Maca root is an adaptogen, which means it can help your body to “adapt” to stress. Maca can also help balance hormones as it supports your endocrine system. One of the key benefits of maca is its ability to boost fertility or treat infertility problems. Natives of the Andes mountains (where maca is grown) have long used maca as a fertility aid. Now maca is a well-known superfood worldwide, we’re hearing a lot more about how it can help women who are having trouble conceiving. There are a few ways in which maca can boost fertility and there are also particular times in a woman’s life when she will most need maca as a supplement.
Boasting full of antioxidants that replenish cells to energize and revitalize them. This miracle herb naturally balances estrogen levels, thus helping improve fertility. Maca is also commonly used to treat mood swings, memory loss and a low sex drive. Maca has been shown to raise a woman’s chances of conceiving by supporting the thyroid and balancing hormones. It’s also commonly used to reduce blood sugar, guard cells from disease, protect against neurological damage and so much more.
Several hormones in the female body are essential for fertility, namely estrogen. Widely known as the “female” hormone, estrogen is necessary for proper egg development, timely menstruation, egg fertilization and even the implantation of the fertilized egg. When estrogen levels are not properly balanced, women may not be able to conceive a child. In fact, some studies even show that improper estrogen levels may be responsible for many of the miscarriages that occur prior to the end of the first trimester of pregnancy. Maca assists in balancing estrogen and other hormones in the body, thus increasing the number of mature eggs during ovulation and supporting a healthy pregnancy.
Another outstanding benefit of maca is its ability to balance moods. Since maca adapts to the endocrine system, not only does it help to regulate estrogen and other hormones, but it also helps to control the release of key chemicals affecting the mood such as serotonin and dopamine. Healthy levels of these substances correlate to less stress, and this reduction in stress has a direct impact on fertility. Combining maca with meditation, yoga, or other techniques drastically improves a woman’s chances of conceiving.
A healthy libido is important for fertility since sexual activity must occur at the time of ovulation in order to result in pregnancy. Some studies have shown that women who have sex solely to become pregnant often have lower success rates than women who have sex for pleasure. Scientists and researchers believe that some women who struggle with infertility view sex as a chore rather than personal, intimate time to spend with their partners. Maca increases both male and female libidos, and when a couple has a naturally higher sex drive, they focus less on pregnancy and more on each other. This reduction in stress supports healthy ovulation, fertilization, implantation and full-term pregnancies.
How Maca Works
Containing 31 different minerals and 60 different phytonutrients, Maca is a nourishing food for the endocrine system, aiding the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands (all involved in hormonal balance.) Maca has the ability to affect key hormones in both women and men without containing hormones itself.
Maca has been scientifically researched for increasing fertility since 1961 and has been shown to contain specific compounds called glucosinolates which can affect fertility for both men and women. These alkaloids are responsible for Maca’s ability to support hormonal balance.
Benefits of maca:
- Supports hormonal balance
- Increases energy, stamina, and mental clarity
- Supports the thyroid
- Supports normal sexual function
Maca also has adaptogenic properties, which means it helps to strengthen the body so it is able to better resist disease and stress, supports the adrenal glands, and balances the body’s functions. In order for an herb to be considered an adaptogen, it must be non-toxic or harmless to any organ of the body and must be able to be ingested for long periods of time safely. Maca is classified as an adaptogen.
Endocrine System Tonic
One of Maca’s main actions is to stimulate and nourish the hypothalamus which regulates the pituitary gland, acting as a tonic for the hormone system. When the pituitary gland functions optimally, the entire endocrine system becomes balanced, because the pituitary gland controls the hormone output of the adrenals, thyroid and sex organs (testes in men and ovaries in women).
Promotes Hormonal Balance
In women, maca helps the body to promote balanced estrogen and progesterone levels. Estrogen or progesterone levels that are high or low at the wrong time can keep a woman from becoming pregnant or keep her from carrying to term. Excess estrogen levels can cause progesterone levels to become too low; this is known as estrogen dominance. Taking maca may help to balance the estrogen to progesterone ratio, which is essential to achieving and carrying a healthy pregnancy.
Too much estrogen in men may cause erectile dysfunction, lack of libido, low sperm count, and lowered production of seminal fluid. Studies have shown that men who use maca may experience an increased libido and an increase in sperm health.
In one study, maca was given to female and male rats and it was found that the females had multiple egg follicle maturation (important for ovulation); the males had significantly higher sperm production and motility rates.
Supports Normal Sexual Function
A human study of 9 men who were given gelatinized maca for 4 months at 1,500 – 3,000 mg a day showed the men experienced an increase in libido, sperm count, motility of sperm, increased DHEA levels, decreased anxiety and stress, lowered blood pressure, balanced iron levels, and an increase in adrenal androgens.
10 Reasons Why Maca is Beneficial to Fertility Health
1. Nourishing to the endocrine system – Alkaloids in Maca have been shown to have an effect on the hypothalamus-pituitary axis of which the pituitary, adrenal and thyroid glands are a part, and which are each involved in hormonal balance.
2. Hormonal balance – Maca influences the production of estrogen, testosterone and progesterone-supporting balance where it is needed, without containing hormones itself.
3. Libido and vitality, including sexual function (supporting erectile dysfunction and cervical mucus production) – Maca has aphrodisiac qualities and supports an increase in blood flow to the pelvic region which, in turn, may increase sexual desire in both men and women; “increasing vaginal secretions in women and enhancing testosterone levels in men.”
4. Energy and stamina – Maca provides the body with a natural energy due to its high carbohydrate levels. Maca is comprised of 60% carbohydrates, primarily from starches and sugars.
5. Follicle health – Maca may help to stimulate the maturation of follicles within an ovary (in animal studies).
6. Egg Health – Maca offers a plethora of nutrients to support health of the body on a cellular level, but also healthy hormonal balance, which contributes to healthier eggs.
7. Sperm quality, sperm count per ejaculation, and healthy sperm motility – Studies show an improvement in all three of these areas of sperm health. The resulting effects are thought to be due to Maca’s ability to support hormonal balance where it is needed; additionally, it provides nutrients to the body that support cellular health.
8. Immune health & stress response – Maca is an adaptogen, which as a class of herbs are helpful for those with immune related fertility issues. Immunological fertility problems cause the body to identify part of its reproductive function as an enemy and, as a result, sends Natural Killer (NK) cells to attack. Maca aids the body in proper immune response.
9. Menstrual cycle & endometrium health – The health and normalcy of the entire menstrual cycle may be supported by Maca as a result of Maca’s ability to promote hormonal balance, nourish the endocrine system (which controls hormone function), and increase blood flow to the pelvic region. Maca supports healthy menstruation, the endometrial lining, and ovulation.
10. Thyroid health – Some reports show that 10 grams (g) of Maca root contains 52 micrograms (mcg) of iodine, with darker roots containing more iodine than lighter roots. Iodine is an essential nutrient for proper thyroid function. Maca has a balancing effect on and nourishes the hypothalamus (which “controls, stimulates and balances the other endocrine glands: pituitary, adrenals, ovaries, testes, thyroid and pancreas”) and, as a result of this action, Maca may in turn help those with thyroid problems.