I love Maca Root and I have promoted it heaps on this blog, so I thought I better tell you what I have discovered about it recently. A few weeks back, I had a few girls email me and describe that they had experienced worse pain after going on Maca Root. I found this incredibly hard because Maca had given me nothing but good results. I couldn’t figure it out and started to get quite concerned that I had recommended something that was perhaps not beneficial to all of us with Endometriosis and that it might actually be causing some girls harm – which is so not what this is blog is about!
So, my research began to find out why this could be or if in fact there was a side-effect to taking Maca Root, which I wasn’t aware of.
If you are not familiar with Maca Root, please read this article I did on it a while ago.
Maca Root is a vegetable plant and it essentially reduces Endometriosis symptoms by regulating all our hormones. This means all of them together – not trying to reduce one or the other, depending on what our imbalances are. It will also regulate our thyroid gland – which has to do with feeling cold all the time. If we have Oestrogen Dominance, it will work out which hormone is less and get the body to create more of the hormone we need. So, in other words, it regulates it all and lets the body determine what it needs and in what quantities.
This is where the problem steps in…..
If we then combine our treatment for Endometriosis with hormone specific treatment using phytoestrogens, it will actually make our pain and symptoms worse. So, if we take any phytoestrogens as a supplement (Dong Quai, Soy Products, Black Cohosh, Coumestrol, Vitex/Chasteberry) they directly interfere with Maca. The Chinese herbal pharmacopeia contains many such herbs and they do not generally combine well with maca root. So, check this first before combining chinese medicine with Maca.
Why is this?
Well, phytoestrogens create more Oestrogens in the body. The Maca only regulates what is supposed to be there and gets the body to produce it’s own when there is too little of one or the other.
Basically, oestrogen and progesterone work as a partnership. If one is too dominant, then the other needs to step up. So, if we are Oestrogen dominant, it means we are more likely to be progesterone low. If one added more progesterone, it will lower the Oestrogen levels, so both are in balance again. This is what Maca does so well. It allows the body to work this out all on it’s own. The reason Phytoestrogens cause such problems is because they are in very high quantities in the body. Please read this article on more specific information on why phytoestrogens are not recommended for Endometriosis.
So, at the end of it all, we shouldn’t combine Maca with ANYTHING hormone related. This includes any phytoestrogens, progesterone creams, DIM and even Evening Primrose Oil.
The good news is, that essentially you could save yourself a whole heap of money by just sticking with Maca :) and there is no guess work with Maca – your body can work it out. I have always been hesitant with progesterone creams/ drops etc because how do we know when to stop? Surely, we can get the balance to go the wrong way – the other way around too?
The Chinese herbal pharmacopeia contains many such herbs and they do not generally combine well with maca root.
So, now we understand a little about why Maca and other stuff don’t mix well, we kinda need to decide which way to go on this one. Personally, I love my Maca and will probably stick with that. If I decide to explore any Chinese Medicine or anything else….I will make a point of stopping my Maca supplements first!
Did you have an adverse reaction from Maca? Were you taking Phytoestrogens at the time? Would love to hear your experiences :)
ADDITIONAL NOTES AND UPDATES:
I have more recently discovered that Maca is more progesterone encouraging which is great for us endo girls. This means it will encourage more progesterone in our bodies, which many of us are low on.
It is also important not to take Maca continuously, every day at the same time of the day. It is better to take it randomly. The hormones work better when we mix it up a little. It needs to be unexpected. So, take it one day, not the next or have a break for 3 weeks and then take it again. The best days of the month to take Maca are in the Luteal Phase of our cycle, when we need more progesterone. These are the days leading up to our period, after ovulation.