal symptoms: Maca + Sexual Function

“Maca . . . Pure energy source. Grown in nature and delivered in Shakeology.”—Darin Olien

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  2. Sarah Tower says:

    Is the amount of Maca Root in Shakeology enough to be considered medicinal? I ask because to use Maca Root medicinally is not safe while pregnant and can decrease milk production when breastfeeding. It is, however, from what I’ve found, safe in low doses (not a medicinal amount). Thanks.

    • Jerry Dougherty says:

      I have been a Beachbody coach since before the time when Shakeology first came out. In those early days the quantities of many of the herbs that made up Shakeology where disclosed. These days with Shakeology’s growing popularity due to it’s amazing effectiveness these formulations have been made secret to discourage copy cats. The different flavors have gone through various reformulations over time as well but when it was first released Chocolate ShakeO had 1000 mg of Maca. Here’s a link to a video that may help you where Shakeology co-creators Darin Olien and Isabelle Daikeler discuss the question of drinking ShakeO while pregnant. Hope that helps and good luck with your baby 🙂 Happy Times!!

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