Walsh Nutrition | Maca: The Scoop on This Adaptogen
Maca: The Scoop on This Adaptogen by Maryann Walsh, MFN, RD, Registered Dietitian
maca, macaroot, adaptogen, adaptogenic herbs, women, men's health, women's health, male enhancement, hormone balancing, sexual enhancement, maryann walsh, maryann walsh registered dietitian
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Maca: The Scoop on this Popular Adaptogen

The Scoop on Maca

Maca is referred to as an adaptogenic plant** – a plant which increases the body’s resistance to psychological, physical and chemical stressors without over-influencing the body.

 Researchers suggest* that Maca strengthens the body’s ability to not only maintain but regain a hormonal balance – or homeostasis – by stimulating the endocrine system.

Maca plant sterols stimulate the hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal and ovarian glands, which in turn affects the thyroid and pineal glands of the endocrine system.

Think of the endocrine system as a “factory” – your hormones being the products produced and the delivery trucks and drivers being your glands and hormone-controlling organs. If a delivery truck breaks down or a driver calls off work – the factory cannot transport your hormones where they are needed causing the body to malfunction. Now, think of Maca as roadside assistance.

 

Maca affects the body by promoting optimal function of:

  • The Hypothalamus: which connects the endocrine system to the nervous system (our “factory’s” corporate office).
  • The pituitary gland*: The master gland (factory supervisor) which receives information from the brain and tells other glands (delivery truck/drivers) what to do.

This gland synthesizes two important hormones:

  • Luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone: which act on the ovaries or testes to stimulate sex hormone production, and egg and sperm maturity.
  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone: which stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete steroid hormones -mainly
    • Cortisol* at high levels causes mood swings, anxiety, depression or irritability as well as weight gain, high blood pressure, osteoporosis to name a few.

 

When the ovaries overproduce hormones it causes an imbalance in a women’s homeostasis causing Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS); which the ladies in the room know causes mood swings and irritability. These symptoms as well as low energy levels, migraines, and hot flashes are also seen when the ovaries stop functioning properly, which is usually a characteristic of Menopause.  

 

When Maca rebalances theses hormones it provides women with*:

  • Increased sex drive*
  • Deeper sleep
  • Balanced mood swings
  • Increased energy levels
  • Less stress/anxiety*
  • Decreased risk of osteoporosis
  • Decreased menopausal/PMS symptoms*

 

Similarly in men, when the testes experience an imbalance of sex hormones it can produce a reduction in sperm function causing decreased fertility and libido.

 

When Maca rebalances theses hormones it provides men with:

  • Sexual dysfunction treatment (Loss of Libido)*
  • Increased energy, stamina & athletic performance*
  • Fertility enhancement*
  • Improved emotional well being
  • Enhanced mental clarity*

 

When Maca is not serving as roadside assistance to our bodies, it’s serving as grandma with a home-cooked meal since it is nutritionally dense*. One ounce of Maca is a great source of carbs (20 grams), protein (4 grams), and Iron (23% of RDI). You can pick up some Maca root at specialty grocery stores or grab some Maca in powder form and get creative with numerous recipes, or find in supplement form!

 

 



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