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Understanding the Endocrine System

(click here for the short version)

There is much talk about 'endocrine disruptors' in the news these days, yet more than a few people have told me they aren't sure what the term means.  That indicates they might not understand what the endocrine system is or its basic function in our bodies.  To be honest, a year ago, I was one of those people.  Because ovarian cancer wrecked havoc on my young daughter's body, I needed to educate myself, so I'll share what I've learned.

There are 7 major glands that make up the human endocrine system, they are the pancreas, the adrenal glands, the pineal gland, the parathyroid glands, the pituitary gland, the thyroid and the reproductive glands (ovaries and testicles).  The thymus, stomach, small intestines, heart, and placenta are also considered part of the human endocrine system.

Each of these glands releases hormones into the bloodstream.  The hormones carry messages throughout the body, triggering other glands to respond or send out their own message.  Together, they regulate many of the body's major functions such as bone and muscle growth, blood pressure, digestion, metabolism, heart rate, brain development, sexual maturation and much, much more.

If any of these glands stops functioning correctly it can affect the others in extremely detrimental ways.  Therefore, when endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the environment interfere with (or disrupt) the delicate balance of hormones or functions of the endocrine system, the effects can be devastating to your health and are often irreversible.  Cancer 'treatment' can also seriously damage the endocrine system.

BPA has received a lot of attention in the news the past few years, however there are many more known and suspected endocrine disruptors that are in regular use in the United States (many countries have banned them).  These toxins are in everything from pesticides to cosmetics, and most shockingly, the U.S. government has known about them for decades and done NOTHING to protect people who now suffer the devastating effects.

Endocrine disruptors are linked to countless types of cancer, including breast, prostate, and testicular; they are also suspected of causing of obesity, diabetes and numerous other serious health problems.



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