There are 11 major systems in the body. When each of these is nourished, taken care of, and there is balance, these systems run effectively and efficiently, and you feel great! Today we’re going to take a look at one of the most important systems in your body, the endocrine system. This system is like your internal government, affecting every organ and cell. In fact, each system relies on the smooth running of the endocrine system to produce health and vitality!
WHAT IS THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM?
It’s a collection of glands that produces and secretes hormones to regulate anything from temperature to cholesterol, sleep cycles, immune function, stress, inflammation, metabolism, muscle and tissue function, growth and development, reproduction, skin health and mood. It is made up of several glands, namely the adrenal, thyroid and parathyroid glands, as well as the pituitary and pineal gland and the pancreas, ovaries and testicles.
Each type of hormone is specifically targeted towards certain organs and tissues (i.e. insulin for the pancreas, or estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone for sexual and reproductive function). When your hormones are out of whack, i.e. producing either too much or not enough of a hormone, your body will respond with symptoms. Think irritability, weight gain, pimples, insomnia, low capacity to handle stress and recurring illness, just to name a few. Not a pretty picture, right?
The thyroid gland is one of the most important glands of the endocrine system, as well as your entire body, given its whole-body, hormone regulating function. The thyroid gland is central to your body’s metabolism hormone secretions; thus, endocrine hormones from the thyroid control your ability to gain and lose weight, regulate your body temperate and detoxify via sweating through the skin. But that’s not the full picture.
The other major player in these roles is the adrenal gland, which is actually made of two small glands that sit atop the kidneys. These glands can be likened to your body’s CEO as they are responsible for major processes in the body. The adrenals regulate your stress response through cortisol and adrenaline, control sugar metabolism together with the pancreas via insulin, and also work closely with the kidneys to control blood pressure. It’s also a gland that works closely with your thyroid, ensuring that hormones are balanced to keep systems working in sync.
WHAT TAXES THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM?
- ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS:
One of the most taxing things for your endocrine system is what’s known as an endocrine disruptor, the name clearly speaking for itself. These can come from your food – think pesticides, chemicals, GMO’s, soy derivatives, additives etc.—as well as factory and man-made chemicals found in skin care products, perfumes, make-up and household cleaners etc. These disruptors can block and alter hormone production anywhere in the body.
Stress is one of the worst offenders when it comes to the weakening of your endocrine system, as chronic stress drains the adrenal gland – the very gland designed to help you cope with stress – so that eventually, the tank runs empty, leaving you run down, fatigued and unwell.
Refined sugars throw off your blood glucose levels, wreaking havoc on your insulin, pancreas, adrenals glands and your liver. Eventually, the pancreas either stops pumping out insulin to regulate the glucose levels, or your body no longer responds to the high levels of insulin and you’re left with what’s known as insulin resistance. This is not only a precursor to diabetes, but it also leads to obesity and a myriad of other health conditions.
So, Is your CEO Under-performing?
Some common symptoms of an endocrine imbalance are:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Irregular periods
- Water retention
- Increased forgetfulness
- Foggy thinking
- Mood swings
- Morning and evening fatigue
- Sleep disturbance
- Decreased stamina and libido
- Ringing in ears
- Sugar cravings
- Cold body temperature
- Hair dry or brittle
- Nails breaking or brittle
- Infertility problems
- Thinning hair
- Weight gain – hips and waist
- High or low cholesterol
- Elevated triglycerides
- Decreased libido
TOP TIPS TO NOURISH YOUR ENDOCRINE SYSTEM:
- HEALTHY FATS: A key macronutrient to make and regulate hormones
- DETOX, NOT ONCE, BUT AS A LIFESTYLE
- CLEAN UP YOUR SKIN CARE AND HOUSEHOLD CLEANER: Read labels for these as you would for your food, and toss anything with chemicals and/or hard to read and pronounce names
- GO ORGANIC: especially with animal products. Reduce pesticides, herbicides and GMO’s in your food supple
- EAT CLEAN: stay away from processed, man-made foods packed with endocrine disruptors
- MANAGE STRESS
- SLEEP: the adrenal glands need 7-9 hours sleep daily
If you’re psychologically stressed out, your internal government, the endocrine system, will protest loud and clear, disrupting all the major workings of your body. Be in tune with your symptoms – are you gaining weight? Is your hair suddenly falling out? Do you feel anxious and depressed? Are you having a hard time sleeping? Are you craving sugar and breaking out on your forehead and chin, daily?? If these symptoms sound familiar, you’ve got some balancing to do! It’s time to clean house, inside and out, and get those hormones working well again!
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