Q&A

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.

maca for hormonal balance 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

Directions

Combine all ingredients into a blender or smoothie machine and blend until smooth. Enjoy

 comments-iconWhat 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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46 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know About Maca for Balancing Hormones & Dosage

    • says:

      Hi Sara, great question! I think you’ll find the article on treating hormonal acne that we recently published helpful. One of the major causes of female hormonal acne is excess production of male hormones in the body. When taking a natural approach to managing acne, the goal should be to correct hormonal levels that are out of whack. This can be accomplished by eating the right foods, the right amount of daily physical activity, reducing stress, and incorporating the right dietary supplements into your daily lifestyle. The beauty of maca is that unlike some other herbal remedies used for women’s reproductive health, it contains no plant hormones. It instead works by promoting optimal performance of the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands, which stimulates the endocrine glands. Our endocrine glands are responsible for telling our bodies how much of each hormone to produce. Hopefully that helps bring some clarity. Let me know if you have further questions on this 🙂

        • says:

          Hi Ann, great question! Raw, organic Maca has been used for ages by both men and women as a herbal alternative commonly to balance hormones, promote thyroid health, improve sex drive and boost energy levels. The beauty of the herb is that it contains no plant hormones that can sometimes alter our natural hormone levels. It works by stimulating the endocrine glands which act like messengers, telling the body how much of each hormone to produce. The positive effects it has on these glands is what helps to regulate hormone levels. You can read about the full study conducted on maca and its hormone balancing effects HERE. Let me know if you have any additional questions 🙂

  1. Tanya Mathieu says:

    Does baking with macs decrease its efficiency? I have been adding Sun Food’s Maca Extreme to my Banana bread recipe with chia and flax, and I wanted to know if the synergy of those ingredients or baking decrease its efficacy. Thanks

    • says:

      Hi Tanya, I believe this depends on what you’re looking to achieve with the maca. I generally do not recommend cooking or baking with raw, organic maca because it can lose some of its vital nutrients in the process especially if you are taking the herb for certain hormonal or other medicinal benefits.

  2. Jackie says:

    I have elevated levels of prolactin for 9 years. I started using maca to address this. My period has been very regular for 7 years after other natural remedies. I started using maca a couple of months ago but only half a tsp 1 x a week. I increased the dose and regularity to 1 tsp 2-3 x a week. Then I got my period twice in 1 month. Is that normal? Should I continue the maca? Is this part of the process to regulate the pituitary?
    Thank you.

    • says:

      Hi Jackie thank you for stopping by, I cannot really advise you on what to do. I can say tell you that having your period twice in one month is not normal. Depending on your age and health condition, incidents like what you mentioned might naturally occur or it could be your body getting adjusted to the maca. However if the problem persists then it’s wise to stop the maca altogether and see your physician as there could be other causes.

  3. Nay says:

    Hi this is my first time on this site.
    I’m looking for shake that will enhance my hips and Butt tuck..
    Is this the correct shape for it…Also if so what side effects may occur and how can I purchase it? And how soon will I see my results? Thank you

  4. angela says:

    Belle,

    I’m a first time user and doing alot of homework on the Maca Root. Mostly looking to increase my libido (hoping this will do something) Such a wide range of suggestions, via net, on dosage amount. Could you please tell me the BEST form to take the Maca Root and starting dose and continual use for my age, etc….
    I am 44 and about 110pds. Workout 3x a week. I do have Fibromylagia as well.

    Angela

    • says:

      Hi Angela, you’ll want to check with your physician before starting any herbal regimen to ensure that it won’t aggravate your condition. With maca, there really isn’t a best form per say. You’ll have to experiment to find what works best for you. Maca in gelatinized form, is usually well tolerated by most people especially those with sensitive stomachs. Gelatinized means that the maca has been cooked and the nutritious contents extracted. I personally prefer maca in powder form as I can easily mix it in my smoothies and food. 500mg is a standard dosage to start with, you can always increase dosage as you gauge what works for you. Hope that helps.

    • AVRIL BELL says:

      I stopped bio identical Kliovance and just take Maca.It works as a stand alone therapy,but you need to reduce HRT gradually if you decide to stop using it.

      • says:

        Hi Avril, thank you for sharing your experience with maca. Glad it worked for you. Please keep us updated on your experience, I’m sure it can help a lot of people.

    • says:

      Hi Tammy, I am not familar with Life Brand maca, you’ll want to check with them on the quality of their maca. When looking for a maca product, I definitely recommend looking for a certified organic seal. You also want to look at the source of maca. Due to the popularity of this herb, there are news of it being grown in other regions. I personally recommend Maca from the Peru, as it is local to this region.

  5. AVRIL BELL says:

    Age 77.Have found that a daily intake of 1500mg is ideal.No flushes after four weeks,taking 1000 mg a.m.and 500mg p.m. on tablet form.Also have more energy,calmness and general feeling of wellbeing.

  6. Sara Dwight says:

    Hi Belle,
    I would very happy if you could assist me with my problem. I’ve been taking maca for the last year or so with small breaks every couple of weeks. And I loved what it did to my body. I am taking raw maca powder and I usually put it in my smoothie to mask the taste( I’m not a big fan of maca taste), but lately I started feeling very uncomfortable in the stomach area and pretty bad burn sensation in my stomach. I think that this happens because of raw maca, but I can’t continue living with these uncomfortable sensations. Do you think that I should completely quit taking maca root, or may be try taking gelatinized maca, I heard that it might be much better for the digestion.
    Thanks in advance, Sarah G.

    • says:

      Hi Sara, bummer that you’re experiencing those side effects with maca after you’ve had such great results. The first step would be to isolate the cause of the stomach issues and make sure it is indeed caused by maca. Did you switch brands or increase dosage? Did you recently start any other herbal remedies that could be at fault or interacting with the maca. Assuming the answer to all the questions is no, I would suggest taking a break from maca and any other herbal remedy for a good amount of time. At least a month. Give your body time to flush all the residue out of your system. After the break, you can startup the maca again at a lower dose, and it would be wise to opt for the gelatinized version. Gelatinized maca has been cooked to extract the pure goodness of the superfood while removing the starch that can cause stomach upset making it easier to digest. Hope that helps.

  7. Julie says:

    Does maca root increase estrogen? I have a lot of family who had breast cancer and I don’t want to take extra estrogen.

  8. Antoniya says:

    Hi, Belle, and thank you for the great information. I’ve been diagnosed with PCOS while trying to get pregnant and many friends have recommended Maca Powder as a natural stimulant that might help with my condition. Any opinion on that? I have just bought my first organic Maca powder pack and started taking it today. I know it’s just a supplement, and not a prescription medicine, so I’m ready to be patient and don’t have huge expectations, but do you have any experience with how long it takes for Maca to start showing it’s positive effects? And also, do you think that it’s best to keep taking it without a break or doing a week on and a week off? I apologize for asking so many questions, but I’m a total newbie and feeling a little overwhelmed with all the information. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer!

  9. Peggy Esaw says:

    I need to know that if this product is going do something with my hormones because I have hotflasher, nightsweat. I can not sleep at night. I use a fan to cooler me at night. Do I need to see my physical doctor before I start used the product . I seem the product on a website and I. was read on it.

  10. Peggy Esaw says:

    I need to know that if this product is going do something with my hormones because. I have hot flashes, nightsweat, I can not sleep at night sometime. I used a fan to still cooler me at night. Do I need to see my physical doctor before. I start used the product . I seem the product on a website and I was read on it. I would like to purchase the product to see if it would work for me.

  11. Steph M
    Steph M says:

    > Hi I don’t know whether you can help me. I’m needing some advice. I have
    been trying to conceive for 9 months now with no luck. I had previously
    Been on the Depo injection which has completely messed up my cycle. I have been having irregular periods for the last year and have had ultrasounds and blood tests which all came back okay. I researched the use of maca and started about 1 month ago. Firstly taking 500mg then upto 1000mg a day. Just before I started maca my last 2 periods seemed more regular however now I am 3 weeks late with my menstrual symptoms. I have taken a test and it’s negative. Is this a side effect of maca and if so will it have messed up my cycle anymore. Any help on the matter would be greatly appreciated.  Many thanks Steph 

  12. Corry says:

    I’ve tried everything over the past almost two years now for adult acne. I don’t want to take prescriptions so I opt for all natural. Anyway, I am feeling defeated. I’ve tried a wholesome diet, lot’s of water with exercise. Taking a daily vitamin. I’ve tried taking DIM and Vitex. Nothing is working.
    I am hoping that this maca root will help. I’m constantly awaking to new cystic acne and hide inside all the time. This is not living life. I can’t handle this anymore… I need to know that maca root added to my lifestyle will help. I’ve never ever had acne as a teenager, and now that I’m in my mid-late 30’s I’m bombarded with it. My skin is dry, and yet I am breaking out with cystic acne all over my face. It’s even under my eyebrows. Please do respond, I know you get a lot of comments, but I truly need a response… please. Thank you for taking the time to read my comment and concerns.

    • Belle
      Belle says:

      Hi Cory thank you for your comment and I am sorry to hear about your struggles. I’ve covered the topic of cystic acne quite a bit. You can see one of the major articles here: http://www.ladiesbalance.com/treat-female-hormonal-acne-naturally-to-get-clear-skin/. From what you describe, your acne and dry skin may be from a combination of hormonal changes and topical products. Usually cystic acne is accompanied by oily skin from excess male hormones. I would suggest looking at your skin care products and getting rid of items that may be overly harsh and drying out your skin. Managing the cystic acne will take some trial and error to figure out what works for you. The first course of action to consider is a good detox product to help your body move out toxins and waster. If you’re looking for a herbal remedy, you may consider Asana by LadiesBalance in combination with Femininitea Spearmint or even better the Asana Beauty Bundle that also includes Femininitea Clear Skin. Also realize that natural products may take time and consistent use to work, so stick with it for at least 6 months. If you have any questions do not hesitate to reach out to us.

  13. JULIETTE says:

    I noticed that there are no responses to the question of whether maca can be taken in combination with bio identical hormones. Why no answer? Does anyone know the answer?

    • Belle
      Belle says:

      Hi Juliette thank you for your patience. We get dozens of comment on the site and work hard to get to all of them :). In regards to combining maca with bio identical hormones, it’s best to run that question with the facilities where you are receiving the hormone prescription. It really depends on the type of hormones, dosage etc. Maca is a fairly versatile herb and does not contain any hormone. However maca root is known to have interactions with functions of the endocrine system and this can affect hormone levels and impact the effectiveness both of the bio identical hormones.

    • Belle
      Belle says:

      Hi Carolyn, it is typically best to take maca in the morning or afternoon to allow for it to absorb with your meals throughout the day. Also maca is known for it’s energizing benefits, best to avoid before nighttime unless intentional :). The adaptogenic benefits of maca may help to relieve some of the feelings such as chronic fatigue that is common with fibromalla.

  14. Megan says:

    Hi.. I’ve been on a few sights trying to find the correct dosage for Macs root extract capsules, they are 2500mg each. One site recommends every ‘other’ day, another says on three months off two weeks and another says on one month off one week. Which is best ? I am battling with hormonal cystic acne and extreme emotional ups and downs, not to mention a terribly unbalanced libido.

    • Belle
      Belle says:

      Hi Megan it really depends on the brand of maca that you use. If the product is filled with filler ingredients then you may need to take higher dosages to feel the effect. A reputable brand with a potent product may not require such a high dosage. Generally 1500mg a day is enough to get the benefits of the maca herb. Hope that helps

  15. Margie says:

    I have atrophic vaginitis low libido, dryness is real culprit as it hurts.. anything natural to help this..can’t take the drugs, wondering about maca

    • Belle
      Belle says:

      Hi Margie I believe you will enjoy the warming and energizing effects of maca. When combined with a sister adaptogenic herb like shatavari, it can do wonders for reviving low female libido. Our Asana by LadiesBalance capsules combine both ingredients.

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