Maca & Sex Drive: How This Superfood Enhances Libido

Maca & Sex Drive: How This Superfood Enhances Libido

Loss of libido, or a low sex drive, is a common problem in the UK, affecting up to 1 in 5 men at some point in their life. This statistic is even higher for women and is often linked to stress, anxiety, depression or hormonal problems. It’s commonly seen during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.

When low sex drive shows up unexpectedly or lasts a long time, it can cause a huge impact when it comes to relationships and could indicate a more serious medical or lifestyle problem.

Maca root, a traditional staple from the high Andes of Peru, is increasingly recognised for its potential benefits on sexual health.

Used as an aphrodisiac in Peruvian culture for centuries, maca is surging in popularity as a natural remedy for enhancing libido and sexual function. We’ll explore how maca works in the body, the link between maca and sex drive and how supplementation, like delicious Novomins maca gummies, can help.

Image of a bottle of Novomins Energy Gummies with maca root extract.

What is maca?

Sometimes known as Peruvian Ginseng, maca is a cruciferous vegetable, like broccoli, cabbage or kale. It contains fibre, amino acids and vitamins and minerals, like iron and calcium, which provide various health benefits.

Cultivated as a root vegetable for over 3,000 years, the first use of maca can be traced all the way back to the Incan Empire and has traditionally been used to treat rheumatic disease and respiratory conditions as well as to improve sexual function, fertility and health.

A relative of the humble radish, it smells similar to butterscotch, has an earthy taste and is indigenous to the Andes Mountains, although it’s now grown worldwide — including in the UK. A common cooking ingredient in Peru, its root is typically ground up into a powder and added to supplements and meals.

How does maca work in the body?

Classified as a superfood, research has shown that maca has nutritional properties with great potential health benefits. These include boosted energy levels, mood, bone health, libido and fertility, with clinical studies showing maca’s effect on sexual dysfunctions.

Maca is also an adaptogen, meaning it can help the body manage environmental stress that can cause it damage, preventing harmful diseases.

A large part of maca’s activity in the body takes place in the recently discovered endocannabinoid system, or ECS for short. It regulates and controls many critical bodily functions, including sleep, memory and inflammatory and immune responses.

This has been attributed to bioactive molecules in maca called macamides. Macamides are long-chain fatty acids made by the plant that have energy-boosting, fertility-enhancing and neuroprotective effects and are almost identical in structure to the natural cannabinoids in our brain.

Macamides also protect anandamide in the body, a fatty acid neurotransmitter, contributing to a more resilient nervous system.

Does maca increase sex drive?

Maca has long been used as an aphrodisiac in Peruvian culture to enhance sex drive and fertility. It now generates a lot of buzz as the new superfood that boosts libido. But is there any truth to it? Is maca root good for libido?

While research results are mixed, studies confirm that the Peruvians were definitely onto something. One 2002 study confirmed that maca increases libido in healthy adult men after eight weeks of taking 1.5-3 grams daily compared to those who received the placebo.

The maca and sex drive link isn’t just limited to men either, with a 2008 study showing that it also reduced sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women. A 2010 review also found evidence that maca helps sex drive for women, but highlighted that more research was needed.

Maca sex drive benefits: what does maca root do sexually?

Benefits of maca for libido

Low libido is more common than you might think, affecting approximately 15% of men and over 30% of women at some point in their life. Often associated with age and mental health, it's a popular reason why someone might seek a natural remedy to help give them a boost.

Maca has helped boost the sex drive of Peruvian men and women for centuries and is sometimes known as nature's Viagra. A well-known libido booster, studies have proven that maca can increase libido in healthy adult men.

Benefits of maca for arousal

People often get libido and arousal confused. Libido refers to someone's baseline interest in sex, whereas arousal refers to your physiological response to sexual stimuli. Both are essential to maintaining a healthy sex life.

Maca is incredibly nutrient-dense and is packed with essential fatty acids, vitamins and zinc, which significantly improve sexual arousal.

It can also help enhance arousal in those who are on antidepressants, which can potentially cause sexual issues like the inability to have an orgasm, low libido and problems with arousal.

One study also found that maca improved arousal in premenopausal women, leading to better sexual health and function.

Benefits of maca for fertility

Whether you’re a man or a woman, if you want to boost your chances of conceiving, taking a maca supplement could help.

One study confirmed that the traditional use of maca can enhance female fertility.

Another 2019 study found that taking maca alongside other natural remedies could improve ovulation in fertile women, improving the chances of conception. However, more scientific research on the effects of maca on increased fertility is needed as current studies are limited.

Maca can also help improve male fertility and was found to improve semen production in men who consumed it daily over a course of four months.

In addition, a 2020 study found that a daily dose of 2 grams improved sperm concentration. However, there wasn't a significant difference in sperm motility between placebo and treatment groups.

By helping to improve sperm quality and ovulation, maca can improve sexual reproductive health, increasing fertility and the likelihood of conception.

Benefits of maca for hormone levels

Maca is packed with hormone-loving fats and adaptogenic properties, which can help to rebalance hormones, especially in menopausal women.

This is backed up by scientific research, with one study confirming maca's positive effect on hormone-balancing function in early-postmenopausal women. It found that maca significantly reduced the frequency and severity of symptoms like hot flushes and night sweats.

Maca's effect on the endocrine system is what makes it a powerful hormone regulator. It stimulates the glands, releasing hormones into the bloodstream for distribution to cells throughout the body.

It also promotes the normal secretion of women's hormones crucial for fertility and can even stimulate oestrogen production. However, this means that maca should be used with caution or avoided altogether in people with oestrogen-sensitive conditions, such as uterine fibroids or cancers.

Research has also shown that maca can prevent cortisol levels from rising, which can positively benefit women's hormonal health. High cortisol levels lower oestrogen in the body, which regulates menstruation and maintains the reproductive system and can also affect thyroid hormones.

Benefits of maca for blood flow

One of the many health benefits of maca is its potential to improve blood circulation and, as a result, blood pressure. A 2015 study in postmenopausal women found that a daily maca dose of 3.3 grams over a 12 week period lowered blood pressure.

Maca has also been found to increase nitric oxide, which opens up the blood vessels to improve blood flow to the genitals. In fact, nitric oxide is one of the main factors for increasing blood flow into the penis, supporting reproductive health.

Benefits of maca for mood

Maca has adaptogenic qualities and is rich in flavonoids, meaning it can help the body manage stress and can be helpful for those experiencing anxiety or depression, which may affect sexual desire.

One 2017 study confirmed this, showing that high anxiety resulted in reduced libido and increased sexual dysfunction in young men.

Maca positively affects mood by balancing the body’s HPA axis, which is responsible for how our nervous and hormone systems respond to stress.

It also helps regulate the stress hormone cortisol, preventing it from rising, as well as dopamine and serotonin to improve mood, which in turn has a positive effect on libido. Further research has also found that maca reduced anxiety and depression in two separate studies in postmenopausal women.

Maca benefits for sex drive in women

While a lot of maca studies focus on men’s libidos and sexual health, maca root has also been shown to increase sex drive in women, even though studies are still limited.

Maca’s influence on sex hormones and hormonal balance is thought to be one of the reasons it improves sexual desire in women. One study also showed that maca decreased sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal females.

While the science isn’t necessarily clear as to why this is, maca has been shown to support the normal production of the luteinizing hormone that’s essential for normal sexual function.

Does maca help you last longer?

Erectile dysfunction is one of the most common types of sexual dysfunction, experienced by over 16.5 million men in the UK alone. While it’s usually nothing to worry about, it can be frustrating and affect relationships, mental well-being and fertility.

Research has shown that maca may be able to help A 2009 study that looked at the effects of a daily 2.4mg dose of maca over the course of 12 weeks showed that maca root was potentially beneficial in men with erectile dysfunction compared to those taking the placebo.

Another 2009 study showed that maca improved erectile dysfunction in mice when combined with Chinese chive seed.

How fast does maca work for sex?

Like most natural supplements and remedies, the amount of time it takes for maca to take effect on your sex drive will depend on several factors, including your health, age and the type of maca extra you supplement with.

For example, maca extract was found to improve sexual desire in healthy adult men as quickly as 14 days. In comparison, gelatinised maca had to be taken eight weeks before any significant effects were felt.

While some may experience a boost in energy levels relatively quickly, the time it takes for maca to show its full potential depends on your specific goals.

The consensus is that for noticeable effects, consistent use of maca for 2-6 weeks is recommended. However, it's worth noting that most studies have found the most significant effects after 12 weeks of consistent use.

What is the best maca for sex drive?

There are three different types of macca: yellow, red and black. They all come from the same seed crop, meaning that one single colour cannot be cultivated alone. While all three have the same nutritional profile, each has slightly different qualities.

Red and black maca are considered rare and sacred, with red maca accounting for only 20-25% of the crop and black maca an even rarer 10-15%.

Yellow maca

Yellow maca is the most common variant of the three and is traditionally known as classic maca.

While it’s the least potent, it still has extraordinary benefits when it comes to increasing libido in both men and women, as well as sperm production. It’s also been clinically proven to improve menopause symptoms, which can have a direct effect on sex drive.

Red maca

When it comes to improving female sex drive, red maca, in particular, is the most effective for enhancing female libido and fertility.

Red maca has also been found to lower sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women, reducing psychological symptoms often associated with menopause and helping improve prostate function in men.

Black maca

Black maca is considered to be the rarest type of maca. It is also the most nutrient-dense and has the highest amount of antioxidants of the three varieties.

Also known as “men’s maca”, black maca is incredibly potent when it comes to increasing libido and sperm production, making it a powerful tool to boost male fertility and sex drive. This is in contrast to red maca, which is shown to be more helpful in improving female fertility.

Things to consider when using maca for sex drive: usage and side effects

Optimal maca doses to increase sex drive haven’t yet been established, although standard doses in human studies tend to range anywhere from 1,500 mg - 3,000 mg. As every brand of powder or supplement will contain a different amount of maca, you should always stick to the recommended dose on the label.

Well known for its energy-enhancing properties, most people recommend taking maca in the morning or before exercise to get the maximum effects. However, that isn’t a strict rule.

If you want an extra boost on a particular evening or work night shifts, you could try taking your maca later in the day. It can be taken with or without food, although if you have a sensitive stomach, taking it with food is recommended.

Maca has many positive health benefits, especially when it comes to boosting your sex drive - but it isn’t necessarily suitable for everyone.

While it’s considered safe for most people, with little to no reported side effects, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid it altogether, as there isn’t enough information yet regarding its safety.

There’s also always a risk of adverse reactions that could include abdominal pain, allergic reactions, insomnia and moodiness. As maca affects hormonal balance, anyone with a hormone-sensitive cancer like ovarian, uterine or breast cancer, as well as those with conditions like uterine fibroids and endometriosis, should also avoid it.

Likewise, always consult with your local GP before taking maca if you have any medical conditions or are taking over-the-counter or prescription medications.

Other treatments for low sex drive

Over-the-counter medication

Most low-libido treatments available over the counter tend to focus on other alternative, natural remedies. These include other sexual-enhancing supplements, like ginkgo biloba and fenugreek or Viagra Connect, the only over-the-counter Viagra alternative in the UK that you can get straight from a pharmacy.

Prescription medication

If your low sex drive has come unexpectedly and isn’t getting any better with over-the-counter or natural remedies, lasts for a long time or keeps coming back, then it might be time to see a GP to rule out any other underlying health conditions. 

A doctor can also provide prescription medicine and treatments that might be more effective in improving your libido.

Treatment for a low sex drive will all depend on what the underlying cause is, but common treatments can typically include:

  • Relationship counselling
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) if you are going through menopause
  • Antidepressants or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) if the cause stems from mental health problems like depression
  • Contraceptives or changing to a different type of contraception
  • Medicines that treat erectile dysfunction
  • Vaginal lubricants
  • Treatment options if another health condition is deemed responsible

Boost your libido with Novomins gummies

Maca has long been used as an aphrodisiac in Peruvian culture to enhance sex drive and fertility for centuries. While more research is needed, the existing science backs this up, showing that maca can increase libido in healthy adult men and reduce sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women.

Maca can come in many forms, including maca powders for sex drive, liquid extracts and coffee. But if you’re looking for libido-boosting health benefits of maca in a convenient, delicious and chewable gummy, you can’t go wrong with Novomins.

Discover our range of maca-infused gummies, which include Novomins Testo-Boost Gummies for libido support and testosterone maintenance for men and Novomins Meno-Balance Gummies for mood and libido support for women.

Image of a bottle of Novomins TestoBoost Gummies.

Our gummies are not only delicious but also packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Formulated by doctors, they are made with premium ingredients to ensure high purity and absorption without any artificial additives.

Maca sex drive FAQs

Is maca or ashwagandha better for sex drive?

Ashwagandha and maca are both considered aphrodisiacs and can be used to improve sex drive. However, ashwagandha is more known for its stress relief benefits, which can enhance libido by providing a calming effect.

Therefore, maca might be slightly better in terms of increasing sex drive, especially if you’re menopausal, with scientific studies showing a direct link between maca and an improved libido. You could test both out to see which one works best for you or take them together, as neither supplement has any known negative interactions.

Does maca really increase testosterone?

While research shows that maca can improve sperm production, motility and sex drive, studies haven’t found any changes in testosterone levels.




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Dr Peter McQuillan
BDS, MFDS P1, Dip Ortho Founder & Chief Formulator
With over 15 years of experience in the healthcare sector, Dr McQuillan is a highly esteemed professional in the healthcare space.


Akil Memishi
BSc Hons Pharmacology, ICH GCP Founder & Chief Clinical Researcher
Akil Memishi, co-founder of Novomins, combines his extensive clinical research experience with a passion for developing scientifically-backed nutritional products.
Review Date:
29 May 2024
Next Review:
26 April 2026
Published On:
29 May 2024
Last Updated:
29 May 2024