Our active hormones are released primarily from our glands such as the Thyroid, Adrenals, Testes and Ovaries. But how do these glands know how much hormone to release? The answer is in the feedback loop.

There is a portion of our brain, about the size of an almond, called the Hypothalamus. This area receives information from nearly all parts of the nervous system, and then helps stimulate or inhibit many of our body’s processes. This includes heart rate, blood pressure, sleep cycles, body temperature and fluid balance. It also signals a gland right below it called the Pituitary to send messages to our other glands based on the feedback it receives.

The Pituitary gland is about the size of a pea and I like to call it the Air Traffic Controller of the Endocrine (hormone) System. It takes the information from the Hypothalamus (like the radar in the control tower) and then tells all of the glands (airplanes) what to do. It may tell the Ovaries to release more Estrogen and the Thyroid to release less Thyroxine. There are many hormone messengers released from the Pituitary and many hormones produced and released in the glands. This is why the feedback loop is so very important.

If your Thyroid, Adrenals, Ovaries or Testes are working fine, but the Hypothalamus or Pituitary aren’t, you can have issues that are not going to be improved long term by traditional hormone treatments. The good news is that there are incredibly effective options for supporting your feedback loop! There are substances that stimulate one or both of these areas to get them working again, and there are other elements that help the entire system adapt to changes in feedback. A Functional Medicine Practitioner can help you discover issues that may be present and recommend the proper plan for correction.