What is Endocrinology?
It is the study of the body’s organs and glands, along with hormone production, activity and pathology. Glands studied include the adrenals ovaries, testes, pancreas, pituitary, thyroid and the parathyroid.
What are Hormones?
Derived from amino acids, phospholipids and cholesterol, hormones are biochemical messengers used by the endocrine system to communicate with itself and the rest of the biological system. Hormones are involved in many biological functions including bone growth and sugar regulation. Hormones can also be involved in pathological conditions such as diabetes and obesity.
Controllers of the Endocrine System
The Brain is the main regulator of the endocrine system, therefore it is important to consider the impact that stress has on the on the brain and its ability to regulate hormone levels. All three systems in the NEI supersystem are affected regardless of the type of stressor. The hypothalamus is considered the “master controller” of the endocrine system but it is under direct influence by mid-brain neurotransmitter activity (norepinephrine) and serotonin receptors found within it. Chronic inflammation results in an elevation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which bind to the hypothalamus and alter its normal functioning.
Symptoms can be Confusing
Due to the interactions between each system included in the NEI Supersystem, patient symptoms may appear as a hormone issue when in actuality, they can be attributed to a neurotransmitter imbalances or chronic inflammation. Common overlapping symptoms that may result from any disturbance within the NEI supersystem include depression, focus issues, insomnia, fatigue, or anxiety.