Understanding your body and how it works is fundamental to good health – a focus on the “Control Centers” of the Human Body Processes
By Lionel H. Phillips D.O.
Whilst seeming over-technical, don’t be deterred! Do persist, for this article is meant to remind and / or inform readers on just one of the many remarkable functions of their most important asset – IF we provide it with its NEEDS as required.
The Endocrine System
Metabolism is the conversion of nutrients into energy and building materials to meet the body’s needs.
Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers and are part of the Endocrine System.
Endocrine glands make hormones, which travel through the bloodstream to tissues and organs, and control most of your body’s major systems. Hormones affect your body’s functions, from growth and sexual development and mood to how well you sleep, how you manage stress and tension and how your body breaks down food.
The Endocrine System regulates your heart rate, metabolism – how your body gets energy from the foods you eat – appetite, mood, sexual function, reproduction, growth and development, sleep cycles, and more.
Hormones play a very important part in your body’s chemistry by carrying messages between cells and organs. Hormone imbalances can occur any time regardless of one’s age, whilst causing serious health problems, requiring ongoing medical management.
Various functions and rhythms of the body are controlled by Hormones. Chemical messengers produced by the Endocrine Glands are discharged into the bloodstream. These glands include the Pituitary, Thyroid, Parathyroids, Adrenals, Islets of Langerhans, and the sex glands or Gonads. Some interaction takes place among all the endocrine glands, but only the hormones from the pituitary are able to control production of hormones in other glands. Most glands produce several types of hormones – the pituitary, for example produces at least nine – and each type reaches its own target area in the body, no matter how far from the gland producing it.
Glands are organs that secrete and release substances essential for the proper functioning of the body. There are two types of glands – Exocrine and Endocrine. The exocrines have ducts that carry their secretions to particular parts of the body.
The salivary glands that provide the mouth with saliva, and the mammary glands that produce milk, belong to this group.
The Liver, an exocrine gland, is the largest gland in the body, weighing about 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs.) in an adult. The liver has many roles in the digestive system. For example, it produces a green fluid called bile, which breaks down fats and ducts convey their content to the gall bladder, where it is stored and concentrated, before being released into the digestive tract.
Your pancreas is a large gland that creates natural juices called pancreatic enzymes to break down foods. These juices travel through your pancreas via ducts. They empty into the upper part of your small intestine called the duodenum. Each day, your pancreas makes about 8 ounces of digestive juice filled with enzymes.
Endocrine glands have no ducts and release their substances, called hormones, directly into the bloodstream. The endocrines and their hormones help to regulate as well as control the balance of salt and water in the body and the level of sugar in the blood.
The Pituitary Gland is about the size of a pea and lies in a small hollow well within the skull at about the level of the top of the nose. It is connected to the part of the brain called the Hypothalamus, and this link gives the brain direct control over the pituitary’s hormone production. The most important function of the pituitary is to stimulate, regulate and coordinate the functions of certain of the other endocrines. For this reason, it is called the Master Gland.
Diseases of the pituitary gland are fortunately relatively rare. Too little pituitary secretion causes certain types of dwarfism, while too much stimulates the body to grow to gigantic proportion. Pituitary tumors may press on the optic nerves, resulting in headaches and loss of vision. Another rare disease is diabetes insipidus, which causes excessive thirst and excessive secretion of urine.
Two hormones in the rear lobe of the pituitary gland are produced in the adjoining hypothalamus and piped in along nerve fibers. One, vasopressin, helps to maintain the balance of water in the body. The other, oxytocin, stimulates contraction of muscles in children and the milk-flow of nursing mothers.
The Thyroid Gland is in front of the throat, below the Adam’s Apple and just above the breastbone. It is U-Shaped, each end of the U flaring back into a lobe that is about the size of the big toe. The thyroid’s hormonal production stimulates or affects almost every important body process, including the body’s use of oxygen. Too much or too little of the hormone, called thyroxine, can cause serious health problems.
Hypothalamus – Is the portion of the middle part of the brain that is known to regulate body temperature and help control the functions of the internal organs.
How the Body Fight Germs – The body is not helpless against germs. It has filters, such as the tiny hairs in the nose, to keep them out; and secretions, such as the tears to kill them or wash them away. If germs do get into the blood, leukocytes (white blood cells) attack and devour them. When an infection develops, the number of these white cells increases rapidly. Fever raises the body’s temperature to inhibit or destroy germs.
Pancreas –The pancreas makes Insulin and glucagon which are hormones that control the level of glucose or sugar in the blood. Insulin helps keep the body supplied with stores of energy. The body uses this stored energy for exercise and activity, and it also helps organs work as they should.
The body has other resources as well. It manufactures substances that counteract the germs and render their poisons (toxins) harmless. These germ fighters are called antibodies and the poison-controlled substances are known as antitoxins. After the body has overcome a disease, these substances remain in the blood and prevent the germs of that disease from getting a foothold again. Physicians refer to this condition as an “acquired immunity”. People who are immune to a disease without ever having it, are said to have natural immunity. Many immunities are partial or temporary.
Most of the germs that penetrate the body are bacteria or viruses. These disrupt bodily functions and release poisons called toxins. Their effects are counteracted by the body’s defensive cells.
In order to have a healthy, active and free-of-diseased body, we should endeavor to ingrain the following habits. Should the facts below NOT BE part of your lifestyle at present, why not give yourself three (3) months to incorporate them 24/7, and then take stock of the situation. The links below will provide explanations on how best to provide for each one. I will be available to assist with questions via my email address – firstname.lastname@example.org .
Nose (Diaphragmatic) Breathing – for the cleanest oxygen intake;
Natural Breathing (see link)
Our Digestive System – No matter the quality of the food one eats, the best chance for maximum nutrient absorption is SMALL MOUTHFULS. This also assists in excess fat loss without the need to diet, as you will be eating less and tasting each mouthful, whereby the need for second helpings is a rarity.
A quick Look at GERD (see link)
Finally, it may be a “Tall Order”, but I can’t over-emphasize the importance of posture. See my previous articles on lay of the land . Any variance away from the required good posture, will have a negative effect on muscles, nerves and joints.
Water – Without clean air and sufficient water, our body will not survive.
Items24 (see link)
The NEEDS of our Human Body are actually extremely logical and easy to provide.
Albeit that habits are difficult to change, it is well worth the effort.
Every one of the body’s numerous systems will welcome and act positively to the response.
About the writer:
Lionel Phillips is a Doctor of Osteopathy (1975), an International Fitness & Health Instructor, Consultant and Lecturer. He has researched and designed ‘The Needs & Functions of the Human Body’ as an educational subject for inclusion in all School Curriculums World-Wide. A past Federation Member and Israel Liaison Representative of IHRSA (International, Health & Racquet Sports club Association) and member of their worldwide “Panel of Experts”, Phillips is a recipient of the “Prime Ministers Award of Merit” (PM Menachem Begin).
While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves. LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).