Natural Power: Ashwagandha vs Maca for Peak Performance

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If you’ve ever wondered how to naturally boost your energy levels, improve your mental health, and enhance your sexual performance, you’re not alone — and you’ve landed in the right place.

In a world where quick-fixes and processed chemical potions are everywhere, finding age-old natural and effective solutions for our health concerns can be a breath of fresh air.

And today you & I are going into a deep-dive into two such natural powerhouses: ashwagandha and maca.

About This Ashwagandha vs Maca Article

The purpose of this article is to empower you with knowledge about these two incredible herbs, and I’ll share what I know & the research I’ve found.

My objective is to help you understand their benefits, differences, and potential uses, so that you can make an informed choice about whether either or both of these powerful plants are a good fit for your wellness journey.

Ashwagandha and maca are renowned in Ayurvedic medicine and indigenous cultures’ diets, respectively; have been for centuries too.

And both have a myriad of benefits to offer us.

So let’s begin by understanding what they are, where they come from, and how they’ve become such crucial components of natural wellness practices around the world.

We’ll take a good look into each of these superfoods in the sections that follow. We’ll examine their benefits that are backed by scientific evidence, and I’ll also provide you with suggestions on how to include them in your diet.

green scientific beaker and test tubes green icon

Science resources included

As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science and medical resources, clinical studies, & nutritional data used in this article.

 

Ashwagandha: A Powerful Adaptogenic Herb

Imagine being handed a tool to help combat stress, improve your sleep, and even enhance your muscle mass. Would you take it?

Ashwagandha, a revered herb in traditional medicine, promises just that — and you & I are going to get into its potential benefits throughout this article.

Ashwagandha’s a flowering plant also known as withania somnifera that has its roots in the Indian subcontinent, where it has been a cornerstone of Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.

Its name, translating to “smell of the horse,” signifies its renowned ability to impart strength and vitality—much like a spirited steed.

Now let’s get into the powerhouse of benefits this potent herb can offer you.

 

1. Reducing anxiety & improving mental health

In today’s fast-paced world, stress and anxiety are all too familiar companions.

Luckily, Ashwagandha is here to help. It’s an adaptogen, which means it equips your body to handle stress more effectively.

Studies have found that regular intake of Ashwagandha can significantly reduce cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone.

So by incorporating Ashwagandha into your daily routine you’re not just managing your stress—you’re fighting back.

 

2. Boosting hormone production to help build muscle

Whether you’re an athlete looking to enhance performance or simply someone seeking to improve your physical health, Ashwagandha can be your ally. It has been found to increase testosterone levels, thereby promoting muscle growth and strength.

 

3. Enhancing sleep quality and reducing insomnia

Lastly but certainly not least is Ashwagandha’s remarkable impact on sleep.

Insomnia and other sleep disorders can truly undermine our quality of life, but thankfully the compounds in Ashwagandha — notably its active ingredient ‘triethylene glycol — can work wonders for improving sleep quality.

 

Ashwagandha vs Maca root powder

Maca: The Mighty Superfood from the Andes

Have you ever wished for a magic potion that could supercharge your health, energize you, and even spice up your love life?

If so, meet maca—a small but mighty superfood from the high peaks of the Andes mountains.

Maca, also known as Lepidium Meyenii, has been consumed by the indigenous people of the Andes for centuries, long before it caught the attention of the global health community.

It is often called “Peruvian ginseng,” due to its perceived energy and stamina-enhancing qualities, even though it is not related to the ginseng family.

Let’s explore the numerous ways maca can contribute to your health.

 

1. Natural Energy Booster

Starting your day feeling tired is no fun. Here’s where maca comes to the rescue.

Maca is a natural energy booster, thanks to its rich nutritional profile packed with vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids.

Forget the jitters and crash from caffeine: maca offers a sustainable energy boost to keep you going strong all day.

 

2. Hormonal Balance

For many of us, hormonal imbalances can throw everything out of whack, from our mood to our weight. Fortunately, Maca can help bring harmony back to your hormones.

Studies have shown that Maca can support the body’s natural hormonal balance, helping to alleviate symptoms like mood swings, hot flashes, and insomnia.

 

3. Sexual Health and Fertility

Sparking up your love life can often feel like an uphill battle, but with maca in your corner it doesn’t have to be.

It’s been shown to enhance libido in both men and women, and it doesn’t stop there. It’s also been studied for its potential to improve fertility, particularly in men.

 

4. Memory and Learning

Who wouldn’t want a little cognitive boost? Maca might just be the answer. Some research suggests it can enhance memory and learning, which makes it a perfect addition to your morning routine or study sessions.

 

5. Mood Enhancer

In these challenging times, we all could use a little pick-me-up. Enter maca, a potential mood enhancer.

It contains flavonoids, a type of plant compound known for their mood-boosting properties.

Regular consumption of maca, particularly from a trusted, high-quality source like The Maca Team, could help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.

 

Meet The Maca Team

Speaking of The Maca Team, it’s time to shine a light on them. It’s not every day that you come across a company so dedicated to quality, integrity, and the wellness of their customers.

The Maca Team is a family-run business, and it’s a true specialist in everything maca.

They source their maca only from organic farms in Peru, where the maca is grown in its ancestral home following traditional agricultural methods.

The Maca Team ensures freshness and potency of their products, which are tested rigorously to pass strict Certificate of Analysis (COA) before reaching the customers.

What’s more, they take the packaging of their products seriously to preserve their potency, using foil-lined, double-sealed, opaque bags for their powders, and safety-sealed amber jars for their capsules and extracts.

 

An eco-friendly, people-friendly company

Their commitment doesn’t stop at their products; it extends all the way back into the soil where their maca roots grow.

The Maca Team ensure fair prices to both farmers and customers, provide comprehensive and helpful information on maca, and offer exceptional customer service.

They truly stand by their mission of sharing very high-quality, organic, non-GMO, and fairly traded maca with the world.

In my personal experience as their customer, their commitment to quality & support really shines through. So it’s real easy for me to recommend The Maca Team shop as the place to get your maca products.

 

The Maca Team products

Ashwagandha vs Maca: A Comparative Overview

Let’s look at these two across a handful of their stronger attributes, and see how well they compare.

Adaptogenic properties

Both Ashwagandha and maca are renowned for their adaptogenic properties, which essentially help the body resist various types of stress, whether physical, chemical, or biological.

This makes them both powerful allies when it comes to enhancing resilience and maintaining optimal health.

Benefits to sexual function

Both Ashwagandha and Maca can help enhance sexual function and libido. Ashwagandha has been used traditionally for boosting fertility and has studies supporting its use in enhancing sexual function in men.

Maca,on the other hand is known for its libido-enhancing effects for both men and women, & the results are strongly backed by scientific evidence.

So no matter what gender, these two herbs can bring some spark back to your love life.

Impact on physical performance

If you’re looking to improve your physical performance, both Ashwagandha and Maca can be useful.

Ashwagandha has been studied for its effects on improving strength and muscle mass, while Maca is known to enhance stamina and endurance.

They both can be beneficial if you’re hitting the gym or just looking to boost your physical capabilities.

Effects on stress & hormones

As mentioned earlier, both Ashwagandha and Maca are adaptogens that help the body deal with stress. But they also affect hormone production in unique ways.

Ashwagandha is known for its ability to balance the body’s adrenal and thyroid hormones, while Maca doesn’t directly influence hormone levels, though it may nourish the body’s endocrine system, helping it to regulate and optimize hormone production.

Nutritional profiles: are they superfoods?

In terms of nutrition, both Ashwagandha and Maca are powerhouses.

Ashwagandha is rich in iron, antioxidants, fatty acids, and a variety of other beneficial compounds. Maca, on the other hand, is a nutritional all-star, packed with proteins, fiber, various essential vitamins and minerals, and a unique set of bioactive compounds.

So either way, you’re adding a superfood to your diet.

 

Ashwagandha vs Maca: Which is Right for You?

I want to pose different scenarios to give you examples of when one or the other might be the better partner for your fitness & health path.

When Ashwagandha may be more beneficial

If you’re particularly dealing with high stress levels, anxiety, or difficulty sleeping, ashwagandha’s calming effects could be an excellent choice for you.

Moreover, men seeking to boost testosterone levels for increased muscle mass or improved sexual function might find this herb particularly beneficial.

If balancing thyroid or adrenal hormones is a concern, ashwagandha could be the superior choice.

 

When Maca may be more beneficial

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a general energy booster or seeking to enhance your physical performance and endurance, maca is a superb choice.

Its potential to enhance libido applies to both men and women, and it can be beneficial for women dealing with menopausal & postmenopausal symptoms as well.

If your focus is on broad nutritional enhancement, the rich content of proteins, fibers, vitamins, and minerals in maca gives it an edge over ashwagandha here.

 

What’s best for your situation?

Ultimately, your specific health and wellness goals should guide your choice.

Both ashwagandha and maca offer a wide range of benefits and choosing between them doesn’t have to be an either-or situation, it could be that a combination of both could help you address multiple health objectives.

Remember, it’s about finding what works best for your body and your unique wellness journey. It’s also important to consider factors like possible interactions with medications or other supplements you may be taking, and any known allergies or sensitivities you may have.

Ashwagandha flower - maca vs ashwagandha article

Can You Take Ashwagandha and Maca Together?

Let’s talk a minute about the potential benefits of combining these adaptogenic herbs, since using ashwagandha and maca can be a powerful synergy for your wellness journey.

These two superfoods, each with their unique adaptogenic properties, can complement each other and broaden the spectrum of health benefits.

For instance, while ashwagandha works to lower stress and anxiety, enhance sleep, and boost hormone production, maca can kick in with its energy-boosting properties, improved physical performance, and comprehensive nutritional profile.

This combination might just be the powerhouse your body needs to thrive in our modern, demanding lifestyles.

 

Suggested timing for taking each supplement

The timing of when to take these supplements can play a crucial role in maximizing their benefits.

Based on what we know about each of these herbs, a good strategy could be taking Maca in the morning to capitalize on its energy-boosting effects throughout the day.

On the other hand ashwagandha, with its calming and sleep-enhancing properties, might serve you best if taken in the evening, promoting a restful sleep and helping your body recover from the day’s stresses.

As always, it’s recommended to start with lower doses and adjust according to your body’s response.

 

Discussing any known interactions or side effects

Both of them have been used for centuries and are generally considered safe, but it’s always important to be aware of potential interactions or side effects.

While there are no known significant adverse interactions between ashwagandha and maca, individual reactions can vary. Possible side effects could include digestive upset, especially when starting or increasing dosages.

I’ll go over this safety info in more detail later on. For now just remember to talk with your healthcare professional if you’re unsure about any supplement, particularly if you’re taking other medications or have any pre-existing health conditions.

In conclusion, ashwagandha and maca together could be a powerful duo for you, each offering unique and complementary benefits. The key is to listen to your body and adjust according to your unique health and wellness goals.

 

Best Ashwagandha and Maca Supplements

Choosing the perfect supplement might seem like a difficult task with so many brands and types to choose from.

Well if you’re interested, I can offer a couple of suggestions for you to consider, one for each of our star supplements.

My ashwagandha choice is a balance between quality & affordability, and the maca brand I’m sharing with you is the only one we buy ours from.

 

Ashwagandha: NOW Foods Ashwagandha Extract

My overall recommendation for ashwagandha supplements for most people has to be NOW Foods Ashwagandha Extract. This brand is known for their consistency, quality, and affordable pricing.

Their 450 mg Ashwagandha extract capsules are standardized to contain a minimum of 2.5% Withanolides (11mg per capsule), which places it well within the clinical dosage range used by most research studies.

 

NOW Foods = quality standards, low prices

One thing that separates NOW Foods from other gigantic supplement brands is their transparent commitment to quality.

They offer Non-GMO, Kosher, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Nut Free, Soy Free, Vegan/Vegetarian, and Gluten-Free options, making their supplements accessible for just about everyone.

As an added assurance of their quality standards, they hold an NPA A-rated GMP certification, implying a meticulous examination of their manufacturing process, from lab testing methods to product formulation.

Family-owned and operated since 1968, NOW Foods packages their products here in the US of A, bringing you a long-standing tradition of low prices for above-average products.

If you’re looking to incorporate Ashwagandha into your supplement routine, NOW Foods Ashwagandha Extract is a solid choice to consider if you don’t want to spend a lot for high-end ashwagandha extract.

But if you do…

 

Top shelf = Nootropic Depot

I highly recommend you check out Nootropic Depot, and get their 8:1 ashwagandha extract powder, if you’re looking for the A-list product.

You’ll need to weigh out your 120 milligram doses on a microgram scale, using a teeny weeny spoon. Amazon sells packs of those things for cheap.

(I did that for 6 months, and it wasn’t a hassle at all…kinda fun actually. And the ashwagandha was very fresh & potent, bitter as heck as expected, but not hard to down in a glass of water.)

Or take the easy route and get a 1:1 extract powder in capsule form. Their level of meticulous care for their products is unmatched by 99% of the supplement companies I’ve analyzed, reviewed, or bought things from.

 

The Maca Team = our only maca source

When it comes to maca, I think the Maca Team has truly set the gold standard. They offer a fantastic range of products, catering to different needs and preferences.

What really sets them apart is their commitment to quality, freshness, and potency, making them my top choice for all things maca.

The Maca Team provides an exceptional variety of maca root colors – black, red, and yellow – each carrying its own unique benefits. Their user-friendly website guides you through the benefits and best uses of each color, helping you select the supplement best suited to your fitness goals and health outcomes.

Black Maca is recommended for its effects on stamina, muscle building, male fertility and libido, mental focus, bone health, and overall athletic performance.

Red Maca is beneficial for female fertility and libido, hormone balance, menopause symptoms, prostate health, mood, acne relief, and overall energy boost.

Yellow Maca, though less expensive, is still highly recommended for stress reduction, vitality, skin health, and mental focus.

 

Other maca product types

Furthermore, The Maca Team offers these colored macas in various preparations, and the best uses for each are explained in detail on their site. From traditional raw maca to modern premium gelatinized versions, you have a variety to choose from.

They have several other popular maca products too, including:

  • Tri-Color Maca,
  • Maca Capsules,
  • Liquid Maca Extracts,
  • Maca Chips,
  • and even Maca Coffee.

When purchasing from The Maca Team, you’re not just buying a product; you’re investing in a commitment to quality, freshness, and the power of a pure, organic supplement.

Their dedication to offering the best selection of maca products anywhere, with the promise of organic, fairly traded, non-GMO, gluten-free, fresh, and potent products, makes them a standout in the world of supplements.

 

The Maca Team

Ashwagandha & Maca Side Effects

As with anything we introduce to our bodies, it’s crucial to consider potential side effects and interactions.

Both Ashwagandha and maca are generally well-tolerated, but it’s always important to be aware of possible reactions and precautions.

So let’s briefly look at safety considerations of both these supplements. I’ll also give you links to medical sources if you’d like more details too.

 

Maca

Maca is a nutritionally dense root that has been consumed safely for thousands of years in the Andes.

However, like any new supplement introduced into your regimen, it’s important to start small and monitor your body’s reactions.

Some people may feel overstimulated or “jittery” when first taking maca. This feeling is often compared to having too much caffeine, even though maca’s stimulant-free.

If this happens, reducing the dosage usually resolves the issue. Insomnia and mild digestive issues have also been reported by a very small number of users, but these can typically be managed by adjusting the dosage or timing of consumption.

(Or by switching to gelatinized maca if you’re getting these feelings taking raw powder.)

In rare cases, some people have reported experiencing acne or heartburn after starting Maca, but these symptoms tend to be temporary.

As for iodine allergy and thyroid issues, while maca is generally considered a good source of iodine, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider if you have any concerns about iodine intake.

Most of these potential side effects are usually associated with lower quality or non-organic Maca products.

So always opt for a high-quality, organic, and fresh maca supplement.

That’s why the wife & I only shop for maca at The Maca Team; we haven’t found a maca product of similar quality or a company so closely connected to the farmers who grow our maca.

Here are links with more details: The Maca Team side effects page, as well as Examine.com’s maca safety & toxicology report.

 

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha, while well-known for its benefits, can also cause minor side effects in a few people. These might include nausea, headaches, drowsiness, stomach irritation, and in rare cases, diarrhea.

Please remember that ashwagandha is not advised for pregnant women as it might lead to complications.

If you’re dealing with any serious health issue or are taking medications related to one, it’s imperative to consult with your healthcare provider before jumping on board the ashwagandha train.

It’s a powerful supplement that can do wonderful things, but it may not play nice with certain man-made prescription drugs.

As always, it’s best to start with a small dose and observe your body’s response. With this approach, you’re most likely to enjoy the health benefits Ashwagandha offers, while avoiding any of those possible side effects.

Detailed safety profile on ashwagandha: Here’a a link to the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

 

Safety summary

Both Maca and Ashwagandha are powerful, natural supplements that offer numerous health benefits. They are generally safe for most people when taken at recommended dosages.

However, it’s always important to listen to your body and consult a healthcare provider if you have any issue.

After all, your health is your wealth.

Black Maca Roots

FAQ

Here are answers to a few of the many common questions asked about maca and ashwagandha.

How does maca help in improving sexual function?

Maca root’s potential to boost libido & sexual function has been known for centuries. It's believed to work by balancing hormones & supporting adrenal health, which can improve energy, stamina, & mood. Lots of studies found that men & women who consumed maca regularly reported increased sexual desire.

What time of day to take ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha can be taken anytime that fits your schedule, but it’s recommended to take it with meals. If you're taking it for stress or sleep benefits, taking ashwagandha in the evening might be more beneficial. If you're using it to support energy levels & mental clarity, a morning dose could be a good fit.

What is gelatinized maca?

Gelatinized maca is a form of maca root that has been boiled & pressurized in order to remove its starch content. This process makes it easier for the body to digest & absorb the beneficial components. If you have a sensitive digestive system, gelatinized maca might be a better choice for you.

How much ashwagandha per day for bodybuilding?

Participants who saw significant increases in muscle mass and strength were taking 300mg of ashwagandha twice daily over an 8 week period, based on a study from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Therefore, a daily dosage of 600mg could potentially support your bodybuilding goals.

 

How does maca improve physical performance?

Maca is often regarded as a natural adaptogen, meaning it can help the body respond better to stressors like physical exercise.

It’s packed with nutritional components like proteins, fiber, and various essential vitamins & minerals which can support your energy level & overall physical performance too.

Additionally, maca may help to enhance endurance and stamina, making it a popular supplement among athletes.

 

How long does ashwagandha take to work?

The timing of when you may start noticing the effects of ashwagandha can depend on numerous factors, including the dosage, your individual body chemistry, and the specific benefits you’re looking for.

Generally, some effects like stress reduction and improved sleep might be noticed within a few weeks. But since ashwagandha is an adaptogen, it simply needs time to really make an impact.

For more substantial benefits, such as increased muscle strength or improved thyroid function, studies often show results after consistent usage for about 8 weeks.

 

Related maca articles here on heydayDo

Does Maca Root Make You Horny? A Lively Exploration

Sip On This: Maca Coffee Isn’t Your Average Joe

Creapure vs. Creatine Monohydrate: Not All Creatine Is Created Equal

The Maca Team Reviews: Deep Dive Into The World’s Finest Maca

Horny Goat Weed With Maca: A Vibrant Dance Of Natural Forces

The Clock’s Ticking: How Long Does It Take To Lose Muscle?

My Deep Instant Knockout Review with Results From Real Users

The Maca Team Coupon Code Page

Nature’s Truth Horny Goat Weed + Maca Review

 

Wrapping up

Here we are at the crossroads of age-old wisdom and modern science.

We’ve discovered the tale of two potent herbs – ashwagandha and maca, tracing their journey from simple roots in the soil to their present-day status as s supplement stars.

Before we go, let’s distill their stories into a potent brew of similarities and differences:

 

Ashwagandha and Maca Similarities

Humble Beginnings: Both ashwagandha and maca start as roots in the soil, cultivating their strength from the earth.

Nutritional Powerhouses: Each carries a rich nutrient profile, supplying your body with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Energy Boosters: Both have a renowned reputation for boosting energy levels and increasing stamina.

Mood Modulators: Ashwagandha and maca can both help to enhance mood, alleviating stress and anxiety.

Health Enrichment: They each contribute to a variety of health benefits, ranging from hormone regulation to improved cognitive function.

Safe for Consumption: When used appropriately, both are generally considered safe and well-tolerated.

 

Maca and Ashwagandha Differences

Classification: While ashwagandha holds the title of a true adaptogen, maca falls under the category of a nutritional power food.

Origin: Ashwagandha comes from India, where it’s a star of Ayurvedic medicine, while maca is a native of the Andean region in Peru.

Mechanisms: Ashwagandha operates mainly by aiding the body in stress resistance. Maca on the other hand works mainly by providing essential nutrients for overall health.

Specific Benefits: Ashwagandha stands out for its cognitive-enhancing properties and impact on thyroid health, while maca shines in its ability to enhance fertility and sexual function.

Consumption Form: Maca is often taken as a food ingredient and ashwagandha is typically taken as a supplement.

Taste: Maca has a rich, nutty flavor, ashwagandha’s taste tends to be bitter and earthy.

 

Each of these herbs brings its own unique flair to the table. It’s like choosing between two kinds of music you love — they’re different experiences, but each is wonderful in its own way.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our journey through the realm of these ancient herbs as much as I have. Here’s to your health and happiness, and may you find the perfect balance in your wellness journey.

– greg

About The Author

heydayDo author Greg Simon

Hi, I’m Greg Simon. Fitness training & nutrition researching since 1982. ISSN (International Society of Sports Nutrition) Pro Member. MBA, B.Sc.

Author. Surfer. Organic food grower. Congenital heart disease survivor (so far).

heydayDo.com is my wellness blog that’s about encouraging a healthy lifestyle as we age. 

I share my fitness training experience as well as the sports science research I’ve done on the many benefits strength building, exercise, & good eating habits offer us. 

I also write review articles after product testing and evaluating home gym equipment & fitness supplements.

My hope is that you’ll find useful or encouraging information here on my website that will benefit your unique fitness journey.

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