Maca is a sweet-tasting South American root from Peru that many women swear by for balancing hormones. It offers many different health and healing benefits, as well as being a nutritional source for thousands of years. There’s a reason why the ancient Incas enjoyed Maca as a superfood.
However, Maca doesn’t work for everyone. While some women swear by it for being able to balance out their hormones, others find it offers terrible side effects such as enhanced pre-menstrual stress and sensitivity. Believe it or not, the form and dosage can all make an impact, as can the intended use. Tired of all the misinformation? Here’s what you need to know about Maca and whether it’s right for you.
The Maca is a tuber which belongs in the brassica family along with cauliflower and broccoli. It’s hardy, grows in harsh weather conditions in Peru, and is packed full of vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium, copper, Vitamin A, C, and B2, and more. It even boasts fatty acids which benefit your heart health. What you can also expect from this humble root is that it offers plant sterols. These sterols are closely linked to estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, helping to balance out your hormones. (1,2)
Most people are all too familiar with that three o’clock crash in the afternoon - the time you reach for a chocolate bar and a strong, sugary coffee or energy drink. At some point in the day, you’re going to need a pick-me-up, but why not make it a healthy one? That’s what Maca offers. Going by the nickname Peruvian ginseng, Maca offers vitality, stamina, and energy when you need it the most. It’s so beneficial that warriors would consume it before going into battle and even used it as currency. It might be time to consider adding it to your lunchbox as you head off to work. (3)
As most women will know, PMS can be a pesky monthly problem that affects some women worse than others. You can have mood swings, fluid retention, and even breast tenderness, all because your estrogen levels are rising and falling. You can relieve some of those side effects with Maca. However, as Maca can stimulate the production of estrogen, it’s not suitable for women with estrogen-sensitive conditions - including ovarian, breast, and uterine cancers. (4)
If you’re going through menopause or peri-menopause, then you will be all too familiar with hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and other hormone-related side effects. While many products aim to reduce the impact of menopause, few do so as effectively as Maca for many people. Maca can increase your estrogen production, suppress chemical production in the body, and help with many menopausal side effects as well. However, some people with an over-active thyroid may find Maca consumption causes side effects. Consult your GP before you begin. (5)
Lost your mojo? Maca can help you to get it back. Known as nature’s Viagra, it offers long-chain fatty acids that increase your sexual activity. In animal testing, it even helped with erectile dysfunction. (6)
When you don’t get enough protein in your diet, your body keeps telling you to eat. Not because it’s hungry, but because it wants to make sure you get enough protein to support healthy cell function. Maca contains a healthy whack of protein, with many powders offering as much as 18 percent. Therefore, you can benefit from fewer hunger pangs in between meals.
Maca contains sulfurs which help support the functionality of your body’s enzymes. When you consume Maca, your body produces gluthionine, an anti-oxidant. This anti-oxidant then helps your liver to detoxify while boosting its functionality. (7)
Maca is not going to be suitable for everyone. It can cause side effects for many women and is not ideal for those with estrogen sensitivity.(8) However, for others, it’s a breath of fresh air for your health and vitality. Consult your GP if you would like to know more about Maca, or you have questions or concerns about its use.