Does maca relieve the symptoms of menopause and, if so, how do you use it?
Also known as Peruvian ginseng, maca powder has always been used in traditional Peruvian medicine to relieve symptoms associated with menopause, but what is it? Is it effective and if so, how do you use it?
Always consult a health professional before embarking on a cure, and above all, never stop treatment without the advice of your doctor.
Menopause is a natural transition that all women go through at any given age, to varying degrees.
It begins when the production of estrogen, a female hormone, drops below a certain level, which causes ovulation to stop and the menstruation process to be interrupted.
The drop in estrogen levels begins at the age of 35 and generally collapses between the ages of 45 and 55, which causes:
• weakened blood vessels
• a disorder in receiving information from the liver that allows it to convert bad cholesterol into good cholesterol
• a drop in bone density
• a disturbance of serotonin (brain neurotransmitter linked among other things to relaxation and sleep
This upheaval and hormonal imbalance result in the appearance of many symptoms and health problems, more or less strong depending on the woman:
• high cholesterol level
• bone and joint diseases
• joint pain and osteoporosis (see maca and osteoporosis )
• vaginal dryness
• dry skin
• hot flashes
• mood swings
• Water retention
• increased risk of cardiovascular disease
• increased risk of breast cancer
To deal with this hormonal imbalance Western medicine usually deals with hormone replacement therapy (HRT), to compensate for the lack of female hormones, and thus relieve the symptoms of menopause.
There are, however, several issues with this:
• it is not natural (we go against the normal functioning of the body with synthetic hormones)
• there is always a risk of heart attacks, other pathologies, with a greater risk of breast cancer
• the treatments are very expensive
• the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland see hormones arrive without having the effort to produce them, causing sluggishness of the glandular system, with a risk of habituation to the intake of hormones
This means that many women do not wish to take this treatment, preferring to go through this period without help, or with some natural aids.
Yes, according to many researchers, it is possible to rejuvenate the endocrine system so that it produces the necessary amounts of hormones during menopause, with plants containing phytoestrogens, natural substances that act as replacement therapy…
Plant estrogens are not real hormones, but are similar enough to them to act in the same way, hence their nickname “hormone-like”, by binding to different estrogen receptors in the body.
The three most important phytoestrogens are coumestans, found in soybean sprouts or red clover, lignans, found in flax seeds, and isoflavones, found in maca.
Maca is a natural alternative to various hormone replacement therapies. It stimulates the body’s glands (the endocrine system) to produce the hormones the body needs, rather than introducing hormones directly into the body.
Indeed, it stimulates the hypothalamus and the pituitary, causing stimulation of the ovaries, and the thyroid, thus causing a decrease in intensity of many symptoms of menopause linked to the hormonal system.
In addition, maca is a so-called adaptogenic plant, that is to say, it acts on the entire organism and increases the body’s ability to adapt to different stresses, regulate various functions of the body, and therefore promote overall good health.
This regulatory action affects all the essential functions: blood pressure, nervous system, hormonal system, immune system, etc.
Maca is an excellent aphrodisiac, for both women and men. It improves libido, increases sexual desire, and therefore relieves symptoms of menopause-related to sexuality. Maca is also known to improve fertility in men and women.
It is known and recognized to fight effectively against overall fatigue, physical and mental, restoring energy and vitality to the body, which is why maca is recommended for sports.
It acts preventively against the risk of the appearance of certain diseases and ailments such as cancer, osteoporosis, joint pain, etc.
Maca helps fight stress and anxiety, helping to regain nervous balance and therefore relieve all the ailments that result from it: insomnia, restless sleep, nervous fatigue, mild depression, eating disorders, etc. reasons why maca can be used in some cases of thyroid dysfunction.
Premenopause already has its share of symptoms that maca can help alleviate, such as:
• help regulate the irregular menstrual cycle (cycle skipping, bleeding outside of your period, etc.)
• relieve mood swings
• relieve hot flashes and nocturnal palpitations
• fight against vaginal dryness
• fight against the decrease in sexual desire
Maca will act on:
• vaginal dryness
• decreased libido
• dry skin
• hot flashes
• mild depression
• lower energy
• mood swings
It is estimated that a woman is in postmenopause when there is amenorrhea (absence of periods) of more than 1 year. The previous symptoms will gradually diminish and the woman’s body will gradually change.
Maca is beneficial for women in the post-menopausal period thanks to its formidable composition allowing it to remineralize the body.
Rich in vitamins, minerals (calcium, iron, etc.), antioxidants, fatty acids, amino acids, it will slow down the general aging process, maintain vitality, strengthen bones and joints, fight osteoporosis, etc.
It is important to use Maca Lepidium meyenii well, preferably yellow maca from Peru.
You can use maca diluted in a drink, or integrated into cooking recipes (see our recipes with maca ). I like the food use of maca because we do not enter a cure strictly speaking, but rather a classic use without contraindications.
Maca powder has a slight flavor, between caramel and hazelnut, which makes it a very easy powder to use, especially in desserts.
With its delicious flavor, I always recommend consuming maca as a portion of food, on a balanced diet, to enjoy all of its benefits.
Maca powder will easily flavor and drink. You can add a teaspoon to a glass of water, to all your smoothies, fruit juices, cocktails, milk, teas, infusions, milkshakes, chocolates, etc.
There is no exact dosage, just vague recommendations:
• premenopause: a small daily dose, between 800 mg and 1.5 g of maca powder, or 1 teaspoon
• menopause: 2 to 3 g of maca powder per day, or a nice teaspoon
• post-menopause: a small daily dose, between 800 mg and 1.5 g of maca powder, or 1 teaspoon
We have devoted an article to this subject, so check out the unwanted effects of maca consumption.
Maca is a portion of safe food, but do not hesitate to consult your doctor before embarking on a cure in which caution is in order.
To reduce the symptoms of menopause, it is recommended:
• to exercise
• to have a well-balanced diet
• to have a healthy lifestyle in general
It is considered that between 20 and 30% of postmenopausal women experience major upheavals in their daily lives, whether psychological, physical, or emotional. You are therefore not alone and you can contact support groups to share your experiences and tips.
For information, other plants are effective to accompany women in this period of their life, we can quote:
• plant containing phytoestrogens and/or recommended during menopause: flax seeds, fenugreek, red clover, raspberry leaves, moringa, honeybush, angelica roots, dandelion leaves, American ginseng, Panax ginseng (see also our article comparison between maca and ginseng ), etc.
• general food: soybeans, legumes, cereals, citrus fruits, stone fruits, pome fruits, blackthorn, cabbage, etc.
• anxiety, emotional fragility, mood swings: hawthorn and St. John’s wort
• fatigue, discouragement, mild depression: Griffonia, lemon balm, and Rhodiola
• weight gain with water retention: sweet clover, lady’s mantle, and Pilosella
• insomnia, light sleep: valerian