Aside from health class in high school, or if you happen to take on a fertility journey, hormones aren’t talked about too much. That is... unless we’re talking about PMS, menopause, or post-menopause. Not many of us talk about early onset menopause, PCOS, perimenopause, or how much your hormones are ruling your days.
What if your hormones and understanding them a bit more was... key?
I rode the hormonal imbalance roller coaster for years, and it was FRUSTRATING. I then embarked on a path to understand them more fully, and after studying hormones and the body mind connection and effects of yoga on the hormones... I discovered that there’s a whole lot of truth to some of the (not so crazy) ancient, natural methods for balancing hormones.
I’ve been using maca for years, ever since I experienced amenorrhea and decided I not only WANTED to get my cycle back, but also didn’t feel like birth control was the right choice for me. Along with many other additions to my life, maca became a habit; one that has stuck around.
Maca is a Peruvian adaptogenic root vegetable hailing from yonder in Peru—high in the Andes mountains—where it’s been used for two thousand years to restore hormonal balance (without introducing artificial hormones into the body). Maca is referred to as “the Peruvian fertility secret,” and is also considered an aphrodisiac, especially for women. #steepclaims
By the way, an adaptogenic compound is a fancy way to say that it works WITH your body to adapt to stressors. Maca supports the function of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands—major players in the production of hormones. Estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone are all produced as needed thanks to these master glands in the brain, so maca gives your body a chance to correct hormonal imbalances at their start.
Maca is a cruciferous vegetable—like Brussels Sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower—and the thing about cruciferous vegetables is they contain glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are nutrients that support liver detoxification and hormone elimination pathways, which is GREAT (you may not think about how important your liver is to your hormones, but the liver is considered an essential part of the endocrine system).
Glucosinolates are ALSO known to have negative effects on the thyroid (glucosinolates inhibit iodine uptake and thyroid hormone formation, especially if ya already have an iodine deficiency). So this is why you’ve heard that you should up your broccoli intake around menopause, and NOT have lots of raw broccoli if you have thyroid issues.
Maca is also a source of zinc, B vitamins, and iron: all necessary for hormone production.
Maca can be a great addition to your life (chat with your doc/health professional) if you’re:
Thing is: not all maca is created equally. There are different kinds of maca—13 different colors of maca to be exact—and each one has a different benefit.
The three I’m going to highlight are:
You can get gelatinized maca, which has been cooked and had the starch removed, for easier digestion and bioavailability, or you can get raw maca, which has more of the aforementioned glucosinolates and enzymes (the heating of the maca for gelatinization destroys ‘em a bit).
Here are just a few options to get your search started.
It’s pretty potent stuff, so you want to start with a small amount each day and see how you do. Ya gotta have a little bit everyday, and it takes some time for the effects to set in (remember, it’s helping to correct the function of your hypothalamus and pituitary, and it takes a hot minute to get things flowing and going again; give it about 2-3 weeks). Toss the powder into smoothies or oatmeal or your coffee, or if you find you don't like the flavor (it's got a kinda earthy, nutty flavor), go the route of the capsules.
Listen up, buttercup: if you’re into becoming a partner in your health journey, empowering yourself with knowledge like this is necessary. You may want to check out my program, Fed Up Fellowship, where empowerment and understanding the unique language your body is speaking is our focus.