FAQs for maca and metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome

Can I take maca while on blood thinning medication like warfarin?

It is very unlikely that maca will alter vitamin K levels and impact on blood thinning medication like warfarin. One of the first things you’re told when starting on an anticoagulant such as warfarin, is to limit your vitamin K intake. Vitamin K is found in many nutrient rich dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale and spinach. The avoidance or limitation of dark green leafy vegetables may be contradicting to information you received when learning how to follow a healthy diet. The level of vitamin K in maca is not excessively high and the daily dose of maca is small (~10g per day or less). Generally keeping your levels of vitamin K intake below 150 mcg per day is the target for those on blood thinners. Levels of Vitamin K in maca have not been officially assessed but it is classified as having ‘moderate levels’. A dose of 1/2-1 tsp per day of maca is much lower than if consuming the equivalent broccoli, kale or spinach for example. As such we advise to stick to the recommended daily dose of maca (1-1.5 tsp) or less and avoid or limit other foods with high levels of vitamin K (see here). It is also important to maintain a consistent intake of vitamin K over time and not drastically change your intake. For more information on vitamin K consumption please consult your healthcare professional.
Summary: Maca is unlikely to interfere with blood thinning medication.

Does maca increase blood pressure? Is it a stimulant?

Maca is not a stimulant and there is no evidence for assuming a direct mechanism to increase blood pressure in people that consume it regularly. In one study from 2015 maca was actually shown to lower diastolic blood pressure in a group of postmenopausal women. Interestingly maca consumption has also been linked to increased production of nitric oxide via stimulation of nitric oxide synthase (NOS). Increased levels of nitric oxide have been linked to dilation of smooth muscle and a decrease in blood pressure. This is a key area of interest for cardiologists looking at new pathways to manage hypertension. Traditionally maca is used to bring endocrine and adrenal balance back to the body and can act as a switch to turn off the sympathetic, fight-flight response of stress. Long-term consumption is thought to build strength and resilience to stress and reduce fluctuations in blood pressure and other symptoms with chronic stress. If you still have concerns about the effect of maca on your blood pressure we advise you to check with your healthcare provider and request your blood pressure to be monitored before and during supplementation with maca.
Summary: Evidence suggests maca is safe for those on blood pressure medications and is not a stimulant.

Does maca interfere with lipid lowering medication?

There is no evidence to suggest that maca interferes with cholesterol medication. In one study maca was shown to actually reduce blood pressure, body weight, triglycerides and cholesterol levels.
Summary: Evidence suggests maca does not interfere with cholesterol lowering medication and may in fact have positive health effects for those with metabolic syndrome.

To learn about taking maca with metabolic syndrome click on the treatment plan for metabolic syndrome.

Note: There is no upper limit with maca and everybody is different, so it is important to find your ideal dose that is right for your body, for some this may be less than the recommended for others it may be more. If you experience positive health benefits then we suggest you continue treatment at that ideal dosage. The material provided on this website is for information purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice or be a treatment for any medical condition. Users should consult a health professional if you have any concerns about your health, are starting any health or nutritional related treatment, or for any questions you may have regarding your own or any other party’s medical condition. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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