Saturday, October 17, 2015

The 'Master Gland' your Pituitary

Known as the “master gland” the pituitary gland is located in the center of the brain. This gland provides an important bridge between the nervous system and the endocrine system. This gland directly effects growth, sexual development, metabolism, and human reproduction.

The pituitary gland is about the size of a pea and dangles from the hypothalamus (another endocrine gland) from a little piece of tissue called the infundibulum. It is divided into the anterior and posterior lobes with each lobe responsible for particular hormones. The gland is surrounded by a delicate web of blood vessels that transport the hormones and precursor hormones to the rest of the body.

Now imagine with me the delicateness of this MASTER gland! It is tiny!!! The blood vessels around it are minuscule, yet this is your lifeline for hormone balance!!!! Imagine what would happen if there was in increase in pressure in the brain that in turn put pressure on this gland how that would affect the physical structure of the gland and its ability to properly do its job. Or even a simple concussion or conk on the head could potentially injure this master gland.

This graphic is a great representation of how this gland’s hormones affect so many diverse body systems. Hormones excreted from this gland include:
  • human growth hormone (hGH), 
  • thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), 
  • follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), 
  • luteinizing hormone (LH), 
  • prolactin (PRL), 
  • adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), 
  • and melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH). 

Looking at this list of hormones, you can see how incredibly important the health of this little tiny gland is. In super simple terms, this gland controls how quickly you age, your ability to lose weight or gain weight, your sex drive, and it plays a huge role in fertility.

To say that nourishing the pituitary is important is an understatement. Protein, manganese, Vitamin E and D are all very important for pituitary health and these substances also form part of the building blocks for the hormones this gland releases.

A well balanced diet full of healthy grass fed protein sources or wild caught fish, healthy fats, and a whole food vitamin will care for your pituitary well. I personally choose to purchase farm raised meat from farms that I can visit and know the farmer. I choose to take Young Living’s Master Formula Vitamin and I take a daily dose of NingXia Red, which contains many of the amino acids necessary for hormone production in not only this gland but many others.

Soda or Pop is high in artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, dyes, and countless other harmful components.  Many people drink them simply because they don't like the 'boring' taste of water.  Carbonation is the attraction for others.  In my opinion they are a step away from a healthy lifestyle--and they're expensive too.

My favorite alternative is Kombucha.  This is an expensive item at health food stores, but in truth it's so easy to make a child can do it for pennies a glass.  If you can boil water-you can make your own living Kombucha that has a nice natural carbonation and benefits your digestion too.  All you do is make your favorite tea with your organic sweetener of choice, add a scoby from a friend (or grow your own), and wait till the fermentation is to your liking.  Play with adding different juices or fruit pieces--ginger, pear, mango, raspberry, blueberry--so fun!

With cool weather comes the season for splitting fire wood.  I need to define "productive exercise" for our purposes at Joyful Heritage.  We believe there is a need to physically produce or manage a resource for the good of your community that exponentially improves physical exercise or exertion.  It's just not the same--not as satisfying--to run around in circles or sling barbells in a gym.  The stress relief factor for productive exercise far surpasses the 'fitness industry' model of working out.  Many are finding this to be true--especially those working through PTSD. Try it for yourself!

Swinging a 5 to 8 pound splitting maul is a great shoulder/back and core workout.  It has the physiological advantage of engaging your brain (it takes a lot of coordination to accurately strike where you want to).  This enhances proprioception- your bodies ability to know where it's at in space and the strength it needs to effect a goal.  Once you're confident and want to step it up to a higher level try to 'gas yourself' by swinging as fast as you can to create an anaerobic state.  You'll want to work toward swinging left and right handed. You can easily build sets of calisthenics in between splitting right by the wood pile: push-ups, pull-ups, dips and all variations.

If you don't heat with wood chances are someone in your community does.  We often get wood for others to use while helping friends clear dead fall trees.  I suggest 16" firewood length log sections as big as 3' round or less.  Straight grained hardwoods like Red Oak will be easiest to split by hand.  Thin gloves will help till you get used to it.  And don't forget your eye protection.  There is great satisfaction in piling up a store of wood for winter use!

Next time we will explore the Hypothalamus gland.

Modern studies indicate that the pituitary gland is controlled by the hypothalamus(another endocrine gland), via hormones from the hypothalamus that tell the pituitary to release its vast array of hormones. However the pituitary is still considered the master gland.

Don't hesitate to comment. We spend a lot of time helping people find the research they need for specific questions--and we LOVE IT! Helping others is what 'pops our heads off the pillow'.

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