Maca balances and stimulates the endocrine system in ways science is only beginning to understand. In this article, we’ll examine the benefits of maca for thyroid health, overall hormonal health and more.
The Benefits of Maca for Thyroid Health
The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck. This small organ primarily produces hormones responsible for regulating your metabolism. As far as medical conditions go, thyroid problems are fairly common. Your thyroid gland could be overactive or underactive.
Having an underactive thyroid is known as hypothyroidism and is characterized by symptoms like feeling tired, feeling cold, having a slow heart rate, gaining weight, constipation and low libido. On the other hand, having an overactive thyroid gland is known as hyperthyroidism. People with this condition experience symptoms like fast heart rate, diarrhea, unintentional weight loss, sleep problems, feeling overheated and feeling nervous or irritable.
More and more people are turning to natural solutions to balance their body. One of the best natural botanicals for maintaining thyroid health is maca root. The benefits of maca for thyroid health are believed to be due to the alkaloids present in the plant. These alkaloids stimulate the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus to produce more of the precursor hormones that the thyroid needs to create its own hormones. Note that maca does not contain any plant hormones, but rather it increases hormones in the body by stimulating the body to produce more of its own. An additional reason why maca is great for the thyroid is because of its iodine content. Iodine is necessary for proper thyroid function.
The benefits of maca for thyroid health are most applicable in cases of an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. If you have hyperthyroidism, it could promote optimal thyroid health, but you should use it very cautiously and gradually, preferably under the supervision of your doctor.
Use Maca to Help Relieve Menopause Symptoms
The thyroid gland is part of the larger endocrine system, the bodily system that controls all hormones. Maca does not only support the thyroid gland, but the whole endocrine system. This means that it can be beneficial for a wide range of hormone-related concerns. Some of the most prevalent and common hormonal concerns include the uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms of menopause.
The side effects of menopause vary from person to person. Some of the most common ones are hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. You might also experience mood swings, fatigue, weight gain, lack of concentration, low libido, or headaches. These symptoms pop up during menopause because of the rapidly-falling estrogen levels in the body.
A common pharmaceutical method of treating the symptoms of menopause is to take synthetic estrogen to replace that which has been lost. However, hormone replacement therapy is not for everyone. It can bring side effects like headaches, breast pain and nausea. It also can increase your risk of heart disease, blood clots, stroke and certain kinds of cancer. For this reason, more and more women are preferring to take a natural route to managing menopause symptoms.
Maca is highly beneficial for women going through menopause. One study involving 20 women found that taking a maca supplement for two months led to alleviation of menopause symptoms for 87 percent of the volunteers. Another study found that taking maca helped maintain a healthy mood, soothed anxiety and boosted low libido among women who had gone through menopause.
Maca Isn’t Just for Menopausal Women
Problems with the menstrual cycle are often caused by a hormonal imbalance, just like the symptoms of menopause. Too much or too little estrogen can cause a wide range of period abnormalities, including excessive cramping, excessive bleeding, skipped periods, infrequent periods and unpredictable periods. You might experience addition side effects too, like mood swings and headaches. The good news is that many women who take maca report that it helps to normalize their periods and the uncomfortable symptoms associated with menstruation, including PMS.
Can Men Also Benefit From Maca?
The health benefits of maca apply to virtually everyone. However, maca can also help male-specific health concerns. As men age, their testosterone levels drop rather dramatically. The most apparent symptom of lowered testosterone is often a decline in sexual health and vitality, which may manifest in the form of low libido, weak erections, or loss of sexual performance. The age at which a man notices the toll that getting older is taking on his sexuality can vary from his 40s to his 70s and beyond; everyone is different in this respect. The point is that men of any age who have sexual health concerns such as these can benefit from taking maca.
One study, published in the journal Urology, found that male mice and rats who consumed maca had more frequent erections and had greater success mating with females than the control group. This study only confirms many men’s positive experiences with taking maca. It’s not known exactly how or why maca helps maintain healthy erections, but it likely has to do with the endocrine system. Taking a zinc supplement alongside maca can amplify its benefits for male sexual health.