Our body's glands, small in stature but large in function, comprise the endocrine system. Their chief role is to produce and secrete chemical substances known as hormones that regulate our cells' and organs' activities. In a sense, the endocrine system acts as our body's thermostat, as described by emedicinehealth.com, similar to how wall-mounted thermostats in the home control room temperature. The hormones released by glands regulate the body's growth, our metabolism, and sexual development and function. They accomplish their missions once they have been released into the bloodstream. Going out from there, they have the potential to influence one or more organs as they travel throughout the body. The endocrine system's major glands are the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroids, adrenals, pineal, and the reproductive organs (ovaries and testes). The pancreas also belongs in this group, having a role in the production of hormones as well as contributing to digestion.
The Pituitary Gland: Tiny Size, Huge RoleThe pituitary gland, termed the master gland by livestrong.com, although it is the size of a pea, is located at the brain's base, right below the hypothalamus, near where the spine ends and the skull sits. From there it produces hormones that regulate the functionality of other glands in the body. Among the pituitary gland's areas of control are physiological processes, muscle growth, and cellular metabolism. And in order for the pituitary gland to function at full efficiency, it needs to be continually well fed with a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. In fact, all our glands must be targeted with healthy diets.
Vitamins and Supplements to Support GlandsDifferent glands need their own particular nutrients to thrive. Here are four of those key glands, with a summary of each followed by the vitamins and supplements best suited for them, according to health and nutrition experts: Before adding any of these to your diet, please be sure to consult with a physician. Pineal Gland. Also referred to as the third eye, per truththeory.com, the pineal gland is in the brain and is thought to be involved with our apparently innate ability to achieve higher consciousness. However, because our bodies – pineal gland included – are being exposed to poor diets laced with pesticides, foods containing chemicals and various environmental toxins, our pineal glands are becoming calcified, hampering functionality. Here are vitamins and supplements believed beneficial for the pineal gland:
- Iodine. Occurs naturally in plants such as seaweed and have proven effective in removing sodium fluoride from the body via expelled urine.
- Melatonin. This natural hormone, also available in plant-based supplemental form, is often used as a sleep aid or to help recent fliers recover from jet lag.
- Oregano oil. Known for its usefulness in fortifying the immune system as well as serving as a natural antibiotic.
- Raw apple cider vinegar. A natural detoxifier that helps decalcify the pineal gland and supportive of the digestive system.
- Raw cacao. Its abundance of antioxidants makes it work well as a detoxifier.
- Vitamin A. Promotes the release of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which helps in weight loss.
- Vitamin D. Promotes proper sexual functionality through the pituitary gland.
- Vitamin E. Helps protect the gland from oxidative damage.
- Manganese. Important for brain function.
- Milk Thistle. Triggers the production of breast milk.
- B Vitamins. Vitamins B5, B6 and B12 play key roles in contributing to cell metabolism. These bolster energy levels by enhancing our metabolic pathways. Keep an eye out for B-complex vitamins that combine all three.
- Vitamin C. This is a potent antioxidant involved in the production of cortisol in the adrenals, per adrenalfatiguesolution.com. Also boosts the immune system by guarding it from free radicals.
- Licorice root. An herb considered good for promoting hormone production, sustaining energy levels, and improving endurance. Keep consumption to a minimum as it can raise blood pressure.
- Magnesium. About 75 percent of Americans are lacking in magnesium, which assists in promoting energy flow. A deficiency can lead to fatigue and depression.
- Probiotics. Best known for aiding in digestion, but also do many other things well, such as curtail the unwanted side effects of antibiotics.
- B-complex vitamins. These can reduce the symptoms of thyroid disease.
- Iodine. The key is to have a healthy balance of iodine – either too much or too little can lead to thyroid impairment.
- Iron. Put it this way: an iron deficiency can have an adverse effect on thyroid hormone metabolism.
- Selenium. A deficiency of selenium has been linked to a weakened immune system and various autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
- Tyrosine. An amino acid that teams with iodine to manufacture thyroid hormones T3 and T4.
- Zinc. A trace mineral essential to thyroid hormone synthesis.