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Royal Maca

First, I need to put a HEARTY DISCLAIMER on this...This is presented for informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the sound advice of a qualified medical professional. I encourage all people considering taking maca to be tested for low adrenals before taking it, as it is a VERY POTENT herb, and herbs are drugs, and you don't want to be taking something you don't need. If you take it and don't need it or get the dose too high, it can give you some pretty strong effects of cortisol levels too high (headaches, swelling, etc.). So please be sure you need it, and take it CAREFULLY. It's not something to be afraid of; just use it cautiously. I think it is ideal if a person can find a holistic practitioner to help them in their search for health, though this is not always possible. In any case, use this info at your own risk and be safe!

I've been getting a lot of questions about how macca fits into what I'm currently doing with my nutritionist. If you're unsure of what I'm talking about, you can go to my update page and read about my progress there. Here are my current thoughts. If you take an herb that stimulates the adrenals (which macca does) when your adrenals are low and nutrient depleted, then you're only going to leave them more stressed. I think it should be used wisely, with the awareness of this potential problem. We have had to spend a lot of time rebuilding my adrenals, and it may very well be that my long use of macca stressed them. I actually think the bigger factor was the depletion and stress of the mercury detox, but even so, the principle remains. So I can't tell you what you should do. Not only am I not a doctor, but just as a person, I recognize the quandry and necessity of pragmatic decisions. (use it and fry your adrenals but feel well, don't use it and still have messed up adrenals but feel terrible) I have a friend who used it short-term, and I think this can be a great use. If you absolutely cannot afford to use a nutritionist like my N (whom you might really consider if you have the means), you could try to research and rebuild yourself with food (I'm no help, just mentioning it as a theoretical option), or you might want to just break down and consult with a doctor about taking cortisone (prescription). That would of course require labs, doctor's scrip, and you can get info about it in Teitelbaum's book "From Fatigued to Fantastic". I'm just saying there is the potential, at least the theoretical potential, that if you take something long-term that stimulates the glands, you could leave them more depleted than when you started. Sorry if that's raining on the parade. I did get lots of benefit from the macca, but now I'm really not sure of it's practicality for those of us with long-term problems.

A note about spelling, it can be either maca or macca. I think macca looks prettier, but somehow I'm sure the dictionary people won't care about my opinion! Now about brands. I've talked with people who didn't get good results with Solaray. I don't know if they just weren't taking enough, or if that particular brand of macca doesn't work for us. The brand I take is Whole World Botanicals It comes in powder or capsules, and the powder is half the price compared to the capsules, so it's gross, but I take it that way. Mix with water and GULP!

Dosage can vary considerably, as people's severity of low adrenals varies. With the WWB brand, 2 capsules=1/3 tsp=833 mg. I get lots of questions about dose, and frankly I'm leary to tell you my dose, or even where my doctor told me to start, because if I do then you might think "yes, this is the amount I'm supposed to take". It's like thyroid meds, everyone is different. You would never say "well my neighbor takes 150 mcg synthroid, so I think I should too". That's stupid. Same with macca, etc. I've seen people who max out and only need a little bit, while others need quite a bit to get any effect. Remember, too little gives no apparent effect, while too much gives some unfun symptoms of too much. So, that said, the amount of macca powder I currently take is 1 tsp./day. That converts to what, 7 capsules or 2500 mg. powder. I do NOT NOT NOT recommend that you use that dose as your starting dose or as a guide of where you will end up. Common sense is, that as with all things, you should start low and work your way up carefully, keeping in mind your symptoms, labs, etc. Having a practitioner who is experienced with this herb would be ideal, but in the absense of that (and even if you have one) please use your head and determine your dose wisely. Too little ---> no effect. Too much--->nasty symptoms of too much. But they go away within a day.

I want to repeat this (not to annoy or bore you). I have talked with people who needed just one or 2 capsules a day, while others like me need a ton. Everyone is different, so if you chose to use it, do be careful and do it at YOUR OWN RISK.

I take mine all in the morning. I have pondered taking it in divided doses (morning, afternoon, etc.) but so far it hasn't seemed necessary for me. If you do this and find it helpful, do write me as I'd be interested to hear it.

For conversion to other brands, you can do the math. As I said, I have talked with several people now who have had some negative experiences (no effect) with some popular brands commonly available in health food stores. If the brand you try doesn't work, you might try a brand that others have tried and found to work like WWB. And of course consider whether it's that your dose is too low.

Now, not to bore you again, but before I talk more about how I dose my macca, I want to reiterate that I am NOT a doctor, not an herbologist, not an anything. These are only my personal experiences and my hindsite of what has worked for me. I'm not selling anything, and I'm not giving medical advice. I encourage all people to find experienced, safe practitioners whenever possible and to do all things carefully and advisedly. Use these thoughts at YOUR OWN RISK. (sorry, but I really have to say that)

I usually start low, increase until they get symptoms of too much, and then back off for the right amount. Too little simply gives little or no effect, while too much gives you headaches, swelling, sugar is terrible, etc., ie, you'll know if it's too much!

I especially like the powder because it is very easy to dose precisely. I find that even a small amount like 1/8th tsp makes a big difference. Also, with women, your cortisol needs can go up and down during the month. Women who are anovulatory (but should be ovulating) will need to take extra the second half of the month to compensate for the lack of progesterone production by the corpeus luteum which never occurs when there is no egg released. I read this in "What Your doctor may not tell you about Premenopause" by Lee, and it has helped me. I take 1 tsp most of the month, but after when I should have ovulated, my sugar gets worse, indicating low adrenals, so I slowly increase. By the end of the month I find myself taking 1 1/2 tsp, which is a 50% increase. Many women find they need to take significantly more during menstr. even if they do ovulate. Also, during sickness cortisol needs are increased, hence you need to take extra macca. (this is stress, and would apply to other stressful situations as well) The need can be for as much as DOUBLE the normal dose. Reading about addison's disease may be helpful to you, as what we are talking about is a lesser form of that problem.

You need to take a REST off the herb according to some sources. My doc has me take 1 rest day/week. I do this on Monday so it's an easy day to get out the door quickly to go shopping. On that day you rest off the macca and other vitamins, but you CONTINUE TO TAKE YOUR THYROID MEDS. This weekly rest is in lieu of the month-long rest described on some bottles.

Increasing your adrenals will affect how your thyroid feels in the balance, so you may need to tweak that in a couple weeks.

So that's the overview: increase till it's too much and back off. Tweak with stress, hormones, sickness. Rest 1 day/week. (Saves money too!)