Maca root is incredibly powerful, but, if you’re going to take it in in a powder, supplement, or clean protein bar with adaptogens, you need to know what form to take it in. So, which is better when comparing gelatinized vs raw maca? 

There is a clear difference between the two and if you choose the wrong one, you could pay for it with an upset stomach. 

What is Gelatinization?

Gelatinization uses heat to break down the starch in food, allowing water to be absorbed into the starch. It causes the foods to be softer and easier to consume. 

During the process of heating, bonds between the starch molecules become weak, allowing water to able to enter and cause swelling or “gelatinization” of the starch.[1]

The result of this process is softer, easier to chew, and easier to digest food.  

A good example would be eating a raw potato vs a cooked potato. Because of the heating process, water enters the starch in the potato, it swells and softens, eventually resulting in a food that is much easier to eat. 

In the case of gelatinized vs raw maca, gelatinization is used to make it easier to digest, whether you’re consuming it in a smoothie, coffee, or capsule form. 

Gelatinization is especially helpful for those with gut issues, leaky gut, or known to have low digestive enzymes since it makes it easier to digest. 

What is Starch?

A starch is a type of complex carbohydrate that is produced by plants.[2]

Compared to simple carbohydrates like those found in honey or sugar, complex carbohydrates break down more slowly and can provide longer-lasting energy. 

Examples of starches include potatoes, sweet potatoes/yams, and oats. 

Fun fact: Oats are made up of 60% starch and 7% fats vs potatoes which are, depending on the type are made up of 60-80% starch and less than 0.5% fats.[3,4,5]

The most common type of starches found in foods such as potatoes and oats are amylose and amylopectin. 

What is Gelatinized Maca Powder?

Gelatinized maca powder is raw powder that has been heated and processed with water to break down the starch in the maca to a more easily digestible form.

In powdered form, it can be hard to tell the difference when comparing gelatinized vs raw maca. 

However, after being consumed, some people will have difficulty digesting raw maca, leading to bloating or GI discomfort.  

Having digestive issues? Learn about the benefits of taking digestive enzymes

Gelatinized vs Raw Maca – Which is Better?

While some may argue that there is a loss of vitamins and nutrients from the process of making gelatinized vs raw maca, it is tough for many people to break down raw foods in their gut. 

Thus, if their bodies cannot break down the raw maca, they won’t be absorbing the extra nutrients in the raw form. 

There is a lack of research comparing the effectiveness of gelatinized vs raw maca, but, consider this:

  • Most of the research on maca has been done using gelatinized maca
  • Most supplement companies use gelatinized maca due to the claim that it is more easily digested and absorbed
  • Most of the time, humans consume root vegetable tubers such as potatoes, beets, sweet potatoes, and yams, we consume them after cooking. 

While it is possible for some people to effectively digest raw maca, when considering gelatinized vs raw maca for which is better, the answer is that most people will have fewer digestive issues and more easily absorb the nutrients of a gelatinized form of maca. 

So, if you want to take full advantage of the powerful antioxidants in maca, including the best antioxidant of them all, glutathione, its important to know you may not be able to absorb them in a raw for but you are likely to in a gelatinized form. 

Infographic comparing gelatinized vs raw maca and noting who its best for.

Who Should Choose Raw Maca Powder?

Some people can effectively break down raw foods in their guts without any GI symptoms such as bloating. While it is not common, those who readily consume raw vegetables without any issues may consider raw maca powder.

Another scenario in which someone may want to choose a raw maca powder is those who plan to cook with it.  

As heat can break down vitamins and minerals, cooking or baking with a gelatinized maca, which has already been heating, could potentially lead to additional loss of vitamins and minerals.

That said, there is nothing wrong with choosing to cook or bake with gelatinized maca.

We use gelatinized forms of maca, and when our clients ask for gelatinized vs raw maca recommendations, we always recommend gelatinized since it’s easier on the gut. 

Gelatinized vs. Raw Maca Supplements

Every supplement we recommend is gelatinized, whether its in powder or capsule form. 

One thing we prioritize with our clients is gut health, and thus we believe it is best to stick with gelatinized forms of maca most of the time. 

We are so focused on gut health that we even have one recommendation. myKind Organic Maca Root Powder, that comes with a probiotic in it. 

>>>Learn about the Best Probiotic Supplements

Important note: there are a variety of maca varieties that are grown. Some have more benefits than others. 

Most supplements do not account for this. We recommend the Femmenessence and RevotutionPro supplements because they use a researched blend of maca that is mixed based on certain needs i.e. men vs women, pre-menopaus ve post menopause, etc. see below for details.🙂

Our Top Gelatinized vs Raw Maca Supplement Recommendations: 

  • Maca Powder by Gaia Herbs- Great basic gelatinized maca powder
  • myKind Organics Maca Root Powder- Gelatinized maca + probiotic (better for digestion)
  • FemmenessencePRO HARMONY – Best for supporting hormone balance, menstrual and reproductive health
  • FemmenessencePRO- PERI – Best for peri-menopausal women
  • FemmenessencePRO- POST – Best for postmenopausal women
  • RevolutionPRO- Best for men. Combination of maca phenotypes specifically for male biology

>>>Full list of the best maca supplements here

Not sure if you have a hormone imbalance? Learn about the Best Hormone Imbalance Tests

You can find these on Amazon, but you can buy them for a discounted price and ensure that they are not counterfeit or tampered with by buying through where we buy our supplements, Fullscript.  

Fullscript ships them directly from the company to your doorstep, so no need to worry about things being expired or ruined by long storage in swelter warehouses. 

Fullscript has your back with excellent customer service if you have any issues, too.   Check out 👉our favorite gelatinized maca supplements👈 for boosting your health.

When Should You Take a Maca Root Supplement?

The most frequent time people think of supplementing with maca root is when they want to increase energy or improve hormone imbalance, such as when reversing estrogen dominance naturally. 

However, maca has a number of benefits and isn’t just limited to hormone imbalance and energy. 

>>>Learn How and When to Test for Hormone Imbalance

 Some of the questions our clients frequently ask concerning when to take maca root include:

  • What time of day should I take maca root?
  • How much should I take?
  • Who benefits MOST from taking maca root?
  • Can I take it more than once a day?

This is a complex question, which is why we wrote an entire post on the best time to take maca root

This post outlines who benefits most from maca, when and for how long to take it what time of day to take it, how much to take, and more.

The short answer is that most people can benefit from incorporating maca into their diet. 

We regularly put some in our coffee for longer- more steady energy. Just don’t use too much, or it will taste like dirt.🙂

Powerful research shows it has incredible benefits from improving energy, enhancing fertility, and normalizing female hormone imbalance

Read more >>> When to Take Maca Root & its Many Benefits


When comparing gelatinized vs raw maca, the clear winner for a majority of people is to go with an organic gelatinized version of maca. 


Gelatinized maca is easier to digest, which allows for better absorption of maca’s many powerful nutrients. 

Remember, there are many maca varieties grown out there with various benefits. Think of how different a Gala apple is vs a Gold Delicious or Granny Smith. There is a difference in the benefits of taking red maca vs black maca. 

Thus far, yellow maca is the most studied variety and often found in a gelatinized maca powder. 

Because of the differences between varieties, when considering a supplement, consider the supplements that use a mixture in their supplement to get the best benefit. 

Symphony Natural Health is arguably the best brand at doing this. It makes several gelatinized supplement blends that are tailored using different varieties of maca to create supplement blends that are uniquely beneficial to men or for hormone imbalance in women.