An unhealthy endocrine system can mean trouble for your body, as it’s responsible for many different functions. Let’s look at why the endocrine system is so important, its most important roles, and how you can help keep it in tip-top shape.
What Your Endocrine System Does for You
The endocrine system is a series of glands in your body that create hormones responsible for just about every function, cell and organ of your body.
The glands in your endocrine system include:
- Adrenals: Two glands that sit on top of each kidney and make cortisol, sex hormones, and the “fight or flight” hormone adrenaline.
- Hypothalamus: A portion of the brain that links the endocrine and nervous systems and tells the pituitary gland when to make hormones.
- Ovaries (in women): Organs that make the hormones estrogen and progesterone important for development, pregnancy support, and menstrual cycle regulation.
- Pituitary gland: The “master gland” that tells other glands what to do after getting information from your brain.
- Pineal gland: A gland that creates melatonin, which you need to regulate sleep.
- Parathyroid: Four tiny glands that sit behind your thyroid, make the peptide hormone PTH, control calcium and phosphorus levels, and play a role in bone health.
- Pancreas: An organ that makes digestive enzymes to break down food as well as the hormones glucagon and insulin to regulate blood sugar.
- Thymus: A gland that creates white blood cells to fight infection and is most active during childhood and early teen years.
- Thyroid gland: A gland that creates thyroid hormones to regulate your metabolism and many other crucial functions.
- Testes (in men): Organs that make testosterone, control development, and help body hair growth during puberty.
As you can see, there are many organs and functions involved in the endocrine system. If something is not working correctly within the network of this system, it may cause a lot of problems in other areas. Below are the 3 vital functions of your endocrine system.
1. Makes Hormones for Mood, Development, and Growth
Many different vital hormones are created and controlled within the endocrine system. This is extremely important, as your body needs hormones to send messages throughout it and regulate various processes.
If someone’s endocrine system isn’t healthy and is not making the right amount of hormones, it can lead to problems, running the gamut from excessive stress levels, weight gain, and fatigue to trouble becoming pregnant, improper development during puberty, and weak bones.
2. Sends Hormones into Your Bloodstream
After making hormones, your endocrine system sends them into your bloodstream to travel between different areas of your body.
3. Regulates the Release of Hormones
Besides creating and releasing hormones, your endocrine system also regulates and controls how much of each hormone gets released.
Numerous factors can impact your hormone levels, including how many are already in your blood, infections, stress, certain minerals in your blood, and more. The endocrine system will work to maintain the right balance.
When something goes wrong with the endocrine system, it can lead to an endocrine disorder or other issues that affect your weight, mood, development, and more. This is why it’s so important to keep our systems, organs and glands as healthy as we can. Too little or too much of any hormone can be detrimental.
Ways you can support your endocrine system include:
- Eating a whole foods-based, nutrient-dense diet
- Getting enough exercise
- Managing emotional stress
- Being mindful of any endocrine-related problems that run in your family
- Getting regular checkups and
- Talking to your doctor about supplements that may help
The Bottom Line
Your endocrine system is smart, but it sometimes needs a little help. Making healthy choices and addressing any changes you notice in your body can help you be mindful of this delicate and amazing system.