All About Maca (An Endocrine Adaptogen) and A Strawberry Mango Maca Smoothie Recipe

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All About Maca (An Endocrine Adaptogen) and A Recipe for Strawberry Mango Maca Smoothie | This is so good...

Are you familiar with maca?  In this post we are going to learn all about maca and then give it a try in a yummy Strawberry Mango Maca Smoothie!

It was only recently that I started seeing mentions of maca pop up in blog articles and in my Facebook feed.  A couple of the claims caught my attention right away: maca can help with Adrenal Fatigue symptoms (particularly low energy and low libido) and maca can help improve hypothyroid symptoms.

Wow, major claims right?  I thought so and was skeptical.  And when I’m intrigued by something, but hesitant to jump on the bandwagon and try it, I read.  A lot.  So here’s a summary of my findings and why I decided to give maca a try.

Before we get started though, I need to say that I am not a doctor.  I’m a real food and natural health blogger and a physical therapist.  Before you decide to try maca or any other herbal supplement, I strongly urge you to consult with your trusted health care professional and to do your own research.

What is maca?

Maca is a root tuber and a relative of the radish.  It’s also known as “Peruvian Ginseng”.  Maca is grown mostly in Peru, but is also grown in the high Andes of Boliva.  This root grows in areas where little else can grow so it is very rare to find pesticides used in it’s production. (1)

Maca is most often dried and sold as powder or capsules, although Peruvians have access to fresh roots and may prepare it in various traditional dishes.  Raw maca is very fibrous and difficult to digest. (1)

What is an Adaptogen?

According to Dictionary.com, the definition of an Adaptogen is “any of various natural substances used in herbal medicine to normalize and regulate the systems of the body.”

Adaptogens are pretty cool.  They help you to normalize your hormones without pushing you too far in one direction or another.  In other words, they help where needed and when needed.  Neat, right?

So how does Maca work as an Adaptogen?

According to an article on NaturalNews.com, “Maca stimulates and nourishes the hypothalamus and pituitary glands which are the master glands of the body.  These glands actually regulate the other glands, so when in balance they can bring balance to the adrenal, thyroid, pancreas, ovarian and testicular glands.” (2)

Maca does not act as a hormone, it contains the nutrients necessary to assist your body in boosting production of a hormone you may be low in or decreasing production if you are producing too much.

With regards to adrenal function, maca helps to regulate cortisol production and blood sugar levels. (3)

Individuals dealing with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s may find that the adaptogenic effects of maca can give their thyroid a little boost as well. (4)

Maca is possibly best known for it’s effects on fertility and libido.  It can be beneficial to both men and women in balancing the sex hormones and therefore reducing symptoms of PMS and menopause, increasing fertility in females and sperm production in males. (2)

Many of the articles I read noted that the reported improvements were anecdotal and that few studies exist at this point in time.  It was noted that there is very low risk in using maca in small amounts.  I saw one report of increased jitteriness after a week of use.  I saw numerous mentions of avoiding maca during pregnancy or while breast feeding as there are no studies on it’s effects during these times.

Are there any nutritional benefits to Maca?

In small doses, the nutritional benefits are probably minimal, but here is what I uncovered.  Decent amounts of minerals including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium are present.  It also contains vitamin B1 and B2 as well as many essential amino acids and sterols. (5)

Why did I decide to try Maca and what effects have I seen?

I decided after a few weeks of research, that maca appeared safe in small quantities.  As someone who has dealt with severe Adrenal Fatigue and mild hypothyroid symptoms, I figured it might just give me a little boost to keep my body chugging along in the right direction.

I decided that 1 teaspoon a few days a week was a good starting dose for me.  I have seen supplementation recommendations ranging from 1/2 teaspoon to 2 Tablespoons.  I tend to do a few days on and a few days off with supplementation, just to be safe.

I’ve noticed a little boost in energy since starting supplementation and a general calm throughout the day.  I’ve had some really good sleep on days when I have supplemented, but have also had the occasional restless night (daily stress most likely playing a roll in that).

How does it taste?

I actually enjoy the taste of maca.  I think is smells a little sweet and has a slightly malty and butterscotch-like flavor.  My favorite way to use it is in smoothies, like the one I’m going to share with you now!

All About Maca (An Endocrine Adaptogen) and A Recipe for Strawberry Mango Maca Smoothie | This is so good...

Strawberry Mango Maca Smoothie

Serving Size: 1

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place all of the above ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
http://thisissogoodhome.com/2015/03/16/all-about-maca-an-endocrine-adaptogen-and-a-strawberry-mango-maca-smoothie-recipe/

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References:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lepidium_meyenii
  2. http://www.naturalnews.com/027797_maca_root_hormone_balance.html#
  3. http://adrenalfatiguesolution.com/adrenal-fatigue-supplements/
  4. http://www.baumancollege.org/community-resources/articles/138-hashimotos-article
  5. http://www.themacateam.com/maca-nutrition-facts
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24 Comments:

  1. I didn’t know much about Maca, thanks for sharing this with us. The smoothie sounds delicious too!

  2. Nice explanation and very informative! Definitely want to add maca to my regimen.

  3. I have been meaning to try maca, you’ve given me the push I needed. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks for this thorough information, personal testimony and the recipe! Do you find it hard to digest at all?

    • My digestion is pretty sensitive, so that is part of why I was hesitant to try it. Luckily, I haven’t had any issues 🙂

      • I tried macca for adrenal fatigue and found it to be quite constipating, unfortunately. Very disappointed as I was also looking for that boost. Started with 1 tsp daily but perhaps smaller doses and work my way up?

        • Sorry it didn’t work for you. Self experimentation is the only way to know if smaller does will be okay. Let me know how it works out if you try it again. Best of luck!!

  5. We love smoothies! great addition with the maca.

  6. Ok I’ve heard enough about maca now so I think I need to just get some 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Thanks for the info. I’m always curious about maca for my hormone problems, but hesitant to start taking it.

  8. Oooooh! I know what I’m making tomorrow morning…

  9. Hi, I’ve used maca powder for quite a few years now. It has helped immensely with my PCOS, which is basically a hormone imbalance. I also took it while pregnant and breastfeeding, as Peruvian women do. I honestly think it helped me achieve my vba2c. It may be why I have no issues breastfeeding either, who knows. I just wanted to point out that maca is not an herb, it’s a food. It’s one of my pet peeves when people think it’s an herb, lol… I had to say something! And thank you for the smoothie recipe! I will definitely try it, as I like maca best in my smoothies also. ☺

    • Hi Holly,
      Thanks for the comment! It’s great to have some feedback from someone who used maca successfully during pregnancy and breastfeeding. My instincts tell me there would be no issue with doing this, but I couldn’t find much research on it. I’m happy it has been so helpful for you!
      Your comment on maca not being an herb confused me as it is obviously a root tuber and NOT an herb, but after re-reading, I can see how my herbal supplementation comment could be confusing. I made the change to avoid further confusion. Thanks for pointing it out for me 🙂
      Enjoy the smoothie recipe – it’s yummy!
      Thanks again for stopping by!
      Marjorie

  10. I have always wondered about how much to take as well. Love your smoothie recipe.

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