Your hormonal health depends upon the optimal function of the organs and regions of the brain that produce and regulate your hormones. Known as your body’s chemical messengers, your hormones circulate through your endocrine system and perform important functions that can directly impact how you feel and how you function.
Some of these hormones are produced in the brain by the hypothalamus, a pearl size region of the brain located just above the brain stem. Your hypothalamus produces both excitatory hormones that stimulate brain activity, and inhibitory hormones that exhibit a more calming effect. These brain hormones, in collaboration with your pituitary gland (known as your “master gland”) control all hormonal messages for your endocrine, stress and digestive systems. In essence, your hypothalamus and pituitary tell your other endocrine glands to make and release hormones that affect and protect every aspect of your health.
To this end, it is important that your hypothalamus gauge the hormone levels that are needed in your body. To do so, your hypothalamus monitors your body, by both sending and receiving signals to and from your body. Your hypothalamus therefore needs to be functioning optimally for the appropriate signals to both be sent and received. If the hypothalamus is damaged due to environmental toxins, stress or trauma, incorrect signals may be sent or received and your hormonal health will suffer.
Hormones Secreted by the Hypothalamus
Your hypothalamus produces seven key brain hormones. Many of these hypothalamic hormones act on the pituitary gland and the target organs controlled by your pituitary, including your adrenal glands, thyroid and sex organs.
- Anti-Diuretic Hormones — Regulates water levels in your the body, including blood pressure and volume of blood.
- Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone — Controls your body’s response to physical and emotional stress, and is responsible for suppressing the appetite and stimulating anxiety.
- Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone — Stimulates the release of hormones that act on your sex organs to initiate and maintain reproductive function. Your levels of Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone increase during puberty, as the appropriate timing and release of hormones are required to trigger sexual maturation.
- Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone —Controls normal physical development in children as well as metabolism in adults. Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone can be supported with adequate sleep, exercise, and balanced blood sugar levels.
- Oxytocin — Known as the “Love hormone” for promoting feelings of love, joy and well-being. Oxytocin also plays a role in social bonding, sexual arousal, reproduction, childbirth, and the period after childbirth, including mother-child bonding and breast milk production.
- Somatostatin — Inhibits other hormones, most notably growth and thyroid-stimulating hormones.
- Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone — Stimulates production of your thyroid hormone, which plays important role in your brain development, cardiovascular system, muscle control, digestive health, metabolism and bone health.
What Causes Problems with the Hypothalamus?
If your hypothalamus is out of balance or not functioning properly, it can throw off the delicate balance of your brain hormones, impacting your health and your well-being.
Too much or too little of these hormones can alter how your body functions. For example, too much anti-diuretic hormone can lead to water retention, while too little can cause dehydration or a drop in blood pressure.
Similarly, high levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone can lead to problems with acne, diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, infertility and muscle problems while low levels can cause weight loss, increased skin pigmentation, gastrointestinal distress and low blood pressure.
Balancing Brain Hormones with Essential Oils
For brain hormones to be properly produced and optimally released, it is important to address the root causes keep the hypothalamus and your brain hormones in balance.
The following 3 issues can throw the hypothalamus out of balance:
Fortunately, essential oils blends are ideally suited to help balance and heal regions of the brain, like the hypothalamus, as their unique chemistry allows them to both easily cross the blood brain barrier and permeate the cells of your brain tissue. Read More about How to Heal the Brain with Essential Oils HERE.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can affect the production levels of hormones that originate in the brain. Research notes that hypothalamic dysfunction is very common following a moderate to severe TBI. One study found that lesions to the hypothalamus were common after TBI, occurring in 42% of fatal brain injuries.
How does a TBI injure your hypothalamus? Keep in mind that the brain has the consistency of Jell-O and forward/backward movement against skull or rotating across ridges inside skull can cause bruising or tearing of blood vessels. Nerve fibers are often stretched or severed. In the case of your hypothalamus, damage often occurs after a TBI from swelling, hemorrhaging and structural damage to lesions of the hypothalamic-pituitary stalk.
Essential oils like Parasympathetic™ and Hypothalamus™ can help the brain heal after a TBI. Read More about Essential Oils for Traumatic Brain Injuries HERE.
Your Hypothalamus oversees your body’s stress response, triggering your Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal stress response, known as the HPA axis. In response to external or internal stimuli, your hypothalamus sends a hormone to your pituitary gland which then sends another hormone to your adrenal glands signaling your adrenals to release the hormones cortisol and epinephrine to meet the demands of the stress.
Your hypothalamus knows the right amount of hormones to release by monitoring your organs. When the hypothalamus gets the signal that the right volume of cortisol has been released, it sends the signal to stop releasing additional cortisol.
Chronic and prolonged stress can compromise the ability of your hypothalamus to receive clear signals – think of a poor cell phone connection – which then compromises it ability to send out the appropriate responding hormonal signals. For example, if your hypothalamus is not receiving clear signals that sufficient levels of cortisol have been reached, it can throw off the signals sent to your adrenals, causing them to continue releasing excessive cortisol. When looking to repair exhausted adrenals, it is important to balance both the adrenals and the upstream hypothalamus.
To help return the hypothalamus to the balance, apply 1 drop of Hypothalamus™ to the forehead right above the third eye (right above the nose between eyebrows and hairline) up to 6 times daily.
Your hypothalamus is the control center for your endocrine system, a network of glands and organs that produce, store, and secrete hormones that help regulate your body’s health.
Toxins known as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) can act like “hormone mimics” and interfere with your endocrine system and the way the body’s hormones work. In fact, considerable numbers of studies have revealed effects of EDCs on the hypothalamus.
For example, some EDCs trick your body into thinking that they are hormones, while other EDCs block natural hormones from doing their job. Still other EDCs can increase or decrease the levels of hormones in our blood by affecting how they are made, broken down, or stored in our body. Finally, other EDCs can change how sensitive our bodies are to different hormones.
You can be exposed to EDCs through the air you breathe, the food you eat, the water you drink and the personal care products you use as EDCs can enter the body through the skin. For example, industrial chemicals and pesticides can leach into soil and groundwater, and make their way into the food chain by building up in plants, fish and animals. Similarly, some consumer products contain EDCs or are packaged in containers which can leach EDCs, such as household chemicals, fabrics treated with flame retardants, cosmetics, lotions, products with fragrance, and anti-bacterial soaps
Essential oils like Lymph™ and Parasympathetic™ can help you detoxify EDCs in the brain. Read More about Detoxifying the Brain with Essential Oils HERE.
It is also important to insure that once mobilized, these toxins can leave the body. Read More about opening drainage pathways with Essential Oils HERE.
Binders are also critical to ensuring that EDCs leave the body. Binders are substances that ‘bind’ to toxins to help move them out of the body. They work by attracting or trapping toxins to prevent them from re-circulating and ensure that they are transported out of your body. Read More about Binders HERE.
Your liver also helps to regulate the balance of hormones in your body, by both producing the cholesterol, the precursor necessary for the creation of hormones, and breaking down and removing excess hormones from your body. Your liver helps to transform and eliminate excess of hormones, including sex hormones, thyroid hormones, cortisone and other adrenal hormones from the body. Your liver functions in your body in much the same way a pool filter functions in a pool. Just as a pool filter cleans a pool by catching the dead leaves, dirt and insects, the liver detoxifies your body from harmful toxins and excess hormones.
If the liver cannot do this properly, excess hormones can build up in your system and lead to hormonal imbalances like estrogen dominance. Here’s what this looks like. Once estrogen has done its job in the body, it is sent to the liver so it can be broken down and removed through the colon. Unfortunately, if your liver is congested or overwhelmed, then it is unable to function optimally and thus cannot remove estrogen at its normal rate. Estrogen is not metabolized properly and can be reabsorbed back into the body, contributing to symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, irritability, low libido and depression.
Excessive hormonal build up in your body further taxes and overwhelms your liver, contributing to a viscous cycle of hormone imbalance. What’s more, if too many excess “used” hormones float around in your bloodstream, your hypothalamus might fail to signal the pituitary gland to send out fresh hormones. Supporting your liver with essential oils can help to improve its vitality and capacity to support hormonal balance. Apply 2- 3 drops of Liver™ directly over your liver (right side of body, under your breast) upon waking and before bed to help improve liver function and with it, hormonal balance.
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- Hypothalamus™ available here
- Liver™ available here
- Lymph™ available here
- Parasympathetic™ available here