Maca for Fertility Q&A

Maca for Fertility Q&A

Q: Can I take too much Maca?

A: As with anything we consume, there is limit to how much we should consume. We would not want to eat too much of any one kind of food because it may not make us feel well. It is really about balance, and it is best to only take the recommended usage stated on the product. Exceeding the recommended amount will not make it work faster or more effectively. It can be stressful for the body to exceed the suggested usage; it is best to start of at the lowest recommended amount and work up to a higher amount if necessary. Because each company is different, it is best to follow the directions for use of that individual product.

General suggested usage for maca is 1500-3000 mg a day.

Q: Can I take Maca with other herbs for fertility like Dong Quai and Vitex?

A: Yes. It is important to remember that maca is a food. In Peru it is a staple food much like our potato or yam, but has a much higher nutritional value. Its actions are based on its high nutritional value, which nourish the entire endocrine system. Dong Quai and Vitex have different actions. Because other herbs for fertility have different actions and the fact that Maca is considered a food, and is safe to combine with other herbs like Vitex and Dong Quai.

Q: At what point in my menstrual cycle should I start and stop taking Maca?

A: Maca is a nourishing food and may be consumed everyday throughout the menstrual cycle, even during menstruation.

Q: Is Maca safe to take during pregnancy? Does it have toxic effects on my baby?

A: Most nutritional supplements as well as herbal supplements are not suggested for use during pregnancy. Many herbs and supplements should not be used in pregnancy, but this is not true for all of them. This caution statement protects manufacturers from liability in case something adverse happens to the mother or baby during pregnancy while using the product. This caution also alerts the user to the potential for adverse effects. In some cases this caution is a generalization and the risk is relatively low. Manufacturers can not know the potential risks for each individual consumer, so putting a caution on the product makes it safer for consumers in general, minimizing risk to the mother and baby by having them not use the product at all.

Maca has been used for thousands of years by the peoples of Peru, and they eat it daily; even during pregnancy. Acute toxicity and cytotoxicity studies have shown no potential toxicity for Maca. Hundreds of thousands of people have used maca with no reported side effects. Foods like processed soy have shown to have adverse effects on the developing fetus as well as the mothers hormonal balance due to phyto-estrogens. Maca does not contain hormone like substances like soy or other plants containing phyto-estrogens.

We really have to think about other foods we consume daily like soda with aspartame, preservatives or food dye, all of these effect our bodies adversely, but they are deemed “safe” for regular use. Maca is a superior food as far as nutritional value goes, so why would this plant be a poor choice for pregnancy? Most maca is also organic. Because it is considered a nutritional supplement and herbal supplement it is still advised that you get permission or talk to your health care provider about using Maca into pregnancy. It is always best to be on the safe side and let your healthcare provider know all herbs and supplements you are taking, especially if you are pregnant.

Q: I heard Maca is bad for you if you have thyroid problems?

A: The maca we use is Lepidium Meyenii which is golden in color. There are other varieties of maca that have a variety of other colors; red, purple and black. The darker varieties red, purple and black do contain higher amounts of iodine, which may not be good for some thyroid problems; this has not been linked to the golden variety that we use in our Fertilica Maca. On the flip side some thyroid problems are linked to low iodine levels in the diet, so those other varieties may be helpful in those situations. As always it would be best to talk to your health care provider about looking into using the darker varieties of maca for thyroid health. The darker varieties have also been linked, when consumed in very high amounts to potentially causing goiters.

Maca has a balancing effect on the hypothalamus, which controls, stimulates and balances the other endocrine glands: pituitary, adrenals, ovaries, testes, thyroid and pancreas, therefore Maca may actually help thyroid issues by nourishing the hypothalamus which controls the thyroid’s function.

Under section 6 of the DSHEA (Dietary Supplemental Health and Education Act) the following statement is listed for Maca: Supports the Thyroid.

Q: Is it ok to bake with Maca or put in hot food?

A: Yes. Maca is a great way to add additional nutritional value to other foods, as well as boosting our fertility. It is easy to add to muffin mixes, bread recipes, porridge, oatmeal or pancakes.

Q: I have heard Maca has other benefits besides boosting fertility, what are they?

A: Studies have shown that Maca may help:

* Balance iron levels
* Decrease stress and anxiety
* Increase energy levels
* Help the body to utilize glucose for energy rather than process it for fat storage
* Lower high blood pressure, raise low blood pressure
* May help to normalize all of the bodies systems
* Increase stamina
* Increase mental clarity

Q: Why is Fertilica Maca powder suggested usage amount less than the typical “general” Maca dosage of 1500-3000 mg a day?

A: Our Fertilica Maca powder is a more concentrated form of maca, therefore less is needed to meet suggested daily amount. The fiber has been removed from the maca, leaving a more concentrated powder.

Q: I keep reading that Maca is an adaptogen, what does that mean?

A: Adaptogen is one of the many definitions for the therapeutic action a plant has. This term is well known by herbalists, naturopathic doctors and other alternative medicine practitioners. This term may not be as well know by medical doctors; so don’t be worried if your doctor does not know what adaptogen means. Adaptogens increase resistance to mind-body stress and enhance overall vitality and health through non-specific adrenal (known as stress glands) support. Plants recognized as adaptogens help to normalize the bodies functions even during diseased states, are non-toxic, nutritive, and have been deemed safe for long term use. If a plant is an adaptogen it may also have other action classifications such as anti-viral, immunostimulant or tonic. In general a medicinal herb has many classifications as plants often have many actions.

Click here to learn more about Maca…


References:

Taylor LG (2005). The healing power of rainforest herbs: a guide to understanding and using herbal medicinals. Garden City Park, NY: Square One Publishers. ISBN 0-7570-0144-0.

Beth M. Ley, Ph.D. 2003. MACA Adaptogen and Hormonal Regulator. Detroit Lakes, MN: BL Publications

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[-] 41 Comments
  1. I have a question. What is one serving of fertilica maca powder?

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Hell Dickson!

      One serving of Fertilica Maca powder is 1 teaspoon (which offers 2,700mg of Maca).

      Take Care!

  2. I’ve been taking Maca and Royal Jelly that I purchased on your website since the end of May, so for a little over 2 months. I take 2 capsules of each every day. Should I wean myself off of Maca and Royal Jelly, or just stop taking them should I become pregnant? Thanks so much!

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Dear Anna,

      Maca and Royal Jelly can be discontinued upon confirming pregnancy. Since there have been no studies on the use of Maca and Royal Jelly during pregnancy we can not state that it is proven safe to use during pregnancy, therefore they should be discontinued unless being guided in taking them by your healthcare provider or midwife.

      Best wishes!

  3. We are trying to conceive baby number two. We are on our 11th cycle and I temp so I do confirm ovulation. I still breast feed my son twice daily who is two. I am in the process of weaning him. I honestly think breast feeding is causing an issue with my fertility. My cycles are very very regular. I just ingested 1 tsp of maca powder for the first time. Do you think it will be beneficial regarding my situation? I’m worried maca may cause my regular cycles to become irregular. Any insight is appreciated.

    • Hi Andrea,

      Since your son is two and you are down to only two breast feedings a day, it may be time to wean and then consider maca. There is limited research on taking maca while breastfeeding, so we can’t recommend you take it while breastfeeding. Maca has been known to slightly shift some women’s cycles in length and ovulation timing, when first introducing it, but this typically regulates after the first cycle of use. A shift in your cycle could happen just from weaning your son, as well. In my experience, it is very common for many breastfeeding mamas to experience difficulties conceiving while breastfeeding, even at just 2 feedings a day.

      I am not sure of your age, but if you are over 35, remember, it is normal for it to take a year to conceive while not breastfeeding. Give it some time. I know you are probably feeling like you want to get this going, so click here to learn some tips on what you can do naturally to help you conceive while breastfeeding…

      Best of luck and a big high five for breastfeeding for 2 years, you go mama!

  4. Update 2014 – We are back! We have been away for a while and we sure have missed all of your wonderful questions and thoughts on our articles. Moving forward, one of our staff herbalists will be here to respond to comments! We look forward to connecting with our readers once again!

  5. Is macca good for women having fibroids?

    • Hi Reema,

      Because uterine fibroids are considered an estrogen dominant condition, which shows there is hormonal balance present, maca may be a good option for women with uterine fibroids as a hormonal support supplement. Maca is a nourishing food for the endocrine system, aiding both the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands (all involved in hormonal balance.) Maca has the ability to affect key hormones in both women and men without containing hormones itself.

      Maca helps to stimulate and nourish the pituitary gland, acting as a tonic for the hormone system. When the pituitary gland functions optimally, the entire endocrine system becomes balanced, because the pituitary gland controls the hormone output of the other three glands.

      In women, maca works by controlling estrogen in the body. Estrogen levels that are high or low at the wrong time can keep a woman from becoming pregnant or keep her from carrying to term. Excess estrogen levels also cause progesterone levels to become too low. Taking maca may help to increase the progesterone levels which are essential to carrying a healthy pregnancy.

      Best Wishes,

      Dalene

  6. Can you continue to take the “improve Egg Health Kit” after ovulation? Or do you need to take a break from TTC while doing this program? Thanks!
    Emma

    • Hi Emma,

      It is fine to continue the Improve Egg Health Kit products after ovulation, discontinue use of them once you find out you are pregnant. If you are concerned about not knowing you are pregnant and continuing these products you would stop L-Arginine after ovulation. If you find out your are pregnant slowly use less and less of the Maca over a weeks time.

      Best Wishes,

      Dalene

  7. Does MACA helps women over 40 to get pregnant? I have a 10 year-old boy and started trying for another baby after my 40s. Thanks!

  8. Is it normal to experience nausea & upset stomach with Maca?

    I’ve been using about 1/2 teaspoon for 10 days in smoothies.

    I have an underactive thyroid and PCOS and am using diet & acupuncture to boost my energy levels. (I have felt lousy for about 3 weeks though so it might be something else.)

    • Hi Heather,

      Maca may cause upset stomach in some people, be sure to take it with food (if you are prone to upset stomach) which it sounds like you are. You could try to do 1/4 teaspoon, 2 x’s a day and then see how you feel.

      The change in diet and lifestyle may also be taking a toll on digestion as your body is adjusting to all the changes, give it some time and see how you feel. After eating you could try some peppermint, fennel or ginger tea.

      Best Wishes,

      Dalene

  9. Hi Dalene,

    Thank you for your reply to my earlier query. I have been using the Fertilica Omega and love the product. I just have a concern in regards to the flax oil. Is it safe to continue using it.

    Thanks

    • Hi Candni,

      I just replied to another similar question about flax oil. There seems to be a rumor about that flax oil may increase estrogen. Here is my reply to her which should answer your question as well:

      There has been one main study that has been circulating in which it was found that flax seeds may increase excess estrogen in the body because of the high levels of estrogen found in the urine of the test subjects. Please keep in mind that in order to receive any nutritional benefits from flax seeds they must be ground or pressed for their oil content because otherwise they are not digested by our bodies. The results of this testing on flax showing higher levels of estrogen present in the urine may be due to the fact that the high fiber content of the flax seeds removes excess estrogens from the body which is excreted in urine.

      It has also been found that flax seeds are one of the greatest plant sources for lignans. Lignans act as plant hormones. When bacteria in the digestive tract acts on the lignans they are converted into phytoestrogens. Lignans have been found to be anti-estrogenic on estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer.** It is thought that lignans boost production of a substance that fastens on to human estrogen and then it is carried out of our bodies via urination. We do know that the high fiber and lignan content of flax helps to remove excess bad estrogens from the body. Lignans also help prevent healthy cells from free radicals.

      While flax is phytoestrogenic ,which means that it has the propensity to mimic estrogen, there may need to be more research to claims that phytoestrogens actually increase excess estrogen. Excess estrogen has been linked to fueling the growth of uterine fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and some cancers. But it appears in recent studies that the high fiber and lignan content in flax actually helps to remove excess estrogens which may actually help estrogen fueled fertilty issues.

      So from what I have read flax oil consumption promotes healthy estrogen activity in the body which is important for a healthy menstrual cycle and should not affect the menstrual cycle negatively. The high content of omega-3 fatty acids present in flax seed has been found to reduce breast pain and dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation). While taking omega-3 supplemtents may promote healthy estrogen function, it may also be best to also supplement with other omegas as well. A high quality fish oil helps to receive other esstential fatty acids rather than just one for a more balanced approach to supplementing with omegas.**http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/13/3/1061
      -Christiane Northrup, MD, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, Bantam Books, 2010

      For pregnancy as well it may be best to supplement with a balanced fish oil supplement that contains a wide variety of omegas. Our Fertillica Omega contains Borage oil which is not recommended for pregnancy due to its ability to cause mild uterine contractions.

      I hope this helps you understand flax more!

      Dalene

  10. Hi,
    Could you clarify if it is safe to take maca, spirulina and bee pollen after an embryo transfer in a smoothie everyday.
    Thanks

    • Dear Chandni,

      If you are still taking medicaitons for fertility after your transfer we advise against using Maca. If you would like to continue these supplements into pregnancy and you are not taking any fertility meds please get the approval of your doctor. We have not found any research that shows these supplements are unsafe for the baby or mother during pregnancy. If you or your husband (sperm) have a history of bee allergy in the family it is not recommended that you use bee products during pregnancy.

      Best Wishes,

      Dalene

  11. Hi, is Maca safe to use AFTER you find out you are pregnant?..or during pregnancy?

    • Hi Anthea,

      Women in Peru have been consuming Maca for thousands of years during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but it is part of their daily diet. It would be best to consume Maca with other foods, for example: in a smoothie rather than take capsules if you are pregnant. It may also be best to start off at the lowest dosage if you choose to consume it during pregnancy. As always let your doctor know you are interested in taking this supplement.

      Best wishes,

      Dalene

  12. Hi ,

    How long does it take for Maca to start working on you ? Is there a time frame based on statistics for example. Also how would one know how many bottles they need?

    Also I would like to buy Maca through paying by western union is it possible? What is the procedure?
    Thanks for answering

    Sirine

    • Hi Sirine,

      Every person is different, though it may take 3-6 months of consistent use to achieve full benefits of maca. Our Fertilica Maca powder has 73 servings. 1 serving a day, lasts around 2 and a half months. The Fertilica Maca caps last 50 days.

      Our Natural Fertility Shop accepts payment by Credit Card or PayPal.

      Best Wishes,

      Dalene

  13. Is it ok to take maca with zymmense and pregnancy prep

  14. Is the liquid form of Maca more potent than the Fertilica Maca powder?

    • Hi Krystal,

      With liquid extracts in most cases you get a more efficient way to receive the benefits of the plant, that is because the alcohol extracts the medicinal and nutritional qualities from the plant and the alcohol also makes it easier to absorb into the blood stream. Our Fertilica Maca is a concentrated form of maca and is more potent than some of the others on the market.
      So it is comparable to the liquid extract. It really depends on how you like to take it. The powdered form make it easy to use in other foods. The liquid extract is quick and easy. The capsules are great for when you are in a hurry and you don’t like alcohol. Maca is first and foremost a food that has a super nutritional value and mixes well with other foods such as breads, oatmeal and smoothies, I even read it is good to put in homemade salad dressing.

      Hope this helps,

      Dalene

  15. I’m nursing my 6 month old that I conceived after doing the cleanse and taking maca and vitex. Both really helped with pms symptoms. Can I take Maca while nursing?

    • Hi NursingMommy,

      Maca is a food that is consumed daily in South America, of the thousands of people that have used it for thousands of years, there have been no reports of toxic side effects. Native Peruvians have used Maca during pregnancy to help maintain nutritional levels and a healthy full term weigth of the baby even at over 12,000 ft. above sea level. Most babies born at that altitude are born with a lower birth weight, not those babies, and this is attributed to eating maca daily. Those mothers also exclusively breastfed their babies while continuing to consume maca.

      I am happy to hear of your success with the cleanse, vitex and maca prior to conception. I am also so glad to hear you are breastfeeding!

      Dalene

  16. Can you take Maca when you are nursing? Thank you

    • Hi Sandi,

      Because maca is a food it is fine to use while nursing, as always because it is also considered a nutritional supplement let your doctor know you are taking it if they ask.

      Best Wishes,

      Dalene

  17. Does Maca powder expire?

    • Hi Jackie,

      Yes. Check with the manufacturer of the product you have purchased for their exact expiration date. Our Fertilica Maca has a shelf life of 2-3 years from date of purchase.

      All the best,

      Dalene

  18. Is Maca ok for both Men and Women?

  19. will Maca help improve my fertility if I have PCOS? I have one to two cycles a year is this a good start to start rebalancing my body?

    • Hi Kristen,

      Yes, in women, maca works by controlling estrogen in the body. Estrogen levels that are high or low at the wrong time can keep a woman from becoming pregnant or keep her from carrying to term. Excess estrogen levels also cause progesterone levels to become too low. Taking maca may help to increase the progesterone levels which are essential to carrying a healthy pregnancy.

      PCOS is considered an estrogen dominant condition. Maca alone cannot reverse the effect of PCOS on your body, it really would be best to read over our entire PCOS Fertility Guide at this link: http://natural-fertility-info.com/pcos-fertility-diet

      Best Wishes,

      Dalene

  20. Is maca safe to take while on fertility medication such as follistim?

    • Hi Joanna,

      Maca is a food supplement and is safe in most instances, here at NFI we do not recommend taking any herbs for fertility while on fertility medications. You could provide your doctor with information on Maca, and then you would need to get their approval for you to take it with your medications.

      All the best,

      Dalene

  21. Is it safe to take maca and pregnacare supplement together?

    • Hi Peace,

      I am not familiar with Pregnacare, but from the looks of the website it is a vitamin supplement. If it is just a prenatal vitamin it would be fine to take with Maca.

      Best Wishes,

      Dalene