Maca Root While Breastfeeding
Maca root has been cultivated and used medicinally for over 3,000 years. It more recently found its way into health food stores and food blogs worldwide, and with good reason. Known to have stress-relieving, aphrodisiac, and performance-enhancing qualities, it can benefit both men and women. If you are curious about maca root, its benefits, and if you can use maca while breastfeeding, we will go into detail on those questions below. While research is somewhat limited on the root as of today, it continues to be studied extensively.
Maca Root Uses
Maca root is a Peruvian plant that grows in the Andes Mountains. It is related to well-known cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and kale. It is used in cooking for its earthy flavor in Peruvian dishes but in the past several years has become a popular dietary supplement with several health benefits.
Maca root is most commonly found in powder form that can be blended into smoothies but can be found in capsules and gummies. As there continues to be more research into the benefits of the root, more and more uses are being found for it.
Maca Root Benefits
As mentioned above, there are several health benefits of Maca root use, and more are being researched every day. According to Medical News Today, below are ten of the possible health benefits of its use.
- Enhancing mood
- Lowering blood pressure
- Increasing fertility
- Lessening menopause symptoms
- Improving memory and learning
- Fighting free radicals
- Reducing sun damage
- Boosting energy and endurance
- Raising libido
- Diminishing erectile dysfunction
The above list shows that maca root can improve men’s and women’s lives at various stages and ages. This ability has made the supplement one used by millions of people and one that may be a perfect fit for you.
Maca and Breastfeeding
There is not enough reliable information regarding if it is safe to use maca when pregnant or breastfeeding. Because of this, their suggestion is to stay on the safe side and only consume maca root in the amounts used in foods, not supplements.
Traditionally in Peru, women have consumed maca root throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding. You can always speak to your doctor or naturopath about their thoughts and suggestions regarding maca consumption during breastfeeding.
Maca Root While Breastfeeding
Maca is known to be a rich source of folate and other essential vitamins and minerals. It has been used in Peru to support the body during pregnancy and alleviate morning sickness. In Peru, consuming maca while breastfeeding is common. It is believed to be safe. It is important to note that raw maca can make you sick and is highly inflammatory to the body. If you are planning to take while breastfeeding, make sure your maca is activated or gelatinized. That means they are pre-cooked, safe, and ready to eat.
Is Maca Safe While Breastfeeding?
The Association for Promotion and Cultural and Scientific Research of Breastfeeding, an organization consisting of pediatricians, health practitioners, and mothers, reviewed the evidence, case studies, and data, deeming maca to be very low risk to both mother and child during breastfeeding. It is still wise to speak to your health practitioner first before starting to use maca while breastfeeding. Some companies make specific formulas of maca powder for women who are pregnant and breastfeeding. They are formulated to best balance female hormones and health.
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How Long Does it Take for Maca Root to Work?
The length of time for maca root to begin working may depend on the benefits you seek from it. For hormone balancing, there are some suggestions it may take 2-3 weeks while for increased libido, others suggest it may take as long as 6-12 weeks to see benefits take effect. Because research is minimal, there are very varying opinions on how long it can take. Many people even believe it takes six months for an adaptogen to work its effects on the body.
Does Maca Root Make You Gain Weight?
An article by Healthline about the benefits of maca root also reveals some of its potential side effects, one that was questioned is that of weight gain. The current information is that maca can help gain muscle mass, increase strength, and improve exercise performance, not affect actual weight gain. There is minimal research that maca causes any weight gain on its own. If a particular maca supplement is promising weight gain with its product, that is most likely false advertising.
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Maca Root Pros and Cons
Similar to most herbal and nutritional supplements, there are both pros and cons of maca root. These will likely be very individual to taking maca as everybody has different deficiencies, health conditions, and metabolisms.
Some of the pros of maca include:
- Enhanced athletic performance
- Improved menopausal symptoms in women
- Increased sperm count in men
Some of the cons or side effects include:
- Harmful if consumed fresh
- May interfere with normal thyroid function if you have an impaired thyroid
- Possibly has estrogenic qualities, which can affect those with breast, uterine and ovarian issues.
The pros and cons of maca root should be something you consider before starting to take the supplement. Suppose you have any issues listed in the above cons list. In that case, you should speak to your healthcare provider so that you are not interfering with other treatments, medications, or conditions that should be a priority before supplement use.
Best Maca Root Supplement
There are many maca root supplements available on the market. The most popular forms of maca are in powder which is typically mixed into smoothies or food. Capsules containing the powder are also popular as you can get the supplement’s benefits even if you do not like its earthy taste.
Finally, gummies are becoming increasingly popular for those that do not like to take pills or enjoy the taste of maca. The best supplement will be individual to you, but make sure you do your research to make sure it comes from a source you trust. If you have a naturopath, Eastern Medicine practitioner, or herbalist near you, they can be a great place to start.
Maca Root Capsules
Maca root capsules usually contain 500-900 mg of powder made from grinding the root. They can be red, yellow or black maca. The most common, yellow, is best known for decreasing stress levels, enhancing mood, and improving focus. These capsules will be filled with gelatinized maca, a process that removes the excess long-chain starches in maca.
Black maca will more commonly be found in capsules meant for men to increase libido and increase fertility. Red maca is beneficial for bone health, hormone balancing, joint and prostate health.
Maca Root Powder
The powder in the capsules mentioned above can be purchased in jars or bags and easily mixed into smoothies and other beverages or foods where the flavors could do with an earthy kick. Powders are an excellent option for those who do not like taking pills and prefer a loose powder to add to their food and drinks quickly.
As maca is an adaptogen known for its calming effect, the powder can be great to add to a nighttime drink as you wind down. If you are looking to use a powder, it may be tempting to buy in bulk but make sure to check dates on your product so you use fresh and not out-of-date powder.
Maca Root Gummies
If you are interested in taking a gummy form of maca root, you will likely find Ashwagandha gummies containing maca root. The combination of the two adaptogens is meant to be helpful when trying to relieve stress, improve your sleep quality and promote a feeling of calmness. Some maca gummies will also contain CBD and other herbs meant to promote relaxation and alleviate anxiety. Gummies are becoming increasingly popular and easy to find on the market, so make sure you are getting ones with high-quality ingredients.
Maca Root Recipes
If you love to cook and be in the kitchen, then adding maca root powder to your recipes can be an easy and delicious way to add the supplement into your diet.
There are smoothie, brownie, and even pancake recipes that use the powder to give an earthy tone to your cooking, all while infusing your food with a dose of the adaptogen.
Brit+Co has 14 must-try recipes on its site.
My personal favorite is the Malted Maca Chocolate Ice Cream. It is vegan, takes 20 minutes to prep, and is absolutely delicious!
Another of my favorites is the Maca and Coconut Flour Pancakes. You can easily make these for one or a crowd. Topped with some honey and fresh berries, they are the perfect start to a Saturday or Sunday morning!
Maca may have just recently become popular worldwide, but Peruvians, especially women, have been using this root for a very long time. Maca while breastfeeding, does not have a lot of research to back it up, so it’s best to speak to your doctor first before using. That being said, it may help to relieve stress, improve your mood and increase your energy level. We all know that is something every busy mama needs!