Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Do You Know What Your Hormones Are Doing

In effect a hormone is a chemical messenger sent from a cell or gland in one part of the body to another instructing it to carry out a chemical response. Since hormonal instructions may or may not be carried out, it's paramount that you know what your hormones are doing.

Particularly, when hormones can stimulate or inhibit growth factors in the body, affect mood swings, control the reproductive cycles, activate or inhibit the immune system, regulate metabolism and homeostasis in the body, prepare the body for mating, fight or flight response, puberty, parenting, menopause, hunger cravings and the timing of cell mitosis and death.

To be sure your hormones are sending out the right instructions, you need to know how they are produced and what enable them to function effectively.

You would already know about the commonly prescribed hormones such as, estrogen and progestagen for hormonal contraceptive, testosterone for sex drive, thyroxine for hypothyroidism, steroid for autoimmune diseases and respiratory disorders, and insulin for diabetes. These and other hormones are also produced naturally by the body.

1. How Are Your Hormones Produced
In the body, hormones are produced by glands in the endocrine system which include the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, pancreas, adrenal gland, pineal, gonads and more. Endocrine cells are specialized to produce specific hormones according to which genes are switched on during protein synthesis, as hormones consist of proteins.

Proteins hormones are made from templates of information in your DNA. Within the DNA are nucleotides which represent the DNA sequence that are used to code for amino acids, which in turn form chains of amino acids to create the particular protein hormone they were coded for. The hormone produced are stored in vesicles in the endocrine cells awaiting instruction for their secretion either into the bloodstream or ducts.

2. How Your Cells Secrete Hormones
For example, the pituitary gland at the back of your brain produces several growth hormones. The amount of growth hormone secreted into the bloodstream is regulated by the hypothalamus located next to the pituitary gland. When growth factors are needed by the body, the hypothalamus secretes release factors which instruct the pituitary gland to secrete the specific hormones needed by the body.

If something were to interrupt the production of the growth hormones in the pituitary gland, or interfere with communication between the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, the essential growth the body needed will not occur, and this would lead to a disproportionate growth of the body parts and deformity of the body.

3. How Do Your Cells Communicate With Each Other
Cells communicate with each other hormonally through chemical signals. When a chemical signal exits one cell it is carried by the blood to another cell with receptors designed to recognize it. On recognizing and receiving the signal, the receptors activate a pathway which in biology is called a signal transduction.

Signal transduction is a chemical process that converts a stimulus to a cell into a specific response. The transmembrane receptors on a cell, so called, because part of the receptor is on the surface of the cell membrane and part is in the cell, receives the stimulus or chemical signal. This changes the shape of outer portion of the receptor, which sends another signal to the inner portion of the receptor.

From the initial stimulus or chemical signal, several more signals may take place within the cell until a final response is had, either in the expression of the nucleus DNA, or activity of enzymes in the cytoplasm of the cell. The final response of the cell is what should concern us the most.

4. Effect Of Breakdown in Hormonal Communication
For example, when the blood sugar level is low, the pancreas secretes glucagon from the islet cells to instruct the liver to take carbohydrate out of storage to raise blood sugar level, and when blood sugar level is too high, insulin is secreted to instruct the liver to take excess glucose out of circulation to lower blood sugar level.

If the pancreas were to fail to produce enough insulin, or there is inadequate response by the liver cells to the insulin chemical signal, or the liver cells receptors failed to recognize the insulin chemical signal, the blood sugar level will rise too high, and we say the person affected has diabetes mellitus.

When it comes to hormones and their effective use to improve the body performance, cells are the drivers. Cells produce the hormones and activate the signal transduction pathways that convert chemical signals from hormones into the desired response by the body organs.

Here again, homeostasis and tranquility in the physical body is maintained when your cells are healthy and performing optimally. By providing your cells the right micronutrients through a balanced diet and regular age-appropriate physical exercise, you will know what your hormones are doing from the enhanced performance of your body both at work and at home.

Related Article
How To Maintain Good Health Naturally

Saturday, November 13, 2010

How You Can Control Your Longevity

Too often we hear that longevity is unpredictable. That we have no control over how long we shall live. That those who live into their eighties and nineties, healthy and strong till the day they die are either lucky or have good genes.

Consequently, once we reach our fifties, we are constantly worried that we could die at anytime; especially for those who have perceived or actual symptoms of heart diseases.

I guess you will be willing to pay any amount to be freed from the fear of a sudden death, and not only that, but also be assured that you can live into your eighties and nineties, healthy and strong, while able to take care of your bodily needs by yourself.

If you thought doing this was impossible, you'll be glad to know that it is possible. Our longevity depend largely on the foods and drinks we consume, and the pollutants we are exposed to. Short of being killed by a natural disaster or a fatal accident, with a balanced diet and regular age-appropriate physical exercise, you can have control over how long you live.

One reason a balanced diet is very important to your longevity is that it will protect you from becoming overweight. More than any other single factor, overweight is a major cause for premature death. The fat deposit in the body that causes overweight is like a multiple warhead time-bomb.

At appropriate times, these warheads choose the internal organs to attack. The pancreas will be attacked to cause diabetes; the heart to cause heart disease; the arteries to cause heart attack, stroke, and pulmonary embolism; the sexual organ to cause erectile dysfunction; the bladder to cause urinary incontinence; the lymphatic system to cause lymph edema; the gallbladder to cause gall stones, and more.

Asking your doctor for your optimal body weight, and working with a dietitian to design a diet program to reach that weight, you can avoid all the above mentioned diseases and improve your longevity. You will need to talk to a dietitian because your first diet program may not work, and you'll need it modified to fit your age and health condition.

A simple test you can do right now to have a general idea about your weight level is to sit on a dining table chair and put on your sock. If you cannot do this comfortably, you need to see your doctor immediately.

Keep in mind the physical exercise you perform should be age-appropriate. Doing vigorous physical exercise in your fifties and above may cause such harm as hairline bone fractures. You may want to consider brisk walking, swimming, table and lawn tennis, or golf.

You may have also noticed that when you have not done physical exercise for a long time, when you suddenly have to move a piece of furniture, or engage in a game like tennis or basketball, your muscles will be very sore the next day.

Regular physical exercise tones up your muscles and helps prevent muscle soreness, muscles atrophy, and give you the physical strength to left and move objects, as well as move and bear your own weight with ease. It improves oxygen level in the body and helps with blood circulation. It also improves bone density to help you stand in an upright position.

In your eighties and nineties you want to be able to stand upright, walk unaided and engage in family activities with your children and grandchildren. This will be possible when you start building strong muscles and bones now with age-appropriate physical exercise.

From the day of birth we are exposed to harmful chemical pollutants in the air we breathe and the food and drinks we consume. When young our immune system is able to protect us from most of these pollutants, but as we become older, our immune system is less able to do so.

The greatest risk that chemical pollutants pose to our longevity is interfering with the chemical composition of our body cells. This interference often result in the body cells reproducing themselves at a faster rate than normal. The effect of this is cancer.

However, healthy cells are able to repair themselves when attacked by harmful chemical pollutants. To keep your body cells healthy, added to a balanced diet, consider drinking a 16 oz of home made juice twice a day. Non pasteurized juices loaded with life nutrients are carried to the cells quickly, as in liquid form they go through the digestive system quickly. Your dietitian will help you on the combination of fruits, vegetables and herbs, as well as teas that will provide sufficient antioxidants in your body to protect your cells from becoming cancerous.

More important than living into your eighties and nineties is the ability to enjoy everyday of your life. Nobody wishes for a longevity that meant carrying several medical devices in, or attached to his body, taking 30 or more pills daily, or having to depend on others for his bodily needs. Yet that's the life many of us are heading toward, of course, unless we take control of our longevity to ensure we live our golden years healthy and strong, and free from pain.