By Carol Blair, BA, DiHom, CNC
Maca is both adaptogenic and restorative in that it helps the body to adapt to stress and can help to recalibrate the body’s hormones. Maca has an incredible nutritional profile of potent phytonutrients that include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fiber, and fatty acids. This amazing plant can nutritionally fuel the endocrine system so that it is able to produce hormones regularly. Maca does not actually increase levels of any hormones, but encourages the body to produce them on its own. This is accomplished through maca’s targeted nourishment of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands (master glands of the body). These glands in turn regulate other glands, bringing balance to the adrenal, thyroid, pancreas, ovarian, and testicular glands. This can move the body toward a more optimal balance of estrogen and progesterone levels potentially reducing the severity and occurrence of migraine headaches.
Here are some additional bullets, reviewing the varying specific benefits of maca:
- Great for menopause. Maca helps adrenals to naturally produce more estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone, as well as DHEA. Because maca works on the hypothalamus/pituitary axis, it is often helpful for hot flashes. The pituitary gets messages from the hypothalamus; the hypothalamus controls body temperature. Maca works quickly in helping reduce hot flash symptoms – often in 4-7 days.
- Helps relieve hormonal depression.
- Helpful for male impotence and erectile dysfunction; improves semen and motility.
- Restores vaginal lubrication, libido, and endurance.
- Helps with ovarian cysts, small uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and fertility whether because of low sperm or lack of ovulation.
- Used in Peru to carry pregnancies to full-term (raises progesterone). Considered a nutritive tonic and adaptogen.
Dosage is difficult; more is not better. Men may need less than women. For women in menopause, start with one capsule. You may need to go up to 3-4 capsules. If symptoms get worse, reduce dosage.
Don’t use maca with ginseng; it can over-stimulate and cause jitters or may elevate the cortisol levels.