The Glandular System
Our glandular systems are the communication network that regulates our ambitions and emotions, promotes growth and sexual identity, helps to control body temperatures, assists in the repair of broken tissue, and helps our bodies to generate energy.
Our glandular systems communicate using chemical substances called hormones. These hormones can stimulate reactions within the body that can last from a few hours to several days.
There are two types of glands that make up our glandular system.
- EXOCRINEGlands - These type of glands secrete fluids throughout a duct or tube that usually lead to an outside surface like our skin, tear glands, and salivary glands.
- ENDOCRINEGlands - These glands are ductless and secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream. Our bloodstream carries these hormones to tissues or organs where they stimulate some sort of action.
The major Endocrine Glands are:
Our glandular and nervous systems work very closely. It is their job together to maintain a balance among all of our body systems.The glandular and nervous system regulate the voluntary and involuntary actions within our bodies. These include growth, metabolism, digestion, elimination, menstruation, and sleep. These systems also enable communication between cells.
Problems with the glandular system can affect us in various ways. Some indicators you could be having problems are:
- Waking up as tried as you were when you went to bed
- Trouble sleeping, Staying asleep or Falling asleep
- Coarse or blemished skin
- Feeling irritable
- Trouble focusing
- Problems maintaining your body weight
- Problems maintaining an ideal body temperature
- Feeling depressed or anxious
The three main glands are the Adrenal, Thyroid and Pituitary.
The adrenal glands produce over fifty different hormones. These hormones impact development and growth and our ability to deal with stress. Some of these hormones also help regulate kidney function.
The adrenal glands actually are comprised of two separate sections/glands, the medulla and cortex.
- The medulla gland produces adrenaline. This hormone is what regulates the flight or fight response in the body and is how our bodies react to stressful events. The medulla also produces DHEA which is a precursor to estrogen and testosterone.
- The Cortex gland located on the outer portion of the adrenal gland produces several hormones that affect blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and growth. The cortex also produces cortisol which is often referred to as the stress hormone. Some people produce greater levels of cortisol than others. Cortisol isn't totally negative, it does have some positive benefits such as helping to reduce inflammation. It also helps the body by making sure the sodium it needs is not lost. It may also be helpful in increasing short term memory and helps the liver to remove toxins. Excess cortisol can raise blood pressure, lower bone density, reduce the immune response, effect blood serum glucose levels, reduce levels of serotonin which helps to provide a sense of well being, and contribute to weight gain.
Maintaining adrenal health is very important. We must all learn to manage our stress. Many people do not recognize that problems are occurring with their adrenal glands because of all the stimulants they used. Stimulants include coffee, tea, soda, sugar, chocolate, and cigarettes. Everyone should have a steady stream of energy throughout the day without needing to stimulate the body. Having to depend on stimulants for energy could be a good indication your adrenal glands are lacking.
The Thyroid Gland
The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck and weighs less than an ounce! It has two halves called lobes and they lie along the trachea and are joined together by a narrow band of tissue. I once took a class and the man teaching the class said the thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly and lays over our windpipe.Since then, it has always helped me to remember the shape of it. The thyroid's main function is to take iodine from food and convert it into thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) and then release these hormones into our bloodstream. These hormones travel throughout the body and help to regulate metabolism, body temperature, and to control hormones. The thyroid can also contribute to your skin and colon health and weight management. The thyroid hormones are prevalent and are utilized by almost every cell in the body.
The Pituitary Gland
The pituitary gland which is the size of a small pea, is located at the base of the brain and is known as the master gland of the body. It not only produces its own hormones, but also influences the hormonal production of the other glands. The pituitary glands works in controlling the thyroid gland by telling the thyroid how much T3 and T4 to produce by releasing TSH the thyroid stimulating hormone. As its name implies, TSH stimulates the thyroid to produce or not to produce hormones. The hormones released by the pituitary gland help some of the following body processes.
- Temperature Control
- Conversion of food into energy
- Blood Pressure
- Breast milk production
- Absorption of water into the kidneys
- Stimulation of uterine contractions during childbirth
- Sex organ function in both male and females.
Maintaining a Healthy Glandular System
Lifestyle choices and how poor choices can affect our overall health is very important. Some of the best things we can do to build and nourish our glands are to:
- Exercise regularly
- Include more raw foods and good fats in our diet to keep our blood sugar levels balanced
- Eat smaller portion sizes
- Consume easily digested proteins
- Supplement with high-quality products
- Start to relax earlier in the evening and get to sleep by 10:00 pm
- Listen to relaxing, encouraging and uplifting music
- Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts
- Engage in positive emotional outlets like traveling, hobbies, clubs, etc.
Products to help support the glandular system can be viewed and purchased through Nature's Sunshine Products.
Written By: Julie A. Devisser- All Rights Reserved