The Benefits of Maca Powder For Your Hormones
What is Maca?
If your Facebook feed is routinely flooded with news of friends’ latest diets or research on the newest “superfoods,” then you’ve likely already heard of maca. But while the name might be familiar, you may not know the power this ancient root powder actually possesses.
Make no mistake: Maca’s no passing fad. It’s a centuries-old natural remedy that’s also incredibly well-researched and proven to be a hormone-balancing, endocrine-symptom-soother. Maca root powder is what’s known as an adaptogen; a substance that enables your body to “adapt” to life’s stressors that might otherwise deplete your natural hormone supply and lead to a whole host of symptoms. Adaptogens help support the entire endocrine system to produce adequate amounts of the hormones you need.
Maca root powder is one hormone-soothing staple I highly recommend to keep close at hand, especially during extra stressful or important times in your life. That said, maca is not for everyone, all of the time. Digging deeper and knowing more about this powerful supplement will help you to get the most out of it.
Does Maca “Cure” Hormone Imbalance?
While some women may swear that maca has solved all of their period problems and helped regulate their unruly cycles, I caution clients against considering it to be a miracle cure for all hormonal ills. In all my years of personal and professional hormonal health experience, I’ve never seen one product fully alleviate PMS, PCOS, cramps, acne, irregular cycles, or infertility issues all on its own. The truth is, it takes a whole diet and lifestyle overhaul to see significant, permanent change to your hormonal health, and just adding in a single supplement or food - no matter how “super” it may be - is rarely enough to heal hormonal dysfunction.
When Should You Use Maca?
In my experience, there are three times in every woman’s life when she could really benefit from a regular routine of supplementing with maca root powder:
- After you hit 35, enter perimenopause and then post-menopause
- After you come off the birth control pill
- After you have a baby (and have stopped breastfeeding)
These are the critical times when your own endocrine system’s efficiency might be flagging, and when maca root powder could really help your body produce the right amounts of hormones. Essentially, as an adaptogen, maca root powder helps your endocrine system do its job during sub-optimal conditions.
During these three life milestones, you may experience several hormone-based issues that maca can treat, including:
- Low energy levels
- Low sex drive
- Brain fog and poor focus or concentration
- Mood swings and depression
- PMS symptoms
When You Shouldn’t Take Maca
Maca root powder is a great tool for these critical moments when our bodies need the additional support to get back on track. However, if you’re between 15 and 35, eating a hormonally-supportive diet should be enough to balance your hormones, resolve your period problems, and regulate your cycles. And because maca contains significant amounts of iodine, you shouldn’t take it if you have Hashimoto’s, an allergy to iodine, or any kind of thyroid nodules or growths.
What’s the Best Kind of Maca to Take?
As maca becomes more popular, more brands will pop up and different forms and varieties will become available. Don’t let the options overwhelm you; you just need to remember that glucosinolate is the component you need in order to experience maca’s hormone-balancing properties. Look for brands that contain more than 1% of glucosinolate as a standardized extract.
My favorite way to take maca is in a smoothie: just a spoonful is enough at first, but you can build up to more if you feel it’s working well for you.
There are different colors of maca powder too. Yellow is the most commonly available variety and is usually the least expensive. It packs a similar nutritional punch of minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and micronutrients as the other kinds but red and black maca powders have some specific researched properties that make them stand out. For example, red maca has proven to be most helpful for treating acne, infertility, and low energy.
Raw maca powder is better than gelatinized or cooked because the enzymes and nutrients remain at their peak levels in the raw state (however, if you have a sensitive digestive system, cooked may be easier on your stomach). I personally prefer the maca powders that blend all three varieties and allow you to get their individual and combined benefits.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
Is Your Period Healthy?
How do you know if your hormones are healthy? The answer is in your 5th vital sign - your period.
The color of your flow, frequency of your period, and symptoms you have each month can tell you a lot about your health. There are 5 different V-SIGN TYPES, and knowing which one you have will help you get healthy now and prevent disease in the future.