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Maca for Fertility Q&A

Posted Dec 28 2010 2:51pm

Q: Can I take too much Maca ?

A: As with anything we consume, there is limit to how much we should consume. We would not want to eat too much of any one kind of food because it may not make us feel well. It is really about balance, and it is best to only take the recommended usage stated on the product. Exceeding the recommended amount will not make it work faster or more effectively. It can be stressful for the body to exceed the suggested usage; it is best to start of at the lowest recommended amount and work up to a higher amount if necessary. Because each company is different, it is best to follow the directions for use of that individual product.

General suggested usage for maca is 1500-3000 mg a day.

Q: Can I take Maca with other herbs for fertility like Dong Quai and Vitex?

A: Yes. It is important to remember that maca is a food. In Peru it is a staple food much like our potato or yam, but has a much higher nutritional value. Its actions are based on its high nutritional value, which nourish the entire endocrine system. Dong Quai and Vitex have different actions. Because other herbs for fertility have different actions and the fact that Maca is considered a food, it has been shown safe to combine with other herbs like Vitex and Dong Quai.

Q: At what point in my menstrual cycle should I start and stop taking Maca?

A: Maca is a nourishing food and may be consumed everyday throughout the menstrual cycle, even during menstruation.

Q: Is Maca safe to take during pregnancy? Does it have toxic effects on my baby?

A: Most nutritional supplements as well as herbal supplements are not suggested for use during pregnancy. Many herbs and supplements should not be used in pregnancy, but this is not true for all of them. This caution statement protects manufacturers from liability in case something adverse happens to the mother or baby during pregnancy while using the product. This caution also alerts the user to the potential for adverse effects. In some cases this caution is a generalization and the risk is relatively low. Manufacturers can not know the potential risks for each individual consumer, so putting a caution on the product makes it safer for consumers in general, minimizing risk to the mother and baby by having them not use the product at all.

Maca has been used for thousands of years by the peoples of Peru, and they eat it daily; even during pregnancy. Acute toxicity and cytotoxicity studies have shown no potential toxicity for Maca. Hundreds of thousands of people have used maca with no reported side effects. Foods like processed soy have shown to have adverse effects on the developing fetus as well as the mothers hormonal balance due to phyto-estrogens. Maca does not contain hormone like substances like soy or other plants containing phyto-estrogens.

We really have to think about other foods we consume daily like soda with aspartame, preservatives or food dye, all of these effect our bodies adversely, but they are deemed “safe” for regular use. Maca is a superior food as far as nutritional value goes, so why would this plant be a poor choice for pregnancy? Most maca is also organic. Because it is considered a nutritional supplement and herbal supplement it is still advised that you get permission or talk to your health care provider about using Maca into pregnancy. It is always best to be on the safe side and let your healthcare provider know all herbs and supplements you are taking, especially if you are pregnant.

Q: I heard Maca is bad for you if you have thyroid problems?

A: The maca we use is Lepidium Meyenii which is golden in color. There are other varieties of maca that have a variety of other colors; red, purple and black. The darker varieties red, purple and black do contain higher amounts of iodine, which may not be good for some thyroid problems; this has not been linked to the golden variety that we use in our Fertilica Maca. On the flip side some thyroid problems are linked to low iodine levels in the diet, so those other varieties may be helpful in those situations. As always it would be best to talk to your health care provider about looking into using the darker varieties of maca for thyroid health. The darker varieties have also been linked, when consumed in very high amounts to potentially causing goiters.

Maca has a balancing effect on the hypothalamus, which controls, stimulates and balances the other endocrine glands: pituitary, adrenals, ovaries, testes, thyroid and pancreas, therefore Maca may actually help thyroid issues by nourishing the hypothalamus which controls the thyroid’s function.

Under section 6 of the DSHEA (Dietary Supplemental Health and Education Act) the following statement is listed for Maca: Supports the Thyroid.

Q: Is it ok to bake with Maca or put in hot food?

A: Yes. Maca is a great way to add additional nutritional value to other foods, as well as boosting our fertility. It is easy to add to muffin mixes, bread recipes, porridge, oatmeal or pancakes.

Q: I have heard Maca has other benefits besides boosting fertility, what are they?

A: Studies have shown that Maca may help:

* Balance iron levels
* Decrease stress and anxiety
* Increase energy levels
* Help the body to utilize glucose for energy rather than process it for fat storage
* Lower high blood pressure, raise low blood pressure
* May help to normalize all of the bodies systems
* Increase stamina
* Increase mental clarity

Q: Why is Fertilica Maca powder suggested usage amount less than the typical “general” Maca dosage of 1500-3000 mg a day?

A: Our Fertilica Maca powder is a more concentrated form of maca, therefore less is needed to meet suggested daily amount. The fiber has been removed from the maca, leaving a more concentrated powder.

Q: I keep reading that Maca is an adaptogen, what does that mean?

A: Adaptogen is one of the many definitions for the therapeutic action a plant has. This term is well known by herbalists, naturopathic doctors and other alternative medicine practitioners. This term may not be as well know by medical doctors; so don’t be worried if your doctor does not know what adaptogen means. Adaptogens increase resistance to mind-body stress and enhance overall vitality and health through non-specific adrenal (known as stress glands) support. Plants recognized as adaptogens help to normalize the bodies functions even during diseased states, are non-toxic, nutritive, and have been deemed safe for long term use. If a plant is an adaptogen it may also have other action classifications such as anti-viral, immunostimulant or tonic. In general a medicinal herb has many classifications as plants often have many actions.

Do you have any questions about maca? Ask them below…


References:

Taylor LG (2005). The healing power of rainforest herbs: a guide to understanding and using herbal medicinals. Garden City Park, NY: Square One Publishers. ISBN 0-7570-0144-0.

Beth M. Ley, Ph.D. 2003. MACA Adaptogen and Hormonal Regulator. Detroit Lakes, MN: BL Publications

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