Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hypothetical Hypothalamus

The Hypothalamus is a pretty simple gland, although it is an incredibly important gland! It is thought to be the gland that helps the body maintain what is called homeostasis or balance.

The hypothalamus is influenced by signals from the internal and external environment including:

  • body temperature
  • hunger
  • feelings of being full after eating
  • blood pressure
  • levels of other hormones in the circulation.
 It also responds to stress and controls our daily circadian(sleep/wake) rhythms. It plays a key role in the Fight or Flight response. The hypothalamus collects and combines the signals and then puts changes in place to correct any imbalances.

So imagine the fritz your body would experience if your hypothalamus was not functioning at its optimal level!!!

As you can see from the picture the hypothalamus is located just above the pituitary gland in the middle of the brain. It works in direct relationship with the pituitary gland and with the adrenal glands(located on the tops of the kidneys in the abdominal cavity).

It releases two types of hormones. Those that give the signal to these other two glands to RELEASE their hormones and INHIBITING hormones that tell the pituitary or adrenals to STOP releasing hormones.

The hypothalamus’ function can be affected by many different things, head injury, brain tumors, malnutrition…the list goes on. A poorly functioning hypothalamus could cause things like:
  • insomnia
  • lack of energy
  • feeling cold or hot all the time 
  • all the other issues that would be linked to the pituitary hormone imbalance. 
  •  By the way…that is not an exhaustive list.
OK enough science mumbo jumbo. We are just getting started exploring this system and if you read my first post on the pituitary gland you can already see how quickly this system becomes a plate of spaghetti when try to sort out imbalances that occur. If there is a communication breakdown the whole system can go haywire.

Here is a sceinario: Football player takes a hit to the flank. This unbeknownst to him injures his adrenal glands located on the top of his kidneys. Well, the adrenals communicate directly with multiple other glands, but to keep it simple, the adrenals begin to communicate to the hypothalamus that more cortisol is needed and so too much cortisol begins to be excreted and he ends up feeling fatigued all the time, gains weight, and a once super healthy eater craves sweets and salty things ALL THE TIME! Oh and we won’t even explore the issues that he encounters from the pituitary damage from the same tackle injury.

Our bodies are incredibly resilient!!! I love high energy sports and I am mom to 2 high energy boys who love to torture me with their death defying stunts. But I want to highlight how taking care of our physical bodies is so incredibly important!

Proper nourishment is imperative as well. Because the endocrine challenges in our society are so common Young Living produces many quality supplements formulated to support this system. Check them out here.

In my next post I’m going to push the pause button on the A&P and talk a minute about the building blocks of hormones and where to get those in the foods we eat.

Until then, have some guacamole with organic corn chips. You will be nourishing your endocrine system!!!!

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