Thursday, 02 April 2009 15:16

It’s Your Body. Understand It!™

Written by  Shelley Jaffe
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Peter Gillham's Nutrition CenterWhen most people think of hormones they think of the things that drive you crazy in your teens and for many their entire lives. But that’s really giving these guys a bad rap and doesn’t really tell you what they are all about. These little guys are the messengers. Different hormones carry different messages all over the body.

The endocrine system consists of different glands. Glands produce and release things, both inside and outside the body. Each gland in the endocrine system has a different job. The “master” is the pituitary gland.  It is the size of a pea and has several key jobs. It helps to control nervous function, controls the rest of the endocrine system and controls a few things directly having to do with childbirth and milk production. It’s definitely the boss.

Then you have the thyroid which regulates the metabolism of every single cell in your body. Yes, your cells eat, but more on that another time. In other words, it determines how well your entire body breaks down and uses what you put in it. It is butterfly shaped and located at the lower part of your throat just north of where your collar bones attach.

Next is the parathyroid. You have four of them. They are about the size of a grain of rice and they are located behind the thyroid. Their only job is to regulate calcium levels in your body. Other than their location, they don’t have much to do with the thyroid.

Then there are the adrenal glands. These guys do more than most people know. They are located on top of your kidneys, which are located just under the last few ribs in your back, or just slightly below in some people. They control adrenaline, but they also produce other hormones necessary for fluid and electrolyte (salt) balance in the body, as well as making sex hormones.

Now we get into the pancreas, another misunderstood gland. Though it is true that the pancreas produces insulin which helps to regulate the blood sugar levels, it also helps to regulate salt balances as well as regulating water absorption and secretion in the intestines. And one other little known fact: over 90 percent of pancreatic cells are devoted to the production of digestive enzymes. That’s right. Your pancreas is responsible for a lot of your digestion.

The thymus is located in the upper middle part of your chest. Its job is to produce a hormone called thymosin which plays an important role in your body’s immune system. Healthy endocrine function requires proper nutrition.


Shelley Jaffe is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and the Executive Director of: Peter Gillham’s Nutrition Center in Downtown Clearwater 533 Cleveland Street (727) 462-5770

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Read 1772 times Last modified on Tuesday, 29 September 2009 13:32