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The Endocrine System

Ask Yourself…. Yes No
Do you frequently suffer from long, irregular, or painful periods?    
If you're experiencing menopause, are your symptoms severe?    
Are you over-worked or have little energy?    
Are you abnormally fat or thin?     
Do you easily get nervous?    
Are you very emotional?    
Are you easily depressed?    
Do you have difficulties concentrating for long periods of time?    
Do you often consume stimulates like coffee and tea?    
Do you feel sluggish even when talking?    


The endocrine system is responsible for producing the chemicals and hormones needed by the body to regulate its integrated systems.  The endocrine system comprises specialized tissues and organs, including the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands, as well as the hypothalamus, pancreas, ovaries and testes.  Each of these glands and organs secretes hormones that control a part of the body's functions.  Hormones come in various forms and regulate processes like reproduction, growth, metabolism and cell repair.  As hormones are released into the blood according to the need of a particular system, stress and infection can cause hormone levels to rise or fall.  

The endocrine system acts as a communication line between the brain and the immune system.  Immune cells manufacture hormones that allow the immune system to coordinate its activities with the other systems.  For example, corticosteroids are hormones produced by the adrenal lands to regulate mood, sleep patterns, muscle strength and the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein and fat.  Corticosteroids help regulate these daily bodily functions as well as provide emergency support in cases of infection and disease. 

When we are placed in a stressful situation, whether real or imagined, the entire body responds by flooding the blood stream with corticosteroids.  At this moment, the immune and digestive systems will come to a halt while our muscles will be strengthened to enhance physical performance.  While this strategy was essential for the survival of our prehistoric forefathers, it can today, be very harmful for the immune system.   Modern day stresses are more emotional in nature with less need for physical confrontations.   When such stressful emotions continue, corticosteroids accumulate, further suppressing the immune system and letting the body become prone to illness.

The best solutions to this dilemma are eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and giving ourselves healthy outlets for stress.