Recently we received a message from several readers posing the following questions:
“Is maca good for balancing hormones, how should I take maca to balance hormones, what dosage of maca should I take and should I take maca root powder or maca capsules?’
We thought it would be a good idea to cover all the questions in one blog posts because there is such a growing popularity of this superfood, now deemed wonder herb, Maca. It is all the rage these days and every one wants to know more about it.
In the ASANA by Ladies Balance product line, it is also one of the main ingredients included in to promote female hormonal balance because of personal experiences we’ve had with the herb. Just do an internet search for maca and there are thousands of articles discussing its many benefits. It is with good reason that maca root has risen in the popularity ranks as it truly is an excellent herb that can serve many purposes.
So what is maca and the history behind it?
It is important to know that the maca phenomenon is nothing new and people have been taking the herb for centuries. The Inca tribe of Peru were said to give maca to their warriors before going to war because of its energy boosting capabilities. According to natural news, legend has it that after a city was conquered by these warriors, the women had to be protected due to the increased libido caused by the warriors’ intake of maca.
Maca root also known as Lepidium meyenii, is a root plant native to Peru explaining the root of the nickname “Peruvian Ginseng.” It was traditionally eaten raw, cooked or boiled by the Peruvians and it is among their staple food. It is a considered a superfood because it is naturally loaded with many essential vitamins, nutrients, minerals and fatty acids. It is made up of minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, 6 sterols, about 20 vital fatty acids, lipids, fiber, good carbohydrates, protein, and amino acids.
It is a commonly used herb in natural medicine and has been claimed by many to increase energy, libido, balance hormones, provide relief for menopausal symptoms, enhance memory, reduce stress, correct sexual dysfunction, enhance fertility and the list goes on and on. There are even claims that it can help users to grow bigger butt, hips and curves. In the article taking maca root for bigger booty and hips, I explore whether this indeed fact or fiction.
What are the benefits of taking maca for balancing hormones?
Maca is widely used in natural medicine and frequently prescribed to women who are looking for natural alternatives to promoting hormonal balance and to reverse hypothyroidism.
It is an endocrine adaptogen, which is a fancy way of saying that the herb itself does not contain any hormones, but is made up of nutrients that are essential to support normal hormone production. It supports and nourishes the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland which are the “master glands” of the body. These glands then regulate other glands in the body including the adrenal, thyroid, pancreas, ovarian and testicular glands.
With consistent and prolonged use, maca root has been touted to have the following benefits:
- Help promote balance: Maca works by releasing chemicals and nutrients that sends message to the pituitary gland, which tells the body how much of each hormone to produce, whether it is producing enough, too much or just the right. So if things are out of whack, think of maca is like the good friend who tells the body what its doing wrong and how to correct the problems.
- Improve energy and wellness
- Improve libido leading to its other nickname, ‘nature’s Viagra
- It is also frequently recommended for adrenal fatigue because it nourishes sufferers and reduces the stress hormone, cortisol.
- Beneficial in providing relief to symptoms from menopause like hot flashes.
- Improve fertility
Does maca have any side effects?
Maca root is generally considered a safe, gentle herb and tolerated very well by most people. There are no major side effects and although it is very well known for its energy boosting capabilities, it contains no caffeine or stimulants. Like with any herbal supplement, it is a good idea to check with your physician before taking the herb especially if there are any per-existing medical conditions.
Some people have reported rapid heart beats, sweating and other issues while taking maca. I believe this is an indication of too high dose. If you start feeling this way, reduce the dosage and if it persists, discontinue the supplement all together.
When shopping for a maca supplement, I am a big supporter of the organic formulas grown naturally without the use of pesticides. A big concern for maca root has to do with the high risk of bacterial contamination. Maca is widely grown in Peru and some of the growing areas in the Andes suffer from water pollution and mining activities which can end up contaminating the final maca product.
To reduce the chances of consuming a contaminated product, choose a reputable brand and preferably a product that is certified organic. Another good option is gelatinized maca root.
How to take maca to balance hormones
The dosage of supplement you purchase will determine how much you take. Generally you can take 1-3 supplements daily of a 500 mg tablet. In our ASANA product line, we use custom cultivated, gelatinized black maca from the andes. This is maca in one of its most potent and powerful form, meaning that you don’t need large doses to get the many benefits of maca.
The maximum recommended dosage is 1500mg daily. Anything more than 1500 mg a day could lead to overstimulation. There have been reports of rapid heart beats, increased anxiety or shaking when taking maca and I believe this is a result of a dose that is too high.
Since Maca is a root vegetable in the radish family, it can be taken in small amounts daily. It is available typically in capsule or powder form. The powder can be mixed into smoothies, water, juice, in cereal, yogurt, herbal teas or coffee.
Should I take maca root powder or capsules?
Personally I don’t believe it really matters if you take maca in powder form or capsules. What really matters is the concentration of maca, the dosage and of course the quality of the maca in the product.
There are actually different types of maca including: red, yellow and gold maca and gelatinized maca, and each of these have different concentrations. We’ll be covering each of these different types of maca in a future article.
The form of maca to take depends on lifestyle. For most people, the capsule form is most convenient and an easy way to get a concentrated dose very quickly. Maca powder on the other hand is more flexible and can be taken by itself or mixed in with a smoothie. It has a light nutty taste and blends very well with other foods. I personally like to blend maca powder into a smoothie with fruits, yogurt and other foods. Here’s a simple recipe:
Maca Smoothie Recipe.
2 cups of low fat milk, preferably Almond milk or Water
1 cup of fruit medley (bananas, strawberries, blueberries, apple chunks)
1 tablespoon of Maca
2 tablespoons of natural, unsweetened peanut butter
1 cup of yogurt
1 tablespoon of honey
2 tablespoons of flaxseed
Ice as needed
Combine all ingredients into a blender or smoothie machine and blend until smooth. Enjoy
What about you? What questions or experience do you have with maca for balancing hormones, dosage and do you prefer maca powder or capsules? Please share in the comment box below.
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