If you are suffering with a hormone imbalance you are constantly in search of that one thing that can make all the difference in the world for your health.
You go from doctor to doctor, hoping that one will finally be able to wave his magic wand and you walk out of his office with a clean bill of health. When that doesn’t happen, and chances are, that never happens, you start searching the world wide web, in hopes of finding even a crumb of hope that there is something in this Universe that might relieve your symptoms, and get you out of your daily struggle with your sense of helplessness and hopelessness, your inability to function or even think straight, and finally give you one thing that you want the most–feeling like your normal self once again.
I know the feeling all too well, because I used to be in your shoes.
After my hypothyroidism, infertility and a pituitary adenoma diagnosis, I was willing to try anything natural to save myself from the hormone imbalance hell.
That’s how I came to hearing about maca root.
When I read about maca’s claimed ability to help balance hormones without negatively affecting them I had to try it. I knew there would be no harm–it is a plant; so I had nothing to lose and much to gain, if it actually worked, so I decided to give it a go.
I was going to be my own guinea pig.
Today I want to tell you what I learned in my experiment and via working with clients who used maca to help balance their hormones.
Before I do, however, as any good storyteller, I want to start with a little bit of background and history, which, in maca’s case, is quite interesting.
Maca Root History
Cultivated for thousands of years at elevations over 13,500-14,000 feet, maca had been an important food and medicinal supplement for villagers who inhabited the Peruvian highlands.
It has even been used as currency, and even in our modern times still is in some regions.
The Incas found maca so potent that the root was prescribed to warriors in preparation for battles to increase their strength and endurance. It has been told that outside of war-time, however, warriors were banned from consuming maca due to its ability to increase the libido–a fact confirmed by modern science. During peaceful times the consumption of maca was restricted to be used only in the royal court.
When Spaniards conquered Incas, they became aware of maca’s value and collected tribute from the Incas in maca roots for export to Spain. The Spanish royalty learned of maca’s benefits and used it as energy enhancer and for nutrition.
As the time went on, however, the knowledge of maca’s properties had been lost. It was not until mid- 20th century that this potent plant was rediscovered and regained its place on the list of power plants.
Now we are ready to talk about maca root benefits.
- Maca is rich in quality carbs, which, combined with its alkaloids and other nutrients make it a great choice for sustained energy
- Maca is loaded with bio-available plant protein that is easy for the body to assimilate
- Maca contains relatively high levels of cellulose and lignan, both of which stimulate intestinal function. Fiber is a key component to a healthy digestive and elimination system, and maca is loaded with it.
- Maca contains 17 amino acids. These drive many cellular functions in the body including sexual and fertility functions.
- 20 different free fatty acids have been found in maca. They work to support cellular function. The most abundant fatty acids adding to maca’s nutritional value are linolenic acid, palmitic acid, oleic acid and steric acid.
- Maca has vitamins:
- B1–helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy. Essential for good heart, muscle and nervous system function.
- B2–important for body grown and red blood cell production
- Vit C–supports anit-oxidant activity
- Niacin–supports healthy circulation
- Maca has minerals:
- Calcium—maca contains higher levels of calcium than milk. Calcium is crucial in bone development as well as for nerve and circulatory system health
- Phosphorus—important for the hemostasis of calcium as well as for transmitting electrical stimuli for brain and muscle action
- Magnesium—essential for the synthesis of protein and for muscle and nerve activity. Crucial for heart health.
- Potassium—works within the cells to help maintain healthy osmosis
- Sodium—along with potassium can support positive circulation
- Copper—supports enzyme health.
- Zinc—helps in clarity of thought and mental function
- Manganese—supports healthy growth
- Iron—vital component of hemoglobin. Supports health muscle growth.
- Selenium—protects cells against free radicals.
- Boron—supports proper metabolism.
59% carbohydrates, 10.2% protein, 8.5% fiber, 2.2% lipids.
There is more to maca, however!
If you search the web you will learn that maca enhances fertility. It works as an adoptogen* and is great for men and women alike. While it does not have any hormones of its own, it helps to balance hormones in each gender as the body needs it.
I know it is a tall order for such a small plant, and seems hard to believe, but I dug up a few studies to make sure of it for myself before I told you this. Here are a few of them.
- Maca improved semen parameters in adult men–it improved sperm production and sperm motility (source) (No wonder Inca warriors were banned from consuming maca due to its ability to increase the libido!)
- Maca uniquely enhances the LH serum levels of pituitary hormones in female rats. These findings support the traditional use of maca to enhance fertility. (source)
- Randomized clinical trials have shown that maca has favorable effects on energy and mood, may decrease anxiety and improve sexual desire. (source)
*Adaptogen, by definition, is a substance which brings the body to a heightened state of resistance to disease through physiological health and brings balance
A Magic Hormone Healing Pill?
Is maca the magic pill you’ve been waiting for to get your hormones bouncy and happy again?
Here is my opinion.
If you eat a horrible fat laden, sugar loaded diet rich in animal products and hope that taking maca will solve all of your fertility and energy problems–it won’t happen!
Diet is always the first thing we should improve on before trying any other solutions!
However, a good whole food based supplement or an herb, unlike useless (or even harmful) extracted vitamins, might be a good addition to a well-balanced, health promoting plant-based diet.
In addition, I do not believe that there is one food that we can survive on and live off of–our entire diet must work in harmony to improve our health. Not everyone will have access to maca, and, although, no one plant is alike, all having different nutrient profiles, the nutrients found in maca can also be found in other plants. Of course, they might not be all found in the same plant, but each plant has its own super powers.
I have tried maca, and I can tell you that I have not had any negative side effects from it. I think it was a great addition to otherwise solid, health promoting diet. Some of my clients and blog readers, on the other hand, swear by maca, seeing great improvements when using it.
So, if you have access to maca, like some of us do, there is no reason not to try it.
If you do not, do your best to find a combination of different plants to get the same nutrients you can add to your diet.
If your ears are perked up and you really want to give maca a try, I asked my friends at THE MACA TEAM company, who specialize in producing high quality organic maca (that’s where I get my supplies from), to offer a special deal to my listeners.
They were happy to extend 10% off offer!
If you want to take advantage of it, go to THE MACA TEAM site and use code (copy and paste):
to save 10% off your purchase.
The offer ends on Thursday, 9/8/2016.
They offer different kinds of maca powders—red, black and white; raw, gelatinized and encapsulated.
Since maca has a pungent taste, not everyone can stomach it. I personally like gelatinized and encapsulated maca. It has a milder taste and smell.
They even have a guide on which maca might be best for you, and offer a sampler package of different macas.
To conclude—maca is not a magic bullet, but there is enough scientific and historic evidence to show that it has a few benefits for your hormones and can aid in improving overall health.
At the end of the day, the best way to help your hormones heal, is by making optimal dietary and lifestyle choices, all of which I teach during my webinars.
So, if you have a hormone imbalance, or need to make sure you don’t need a tuneup, don’t forget to sign up for this week’s 5 Step System to Healthy Hormone, namely healthy thyroid, webinar.