So I had my appointment with the Chinese Herbalist / doctor yesterday and I learnt a couple of things from the consultation that are definitely worth sharing.
A word of caution about maca root powder
I’ve been talking a lot lately about maca root powder and how I think it has helped my skin heal a lot. You also might have read how over the Christmas period I had extremely bad PMT which lasted for over two weeks. I suffered from depression, anxiety, headaches, insomnia and a had a really bad acne breakout. At the time I thought I was just unlucky that month and that the PMT symptoms were due to a large amount of stress in my life. Yesterday, I learnt that this PMT, emotional state and massive breakout were actually due to the amount of maca root powder that I was taking.
Be careful with maca, there is such a thing as too much too soon. I read a forum posting on the net today, and my herbalist confirmed it. Maca root actually can exasperate your hormonal symptoms and make them worse. It’s also an energy booster so this is why I was feeling like my heart was beating faster all the time, I felt a heap of stress and I couldn’t sleep at night. In fact, my herbalist is not a fan of maca and does not recommend it. The only reason he agreed that perhaps I should continue to take it was because for the past week with continued use of the maca, my skin has started to clear, I’ve been happy all the time and not anxious or depressed at all. In other words, maybe my hormones have finally balanced out. Maybe it’s from the maca, or maybe not. He suggested that I keep taking it because it’s working, but if I experience the crazy PMT and mood symptoms again, that I should immediately stop taking it.
I’ve been taking the full recommended dosage – four capsules a day. I’m going to try halving that and taking two capsules only to see if it makes any difference. Maca is really helpful for people with low libido and low energy and is great for women going through menopause. I don’t have either of those and I’ve read that women who just want to control their PMT can take a lower dose, so I think I should be okay with just the two capsules. I just want it to help keep my hormones balanced.
If you are going to start taking maca powder, I urge you to start slowly, because chances are the same thing will happen to you. The aim here is to make your skin clear and balance your hormones. If you take a lot of maca root (a lot is actually the recommended maximum dosage on the bottle) then you are likely to get a massive breakout like I did, and the mood disorders that go with it. Start really slowly. For the first two weeks I’ve even advise you to quarter the maximum dosage. Then after two weeks, and only if you feel you need it, slowly up the dosage.
I’ve read some advise by a maca manufacturer on the net which sounded quite good. They said to have some days off from the supplement. So for every week have one day off, for every 2 weeks have 2 days off, and for every 2 months have 2 weeks off. This is just to make sure you keep it all in moderation. To be honest, I don’t like the idea of being on any supplement for ever so I don’t plan to be on it for that long. I’m going to give it a couple of months, then go off it and see if it makes a difference.
I’ll be your guinea pig
I’m still taking the maca root powder supplements so I’ll let you know how my symptoms go. If you want to wait another three or four weeks, then I’ll be able to tell you exactly how the maca is working for my before and during my cycle, and if it removes my PMT symptoms and breakouts, or if it yet again makes it worse. Wow, I feel like I’m a human guinea pig, or sacrificing my skin for science or something!
I’m actually a bit annoyed that this information is made more available on the net. If there was clear warning on the packaging of the maca or on the Internet, then I wouldn’t have taken so much so soon. Nowhere was there any warning or information for me to read about the possible bad side effects. In my opinion, there should be clear warning on the packaging, or in an information leaflet. Something like – ‘At the start of your treatment only, certain isolated premenstrual symptoms may be slightly increased’. The other supplement I’m taking, Premular (which is vitex agnus-castus), comes with that warning and it made me have second thoughts about taking it. And if your symptoms do get worse, it is then a good indication as to why they’re getting worse, and then you can choose to continue using the supplement or give it another month to see if it gets better. One of the worst things about some sort of problem in your body is not knowing why it’s happening. So, if you do decide to take maca and your symptoms do get worse, I’m telling you why, so you can now be prepared.
How my doctors appointment went
In case anyone’s wondering, at my doctors appointment yesterday I chose not to ask for antibiotics! I’ve been so happy with how my skin has been clearing up that I decided not ask for them for now. I did however ask for his opinion on taking antibiotics to clear skin, because he’s a natural therapist that I’ve been seeing for almost twenty years I value his opinion and trust him a lot. He was okay with prescribing antibiotics for my acne, I think because he knows that I’ve been trying to heal my skin naturally for months now. He said the only real risk with the skin antibiotics is if you’re pregnant, because it can affect the unborn child’s teeth. Well, I don’t have a significant other so there’s no chance of any pregnancies!
If my skin gets bad again, he suggested that if I wanted to, I could go on the antibiotics for one week to see how it goes. People can be on them for up to 6 months so a week sounded a lot better than 6 months. He actually wrote me a prescription then forgot to give it to me. I’m considering calling up the surgery today and going in to pick it up but some part of me knows that if I have that prescription in my hands I’ll be too tempted to use it. My skin is healing so well so why don’t I see it out and see if it continues to heal without the use of any drugs. We’ll see.