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Adaptogen overload: What happens when you go HAM with your maca powder dosage?


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Photo: @mccallbesten via Twenty20

When it comes to adaptogens, maca root is kind of a big deal. The nutty-tasting plant—which originates in the high altitudes of the Andes mountains in Peru—has been used for thousands of years to increase libido, amp up energy levels, and combat stress. With those impressive benefits, it’s hard to not use the magical ingredient—which can be ground down to a powder—in everything. But, even with the most multi-tasking of all-star superfoods, it’s important to not indulge too much of a good thing.

Though there’s no research noting the negative side effects of consuming too much maca, one retailer says a small percentage of customers have reported issues like jittery feelings, insomnia, and mild digestive issues—typically from first-time users and those still adjusting to the product. But rest assured: You’ll likely be A-okay even if you accidentally put a little too much in your smoothie. It’s pretty much impossible to overdose.

You’ll likely be A-okay even if you accidentally put too much maca powder in your smoothie. It’s pretty much impossible to overdose.

Still, what’s the golden amount to aim for to reap the many benefits of maca? According to Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, and owner of New York City-based Amy Gorin Nutrition, “effective doses in studies range from 2,000 milligrams to 3,500 mg daily.” But you can start small as your body gets acclimated. There are some instances, though, when you might want to ask your doc about adaptogen usage before eating up: “People with thyroid problems, hypertension, hormone-responsive cancer— such as breast or prostate cancer—and women who are taking birth control pills, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding may not be able to safely consume maca and should consult with their doctors,” she says.

Ultimately, as with any adaptogen, supplement, or food in general, just be smart and don’t go overboard. As long as you’re cleared by your doc to use the superfood, taking the recommended dosage consistently can seriously benefit your well-being in more ways than one.

This all-star adaptogen adds major froth to your lattes. Also, find out how adaptogens can help your stressed-out skin.

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