Are you Keeping Your Endocrine System Healthy, Happy and Stress-Free?
There are 11 major systems in the body. When they're taken care of, they run optimally. When they run optimally, you look & feel like your best, sexiest self (scout's honor). We've already learned about the nervous system, so today, we're talking endocrine.
WHAT IS THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM?
The word endocrine is derived from the Greek word “endo” meaning within, and “crinis” meaning to secrete. No system of the body is exempt from the power of the endocrine system. It affects every organ and every cell.
Ultimately, your endocrine system is a collection of glands that produces and secretes hormones to regulate metabolism, muscle and tissue function, growth and development, sexual function, reproduction, sleep x wake cycles, and mood. It is made up of the pituitary gland, the thyroid gland, the parathyroid gland, the adrenal glands, the pancreas, the ovaries and the testes.
On a glandular level, glands carefully select and remove unwanted materials from the blood, processes them, and secrete the finished chemical makeup to circulate somewhere throughout the body. Each type of hormone is specifically targeted towards certain organs and tissues (i.e. insulin and glucagon for the pancreas, or estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone for sexual function). The key players in the endocrine game are the kidneys, liver, the heart, and the gonads -- all of which have their own secondary endocrine operations (i.e. angiotensinogen and thrombopoietin being secreted by the liver -- try saying that three times fast). Any hormone levels that are too high, or too low, relay to the endocrine system that there is a serious problem: showing up as chin breakouts, “off” sleep patterns, low or overly active libido, dehydration and blood infections.
WHAT DOES IT DO FOR ME?
The thyroid plays a major, major role in endocrine system seamlessness, and therefore whole-body hormone regulation. Since we know that the endocrine system regulates hormones, and metabolism, and since we also know that the thyroid is the body’s hub of all essential metabolism hormone secretions, we have to thank our thyroid for being such an endocrine rockstar. Endocrine hormones from the thyroid regulate how easily you gain and lose weight. Endocrine from the adrenal glands regulate your body's response to stress and control blood pressure. Endocrine hormones from the pancreas help break down food and assimilate it into the bloodstream, gently. Endocrine hormones from the ovaries and testacles regulate fertility and sex drive. Happy hormones = happy sex life.
WHAT HARMS IT?
Endocrine disruptors are the worst for your, of course, endocrine system. But what are endocrine disruptors? They are any lab / man-made chemical that has the potential to block and alter hormone production anywhere in the body. They're found in common household cleaning products, crop pesticides, preservatives, artificial flavors, "fragrance" in beauty products, as well as parabens and sulfates in common (even supposedly "natural") beauty products.
Also, STRESS! Similarly to the nervous system, you have to find ways to calm the heck down in order to get your hormones back in balance. Also, blood sugar levels: keep this baby in check. Quick hits of sugar to the bloodstream can do a lot of harm in maintaining a healthy blood glucose level. Also called hypoglycemia, a low blood glucose level feels like utter exhaustion, irritability, weakness, no motivation, pale skin, and poor concentration. Stay away from processed sugars -- always! -- and aim to balance out natural fruit sugars with fiber and fats to carry the glucose through the bloodstream for balanced energy and focus (hello typical, medicinal Sakara Life breakfast).
WHAT NOURISHES IT?
Healthy fats nourish the endocrine system far better than any food or drink or superfood or gadget on the market. It is also important to note that hormone regulation goes much deeper than digestion, and conclusively, begins in your consciousness. If you’re psychologically over-amped and stressed out, it will show up as internal endocrine disruption, and affect all the major workings of your body (weight gain or loss, depression, irritation, zero sex drive). Also, super clean / organic beauty products and household cleaning products are equally as important as a clean diet. Clean up your shelves, clean up your cabinets, clean up your hormones, clean up your life.