Traditionally in Peru maca is consumed before, during and after pregnancy. Maca is frequently used to assist with conception and has been shown to improve fertility in both men and women. After this, the people of Junin use it as a rich source of folate to assist with pregnancy and also to alleviate morning sickness. However, there are no clinical studies that currently evaluate the safety of maca during pregnancy. We advise you to check with your healthcare professional before deciding whether to start taking maca while pregnant, particularly during the first trimester.
Post cervical dysplasia, cervical cancer or breast cance
There is no direct study that measures the effectiveness or safety of maca consumption with these conditions. However, a recent study did demonstrate that maca did not affect any phase of either the estrous cycle, number of ova recovered within oviduct, serum estradiol levels, wet uterine and body weights as compared with a placebo control group. In addition, a further study of 14 postmenopausal women showed no differences in serum concentrations of estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and sex hormone-binding globulin between baseline with Maca treatment and placebo. These findings suggest that maca has no androgenic or alpha-estrogenic activity. The authors concluded Maca (3.5 g/d) was able to reduce psychological symptoms, including anxiety and depression, and lower measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women independent of estrogenic and androgenic activity. Unlike other hormonal specific botanical treatments maca does not contain phytoestrogens and does not directly stimulate oestrogen production. It’s predominant mode of action is to regulate natural endocannabinoid function in the brain. If you have any concerns about the safety of maca with such conditions then please consult with you medical professional.
Is Maca a stimulant? Does it increase blood preassure?
Maca is not a stimulant and there is no evidence for assuming a direct mechanism to increase blood pressure in people that consume it regularly. In one study from 2015 maca was actually shown to lower diastolic blood pressure in a group of postmenopausal women. Interestingly maca consumption has also been linked to increased production of nitric oxide via stimulation of nitric oxide synthase (NOS). Increased levels of nitric oxide have been linked to dilation of smooth muscle and a decrease in blood pressure. This is a key area of interest for cardiologists looking at new pathways to manage hypertension. Traditionally maca is used to bring endocrine and adrenal balance back to the body and can act as a switch to turn off the sympathetic, fight-flight response of stress. Long-term consumption is thought to build strength and resilience to stress and reduce fluctuations in blood pressure and other symptoms with chronic stress. If you still have concerns about the effect of maca on your blood pressure we advise you to check with your healthcare provider and request your blood pressure to be monitored before and during supplementation with maca.
Maca is often mistakenly associated with negatively impacting thyroid function as it belong to the cruciferous vegetable family. These vegetables contain high levels of biochemicals called glucosinolates which can interfere with production of thyroid hormones, particularly in the presence of a low-iodine diet. This is only an issue for those who consume maca in a raw form. In Peru, maca has never been consumed raw and it is always advised to cook it. Raw maca may actually be more harmful than good and the beneficial properties of maca are not lost when cooking (see here). During cooking the glucosinolates break down to create a powdered form that is ‘thyroid friendly’. Our maca is pre-cooked and as such there is little to no risk of negative impact to thyroid function. In fact, traditionally in Peru cooked maca is used to regulate and enhance thyroid function and may actually be highly beneficial for those suffering from thyroid related conditions.
Traditionally in Peru maca is consumed while lactating. The best consensus piece addressing this by medical specialists was done by APILAM (Association for Promotion and Cultural and Scientific Research of Breastfeeding). https://apilam.org/
The organization consists of a group of pediatricians, health practitioners and mothers. Their review of evidence, case studies and data deemed maca to be very low risk to both mother and child during breast feeding. Refer here: http://www.e-lactancia.org/producto/966
Their classification for maca states – “A substance labeled as Very low Risk is a substance that has been shown safe for lactation and the infant. Safe product compatible with breastfeeding based on reliable information published on the scientific literature. It can be taken within a reasonable range of safety.”
Children and Maca
Yes, maca is traditionally consumed from approximately 5 years onwards and is stated to help with improving brain function for schooling. For children we recommend taking approximately half the dose of adults until they begin puberty.