What is the Endocrine System?
The endocrine system is comprised of glands which regulate the body by secreting hormones directly into the bloodstream. The endocrine system is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, sexual function, and reproductive processes. The classic endocrine glands include the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, pancreatic islets, adrenals, and gonads (ovaries and testes).
The pituitary, in communication with the hypothalamus, controls other endocrine glands throughout the body. It controls the functioning of the adrenals, the thyroid, and the reproductive organs. The overall health of your endocrine system relies on the health of each of the glands. They are all related.
“There is a close relationship between the thyroid gland and other glands of the body, particularly the adrenal glands, the sex glands (ovaries and testes), and the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland.” Overcoming Thyroid Disorders by David Brownstein, M.D.
Contact Dr. MacLaren today if you suspect a problem or imbalance with your endocrine system.
Common Endocrine System Imbalances
The adrenals are two small glands that sit on top of the kidneys and secrete hormones such as cortisol, DHEA, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and epinephrine. The adrenals play a role in energy level, inflammation control, flight or fight stress response, and the balance of fluids, minerals, and blood sugar. Adrenals are also important to the immune system and some of the hormone production process.
- Difficulty getting up in the morning
- Fatigue not relieved by sleep
- Salt cravings
- Increased effort to do everyday tasks
- Decreased libido
- Decreased ability to handle stress
- Fuzzy thinking
- Mild depression
- Increased PMS
- Poor memory
- Increased time to recover from illness, injury or trauma
- Becoming light-headed when standing up quickly
After recognizing the symptoms of adrenal fatigue, the proper, natural treatment can be determined for each individual.
The pancreas controls blood sugar balance, produces insulin and glucagon, and secretes lipase, amylase, trypsin, and chymotrypsin for carbohydrate and fat digestion. Insulin Resistance is a result of the cells no longer allowing insulin to bring sugar into the cells to keep the blood sugar balanced. There are many early warning signs associated with insulin resistance. Acne, ankle swelling, burning feet, infertility, irregular menstrual cycles, water retention, and weight gain are all associated with insulin resistance issues. Some individuals also experience decreased memory, depression, and fatigue.
- Elevated triglycerides
- Low levels of HDL
- High blood pressure
- Waist circumference of >40” for men
- High blood sugar
- Abdominal obesity
- Waist circumference of >35” or more for women
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be experiencing insulin resistance issues.
The thyroid is located in your neck just below the larynx. It secretes two thyroid hormones, T4 and T3. T4 and T3 influence every one of the trillions of cells in our bodies. The thyroid has a variety of important roles to play. It regulates cholesterol, sleep cycles, metabolism, and body weight. A properly working thyroid also provides energy, helps strengthen bones, and keeps skin and hair healthy. An individual’s fertility and menstrual cycle are also dependent on the thyroid. The thyroid can even aid in memory and concentration! With so many things depending on the thyroid, you can see why it is so important for it to function properly.
- Underactive Thyroid (hypothyroid)
- Menstrual bleeding changes
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Hair loss
- Cold hands & feet
- Elevated cholesterol
- Weight gain
- Overactive Thyroid (hyperthyroid)
- Menstrual disturbances
- Heart palpitations
- Weight loss
- Heat intolerance
Whether you have an underactive or an overactive thyroid, it is important to seek treatment for your thyroid issues.
The gonads in females are the ovaries and in males the testes. The testes secrete testosterone and the ovaries secrete progesterone and estrogen. These hormones play a critical role in our reproduction as well as our development.
- Uterine fibroids
- Ovarian cysts
- Low thyroid function
- Sore or swollen breasts
- Weight issues
- Excessive facial hair
- Irregular periods
Contact Dragonfly 360for treatment if you are experiencing a sex hormone imbalance.
Holistic Offerings for Endocrine Imbalances
Personalized Balanced Diet:
Eating healthy today can be confusing. A balanced diet provides the body’s necessary vitamins, proteins, and fats and is key to the digestion as well as overall health. What is a balanced diet exactly? As we are all individuals, Dr. MacLaren uses a series of surveys to determine your metabolic type to find the right diet for you.
Typically to support our endocrine system we want to:
- Try to incorporate protein into your meals and snacks. Good quality protein from meat, fish, fowl, eggs, dairy, and various plant sources (soy and other legumes, nuts and seeds). Avoid processed meats and cheeses.
- Include 6-8 servings of a wide variety of vegetables in your meals, especially those that are bright in color.
- Go lightly on fruits and avoid high glycemic fruits such as bananas, figs, raisins, dates, oranges, and grapefruits. Apples, plums, papaya, mango, pears, kiwi’s, and cherries are ok. Grapes are fine in small quantities.
- To stabilize blood sugar throughout the day, eat breakfast before 10am, lunch before Noon, a snack between 2-3pm, with dinner between 5-6pm.
Herbal and Homeopathic Remedies:
Using QRA (Quantum Reflex Analysis), the optimal herbal and homeopathic remedies can be recommended for your self-healing. Rhodiola and ginseng are two herbs that support the body under all types of stress.
Essential oils are the distilled essence of plants and herbs. They are very potent and provide many therapeutic benefits. Various essential oils may be applied to acupressure points on the feet or back to support your endocrine system. A study at the Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan found lavender aromatherapy reduced serum cortisol in healthy men.
Stress Reduction Techniques:
Chronic stress can have a negative impact on our overall health. In relation to our endocrine system, it drives up our cortisol levels and may lead to weight gain, fatigue, foggy thinking, depression and a compromised immune system. Stress management is the key to feeling better and staying healthy.
Dr. Melanie teaches several stress management techniques you can use anywhere:
•Easy breathing techniques
•Gentle yoga movements
•Ways to use phrases or mantras to break circular thought processes
In addition, she offers guided meditations and deep relaxations to lower the stress hormone levels and provide bi-lateral brain stimulation.
Ensuring that you are getting 7-8 hours of restful, uninterrupted sleep will help prevent fatigue as well. Dr. MacLaren will work with you to ensure you are able to get the sleep your body needs. Some tips for obtaining restful sleep are to make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible, go to bed by 10:00pm or prior to that if you feel sleepy, and be consistent with the time of going to bed. The television and computer should be turned off at least 2 hours before bedtime. Dinner should also be eaten by 6pm.
For more tips to get a restful night of sleep, reduce stress, and maintain a healthy lifestyle, come to Dragonfly 360’s holistic center in Indianapolis.
- The Women’s Hormone Guide by Kimberly Balas & Janet DeVoogd
- Adrenal Fatigue by James L. Wilson
- Overcoming Thyroid Disorders by David Brownstein, M.D.