What is the hypothalamus?
The hypothalamus makes up 1% of the brain’s weight but it is the part of the brain that controls the endocrine system. It links the nervous system to the endocrine system using the pituitary gland.
Where is the hypothalamus?
It is below the thalamus, just above the brain stem.
What does the hypothalamus do?
The hypothalamus’ main function is to maintain homeostasis. This means balancing the functions of the body.
The hypothalamus responds to internal and external stimuli so that it can regulate body functions such as temperature, stress, hunger, blood pressure, electrolytes, emotions, thirst, aggression, fear, the reward system and the amount of hormones in the body.
The hypothalamus processes stimuli and send messages in the form of hormones to other glands of the body so that they can regulate any imbalances by secreting their own hormones.
What hormones do the hypothalamus produce?
Two sets of nerve cells are found in the hypothalamus that produce hormones.
One set synthesises “Anti-diuretic hormone” also known as “Vasopressin,” which causes the kidneys to reabsorb water and “Oxytocin,” which stimulates the uterus to contract, causes breastmilk to be released and helps a new born to bond with their mother when breastfeeding. The Hypothalamus sends the hormones down to the back of the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland which will store them before releasing them into the bloodstream.
The second set of nerve cells secretes stimulating and inhibiting hormones. The hypothalamus sends the hormones to the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. The hormones act as a trigger to other glands to either stop or start their own function.
The hormones produced are:
“Corticotrophin-releasing hormone,” which stimulates the pituitary and adrenal glands to release steroids which regulate metabolism and immune response.
“Growth hormone releasing hormone,” which stimulate the pituitary gland to produce and release growth hormone into the blood. This goes to every cell to control growth and metabolism.
“Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone,” which stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete hormones to keep the sexual organs in order.
“Thyrotrophin-releasing hormone,” which stimulates the thyroid to release hormones that support regulation of metabolism, energy and developmental growth.
“Prolactin-releasing hormone,” and “Prolactin-inhibiting hormone,” which tell the pituitary gland to increase or decrease breastmilk production.
What problems are associated with the hypothalamus?
The hypothalamus function can be affected by injuries, trauma, tumours, infections, surgery, too much iron, eating disorders, inflammation, genetics and radiation.
As the hypothalamus is responsible for maintaining homeostasis. Any problem with the hypothalamus can result in inability to regulate bodily functions, such as body temperature, water, blood sugar, sleep cycles etc.
As the hypothalamus is interlinked with the other glands of the body, by stimulating or inhibiting hormones, it can lead to an imbalance in the amount of hormones secreted by the pituitary, thyroid, adrenals, gonads or ovaries etc (more about these in later posts.) This can lead to feeling sick, fearful, angry, irritable, depressed, nervous, twitchy, low or high blood blood pressure, increased urination, feeling very weak or very strong.
If the hypothalamus cannot produce anti-diuretic hormone then it can result in diabetes insidious as the kidney cannot reabsorb water.
If the hypothalamus cannot produce oxytocin then a mother will be unable to produce milk. Low oxytocin levels have been associated with autism.
What can I do to support my hypothalamus?
Give yourself an intense jaw rub for about 5 minutes, also rub around the muscle above and around the ear. This is called the “temporalis” muscle.
Nutrition that supports the hypothalamus are healthy fats, B vitamins, large amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin E. Glandular nutrition to support the Hypothalamus such as Siberian Ginseng, Licorice Root, Gingko Biloba, Magnesium and Energ-V.
How can Kinesiology help?
Your body knows what the right nutrition correct for your hypothalamus. Kinesiology techniques will help find the supplement or food which will be most beneficial to your hypothalamus.
Supporting your hypothalamus will naturally boost the rest of your endocrine system which will boost your immune system and bust stress.