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Functional Medicine Explained

Introducing The Endocrine System in a Functional Way

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The endocrine system is a network of glands and organs surrounding the body. While it is similar to the nervous system, it plays a vital role in controlling and regulating many body functions, as well as using chemical messengers called hormones. Since hormones circulate throughout the entire body, each type of hormone targets specific organs and tissues. The whole system is made up of glands and organs that release hormones into the body. Each has a different function to make sure that the human body is working correctly. If there is a disruption in one of the organs, it can cause problems and possibly lead to chronic illnesses later on.

Functioning The Endocrine System

In the endocrine system, it is responsible for regulating the body through the release of hormones. These hormones are secreted by the glands that travel through the bloodstream to various organs and tissues, telling them what to do or how to function in the body properly. Some of the bodily functions are controlled by the endocrine system. This includes the body’s metabolism, growth and development, heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, appetite, and sleeping and waking cycles.

Studies have shown that the endocrine and the nervous system work closely together since the brain continuously sends instructions to the endocrine system while returning the favor, the endocrine glands receive feedback to the brain. With an intimate relationship, both methods are referred to as the neuroendocrine system. The neuroendocrine system is a mechanism where the hypothalamus maintains homeostasis, regulates reproduction, metabolism, and blood pressure. The neuroendocrine system works together with the immune system as they play an essential role in maintaining and restoring homeostasis in the body to function correctly.

The Organs of the Endocrine System

The endocrine system has a complex network of glands that secrete substances. The glands produce, store, and release throughout the body, targeting specific organs and tissues. Here are what each gland does in the endocrine system and what their functions are in the body.

Hypothalamus

The hypothalamus gland is known as the master switchboard located in the center of the brain. Its role is significant because it controls and creates many hormones in the body. It also makes sure that it has to keep the body in a homeostasis state as much as possible. If the hypothalamus is not working correctly, it can cause problems for the body, and it can lead to a wide range of rare disorders.

Pituitary

The pituitary gland is known as the master gland due to regulating the other endocrine glands activities. It plays an essential role by balancing hormone levels in the body, and together with the hypothalamus gland, they control the involuntary nervous system. This system helps manage the balance of the energy, heat, and water in the body. The pituitary gland also produces several hormones that can either regulate most of the other hormone glands or a direct effect on specific organs. When the endocrine glands produce too little or an excessive quantity of hormones, it can cause the body to be imbalanced.

Pineal

The pineal gland is a small, pea-shaped gland that is in the brain and is sometimes called “the third eye.” It plays a role in producing and regulates hormones in females that may affect fertility and the menstrual cycle, including producing and excreting melatonin in the body. A 2016 study suggests that melatonin can help protect against cardiovascular diseases; however, there is still more research being done about the potential function of melatonin in the body.

When the pineal gland is not producing the correct amount of melatonin, it can cause an individual to have sleep disorders and accumulate an excessive quantity of calcium in the body. One of the most prominent symptoms that can cause pineal gland dysfunction is a change in circadian rhythms. A person can disrupt their circadian rhythm either sleeping too much or too little, having restless nights, and feeling sleepy at unusual times.

Thyroid

The thyroid gland a butterfly wing-shaped gland that is located in the anterior neck. It plays a huge vital role in the metabolism, growth, and development of the human body. It regulates many body functions by constantly releasing a steady amount of hormones in the bloodstream. When the thyroid produces too much or too little hormones, it can cause hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism in the body, causing many chronic illnesses in the body.

Parathyroid

The parathyroid gland is located behind the thyroid and plays a vital role in maintaining bone health, making sure the nervous system is running smoothly, and that muscles are pumping regularly. Parathyroid glands release PTH (parathyroid hormone), which regulates calcium in the bloodstream. Research shows that calcium is the only mineral in the body that has its very own dedicated regulatory gland. Calcium not only helps with bone strength, but it conducts electrical impulses in the nervous system and its energy in muscle cells. The PTH can also signal the kidneys and small intestines to save calcium from being digested.

When the parathyroid gland produces an excessive amount or a decreased amount of PTH, it can cause hyperparathyroidism and hypoparathyroidism leading the body to have many malfunctions, including weak bones in the body.

Thymus

The thymus gland is known as “the forgotten, but very important organ.”  It produces progenitor cells, which matures into T-cells and helps the organs in the immune system to grow properly. According to an article published by the NLM (U.S. National Library of Medicine), it stated that the thymus is the primary cell donor for the lymphatic system.

One of the most common diseases that can cause thymus dysfunction is MG (myasthenia gravis), PRCA (pure red cell aplasia), and hypogammaglobulinemia. These diseases can attack the body and cause chronic illnesses in the immune system.

Adrenal

The adrenal glands are located on the top of the kidneys and help produce sex hormones and cortisol, they even work together with the pituitary glands. When cortisol is released from the adrenal glands, it can help with the response to stress and many essential functions in the body. When abnormal signals are disrupting the number of hormones that the pituitary glands telling the adrenal glands to produce. It can cause vitamin D to unbalance and many chronic illnesses.

Pancreas

The pancreas is located in the abdomen and is part of the digestive system. It produces insulin, essential enzymes, and hormones that help break down food and sends it to the small intestine. When the pancreas produces the insulin hormone, it secretes it into the bloodstream, regulating the body’s glucose levels. There are many problems if the pancreas is not functioning correctly, causing the entire body to malfunction. If the pancreas is not producing enough insulin in the body, an individual is at risk for diabetes. Another factor is the development of pancreatic cancer caused by smoking or heavy drinking. The best way to keep a healthy pancreas is to maintain a healthy balanced diet.

Conclusion

The endocrine system is a network of glands and organs that surrounds the body. Each gland sends out hormones throughout the body and transfers to the specific organs that need these hormones to function correctly. If there is a disruption in the endocrine system, it can cause the body to malfunction and develop chronic illnesses.

October is Chiropractic Health Month. To learn more about it, check out Governor Abbott’s declaration on our website to get full details on this proclamation.

So the mechanisms of an autoimmune disease can be either by genetics or by environmental factors that can cause an individual to have problems in their body. There are many autoimmune diseases, both common and rare, that can affect the body. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal and nervous health issues as well as functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or chronic disorders of the musculoskeletal system. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .


References:

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Chu, Linda C, et al. “Diagnosis and Detection of Pancreatic Cancer.” Cancer Journal (Sudbury, Mass.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29189329.

Crosta, Peter. “Pancreas: Functions and Disorders.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 26 May 2017, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/10011.php.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez @dralexjimenez

Specialties: Stopping the PAIN! We Specialize in Treating Severe Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal mobility, posture control, health Instruction, functional fitness, and structural conditioning. We use effective "Patient Focused Diet Plans", Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Cross-Fit Protocols, and the Premier "PUSH Functional Fitness System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. Ultimately, I am here to serve my patients and community as a Chiropractor passionately restoring functional life and facilitating living through increased mobility.

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