The Endocrine System

What is the endocrine system?

The endocrine system is made up of glands that secrete chemicals called ‘hormones’ into the bloodstream or surrounding tissues. The endocrine system includes the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, adrenal glands, pancreas, ovaries and testes.

This complex system must work like a well-trained symphony, if any gland is out of balance our body does not function the way it should and we feel it. The endocrine system is responsible for dealing with different events and stresses. When we are exposed to many stressors in a short period of time often the endocrine system begins to slow down and cannot function at an optimal level.

What are some of the functions of the endocrine system?

The endocrine system plays a vital role in your overall health. Some of the roles of the endocrine system include:

  • Growth
  • Repair
  • Sexual reproduction
  • Digestion
  • Homeostasis (constant internal balance)

How do hormones work?

Hormones work like a lock and key system. Hormones are the key and the body organs or hormone receptors are the lock itself. If the hormones fits then a process will take place but if for some reason the key or lock is malfunctioned the signals will be messed up and an improper signal will occur.  The hormones can set off a cascade of other signaling pathways in the cell to cause an immediate or a delayed effect.

The endocrine system is a tightly regulated system that keeps the hormones at perfect levels. One way this is achieved is through ‘feedback loops’. The release of hormones is regulated by other hormones, proteins or neuronal signals.