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Aging Woman: Maca May Help Ease Menopause Symptoms


By Angela Halderson, RDN, IFNP, CMST, CLT, from Natural Healthy Concepts

If you’re experiencing symptoms of menopause, maybe maca can help.

Maca has been shown to reduce hot flashes, night sweats and heart palpitations related to menopause. It can also ease nervousness, correct disrupted menopausal sleep patterns and aid in weight loss while lowering blood pressure and improving cholesterol. What a mighty little herb maca is! Keep reading to find out more about maca and where to buy maca root.

What is Maca Root?

Maca is a tuberous root similar in appearance to a beet. There are two species of maca: Lepidium meyenii (wild maca) and Lepidium peruvianum (cultivated maca).

As with all herbs, maca’s quality and potency is the determining factor in how well it works with the body. For better or worse, anyone can create and brand their own supplement company in America. Supplements are regulated by the FDA to be manufactured under good manufacturing processes. This does not ensure herbal quality, potency or the end result being sold to you at clinically tested dosages. This leads to unstandardized maca supplements, which may not deliver its health claims. This also leads to a waste of money and overall disappointment. If you’re wondering where to buy maca root, it’s best to shop from holistic brands that don’t skimp on quality for cost. Learn how to not be taken advantage of and how to reach for the best quality maca supplement to ease your hormonal fluctuations.

How and Where to Buy Maca Root

Species and Soil Matter

Lepidium meyenii is the naturally occurring, wild maca. Lepidium peruvianum is a cultivated, farm grown maca, though of course both can be grown agriculturally. Here soil conditions and temperatures matter. Soil quality determines the amount of minerals available from maca, but it seems temperature extremes help determine the amount of glucosinolates available within the maca root. Glucosinolates are plant compounds found within maca which offer nutritional effects of hormone balance, increasing bone mineral density. (Source 1, 2) Lepidium peruvianum is grown in mineral rich soils at high elevations within Peru. These growing conditions result in high levels of glucosinolates.

Color Matters

Maca is available in many colors. Yellow maca contains less glucosinolates yet when combined with other maca does stimulate estradiol in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, suppressing FSH, cortisol and BMI. Red and black maca contain the most glucosinolates. Black maca shows to support male fertility in increasing semen quality and volume. Men with benign prostatic hyperplasia would want to reach for red maca. Red maca has been shown to reverse experimentally induced osteoporosis, improve blood sugar levels, decrease body weight, naturally increase estrogen, naturally increase progesterone and lower blood pressure. (3)

Forms of Maca Matter

Maca can be found as raw, powdered, fermented, concentrated and even standardized. All of these terms are buzz words not only as marketing descriptors, but also misleading you to think you are purchasing the best maca. The best quality maca that also delivers clinically tested therapeutic effects is organic and pre-gelatinized. It is important to read the ingredient label or ask your health care practitioner about the maca they are offering you. Your maca should contain no fillers, excipients, or chemicals of any kind.

What to Expect

When taking maca to address hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings or other menopausal symptoms, most women will see an improvement from 2 days to 8 weeks. The body’s own estrogen naturally increases within two months. Bone density is seen to increase at 4 months and progesterone levels naturally increase after 8 months of daily supplementation.

Ready to try maca root? Natural Healthy Concepts’ practitioners have carefully vetted maca supplements for you. For starters, try Quantum Nutrition Labs Woman’s Power or Pure Encapsulations’ Maca-3.