Maca for Adrenals
If you’re looking for natural methods of supporting adrenal health and are wondering if maca can help, you’re in the right place. In this article, we take a deeper dive into how maca root can help people overcome the symptoms of adrenal burn out. We’ll cover the following topics:
- The causes of adrenal fatigue
- Natural ways to help your adrenals
- How maca supports adrenal health
- What people are saying about using maca for adrenals
- Which type of maca is best for adrenal support?
- How to use maca for adrenal burn out
- Maca recipe for adrenal support
Your adrenal glands consist of 2 small organs located above the kidneys. They are a crucial part of the endocrine system, producing hormones that regulate nearly all of your body’s functions, from digestion to blood pressure, to stress response. Adrenal glands are so important, in fact, we can’t live without them unless we continually take medicines that mimic naturally occurring hormones.
Given their vital role in overall health, it’s no wonder that compromised adrenal glands can lead to a number of symptoms. The most common include: chronic fatigue, depression, skin ailments, brain fog, weight loss or gain, hair loss, muscle loss, low immune function, reduced libido and sexual function and difficulty sleeping. In the worst case, adrenal insufficiency can lead to autoimmune diseases and tumors.
Whether or not you are experiencing these symptoms currently, it’s a good idea to support your adrenal health by making a few simple lifestyle and dietary changes. In this article we will specifically address one of these changes: how adding high quality maca root products from Peru to your diet can protect and support adrenal health.
If you speak with a classically trained M.D., she may scoff at the idea of “adrenal fatigue.” It is a fairly general term that is not currently used as a diagnosis. Naturopathic doctors, however, have been investigating and treating this potential syndrome since Dr. James L Wilson proposed it in 1998. The basic idea is that when your adrenals are consistently overstimulated by chronic stress, the result is an inconsistent level of cortisol in your bloodstream and a lack of ability to produce all the hormones your body needs.
The potential causes of this fatigue read like a summary of life in an accelerated modern world. These include:
- Acute stressful experiences such as a death in the family, surgery, divorce and major illness
- Prolonged daily stress due to poor relationships, financial concerns, work demands
- Lack of deep, restful sleep
- A poor inflammatory diet that includes too much processed food, sugars, caffeine, hydrogenated oils and carbohydrates
- Chronic pain
- Reliance on energy drinks or coffee
- Negative thinking
- Consistent or relived emotional traumas
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Given the pace of our lives and the uncertainties that surround us on a daily basis, it’s no wonder that Dr. Wilson estimates that 80% of people will experience some level of adrenal stress in their lifetime.
Most of the causes over imbalanced adrenal health are possible to address by changing some practical things. First and foremost is to find ways to reduce stress in your life. Sufficient rest (8-10 hours a night), a regular sleep cycle, moderate exercise, meditation, NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), counseling, putting yourself around positive people and in a positive environment and laughing and having fun are all ways to relax. Eating a balanced and healthy diet free of processed meats, fast food, sugars and sweeteners, excess caffeine and seed oils also reduces bodily inflammation and stress. Some minerals and vitamins such as B-complex vitamins, Vitamin D and magnesium can all have a calming effect on the body. And essential oils such as lavender and rosemary may also help to lower cortisol levels.
Beyond these practices, you might also want to consider adding natural adrenal support to your diet, like a humble yet powerful root vegetable: maca. Maca is a root vegetable that is a food and not an herb or supplement. People have eaten it for 1000s of years and have reported amazing results in their overall wellness. Here, you can see the range of benefits associated with Maca.
Due to the positive results people all over the world experience while taking maca for hormonal balance, research is ongoing as to exactly how maca supports the endocrine system. One recent study concluded that Maca: “may be a valuable non-hormonal plant preparation for balancing levels of hormones.” Another determined that Maca “helps to produce its own optimal hormonal equilibrium, thus, providing a natural alternative in preventing and/or helping to treat hormonal dysfunctions or imbalances.”
While the exact mechanism for achieving these results is still being studied and described in medical research, the established concept of “adaptogenic” herbs can help to give a sense of how maca can support the adrenals. Russian scientist Israel Brekhmanfirst came up with the idea of “adaptogen” in 1947. According to his theory, adaptogenic foods increase your ability to work both physically and mentally and are at the same time free of negative side-effects. Adaptogens such as ginseng, ashwaganda and maca root all optimize your body’s response to stress, alleviate fatigue and boost immune function.
Maca, in specific, seems to work to prevent the adrenal glands from working until fatigue. During stressful situations, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland send signals to the adrenals to release cortisol and other hormones to deal with a potential crisis. While this works very well if you are under attack, it has negative health consequences if the adrenals are constantly engaged. Maca and other adaptogens seem to prevent this. Maca root also supports your body to produce hormones when needed and to balance hormone levels when they have been over produced. Taken over the course of several months, maca can increase the function of both the entire HPA axis (hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal). Beyond that, Maca is also a nutrient dense superfood, rich in nutrients including all amino acids, protein and minerals.
Over the years of offering high quality organic maca products, we’ve received quite a bit of feedback regarding the benefits people experience when adding this superfood to their daily routines. Here are some highlights regarding using maca root for adrenal fatigue.
"I suffer from adrenal fatigue. This product (red maca) has certainly helped with the big energy drains I have. I have much more stamina since taking this product. I'm hoping to help my adrenals as well as my other hormones stay in balance with this product." - Linda T.
"I find this maca to be supportive of my adrenal glands and energy in general. All The Maca Team products I have used are very high quality and I've reordered several times." - S.L.
"This specific product was recommended to help with my adrenal glands. It is subtle, and gentle, but my out of control eating, emotional yo-yo, and sleeping is all better. The price is reasonable also. Thank you MacaTeam" - Teresa
"This is my favorite because it's been helping my thyroid gland. I've been very sensitive to laundry chemicals and synthetic fragrances all my life. Whenever I get around them, my thyroid gives me a warning signal of pain. I've tried taking seaweeds and such for thyroid help. I don't take drugs so I'm always looking for nutrition to help do its job. When I found The Maca Team products, they indicated right away. I've tried maca products before but only the plain color. I bought both the red and the black to see what was best. It turns out that the black turned off the thyroid pain sensation within minutes of taking some. I've been putting about 1/16 of a teaspoon directly into my mouth three times a day. My appetite has increased and my muscle mass is coming back. This is just after taking it for about one week. My thyroid gland isn't yelling so loudly now either. I'm 75 and this is major for me. I still have a lot to do in life and definitely need my body to function properly. I'm so glad to have found these products. I'm now taking both the red and the black at different times of the day which seems to work best for me right now. " Janis Ihrig
"I absolutely adore the product. What first impressed me was the information on the website as well as the wide variety of ways to take it. I love supporting businesses that do a fantastic job for their customers where they truly care about their product and it shows. I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and balancing all of my hormones is quite a challenge with this disease. I was looking for a healthy, good quality supplement to balance my hormones were my libido had tanked down to -20. After two months I noticed an improvement, after six months I felt like me again, and now after almost a year it has given me a quality-of-life like I’ve never had. It is amazing quality product with a reasonable price I could not ask for anything better." - Nancy Clifford
Maca grows in a range of colors, from off white, to reddish-pink, to dark gray. There are in fact over 30 ecotypes of maca, but the roots are most commonly categorized into yellow, red and black. We recommend our black and/or red maca root for adrenal fatigue. These two colors have slightly different nutritional profiles which, in our experience, produce somewhat better results than yellow maca when it comes to endocrine health.
Note that all of our products are certified organic, fair trade and grown traditionally by an amazing co-op of farmers in Peru. They are dedicated to producing maca high in the Andes mountains the way their forebears did. In addition, we order only in small batches and package on demand to ensure you get the freshest and most potent products available.
If you’re just starting out with maca, we recommend trying a gelatinized version. This version is pre-cooked to remove starch content and is easier on the digestive system. If you do have a generally strong metabolism you can try raw maca instead. We sell all of our maca varieties in powder and capsules. Alternatively, you can try one of our liquid extracts. For quickest results, we recommend combining powder or capsules (in the morning) with a couple droppersful of liquid maca extract (in the afternoon or evening). Click below to shop for either red or black maca products.
Maca is a whole food and not a supplement. Even our capsules contain only 100% pure maca (side note: this is not true of other maca brands). That said, it is a powerful, nutrient dense food and if you are new to it, please follow these instructions:
- Take maca powder or capsules in the morning about 20 min before breakfast
- Start with 1-2 grams (1/3-2/3 of a tsp.)
- After 3 days you can increase to 3-6 grams (1-2 tsp.) as long as you feel good at the previous serving size (Complete serving recommendations)
- If you are also taking the liquid extract, you can have 1-2 droppers full in the afternoon
Whichever maca you decide to take, make sure that you give it enough time to work. Be consistent in enjoying it for at least 4 weeks. At that point you should start to see some benefits. For some people it takes a bit longer and for others it’s a bit shorter. We believe that this is mostly due to individual differences in hormone health.
It’s also important to remember that hormone health and nervous system health are complex and may take several months to stabilize. Be patient with yourself and your progress and also try to add in some of the other practices mentioned in this article to reduce your stress and improve your diet.
Maca works especially well, compared to other adaptogens because it actually tastes nice, something like a butterscotch or carmel flavor, making it more pleaseant to take. It’s easy to mix into smoothies. Here’s one of our favorites:
Maca Energy Smoothie for healthy hormones
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 cup spinach
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1 T fresh ground peanut butter
- 2-3 t Maca powder
- 1 T vanilla protein powder (optional)
- 1 T organic cacao powder
Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately. We have many more recipes that may inspire you. Please see our main Maca Recipes page details.
Yes, when taken consistently in the right amounts, maca can support healthy adrenal function for anyone. When combined with other stress hormone reducing activities and a healthy diet, maca can play an important part in restoring overall endocrine health, energy and vitality.
If you have any questions, let us know. We’re always happy to help!