Maca Root for PCOS - Does It Help?

Maca Root for PCOS – Does It Help?

“Maca Root for PCOS – Does It Help?” was written by Dr. Su-Nui Escobar, DCN, RDN, FAND. Su-Nui is a doctor in clinical nutrition specializing in women’s health.  This article was reviewed and updated by Jenna Volpe, RDN, LD, CLT.

Navigating polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a confusing and overwhelming journey for many women.

If you’re among the estimated ~116 million navigating PCOS worldwide (1), you can probably agree that the complicated hormonal imbalances, menstrual irregularities, gut issues, and many other symptoms can take a toll on physical and mental well-being. 

While modern medicine can offer a range of treatment options, many women have started to turn to natural remedies for PCOS management. One natural remedy that has gained traction is the use of maca.

Disclaimer:  This article was written for general educational purposes, not to be taken as medical advice! Make sure to consult your healthcare team to receive custom food and supplement guidance tailored to your individual needs.

Affiliate disclosure:  This article contains affiliate links*.  If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, Whole-istic Living may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you!

What is Maca?

Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a medicinal root vegetable that is grown in high-altitude regions of the Andes Mountains, primarily in Peru and Bolivia.

It has nutritional and medicinal properties and has been used by indigenous cultures for centuries. 

This plant belongs to the cruciferous family, similar to broccoli and cauliflower, and the root is the most commonly consumed part. 

Maca root contains an array of essential nutrients, including proteins, minerals, fatty acids, vitamins B1, B2, C, and E, copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. (2)

The root is typically dried and ground into a fine powder, which can be of various colors ranging from yellow to black. 

This supplement has a subtly sweet and nutty flavor. Gaining popularity for its nutritional and medicinal content, the root is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different types of meals, and it’s also available in supplement form. 

How Maca Works

Maca is believed to be an adaptogenic plant, which means it supports our body’s ability to cope with physical, mental, and emotional stress. 

It’s also believed to help restore hormone balance in the body, working holistically and synergistically with your unique biochemistry to bring you more into balance, versus hormone replacement therapy which essentially just floods your body with specific hormones.

Maca Root Benefits for PCOS

Before we explore the potential benefits of maca root for PCOS, it’s important to note that more research is needed in this area; we don’t yet have sufficient evidence to support a correlation between this supplement and the management of PCOS symptoms.

That said, a combination of studies and anecdotal clinical experience have suggested that taking maca may help manage and resolve some symptoms related to PCOS.

Hormone Balance

Research has shown that maca has the potential to help with regulating hormone production and balance hormonal levels in the body. (3) This can benefit people with PCOS, as the symptoms are associated with hormone imbalance. 

Improved Premenstrual Symptoms

PCOS often leads to irregular menstrual cycles and severe menstrual symptoms like extreme fatigue, mood fluctuations, cramping, bloating, acne, and more.

Traditionally, maca root has been used to help reduce premenstrual symptoms and menstrual irregularities – and anecdotally, it seems to work without any collateral damage. However, there are no formal studies available to corroborate the effectiveness of this. 

Energy and Mood Balance

Fatigue and mood swings are common among those with PCOS. Maca has the potential to reduce fatigue, increase energy levels, and enhance mood. (4, 5)

Antioxidant Support

Maca has a strong antioxidant content, which can help protect the body against oxidative stress and inflammation. (6)  The antioxidants in maca can potentially help with improving PCOS symptoms by helping to reduce PCOS-induced inflammation and protect against chronic disease. 

Fertility

Maca is also believed to improve fertility in some women with PCOS, although we don’t yet have enough scientific evidence to back up this claim. 

There are many potential benefits, but before taking any supplement, it’s important to consult your healthcare team. They will help determine the best dosage and form for you as well as advise on any potential interactions with existing medications or conditions.

It’s also recommended that you always buy your supplement products from a reputable source whenever possible. Whatever you’re taking, this will ensure the highest quality ingredients available. 

Potential Benefits of Maca Root for PCOS

Negative Side Effects

Overall, maca is generally considered safe for human consumption.  However, we’ve found that some people have reported the following symptoms:

  • Feeling jittery
  • Insomnia
  • Digestive issues
  • Acne
  • Heartburn

How to Incorporate Maca into Your Diet

You can consume maca in various forms such as:

Maca is most commonly consumed as a powder.  (It’s a popular add-in for smoothies!)  

  • If you have PCOS and you’re looking to incorporate this supplement into your diet, you should purchase organic maca powder*. The key is to look for a powder from a natural Peruvian region, free from pollution and contamination. 

Incorporating it into your diet is relatively simple and easy.  You can try adding maca into smoothies, baked goods, salad dressings, or just stirred into a hot beverage such as coffee or tea. 

Maca Recipe Ideas 

Maca Dosage 

Currently there’s no clinical standardized dose of maca root. However, 1.5-3 grams per day appears to be safe for a period not longer than 16 weeks based on our clinical research.

Maca has a pleasant nutty flavor, so it’s very easy to incorporate into your diet. If you don’t enjoy the taste, organic maca capsules* are also a  good option.

FAQ’s

Who should avoid maca?

Extracts from maca act like estrogen (6), so people with conditions that would be made worse by estrogen should not use maca root

These conditions include breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, or endometriosis. 

What is the best time of day to take maca? 

Maca does not contain caffeine but can potentially increase energy levels. For this reason, you’re most likely best of to consume maca in the morning.

You can also take maca in the afternoon if you’re in need of a pick-me-up!

The Bottom Line

When it comes to seeking natural remedies for PCOS, maca root is emerging as a promising solution for hormonal imbalances and overall well-being. 

Although research regarding using this root for PCOS specifically is still emerging, traditional uses suggest that it could help reduce the symptoms of PCOS.

If you decide to take maca, it’s important to remember that the key is to look for powder from a natural Peruvian region, free from pollution and contamination. It’s also essential to consult your doctor before taking any new herbal supplement.

More Resources

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