The glandular system is a communication device but is slower than the nervous system. Messages travel as hormones and work in a series of chain reactions. These hormones can work at the site, near the site, or a long way from the site where they originate. For example, the thyroid hormone works in the gland, around the gland and on many other tissues far from the gland. Hormones control conditions in the body so that a “steady state” of internal balance is maintained.
How the Glandular (Endocrine) System Works
At its simplest, the glandular (endocrine) system works like a thermostat in any heating system. When the room temperature falls, the thermostat may instruct the central heating to switch on so that the temperature rises. Eventually, the thermostat again comes into operation and switches off so that the room doesn’t get too hot. The glands are like rooms and the thermostat senses the temperature in the rooms and acts accordingly.
All of the glands are interconnected. If one gets out of balance it may tip the balance of the other organs in an unbalanced state as well. Constant stress and the fight or flight production of adrenal hormones may lend an underactive thyroid. Thyroid imbalance can lend irregularity in the female reproductive system. This is why it is so vitally important to nourish your whole system with a fresh and raw, whole food nutritional protocol. Obtaining good nutrition is imperative for all of the cells of the glandular system to be fed properly. A well fed system lends internal balance or more “homeostasis”.
The glandular system is extremely diverse. Differences in hormone levels from person to person account for differences in abilities, characteristics and physiologic function. The enormous physical and emotional changes in puberty and maturation are entirely controlled by the secretion of hormones. The glandular system consists of the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, thymus gland, sex glands (ovaries and testis), pancreas, hypothalamus and adrenal glands. These all work together in monitoring the body’s various functions and ordering it to make any needed adjustments.
The hypothalamus is the link between the endocrine and nervous systems. The hypothalamus talks to the pituitary and the pituitary talks to the endocrine glands. The glands then produce and excrete chemical substances known as hormones. Hormones coordinate and control various organs and tissues so that all parts of the body work together smoothly and efficiently. When in a steady balanced state the glands signal back to the centers in the brain creating what is called a negative feedback loop. Any deviation from normality has to be remedied immediately or life can be endangered.
Hormones (from the Greek word meaning “to stir up”) regulate basic drives and emotions, promote growth and sexual identity, control body temperature, assist in the repair of broken tissue and help to generate energy for life’s daily functions. The amount of hormones released depends on the body’s needs. Levels change in response to infection, stress and changes of the blood. There is a constant, fine control in this system.
3 Ways to Improve Glandular Health
1. Focus on quality nutrition.
Nutrition is vital to quality health and optimal performance. 85% of our long term outcome is nutrition. Poor nutrition starves all of the organs and glands in the system and prevents them from proper function. The human system functions properly when it has ample stores of vitamins, minerals (particularly trace minerals), as well as the macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The thyroid gland, for example, is able to maintain proper metabolic rates and body fluid levels when it has ample iodine. A similar need has been established for chromium in the pancreas and its control of blood sugar levels. Each gland in the body has special nutritional needs, and if these needs are not met, decline is eminent.
Eating foods rich in trace minerals and vitamins will help to nutritionally support the glandular functions of the body. Unfortunately, many of the foods that are a mainstay of the modern diet are devoid of the high quality nutrition that is necessary. Changing your lifestyle and adopting a healthy living protocol will improve your overall health. Eating a nutritional plan that is full of fresh and raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds and good clean protein ensures a baseline success in satisfying your body’s needs.
2. Develop a balanced exercise plan.
Exercise can be friend or foe. Too much exercise can exhaust the adrenal system and dampen the glandular (endocrine) system much like chronic stress. Too little exercise impedes circulation and healthy heart function. If the heart is not healthy, it is not able to pump blood to the endocrine glands in an optimal fashion to lend nutrition and oxygen.
3. Get rid of the stress.
Stress can interfere with the glands and may cause an over production of some hormones, such as adrenal hormones. If your body produces excessive stress hormones you may suffer from anxiety, weight gain, sleep dysfunction and a multitude of other symptoms. Excessive and chronic overproduction of stress hormones can eventually lead to exhaustion and clinical depression. Stress effects sleep and recovery. If the body is stressed, the over or under production of hormones may lead to insomnia. Chronic insomnia lends system failure. The system eventually fails to recover.