The Effects of Maca on Thyroid, HRT, Menstrual Periods, Fatigue, and Menopause.
Maca and Hypothyroidism
Based on studies done by Dr. Gloria Chacon, the alkaloids of maca are believed to stimulate the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to better balance the entire endocrine system.
Some Women who have had moderate to severe menopausal symptoms report that they have been able to reduce their thyroid medication or in a few cases even to stop it entirely after using maca for two or three months. And they all report feeling so much better, much more energetic. In all these cases, the thyroid was under-active.
Some women with hypothyroidism take Armour thyroid, others take Synthroid. What they notice after a month or two is that they begin to feel some of the symptoms of an overactive thyroid, and so they cut back their thyroid medication and the symptoms go away. Some stabilize at 50% of their former dosage of thyroid medication and some stop all thyroid medication. However, they do this, little by little, with frequent testing of thyroid function in order not to shock the thyroid and make their condition worse. It’s impossible give an accurate percentage of women who have had significant thyroid function improvement as a result of taking maca. The results for some, however, are very impressive.
Maca as an Alternative to HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) for Menopause
The most natural way of dealing with menopausal symptoms is the use of organic maca root. The maca produced with the help of chemical fertilizers is far inferior to the maca grown on soil which has rested for five years. The pioneering work done by Dr. Chacon suggests that the alkaloids in the maca root stimulate the hypothalamus and pituitary to produce more precursor hormones which then impact all of the endocrine glands–the pineal, the adrenals, ovaries, testes, pancreas, and the thyroid gland. So maca appears to be stimulating the body to produce its own hormones more adequately rather than supplying hormones from an outside source.
Premarin and Provera, the two most widely prescribed hormone replacement therapies in America are respectively synthetic estrogen, made from pregnant horses’ urine and synthetic progesterone, manufactured in the factory and called ‘progestin.’ Both of these synthetic substances will partially “hook up” like a key in a lock with the estrogen and progesterone receptors in a woman’s body but they are actually a very poor fit.
“Natural” pharmaceutical hormone replacement therapy is also manufactured in the pharmaceutical laboratory but in a different way. The ‘natural’ estradiol is synthetically produced Estradiol Beta 17. It does not start out as horse urine but is manufactured from scratch with the molecules produced synthetically being a much better match for the real thing than the horse estrogen. The ‘natural’ progesterone is derived from a plant, the wild Mexican yam, which in its natural state does not have any progesterone in it.
This type of ‘natural progesterone’ is not harmful and in fact has been shown to have beneficial effects. But of course, taking natural HRT still involves taking hormones, and it has been shown that once you begin to regularly take a certain hormone your body will stop producing that hormone since it is already provided from the outside. The human ovaries, if HRT is not given, will produce some estrogen (in the forms of both estradiol and estriol) and progesterone throughout a woman’s life, although in reduced quantities after menopause.
The adrenal glands, which in part function as a back-up system for the ovaries, also produce estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, the same hormones produced by the ovaries, as well as DHEA and cortisol. So, once a woman has taken HRT for several years, if she annouces to her gynecologist–as many women do–that she wants to stop taking HRT, the doctor panics and tells her that she MUST take the hormones for the rest of her life, because he knows that her ovaries will be atrophied and unable to produce its own estrogen–a situation which really puts her bones at greater risk for osteoporosis. Most women are unaware of this when they begin to take HRT or they would never have agreed to go on it.
Gelatinized Maca Root has the alkaloids to help the endocrine system produce estrogen naturally.
Maca Effects on Menstrual Periods, Hot Flashes, Night Sweats, and Menopause
When women start taking maca for their PMS, their hot flashes, or mood swings, they begin to report very positive collateral effects:
1) Increased energy levels due to improved adrenal and thyroid function.
2) A cessation of sugar cravings.
3) A reduced fluctuation in blood sugar levels, so they don’t get light headed or irritable so easily.
4) Improved sleep patterns, due to improved pineal gland function.
5) Cessation of heart palpitations, because estrogen receptors in heart are filled.
6) Improved bladder function, because estrogen receptors in bladder are filled.
Maca helps to normalize the menstrual cycle, both in terms of number of days in a cycle, the amount of blood flow, and the greatly reduce pain and PMS. The hormonal interactions involving the ovaries, the pancreas, the adrenals, and the thyroid are very complex. Each of these glands has a major impact on the functioning of the other. So any kind of intervention, such as taking hormones, will always leave a lot to be desired because it will not positively impact the functioning of all of the endocrine glands which do a very delicate dance together.
Conversely, these effects have not been replicated when women are taking natural hormone replacement therapy, natural estrogen, natural progesterone, and/or DHEA. The benefits of maca are far more powerful than taking DHEA. The case is similar with uterine fibroids. Women who have taken progesterone cream or oral micronized progesterone for this condition, once they begin taking organic maca root powder, the fibroids have dissolved in two or three months.
There is a huge difference between taking a particular hormone for a particular condition and taking maca whose alkaloids work at the level of the hypothalamus and the pituitary, causing a profound shift in the entire endocrine system. Maca increases low-DHEA level, enabling the adrenal glands to make DHEA, as well as, other depleted hormones.
Make your own home-made maca superfood energy bars, here’s the recipe from Jenny at Superfood Living.
–credit interview of Dr. Viana Muller by Mary Shomon.— thyroid-info.com