Endocrine System and Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases

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The Endocrine System and Nutrition
Without our endocrine system, various parts of the body would work independently from one another. The endocrine system is the main system that coordinates the chemicals that our body produces to control certain functions. According to this study, a diet low in saturated fat and rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids will improve hypothalamus function. This system affects nearly every cell and organ in the body, and it is comprised of glands. Vitamins also help maintain your internal clock, the biological process that helps you wake up in the morning and get to sleep at night.

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Balancing the Endocrine System Naturally

These glands include the pineal gland, hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, thymus, adrenal glands, pancreas, ovaries, and testicles. The hormones released into the bloodstream by the endocrine glands help regulate reproduction, metabolism, sleep, blood pressure and heart rate. Several nutrients found in whole foods can help maintain endocrine system health.

The thyroid is the largest endocrine gland, and thyroid disease and inflammation can have a significant effect on the overall functioning of the endocrine system. Vitamin D helps control overall thyroid hormone production. While synthesizing vitamin D from sun exposure is ideal, foods such as cod liver oil, organic eggs, fortified dairy products, fortified cereals, mushrooms and oily fish will also boost vitamin D levels. Selenium is a mineral that helps activate the enzymes needed to maintain normal thyroid function and to stimulate thyroid hormone production.

Foods containing the highest amount of selenium are organ meats, clams, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised pork, raw Brazil nuts, tuna, shrimp, sardines and wild-caught salmon. Iodine, an essential mineral, helps make thyroid hormone, which is important for metabolic processes. In addition to iodized table salt, foods rich in iodine include cod, wild-caught salmon, sardines, sea vegetables, scallops, shrimp, whole grains and plain yogurt.

The adrenal glands are especially important during times of stress because they secrete epinephrine and norepinephine in order to trigger the "fight or flight" response.

Stress stimulates the adrenals to release cortisol, the "stress hormone," to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure, metabolism, immune response and anti-inflammatory actions. The glands emit chemicals controlling many bodily functions, including cell growth and development, mood, sexual functions, and metabolism it is the thyroid gland that directly affects metabolism. Metabolism is a collection of chemical reactions that takes place in the body's cells to convert the fuel in the food we eat into the energy needed to power everything we do, from moving to thinking to growing.

There are specific proteins in the body to control the chemical reactions of metabolism, and each chemical reaction is coordinated with other body functions. In fact, thousands of metabolic reactions happen at the same time - all regulated by the body - to keep our cells healthy and working. When a cell produces optimum energy, then it has the capacity to fulfill its many functions involving regeneration, detoxification, and its unique, genetically programmed role such as might be had by a heart cell, a liver cell, a muscle cell, a brain cell, a nerve cell, and so forth.

If cells of like kind have the energy to efficiently fulfill their functions, then the organs or glands they comprise can fulfill their functions. And, if the organs and glands have the energy to efficiently fulfill their functions, then the systems they comprise can efficiently carry out their functions. So, for example, the strength and efficiency of the immune system depends on the strength and efficiency of the organs that comprise it.

Nutrition, herbs, vitamins, and other Naturopathic modalities are great at aiding this re-balancing process. The goal of Naturopathic medicine is to balance the endocrine system is to support the innate ability of the body to heal, to treat the cause of the underlying dysfunction, and prevent progression of imbalance preventing large issues down the road. Hormones are the messengers that allow our organs and cells to communicate to produce a coordinated effect. Without our endocrine system, various parts of the body would work independently from one another.

Some of the organs that produce hormones includes the pineal gland which sets the circadian rhythm , the thyroid which sets cellular metabolism , the pancreas which is involved in digestion and blood sugar control , the ovaries and testes which produce the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone , and the adrenal glands which produce cortisol that balances emotional and physiological stress to maintain homeostasis.

The hormone levels fluctuate through the day and are released in a pulsatile manner throughout the hour, day or month. This pulsatile release is set by the circadian rhythm.

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