The Endocrine system is probably one of the lesser known systems in the human body but it’s in charge of creating hormones that regulate almost every bodily function. Because parts of our body are reliant on hormones to tell them what to do, this makes this system very important when it comes to overall health.
However, despite this lack of fame it continues to bring vital hormones to the table every day that allow you go about your day normally. Learning about this system of your body could bring a lot of knowledge about some problems that you may face with yourself.
What is the Endocrine System?
The endocrine system is a network of glands that produce hormones to regulate bodily function (almost every single function in fact). A gland is an organ that produces hormones and excretes them into the blood stream.
This is why having an unhealthy endocrine system can lead to a myriad of negative effects on your health. These could range from Constipation, diarrhea, heart health, losing weight, gaining weight, as well as sexual performance and much more.
They aren’t all found in one place either. For Instance there are 10 different glands and almost all of them are found in different places in your torso, stomach, neck, and your brain.
Main Functions of the Endocrine System.
Each gland is going to have it’s own responsibilities and functions that it regulates. However there are some overarching things that generalize the endocrine system.
- Responsible for creating hormones that control your metabolism, moods, reproduction, growth/ development, as well as certain organs themselves
- This system controls sending these hormones into the blood stream so that they can reach other parts of the body and have an effect
- Lastly they are responsible for the rate at which these hormones are released into the blood stream.
Parts of the Endocrine System
Since they are spread out throughout the body, they will be put into sections according to where they are located in the body.
- Pituitary Gland – This gland, referred to at the “Master Gland,” and for good reason. It’s not only in control of every other gland, it produced many hormones that are specific to only this gland like these.
- Growth Hormone – regulates body growth
- Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH) – aka Vasopressin, controls blood pressure through it’s effect on the kidneys as well as overall body/water balance.
- Adrenocorticotrophic Hormone (ACTH) – This hormone (like the name may suggest) tells the adrenal gland whether or not to produce the “Fight or Flight” hormone (Epinephrine).
- Prolactin – This allows mothers to produce breastmilk
- Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) – Stimulates the Thyroid Gland (like the name suggests).
- Luteinizing Hormone – Manages Estrogen in women and Testosterone in Men.
- Oxytocin – Helps mothers eject milk during breastfeeding.
- Hypothalamus – This gland is the key link in connecting the endocrine system to the nervous system (your brain).
- Pineal Gland – The pineal gland is responsible for making melatonin for sleep
- Thyroid Gland – The Thyroid is responsible for regulating growth and Metabolism in your body
- Hyperthyroidism – is when the thyroid runs too fast and could cause diarrhea, racing heart beat, etc.
- Hypothyroidism – is when the thyroid runs too slow and could cause constipation, a slow heart beat, etc.
- Parathyroid – These are four small glands behind the main thyroid in your neck that control bone health, and levels of calcium and phosphorous in the body.
- Ovaries – Ovaries create estrogen and progesterone which regulate breast growth in puberty, menstrual cycles, and pregnancy in women.
- Testicles – These regulate production of testosterone, facial hair, penis growth, and sperm production in males.
- Adrenal Gland – Probably the most well known gland of all time. This produces the famous “fight or flight” hormone (epinephrine). However is also produces “Corticosteroids” which increase metabolism, heart rate, oxygen intake, blood flow, and even increase sexual function.
- Thymus – The Thymus is responsible for creating white blood cells and “T-lymphocytes” in children. After puberty this gland shrinks.
- Pancreas – This gland makes the hormones Insulin and Glucagon which regulate your blood sugar. It also produces digestive enzymes that help with digestion and processing of nutrients.