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What if I told you that adding a small scoop of this slightly nutty powder to your daily routine could lift your mood? Maca is promising as a natural non-pharmaceutical treatment for those suffering with mild depression. Limited scientific studies show that maca can help with the anxiety, depression, energy, and sexual dysfunction without undesirable side effects.
Before learning that magnesium was all I needed for migraines, doctors had tried treating me with an antidepressant. The antidepressant had not helped my migraines, but I did find myself “hooked” on the antidepressant. The side affects of the antidepressant were undesirable enough that I made continued attempts to stop them, though plagued with feelings of depression each time. Finally, I discovered a supplement containing maca as its primary ingredient. I had never heard of maca, but the supplement got me off antidepressants without worsening my depressed thoughts.
Before I go any further, let me emphasize that the information provides on this site is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor and I this is not to be taken as medical advice. This information is based on my own experience and my personal interpretation of the research available. This advice is for healthy adults and you should consult your doctor if you have any pre-existing conditions. Remember that severe depression may require a more comprehensive treatment including counseling and therapy. And NEVER quit antidepressants without a doctor's supervision.
It is estimated that 121 million people worldwide suffer from depression. Recent theories are that depression is caused by lack of nutrition and it is believed that one of the reasons maca helps depression is that it is a nutritional powerhouse. Low energy is especially attributable to poor nutrition. Maca is loaded with amino acids, 10 vitamins, 12 minerals, and 23 fatty acids. Maca also contains unique glucosinolates that might have antidepressant affects. Glucosinolates are the component of cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower) that gives them their health-protecting properties.
(Obviously, maca should be used in addition to a healthy diet and a good supplement regimen. To learn more about why you need to supplement, click here.)
The Origin of Maca
Maca is a plant that is native to the Andes Mountains in South America. This plant belongs to the radish family. Maca has been used by Peruvians for thousands of years.
It is the root of the maca that contains the active nutrients. The root can be red, yellow, black, or pink. All have antidepressant side-effects and can therefore be helpful for depression. The root contains potassium, iodine, iron, protein, calcium, magnesium, and fiber. It is often ground up and put in over-the-counter supplements and drink mixes.
Maca: The Best Treatment for Depression
Maca is known as an adaptogen. Adaptogen is the name given to herbs and natural substances that help the body to adapt to stress.
Studies have shown that regular consumption of maca can reduce the feelings of helplessness attributed to depression. According to some researchers, it is because maca contains phytoestrogens which are responsible for balancing hormones in your body. Additionally, maca helps with healthy adrenal and thyroid hormone production.
Postmenopausal women are especially going to see benefits from adding maca to their diets if they are suffering from hormone-related issues. Women suffering from postpartum depression will also find that their condition is often nutrient AND hormone-related. Check with your doctor, but maca use is generally considered safe while breastfeeding.
Maca can also help with insomnia, persistent anxiety, nervousness and couple of other symptoms which are related to depression.
Other side effects
The natives of Peru used this plant to increase their energy and also to enhance their libido in addition to use for its mood-elevating effects.
Maca is well known for helping with hormone balance, particularly leveling out estrogen levels and therefore improving the symptoms of PMS, Menopause and POS. Maca is said to improve sexual function and fertility in both men and women. In men, maca has been shown to increase sperm production.
Other benefits include better athletic performance, improved immunity and balanced cholesterol levels. Maca can also enhance the function of your brain and memory. Black maca is said to be best for brain function.
How much to take?
When considering dosage levels, choose something you can be consistent with (start with 1/2 tsp/day, but up to 4 T/day is tolerable for some people). Though the results may be immediate, remember that with any supplement program, you should give it 4-8 weeks to see full results and decide if it works.
It is accepted as normal to have persistent feelings of despair. Feeling low, though, is not normal and you should not settle for a life that doesn't feel good. Depression can be a dangerous thing. It can affect the capacity to work, eat, sleep or enjoy your life. There are a lot of people who have lived with it all their lives while others suffer this dangerous disorder periodically. For those of you who are affected by depression, I think maca is worth a shot. If your depression leads you to thoughts of hurting yourself or others, please seek qualified help.
This is the product that introduced me to the mood-elevating benefits of maca root (say I referred you and give them the ID #14836532 and I'll get 20% toward my next order):
This is the product I currently use. I put 1/2 of the teaspoon-sized scoop into my protein shake every morning. It adds a slight nuttiness to the flavor (Clicking on the photos will take you to my Amazon affiliate link):
I have never tried this one, but I think I might:
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Marcy Vogler is a lifestyle makeover coach, personal trainer, and mother of three. Marcy is passionate about helping women make over their lives from the inside out. To learn more about the courses Marcy offers, check out our parter website at www.thegoodlife4u.club. For daily inspiration, join Marcy's Facebook Group: Love Your Day, Love Your Life.
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