A Better Maca Ingredient: Lepidamax by Nutrition21

Supplements formulated around long-used natural herbs make up one of the hottest product areas in the supplement industry these days. With so many new and interesting products flooding the market, many of them novel and lacking significant research, some people have really taken comfort in herbs with scientific backing. We’ve seen roots such as ashwagandha and medicinal mushrooms like Cordyceps militaris gain large amounts of popularity, and this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Nutrition21 Lepidamax

Maca is awesome. But Maca suppliers haven’t always been… until now. Today, we introduce you to Lepidamax by Nutrition21, but only after a thorough run. It’s the real deal.

Among popular herbal supplements these days is maca root. It’s been around for ages, growing abundantly in the Peruvian Andes where it’s harvested for consumption. It remains one of the most effective fertility and libido-boosting ingredients around, making it an extremely sought-after plant.

High Maca demand has led to low-quality products…

Unfortunately, this massive demand has led to some unfortunate outcomes. Because maca is extremely popular, especially in Asian countries, many people have begun taking advantage of its market.[1] Over the past few years, the root has been smuggled out of Peru at increasing rates, as individuals look to make a quick buck by cultivating it on their own. It turns out that the root grows best in its native Southern American homeland, and not as well in Asia.

In addition, because there is no standardization in the market for maca, quality and pricing have fluctuated immensely. Many powders out there have been unmasked as un-pure — such as containing fillers like flour — in an effort to save producers money. On top of all that, prices have gotten so ridiculously high on the trade market that tensions in some places have reached a boiling point.

Maca Smuggling

Maca smuggling is a very real problem,[2] and it’s led to a supply of terrible product on the market. It’s time to get back to its ‘roots’ — and that’s in Peru

The industry can — and will — do better

Long story short? We need a better Maca. One that’s grown in Peru, where it’s most effective, and one that’s standardized for components that are clinically demonstrated to work.

Good news is around the corner.

But changes are finally here…

With so many issues with the standardization of Peruvian maca, the industry is in dire need of a solution, so that consumers can be sure that they’re getting the real thing.

Get ready to meet Lepidamax


We’ve always known maca to be incredible, but the suppliers simply weren’t. Consider that problem solved: The Maca game has officially been changed by Nutrition21’s Lepidamax

Luckily for us, one of the most trusted ingredient suppliers (if not the most trusted), Nutrition21, looks to be coming to the Maca market rescue. With their new product Lepidamax, the developers of ChromaxⓇ, NitrosigineⓇ, and VelositolⓇ, are finally providing a trusted form of Peruvian maca.[3] It’s now out and there’s already some extremely promising research behind the ingredient!

In this article, we’re going to give you everything you need to know about maca root and Lepidamax. We’ll highlight the benefits of maca, the issues surrounding it, and the new, exciting research about the industry’s first PricePlow approved and trusted supply of the stuff!

TL;DR (Article Summary)

  • Maca, known as Lepidium meyenii or Lepidium peruvianum, is a plant root shown to increase libido, assist fertility, enhance mood, and potentially increase cognition and improve performance. (See the Maca Root Benefits section)
  • Maca root grows best in the unpleasant climate of the Andes Mountains of Peru. However, piracy of seeds to other parts of the world has led to an increase in poor quality extracts on the market. (See the Maca Piracy section)
  • In response, supplement industry research pioneers Nutrition21 released Lepidamax, a verified and tested Peruvian Maca Extract with new studies behind it. (See the Lepidamax Introduction section)
  • The first standalone Lepidamax supplement is NutraBio Maca (go to store), a third-party lab-tested supplement that was re-released with Nutrition21’s help after nearly two years spent searching for a quality maca extract.
  • The preferred Lepidamax maca dosage is ~2.1g/day, or four capsules of NutraBio Maca, but dosage can be anywhere from 500mg to ~3.5g per day depending on effects desired and budget.

Maca root benefits – what’s all the fuss about?

Maca Root

Maca Root has had some serious quality issues the past couple of decades. That all changes right now.

Maca root, also known as Lepidium meyenii or Lepidium peruvianum, is native to the section of the Andes Mountains within Peru. This most unique plant seems to love rather unpleasant conditions too – it thrives in the windy, freezing climate at a 13,000 ft altitude![4] Nonetheless, these rough conditions haven’t stopped farmers from cultivating the root, which speaks to its hardy abilities. The Peruvians began using maca as far back as the 1500s,[4] and its nutritional benefits have been touted ever since.

So, just what kind of effects can this botanical have that makes it worth bracing sub-zero temperatures and extreme winds?!

Increases your libido

As humans age, we lose our sex drive. The way things used to work when you were in your 20s no longer hold true as you grow older. Many people really struggle with this, and find it difficult to rediscover the drive they once had. However, it’s not a battle you’ll have to fight alone, as maca has shown plenty of potential in boosting libido!In a study published in 2001, groups of male mice were given either 15mg or 75mg (per kg bodyweight) of maca root daily for 15 days. Compared to placebo, both dosages yielded higher levels of sexual drive,[5] both in the first day of the study and the last. This shows that maca can help boost libido with both acute and chronic supplementation, making it a great option in getting you back behind the wheel.

Boosts libido and reduces symptoms of menopause in women

In addition, it looks to be effective in both men and women. A study from 2008 found that maca provoked similar increases in sexual drive in postmenopausal women.[6] It’s also worth noting that research has shown maca to be effective in relieving symptoms of menopause in women as well.[7]

It can help male fertility

Maca Fertility

In just six weeks, maca provides some excellent fertility benefits

As we recently noted in an article discussing men’s fertility supplements, many guys just don’t like to talk about fertility. It can be a little uncomfortable, and extremely embarrassing if it’s an issue you’re dealing with. Yet, similarly to libido, it’s a common problem for a lot of guys, and time is often not on our side.

Keeping with its reputation as a natural “sex-boosting” herb, maca’s effects don’t just end with boosting libido. In fact, the root has shown to be capable of increasing sperm concentration and motility.[8] These effects have been shown in both fertile and infertile men,[9] denoting a general ability to improve sperm quality.

So, if you’re someone who’s looking to start a family, maybe throwing a bit of maca root powder into the daily regimen could do you some good!

Overall mood enhancement

Maca Depression

These results are no joke. Good maca works great for many of us — especially post-menopausal women[6]

While an improvement in the overall demeanor of someone who had been experiencing some of those issues above before taking maca is pretty obvious, it may have a true affect on your mood. Research has shown that supplementing with maca can help decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression,[6] while also highlighting that it does so without relation to estrogen or androgen levels.[6] This is an important distinction, as it means it helps you out mentally without using hormones to do so. It helps its users relax, regardless of what stage of life you’re in.In the hectic environment of our day-to-day lives, any assistance we can get in staying calm is greatly appreciated if you ask us!

More cognitive benefits – improved memory

Interestingly, maca is oftentimes used by Peruvians for even more than anything we’ve talked about thus far. It’s traditionally been used to improve memory and learning capabilities, specifically in schoolchildren.[4]Experts claim that there are 12 phenotypes of maca, but most agree that there are three main “kinds”, all noted by the color of the plant’s root: black maca, red maca, and yellow maca.[4] Black maca seems to be the most potent cognitive booster of the three, although all three display some capacity in improving cognition.

Conducted research actually backs all this up, too. In 2011, researchers treated memory-impaired mice with an aqueous solution of black maca.[10] They found that the root does enhance learning and memory, giving credibility to its traditional Peruvian purpose.

Exercise performance benefits too?!

Maca Endurance

Get ready… this is what’s discussed in the Lepidamax data lower on this page[11]

Maca may also have some effect on your exercising, too. Research has shown that it can increase endurance capacity,[12] and while most studies have been conducted with mice, these results definitely grab our attention.

A study published in 2019 also found similar performance enhancing benefits in humans![13] Researchers from Nova Southeastern University recruited a total of 47 males and females to participate in this study.[13]

They either gave them 2.1g of maca extract or a placebo and instructed them to take it daily for a total of 28 days.[13] The study used a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled design to achieve the most accurate results.[13]

The main outcome measures were grip strength, libido, fatigue, and mood. At the end of the study, the females saw significant improvements compared to baseline but not when compared to the placebo.[13] However the males saw a drastic increase in hand grip strength, libido, and fatigue compared to the placebo.[13] The researchers concluded that maca supplementation may be effective for reducing fatigue, enhancing strength, and improving sexual function in healthy males.[13]

Finding true maca isn’t so easy, however…

We’ve outlined why you should care about maca, and the issues the industry is currently facing. Because the root has been shown to be so effective in doing what it does, many people want to incorporate it into their diet in some capacity. But as we’ve said, it really only grows well high up in the Andes. This hasn’t stopped the smuggling of the root to other countries, where others have hoped to grow it within much more controlled (and profitable) environments. However, this approach has now led to contaminated, adulterated, and simply inferior extracts entering into the marketplace.[2]

If you want to take a deep dive into the issues surrounding the market for maca, there are a ton of great resources out there. However, we want to keep this supplement-focused, and these issues definitely are wreaking havoc on our industry.

Lepidamax has been shown to increase endurance capacity and decrease lactate levels in exercised rats.

Understanding the corruption within the market, many have begun testing powders before they package them into their own products. However, this has proved complicated. Many companies these days send their ingredients to third-party testing, essentially in an effort to verify that what’s on the label is exactly what’s in the product. This is imperative in building a trusting brand-to-consumer relationship that so many of us look for when purchasing supplements. However, many brands are finding that the maca powders don’t pass quality tests, as the powders are frequently contaminated with toxins, heavy metals or have added-in fillers such as flour. Thus, we’ve seen a lot of companies struggle to fulfill demand for their products that are supposed to contain pure maca, because they can’t get their hands on pure maca.

Simply put, the industry is in dire need of someone to provide a trusted, pure Peruvian maca powder that’s the same in every batch, so that our favorite brands can help us out in getting all those benefits discussed earlier – and their customers can rely on similar effects with every bottle.

Thankfully, we finally have that solution coming with Lepidamax!

Lepidamax from Nutrition21 – what we know so far


Introducing Lepidamax by Nutrition21! Finally, consumers get a trusted and standardized Peruvian Maca… with data behind it!

Nutrition21 has consistently put out potent, well-tested ingredients for quite some time now. Based on what we’re seeing from Lepidamax, this new ingredient seems to follow that same track record.

Getting its name from the scientific name of maca, Lepidium meyenii or Lepidium peruvianum, Lepidamax is a patented blend of specific types of Peruvian maca . Based on preliminary research, it seems to be the real deal, and exactly what we would hope to expect from such a great supplier.

  • Increased Endurance and Decreased Lactate!

    Maca Lactate Reduction

    Paired with the increased endurance, this pre-clinical study shows that there could be something serious to Lepidamax[11]

    The ingredient has been shown to increase endurance capacity and decrease lactate levels in exercised rats.[11] The pre-clinical results in that study are highly promising, and lead us to believe we may finally have a solution to this maca problem!
  • Mechanism: Mitochondrial efficiency?

    The mechanism, put simply, is that Lepidamax seems to increase the mitochondria’s ability to function more efficiently. Mitochondria are the body’s cells’ “powerhouses”, and when they are healthy, you are likely very healthy. Any time we find something that safely improves mitochondrial function, our heads turn, and this is no exception.[11]

    While that study was conducted on endurance-trained animals, we are extremely confident in Lepidamax’s “other” effects discussed above, as we’ve been taking it for a couple of weeks now, and there’s definitely a little “something extra” going on under the hood.

The preferred Lepidamax supplement? NutraBio Maca.

NutraBio Maca

With the help of Lepidamax, NutraBio Maca is back!

In March of 2020, we wrote about the launch of NutraBio Maca, which has 525mg Lepidamax per capsule. This story capped a 1.5 year long story about NutraBio CEO’s difficulty in finding quality maca extracts on the market — many that simply did not pass the tests, re-affirming the stories above.

With NutraBio using Lepidamax and providing 3rd-party lab tests, this is without a doubt the most trusted maca supplement on the market to us.

NutraBio Maca – Deals and Price Drop Alerts

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Mark our words: Lepidamax is going to change things.


Nutrition21, the creators of Lepidamax, provided materials for this article

With the release of Lepidamax coming soon, we will definitely update this post with the published clinical data soon. We always want to see more research on this ingredient, especially with a focus on the libido/fertility-boosting effects maca root is known for, but given the difficult-to-achieve impact on sports nutrition, we’re confident the other benefits are there as well.

Be sure to check sign up for PricePlow’s Nutrition21 news alerts, as we will have much more information as they keep their research coming!

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About the Author: Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto is a research scientist and water sports athlete who founded PricePlow. He is an n=1 diet experimenter with extensive experience in supplementation and dietary modification, whose personal expertise stems from several experiments done on himself while sharing lab tests.

Mike's goal is to bridge the gap between nutritional research scientists and non-academics who seek to better their health in a system that has catastrophically failed the public.

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  1. Daniells, Stephen; “BAPP Bulletin Details Adulteration of Maca Root and Root Extract.”; Nutra Ingredients; William Reed Business Media Ltd; 19 Sept. 2018; https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2018/09/19/BAPP-bulletin-details-adulteration-of-Maca-root-and-root-extract
  2. Smith, Tyler; Maca Madness: Chinese Herb Smugglers Create Chaos in the Peruvian Andes; https://cms.herbalgram.org/heg/volume11/12December/ChineseDemandForPeruvianMaca.html?ts=1553191679&signature=26e0ae5a9e1aa57029172014f632e6c2
  3. “Our Products.”; Nutrition21; https://nutrition21.com/products/
  4. Gonzales, Gustavo F; “Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands”; Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM; vol. 2012; 2011; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3184420/
  5. Cicero AFG, Bandieri E, Arletti R; “Lepidium meyenii Walp. improves sexual behaviour in male rats independently from its action on spontaneous locomotor activity.”; Journal of Ethnopharmacology; 2001; 75(2-3); 225–229; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11297856
  6. Brooks NA, Wilcox G, Walker KZ, Ashton JF, Cox MB, Stojanovska L; “Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content.”; Menopause; 2008; 15(6); 1157–1162; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18784609
  7. Lee, Myeong Soo, et al; “Maca (Lepidium Meyenii) for Treatment of Menopausal Symptoms: A Systematic Review.”; Maturitas; Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK); Nov. 2011; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21840656
  8. Melnikovova, Ingrid et al; “Effect of Lepidium meyenii Walp. on Semen Parameters and Serum Hormone Levels in Healthy Adult Men: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study”; Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM; vol. 2015; 2015; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4569766/
  9. Lee, Myeong Soo, et al; “The Use of Maca (Lepidium Meyenii) to Improve Semen Quality: A Systematic Review.”; Maturitas; U.S. National Library of Medicine; Oct. 2016; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27621241
  10. Rubio, Julio et al; “Aqueous Extract of Black Maca (Lepidium meyenii) on Memory Impairment Induced by Ovariectomy in Mice”; Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM; 2011; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3096456/
  11. Sylla, S., et al; “The effect of a proprietary maca root powder (Maca-N21) on endurance capacity in exercised rats”; Nutrition21; International Society of Sports Nutrition Conference; 2018; https://blog.priceplow.com/wp-content/uploads/nutrition-21-lepidamax-maca-endurance-issn-201806.pdf
  12. Choi, E., et al; “Supplementation of Standardized Lipid-Soluble Extract from Maca (Lepidium Meyenii) Increases Swimming Endurance Capacity in Rats.”;Journal of Functional Foods; Elsevier; 4 Apr. 2012; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464612000436
  13. Jiannine, LM and Antonio, J.; “The Effects of Lepidium Meyenii on Grip Strength, Fatigue, and Sexual Behavior.”; Journal of Exercise and Nutrition; 2019; 2(1); https://www.journalofexerciseandnutrition.com/ManuscriptUploadsPDF/72.pdf

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