Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Maca for Menopausal Symptoms?

I have started taking Royal Maca for my hot flashes. It really seems to work, and I’m also sleeping much better. What do you think of this supplement?

Answer (Published 12/16/2011)

Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a starchy tuber that looks like a radish. It grows high in the Andes and is used as food by Andean Indians. Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., an internationally recognized expert in the fields of integrative medicine, dietary supplements and women's health, notes that maca is widely used to relieve menopausal symptoms and to treat infertility and depression. It is perhaps better known as a treatment for low libido, and Dr. Low Dog notes that while most of the research on maca's effects has been conducted in men, some small studies suggest that it might improve mood and libido in women as well. Scientific reviews of maca show that it is quite safe, so Dr. Low Dog says that if you feel that it is helping you, there's no reason not to continue taking it. No side effects of maca are known, but most studies have been in animals, not humans.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Women's Health Issues - If you are going through menopause, a support group can be helpful. The Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online guide has a vibrant, active community of supportive members, and a dedicated moderator to help guide you along. Start your 14-day free trial now!

The herb that has been studied most for treatment of hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause is black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa). Whether or not the herb is effective to quell hot flashes remains a scientifically unsettled issue, because it doesn't reliably work for all women. It occasionally causes mild digestive distress, but has few side effects, and studies in rats have not found any significant toxic effects at 90 times the therapeutic dosage over a six-month period. Studies have not looked at long-term effects in other animals or humans.

Even if maca or black cohosh relieves your hot flashes, there's no good evidence to show that either of these herbs protects against postmenopausal bone thinning and osteoporosis as hormone replacement therapy does.

To protect bone density I recommend that all menopausal women take a supplement of 500 to 700 mg of calcium citrate in two divided doses with meals, for a total daily intake of 1,000-1,200 mg from all sources. In addition, make sure that you're getting 2,000 IU of supplemental vitamin D daily and be sure to exercise regularly. I recommend performing weight-bearing activity (such as walking) plus exercises that improve strength as well as balance and flexibility.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here