What Is The Endocrine System? Is it important for my health?
This body system truly IS important for us and all mammals, fish, and birds. This system is the messenger pathway for glands and hormones. And we are definitely talking about MORE than just sex hormones.
The Endocrine System has these important things:
- Glands which are located throughout the body
- Hormones which are made by the glands and are released into the bloodstream
- Receptors in various tissues and organs, where they respond to the hormones
Why Does The Endocrine System Need Hormones?
Hormones are the messengers with chemicals that get released into the blood stream. The hormones cause action in the targeted organ. Although these hormones go throughout the body, only target cells with the right receptors are ready to respond to the specific hormones.
Did you know that over 50 hormones have been identified in humans and other vertebrates?
That is definitely much more than just sex hormones!!!!
Hormones affect many of our body’s processes, such as:
- Insulin to control blood sugar
- Testosterone and Estradiol to work in growth/function of reproductive organs
- Human Growth Hormone and Thyroid to work on body growth and energy production
Hormones bind to receptors. Receptors carry out the hormones’ instructions by either altering cell proteins or turning on genes that build new proteins. The hormone-receptor team switches on or off biological processes in organs, tissues, and cells.
Where Are The Glands Of The Endocrine System?
Here we go:
Hypothalamus – The hypothalamus ties our endocrine and nervous systems together. The hypothalamus drives the entire endocrine system.
Pituitary gland – The hypothalamus sends signals to the pituitary gland. This gland sends out hormones that are made by the hypothalamus. It also produces its own hormones, several of which act on other endocrine glands.
Thyroid gland – The thyroid gland is vitally important in regulating metabolism and healthy development.
Adrenal glands – The adrenal gland is made up of two glands: the cortex and medulla, both which produce hormones in response to stress and regulate blood pressure, glucose metabolism, and the body’s salt and water balance.
Pancreas – The pancreas produces glucagon and insulin, which help regulate the concentration of glucose (sugar) in the blood.
Gonads – The male reproductive gonads (testes) and female reproductive gonads (ovaries) produce steroids that affect growth and development and also regulate reproductive cycles and behaviors. The gonads mainly produce steroids – androgens, estrogens, and progestins, all of which are found in both males and females but at different levels.
How Do Toxins Affect The Endocrine System?
More and more evidence shows that humans, animals, and fish are experiencing negative health impacts when the endocrine system has exposure to environmental chemicals
When living beings have long term exposure to chemicals that interfere with the body’s hormones, they cause endocrine disruption. Hormone disruptors can:
- Mimic the body’s hormones
- Interfere with the function of the hormones
- Cause developmental issues
- Cause reproductive issues
- Cause brain disfunction
- Lead to Immune problems and more
Plastic can often be an endocrine disruptor.
If we are aware of ways to reduce our toxic exposure to plastics and other endocrine disruptors, we can do a better job of living….
A Happy Healthy Life!
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