What Do We Know About Maca And Hormones?
Oh yes. A great tool to have in the back pocket for supporting your hormones in a natural way is a serving of maca a day. When we see great we mean great. People of all ages have seen tremendous results.
Our Founder, cancer thriver and Mother of three, Karen Berrios, takes her maca every day. Without fail she puts it in her coffee or sometimes makes it into her favorite baking practices. It is that important to her.
Women all over the world get in their daily maca to support their hormones. And men get in their maca to support libido and stress levels- which women do too. Maca is powerful and effective and when someone understands the benefits and thus makes a stronger mind-body connection with it, it can be a routine that you grow fond of once you see some results.
What is maca?
It is considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Maca itself is similar in appearance to the common potato. Yet it is far from the tuber that so many Americans eat with every meal! It is considered a cruciferous vegetable, which puts it in the same family as broccoli, radishes, and watercress. However, it tastes NOTHING like broccoli or radishes.
The taste of Maca: It has an earthy, nutty flavor that is subtly sweet. It is malty and has a tiny hint of caramel or butterscotch.
Colors of Maca: There are three main colors for maca: Red, yellow, and black. They all have slightly different flavor profiles, though all have amazing health benefits. Their nutrition content can slightly vary as well, which is why it’s beneficial to get in all three colors if you can. Our maca is a combination of all three.
The smell of Maca: Much like it’s taste, Maca’s smell is earthy, nutty, and malty. It can be used in both sweet or savory dishes to enhance the aroma aspect.
Maca and hormones
One of the main reasons people are drawn to Maca is that it may help support hormones. A 2005 study showed that 42% of post menopausal women supplementing with maca experienced a reduction in menopause symptoms- including low mood and low energy (Maca helped both.) More research is needed but multiple studies are popping up around Maca and hormones.
Those same researchers took the study a step further after seeing such promising results in their 2005 study. They found that not only did maca consumption help ease some of the psychological and physical symptoms of menopause, but it had the potential to possibly improve bone density as well as lower levels of cortisol (the main stress hormone).
Maca is a cruciferous vegetable which means it is a precursor to DIM- DIM can help dump out inflammatory estrogen that we don’t need. Our liver’s love DIM. Caring for our livers means caring for our hormones! Just one other thing to think about.
Studies about Maca
In one study, they looked at female rats and found that maca root could enhance serum levels of luteinizing hormones. This hormone supports fertility.
If one were to get a luteinizing hormone test, it would measure how much luteinizing hormone (LH) is in the blood. LH is directly tied to the reproductive system: Men’s testes and women’s ovaries. Sometimes we see LH called lutropin and interstitial cell stimulating hormone. This is made in our pituitary gland.
What was so cool about the rat study was that it stated that the rise in LH hormone of the rats was that it was uniquely done by Maca. Levels were measured after 7 weeks.
Another study was done on rats (both male and female) to figure out just how much of a physiological effect Maca can have on certain bodily processes. They wanted to determine if it was worthy of further studies. Their conclusion was heavily pointing toward: Study more people! There is something here! Particularly they noted that after 90 days they saw mood increase, cortisol stable out and a lowering of the blood pressure.
But HOW does Maca balance hormones?
Another reason (without getting to science-y) is that maca also nourishes our endocrine system. The endocrine system is an extremely complex system that deals with glands and organs. It uses hormones to coordinate the body’s energy levels, metabolism, and response to things like stress, injuries, and mood.
How to know if your Maca is high quality
Two questions are often asked: What type of Maca should I buy? And What type of maca is best?
These are great questions to ask! Look into the literature and you will see a summary of this:
1. You want gelatinized maca. This is a way of taking the starch out of the maca. It is easier on the stomach, more nutrient dense this way, and makes it more bioavailable! Raw Maca can be extremely tough on the stomach.
2. The higher the elevation, the better. Industry standard is grown at 12,500 feet. Ours is grown at 14,000 feet. Not to brag, but it matters. And yes we should care!
3. You want a maca that has all three colors: Red, yellow and black. All three have slightly different taste profiles and slightly different nutritional values. Many brands will only use one, but if you can find all three, that’s even better! The gut loves diversity.
4. Peruvian grown, always.
5. Organic and with no additives. This is incredibly important!
Happy to see we meet all these standards and go beyond.