Gelatinized Maca vs. Raw Maca: 3 Vital Differences

It’s often recommended that consumers buy gelatinized maca. However, most users don’t know the difference between gelatinized maca vs. raw maca. In this article, we’ll go over the benefits of …

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Written by: Daniel Powers, MS
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It’s often recommended that consumers buy gelatinized maca. However, most users don’t know the difference between gelatinized maca vs. raw maca.

In this article, we’ll go over the benefits of both gelatinized maca and raw maca.

This will give you the info you need when looking for the best maca supplement.

Gelatinized Maca vs. Raw Maca

Maca Overview:

Maca is a plant native to the Peruvian Andean mountains that resembles a radish.

Maca has exploded in popularity in recent years due to its many potential health benefits. It’s a root vegetable most commonly found in the Andes Mountains of Peru.

Studies have shown that maca root can boost athletic performances, increase energy levels, improve sexual function, and even protect brain health!

The benefits of maca have been recognized for thousands of years in Peru, where it has long been used as a natural remedy as a food source.

It’s said that maca was used by the ancient Incan people, who would gather in entire villages before battle to consume maca to boost their strength, stamina, and alertness.

You can read our in-depth article on the benefits of maca here.

What Is Gelatinized Maca?

Gelatinized maca is maca root that has been cooked via a special heated process to break down and neutralize maca’s troublesome starches and enzymes. Gelatinized maca is easier, and safer, to consume.

If you’re a vegan, don’t worry, gelatinized maca powder doesn’t contain any gelatine.

Gelatinization is a heat-based extrusion process that turns raw maca into what is essentially a predigested form of the root—gelatinized maca. 

During the gelatinization process, the dried roots are first boiled and then pressurized in order to remove all of the starch and enzyme content.

While the boiling process does altar some nutrients such as Vitamin C and enzymes, it makes the powder easier to digest. This is due to the reduction of starch. This powerful powder is then added to food and drink for consumption.

It should be noted that nothing is added to maca during the gelatinization process.

Benefits of Gelatinized Maca:

  • Easier to Digest – The gelatinization process removes various enzymes and starches.
  • More Concentrated Nutrient Profile – Due to the removal of the starch, the resulting maca powder contains over 4 times the zinc, iron, and calcium content of raw maca powder.

Cons of Gelatinized Maca:

  • Cost – gelatinized maca costs more due to extra processing.
  • Less Vitamin C – Some of maca’s vitamin C content is lost during the gelatinization process.
  • No Glucosinolates – The high heat used during the gelatinization process breaks down glucosinolates, which are beneficial compounds found in maca.

What is Raw Maca?

Raw maca is maca that has been cleaned, dried, and ground into a fine powder.

Unlike gelatinized maca, raw maca does not undergo any specialized processing.

This results in a raw maca powder that can be mixed into drinks such as coffee, smoothies, protein shakes, or juices. Even more so, the powder can even be sprinkled onto cereal or oatmeal and mixed into homemade energy bars.

Benefits of Raw Maca:

  • Vitamin C – Unlike gelatinized maca, raw maca has high vitamin C content.
  • Natural, Whole Herb Form – There’s something to consuming an herb in its whole form. While there isn’t any scientifically valid reason for this, sometimes it’s best to consume a plant the way nature intended.
  • Price – Raw maca powder is cheaper to buy since it doesn’t require extra processing.
  • Glucosinolate Content – Raw maca contains glucosinolates, which are theorized to have anticancer properties.

Cons of Raw Maca:

  • More Difficult to Digest – Since raw maca still contains high amounts of starches and plant enzymes, it can be difficult for some individuals to digest.
  • Not As Nutrient Dense – Gelatinized maca is more condensed, which means it has a stronger gram-for-gram nutrient profile.

Which Is Better, Gelatinized Maca or Raw Maca?

When looking at maca gelatinized vs raw, which is best?

Neither gelatinized maca nor raw maca is necessarily better than the other. They both offer different benefits and drawbacks.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-digest, more nutrient-dense form of maca, then gelatinized maca may be a good choice for you.

If you have a sensitive stomach, then you’ll want to use gelatinized maca.

If you’re looking for a less processed, more “natural” form of maca, then you’ll want to go with raw maca.

It contains all of the phytochemicals that are naturally present in maca (including glucosinolates).

Raw maca is also great for those who are on a budget.

When comparing raw vs gelatinized maca, the form of maca you choose ultimately comes down to personal preference and price. Try out both and see which one works best for you.

Which Maca Supplement Should I Buy?

For maca supplements, we recommend checking out the products by The Maca Team. This family-owned company sources maca direct from Peru and sells a variety of different types of maca, including both raw and gelatinized maca supplements.

We recommend checking out their tri-color maca blend, which contains a blend of yellow, black and red maca. This is the perfect blend of maca that covers all your bases. They sell this blend in a gelatinized maca form and in a raw maca form.

If you’re a first-timer, we do recommend trying the gelatinized form first as it can be easier for your body to digest.

Click here for a complete overview of the best maca supplements.

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As you can see, both forms of maca provide a variety of health benefits.

If you’re trying to decide between gelatinized maca vs. raw maca, consider taking a few weeks to experiment with each herb for yourself before making your final decision.

You might find that one works better than the other or vice versa!

And as always, it is recommended to check with your doctor before making adjustments to your diet or before adding a new supplement.

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About Daniel Powers, MS

Daniel has a master's degree in herbal science from the Maryland University of Integrative Health. He has a passion for herbal medicine and how it can be used to support everyday health & wellness.

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