How Maca Can Help With Thyroid Disorders
Who knew such great power could come from such a tiny adaptogen vegetable?
For those of you who are already familiar with maca, you know the amazing benefits this Peruvian superfood can have. In Peru, maca is grown in the mountains. The higher the elevation, typically the better the maca is.
It is considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Maca itself is similar in appearance to the common potato. Yet it is far from the tuber that so many Americans eat with every meal! It is considered a cruciferous vegetable, which puts it in the same family as broccoli, radishes, and watercress. However, it tastes NOTHING like broccoli or radishes. It is also adaptogenic, meaning over time it will help the body with stress. It has an earthy, nutty flavor that is almost sweet with a hint of caramel or butterscotch. Red, yellow, and black maca all have slightly different flavor profiles, though all have amazing health benefits. Our maca is a combination of all three!
Maca and Hormones
Given my own cancer diagnosis, it should come as no surprise that maca has powerful cancer-fighting properties. This is the first reason I was drawn to it. Mainly in its relation to what it can do for hormone balancing effects. A 2005 study showed that 42% of post menopausal women supplementing with maca experienced a significant reduction in menopause symptoms.
The same researchers took the study a step further after seeing such promising results in their 2005 study. They found that not only did maca consumption help ease some of the psychological and physical symptoms of menopause, but that it actually improved bone density as well as lowered levels of cortisol (stress hormone).
This Peruvian superfood is a well-known immune booster for its ability to increase glutathione production, which is known to improve immune function and cause disease resistance. It has a long history of medicinal use in Peru.
Does Our Thyroid And Hormones Go Hand In Hand?
Yes. The thyroid has a leading role in your endocrine system, and that is to regulate your metabolism. The metabolism is responsible for breaking down your food and then converting it into energy. The thyroid glands are what is controlling your metabolism, by way of the thyroid hormone. The thyroid hormone is made by extracting iodine from the blood and then making it into thyroid hormones.
Thyroid hormones are really unique, and designed specifically to absorb and then utilize iodine.
Now let’s get sciency. The pituitary gland and hypothalamus are both the controllers of your thyroid. If thyroid hormones are dropping too low, your hypothalamus is going to start secreting TSH releasing hormone TRH. This then tells the pituitary gland, Hey! Produce more thyroid stimulating hormone! With this sequence, the thyroid will react by producing more hormones.
How Maca Can Help With Specific Thyroid Disorders
Let’s go over how Maca can help with specific thyroid disorders and exactly what it can do for them.
Hypothyroidism: This is a condition where your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain hormones that are needed for bodily functions and processes. This is a very common problem, especially with women. Oftentimes those with hypothyroidism need a boost with their endocrine system.
How Maca helps Hypothyroidism: Maca can help kindle the fire of the body’s endocrine system via the pituitary gland and hypothalamus. This helps the body to improve the functioning of the endocrine glands. Maca is powerful enough to even help women with post menopausal hormone imbalances, which is one of the toughest to correct. This study shows an improved hormone balance in post-menopausal women. However, the study also suggests that pre-menopausal women may experience the best results from the root.
Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism is when you have an overactive thyroid. This happens when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroxine hormone. Hyperthyroidism is nothing to take lightly as it can cause unintentional weight loss, accelerate the body’s metabolism, and even cause an irregular or rapid heartbeat.
How Maca helps hyperthyroidism: There still needs to be more research done in regards to Maca and hyperthyroidism. However, there is reason to believe that Maca can support the hypothalamus-pituitary axis (which main purpose is to control the function to maintain normal circulating levels of thyroid hormone) that would in turn support the thyroid gland to stabilize the overproduction of the thyroid hormones. This is an adaptogenic effect!
Hashimotos: Hashimotos is when your immune system attacks your thyroid gland. Many people with hashimotos have to make drastic lifestyle changes in order to keep their condition under control.
How Maca helps hashimotos: Maca is wonderful for those with hashimotos because it promotes vitality and energy- two things that people who are suffering with daily have a hard time experiencing. Lethargy is present in Hashimotos, as is low libido among other things. Taking Maca daily has been show to help improve sexual function (although more studies on women are needed) and can also help strengthen our endurance levels.
Maca And Balancing Hormones In General
For those who suffer uncomfortable symptoms like hormonal shifts, or those who deal with thyroid issues, Maca can really help out. It’s always worth trying to holistically heal a problem before going a pharmaceutical or surgical route.
While bioidentical hormones sound much more appealing as a natural hormone therapy, it would be better still if our bodies could produce their own hormones at levels to keep us, as women, feeling more like our usual selves. This is where maca comes in. Maca is able to help balance female hormones, and the greatest benefit has been seen in pre-menopausal women.
Another way to see how beneficial maca can be, is to look at how it can balance hormones and due to excess environmental estrogens, which we are faced with everyday! Plastics, body care, natural toxins, even from what we cook our meals in and our furniture!
There are a lot people with hormones that are out of natural balance due to these environmental estrogrens. Maca both revs up and nourishes the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, in this day and age, we greatly need natural, powerful, foods like this to help our bodies function normally with what it’s up against. See this study on how environmental estrogens can have an effect on the metabolism (among other things)… we know the metabolism and the thyroid are tied together.
There are thousands of research studies that show us that Maca has powerful medicinal benefits.
What To Look For In A Maca
Quality matters here. You cannot get the hormone balancing effects with poor quality Maca. And unfortunately, there is a lot of poor quality Maca on the market.
1. Look for Maca that is grown in Peru. Maca’s native origin.
2. Make sure it is grown at 14,000 feet. This is tougher to find, but any experiments done with Maca grown at a lower level has shown that it does not have the same hormone balancing effects.
3. You want to look for gelatinized form. This makes it so the maca is more bioavailable and is much easier on the digestive system.
How Long Does It Take For Maca To Work?
The main thing to know is that consistency is key. Maca is something you would want to put into your daily routine. A good test is to check thyroid levels and then again test after 3 months of consumption. In this time be mindful of your environmental estrogens and stress, you know I am all about looking at things from a holistic level! Give Maca some time to really work some magic.
Another thing to note about Maca is that it can give you some energy throughout the day so it’s something that you would want to talk in the morning or afternoon, but maybe not at night!
Be sure to check out this study on sexual function and endurance! Endurance help is another reason why people with Thyroid disorders enjoy maca.
How Can I incorporate Maca?
There are so many ways to incorporate Maca, which really makes it an easy habit to bring into your routine. First, we offer capsules, which many people prefer. We also offer our superfood powder, which is my favorite because I love the flavor and routinely add it to different things.
You can use your maca powder in:
-Oatmeal and yogurt bowls
-As a seasoning
….The options are endless! One search for maca on our brand site and you will see there are tons of recipes using maca!