The Endocrine System is made up of a collection of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream, regulating human functions from metabolism and growth to sexual development. The hormones target specific organs, triggering chemical changes in the cells to regulate functions of the body.
They are responsible for a myriad of reasons as to why we may feel under par or downright awful. Other more serious conditions can arise. For example, the thyroid is responsible for weight control and energy functions, if this gland is underactive, it can lead to weight problems and obesity, so it pays to keep a close eye on how you are feeling.
Endocrine Disorders can occur when excessive stress cause the glands to become overworked and dysfunctional. The following information is widely used by Kinesiologists in diagnosing and treating clients.
Why do Endocrine problems occur? Here are some examples:
The main role of the Hypothalamus is to keep the body in a state of homeostasis – where the set points of functions such as blood pressure, weight, temperature and fluid/electrolyte balance are held at certain values. In keeping this fine balance, the Hypothalamus receives messages about the state of the body and makes necessary adjustments if needed.
It is able to control every other endocrine gland as is known as the master, master gland. It is sensitive to glucose and is thus an important factor in appetite regulation as it is one of the two mechanisms (the other at the gastro-intestinal level) that control satiety.
Symptoms: If you feel either overly weak and floppy or overly strong, there may be an underlying disorder with the Hypothalamus – one of the most important glands in the body. This can be associated with extremes of behaviour such as addictions, irritability, timidity and rage, fear and over confidence. It can also be indicated in conditions such as depression, heavy metal toxicity and headaches and curiously, if you really hate draughts of all things. One of the most vital roles it plays is to link the endocrine system to the nervous system, via the pituitary gland.
Solutions: Vitamin C – this helps to chelate heavy metal toxicity, TMJ corrections could help to balance.
The Pineal gland is a light sensitive gland, which sets the rhythms of the body according to environmental light, regulating circadian and seasonal rhythms. It does this by secreting melatonin – the hormone that carries this information around the body. This gland also affects sexual libido and reproductive functions. It gives the bodies of animals with distinct breeding seasons vital cues according to its ability to read daylength, thus giving them the ability to prepare for mating.
Because of its sensitivity to light, it is also known as the “third eye”.
Symptoms:Llow sex drive, insomnia, light sensitivity, addictive behaviour, learning disability, premature senility, headaches.
Solutions: TMJ, Light to the “Third Eye (located inbetween the eyebrows), sleeping in a completely darkened room.
This gland is linked to the Hypothalamus and has a large role to play, producing hormones that regulate vital activities of the body, some of which in connection with other glands in the endocrine system. Some of its main function include controling male and female sexual development, growth – by controlling bones and muscles, stimulating milk production during lactation, th uterine muscles to contract during childbirth, the ovaries to ovulate and sperm to be produced.
Symptoms: Menstrual weaknesses, digestive problems, trauma during childbirth, severe headaches and migraines.
Solutions: TMJ, Pituitary gland supplements (usually minced glands of bovine origin) Potassium, Omega oils.
The Thyroid gland produces three hormones: calcitonin, tri-iodothyronine and thyroxin. These hormones maintain the basic metabolic rate, calcium and phosphorus balance. These hormones are responsible for body weight and control, energy and muscle strength, temperature and menstrual regularity. Thyroxin in particular regulates the speed at which fuel is converted into energy.
Two of the hormones (tri-iodothyronine and thyroxin) contain iodine and if the body doesn’t get enough iodine, then the thyroid is unable to produce enough hormones.
Symptoms: Weight control and energy problems, thinning of hair – especially at the ends of the eyebrows, cracked heels.
Solutions: Iodine, Thyroid gland supplements, Kelp, Omega oils.
The Parathyroid gland controls calcium levels in the body and is related to digestion.
If it is underactive (hypothyroidism), problems such as these may be observed: nervousness, lethargy, brittle hair/nails, body hair loss, loss of weight, bloated feeling, constipation and alkalinity.
Symptoms: If overactive (hyperthyroidism): there may be an increase in weakness, aches and pains, acidity, hunger and weight gain, obesity, fatigue, acne, nausea.
Solutions: Vitamin B, Thyroid gland supplements.
This gland shrinks as we age, possibly because our immune system builds immunity naturally to many diseases as we grow older. It is related to the immune system and also said to be linked to self esteem, friendship and spiritual love.
Symptoms: Infections, neck/shoulder/arm or hand pain, swollen looking neck and lymph glands, sweating.
Solutions: Vitamin A and C, digestive enzymes, Thymus glandular extract.
As the Isles of Langerhans distribute insulin directly to the bloodstream it is actually partially endocrine. It helps to control glucose metabolism and blood sugar.
Symptoms: Difficulty in concentrating, irritability, light headedness, sugar handling.
Solutions: Digestive enzymes, low GI diet (eg. Paleo Diet), fewer starch based foods, Vitamin C.
The purpose of the Adrenals include sex drive, fight or flight mechanism, blood pressure regulation, kidney function and fluid concentrations.
Symptoms: Aversion to light, lack of rest, adrenalin addiction, overwork, sudden fatigue.
Solutions: Vitamin C and B (especially Niacin), colloidial minerals.
Relating to the sex organs, these glands can be supported with Vitamin E and TMJ corrections.
Please note: all of the above suggestions are intended for information only and should in no way replace the advice and treatment of a health care practitioner or GP.
Stress in its many forms can be the major contributor to many Endocrine Disorders. The body is designed to be able to cope with short amounts but with the daily strain that we often place on the body, it can become exhausted and fall victim to illness and various endocrine diseases. Nutrition plays a key part in supporting the body and getting it through our demanding lives and regular visits to your favourite practitioner can work wonders for your wellbeing.