maca. If there is one topic that I have been getting questions about from my customers over the past few years, it is maca. If women in menopause get complaints and start googling they will sooner or later end up with maca. “What is true of all the positive stories and is it also suitable for my husband?” is a question I get a lot. As well as: “are there any drawbacks and what should I pay attention to when it comes to quality?” Good questions. I have therefore updated an old article. If you have any more questions, leave them below. I’ll be happy to answer them.
“Do you have a complaint? try maca”
Maca is a tuber but it is related to cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli. It has been used for thousands of years as a power source and medicine by the local people where it is grown: high in the Andes in Peru. The Peruvians still see maca as a panacea. Lepidium meyenii is a species protected by the Peruvian government as a national crop.
I was in Peru years ago. If you tell someone there that you have a complaint or ailment, they usually say: “Try maca”.
Today we know that maca contains valuable proteins, healthy fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, and minerals (zinc, magnesium, copper, potassium, calcium), as well as glucosinolates (known as crucifers for their anti-cancer properties). In addition, maca is a good source of phytonutrients and supports the body in detoxing. In addition to boosting our health and vitality, it also boosts our libido.
More energy and libido and fewer hot flashes?
There are several theories about how maca works and why it has so many health benefits. The most accepted theory is that of the Peruvian biologist Prof. G. Chacon, who states that maca stimulates the endocrine glands in our brain – the hypothalamus and pituitary gland – giving us more energy and libido, among other things.
As we age, the hormone levels in our blood and organs drop, and with it often our energy and libido levels. Through maca, we can stimulate our body to increase hormone production in a natural way. Due to the hormone balance, it can also work well against hot flashes.
Maca contains arginine which stimulates the production of nitric oxide. That’s how Viagra works, which is why some people call maca Peruvian viagra.
The effect that maca has on our sexual functioning and libido has been extensively researched. Indeed, scientists found that maca contains substances that have aphrodisiac properties in addition to all kinds of other positive effects.
Better hormone balance through maca
The special thing about maca is that it works as an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a substance that encourages the body to improve the production of our own hormones and a better balance between the hormones. This is especially important with aging and especially in menopause because the hormones estrogen and progesterone then start to fluctuate considerably and decrease.
In case of menopausal complaints, maca stimulates our hormonal system to restore the hormone balance as well as possible. For example, more testosterone is produced, which increases potency. For both men and women by the way!
Testosterone is an important hormone in our female body and it is important to maintain it. Depression is increasingly linked to a lack of testosterone.
Relief of menopausal symptoms without estrogenic action
Unlike other plant products that contain hormone-like substances, such as soy, black cohosh, and linseed, maca contains no plant hormones or phytoestrogens. So it has no estrogenic effect on our body. We don’t want that either, because the vast majority of women already have too much estrogen in their bodies. The cause of this is, among other things, the large number of chemical substances in our environment that have an estrogenic effect on our body.
Many menopausal symptoms are caused by estrogen dominance.
Maca, therefore, has no effect on the endocrine glands that could become lazy in the long run if too many hormone substances enter from outside. So the body produces the necessary hormones itself, depending on what is needed.
Support with both stress and your thyroid
Women are 15 times more likely than men to be affected by thyroid problems. This is usually due to an underactive thyroid gland. Thyroid problems are often associated with excessive stress. There are indications that maca may be helpful in alleviating thyroid problems; After all, our thyroid is also a hormone-producing organ.
During chronic stress, your adrenal glands constantly make cortisol to provide you with energy over and over again. This places a heavy burden on your adrenal glands. This can eventually lead to thyroid problems such as Hashimoto’s.
Since maca can increase the resistance, but will not stimulate you excessively as an adaptogen, maca has a positive influence on the extent to which you can deal with stress.
Experiencing less stress will then have a positive influence on your thyroid.
Positive effect on osteoporosis and other menopausal complaints
Finally: not unimportant for women, is that other research (Dr. Hugo Malespina, Lima) has shown that there is a positive effect on osteoporosis. This is mainly attributed to the minerals present in maca, which are necessary for bone building.
So just to summarize, maca can potentially contribute to:
- Natural hormone balance (very important in the menopause)
- Fewer hot flashes and night sweats
- Stress support
- More energy
- Higher libido
- Better memory
- More resistance and endurance
- The positive effects of osteoporosis
- Improved Fertility
What is the best maca for female hormone balance?
As with anything, as soon as a product is in demand, shit hits the market. Especially products from China (we have seen this with goji berries before) are grown on a large scale and can be sprayed with pesticides or contain fungi and bacteria. Also, this maca is much less nutritious; the soil in China is not the same as that in Peru.
Lepidium meyenii is a species protected by the Peruvian government as a national crop. It is grown on a small scale by local farmers and is guaranteed GMO-free.
My advice is to use only certified, organic maca from Peru. Avoid maca from other countries; these often contain fillers (corn or rice powder) and sometimes even sugar. Also make sure your maca has been freeze-dried and not heated or irradiated.
There is yellow, red, purple, and black maca. The color is determined by the skin of the tuber. The red and black contain more glucosinolates than the other variants, but the differences are not that big. Most (yellow) powders on the market are a mix of all colors.
Personally, I don’t like it that much
The advantage of maca is that it works quite quickly. The downside is that you do need some of it. The Peruvians eat it like we eat a potato. My advice is therefore to buy maca in powder form and not in capsules; capsules contain small amounts.
The only downside is that maca is not tasty. That is why I use the powder form myself in smoothies so that the taste is not overpowering. I usually use a full teaspoon per smoothie. Just like with everything: your body requires plenty of variety. So don’t use it every day or stop every now and then for a week if you use it daily for a while.