Endocrine System and Hormones

Sunday 12 May 2019

The endocrine system is a collection of glands located throughout the body that produces hormones and release them into the bloodstream. Hormones govern our body functions, including growth and repair of tissues, sexual development and reproductive function, and the body's response to stress.

Primary functions of the endocrine system 

(a) Hypothalamus
It is located above the pituitary gland (at the lower central part of the brain). It secretes hormones that stimulate / suppress the release of hormones in the pituitary glands.

(b) Pituitary gland
It is often considered the most important part of the endocrine system because it produces hormones that control many functions of other endocrine glands.

(c) Pineal gland
Produces the melatonin hormone.

(d) Thyroid
Produces hormones that regulate body metabolism.

(e) Parathyroid
Secretes parathyroid hormones, which affect the calcium level in the blood.

(f) Thymus
Produces the hormone thymosin that stimulates the lymphoid organs to produce T-lymphocytes or antibodies in newborns and young children.

(g) Pancreas
Produces the insulin hormone and glucagon. Insulin regulates transportation of sugar, fatty acids and amino acids into body cells.

(h) Adrenal glands
Located on top of each kidney. The outer part (cortex) produces hormones called corticosteroids, which regulates metabolism and balance of salt and water in the body and secrete hormones that begin the development of secondary sexual characteristics. The inner part (medulla) produces hormones called catecholamines (e.g. adrenaline and cortisol) which help the body cope with physical and emotional stress by increasing the heart rate and blood pressure.

(i) Reproductive glands / gonads
Produce testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone.

(j) Prostaglandins
Known to decrease blood pressure, cause fever, inhibit hydrochloric acid secretion in the stomach, increase uterine contraction during pregnancy and influence intestinal peristalsis.

Disorders of the endocrine system

(a) Acromegaly
An enlargement of the bones of the hands, feet and jaws. This hormonal disorder happen when the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone.

(b) Addison's disease
When the adrenal glands produce too little cortisol and aldosterone.

(c) Cretinism
Condition resulting from a congenital deficiency of thyroid secretion or hypothyroidism, resulting in severely stunted physical and mental growth.

(d) Dwarfism
Results from hyposecretion of the growth hormone of the pituitary gland, which has been caused by a tumour, infection, genetic factors or trauma.

(e) Gigantism
An excessive growth of the long bones caused by hyper secretion of the somatotropin hormone.

(f) Graves' disease
Caused by hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxicosis. Symptoms include abnormal protuberant eyes and swelling of the skin over the shins.

(g) Hyperparathyroidism
Causes hypercalcemia, an increased level of calcium in the blood.

(h) Hypoparathyroidism
A decreased secretion of parathyroid hormone that leads to abnormally low calcium levels in the  blood and bones. This can cause tetany (cramp like spasms of the hands and fingers).

(i) Hypoglycemia
Results from increased insulin production by the pancreas.

(j) Hypothyroidism
Resulting from an insufficient production of thyroxine, which can be caused by Hashimoto's disease.

(k) Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH)
A condition in which the body makes too much ADH. This hormone helps the kidneys control the amount of water the body loses through urine. SIADH causes the body to retain too much water. Thus it involves water intoxication and the dilution of intracellular and extracellular body tissues, usually resulting from lung cancer.

(l) Virilism
A condition in which women develop male-pattern hair growth and other masculine physical traits. Results from increased secretion of hormones in the adrenal glands.


Thyroid gland produces the hormone thyroxine which regulates the body's metabolism. Hyperthyroidism happens when the thyroid gland is overactive and produces too much thyroxine T3 and T4. Women are affected more than men.

Symptoms include anxiety, palpitations, weight loss, increased appetite, diarrhoea, menstrual disturbances and heat intolerance.

Management of hyperthyroidism

(a) Taking anti-thyroid drugs such as Carbimazole

The thyroid gland takes iodine and converts it into thyroid hormones T3 and T4. Iodine must be converted into a useable form before it can be combined with other components to form thyroid hormones.
Carbimazole works by preventing the conversion of iodine to its useable form and also stops converted iodine from being combined with other components to form thyroid hormones. This results in a decreased production of thyroid hormones. It may take 4-8 weeks for the levels to reduce to normal.

Side effects: Nausea, vomiting, skin rashes, headache, reduce white blood cells in rare cases.

(b) Taking Radio-iodine

It acts by destroying the thyroid gland.
Avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Patients with thyroid eye disease (TED) will become more severe.

(c) Surgery

This option is for patients with large goitre, particularly if it causes difficulty in swallowing or breathing.
Patients with bulging eyes may require corticosteroids as it does not respond to other treatments.
Have to take hormone pills for life and may affect the vocal cords.


This is caused by too little thyroxine, and also due to immune system disorder. Babies with hypothyroidism can have permanent mental and physical retardation. Other causes include inborn enzyme disorder and deficiency of iodine in the diet.

Symptoms include weight gain, mental slowness, dry skin, hair loss, increased sensitivity to cold and heavy menstrual periods.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

From the TCM point of view, the Spleen controls the endocrine system and balance of hormones in our body. If the spleen is weakened, it will lead to hormone imbalance and endocrine system disorder. If the face looks yellowish, the spleen is weak. Other symptoms are indigestion, lethargy, the limbs lacking in strength and low appetite.

If one's spleen is functioning well, his hormones will function at optimum level too.

How do Shuang Hor products help?

(a) Lingzhi
  • Modulates immune system. If your immune system functions well, your endocrine system will operate normally.
  • Soothing and calming effect. Stress is one of the culprit of endocrine system disorders. Ganoderma nucleosides demonstrates a stabilising effect on the central nervous system, and therefore it can effectively reduce stress.
  • Protect the liver and kidney. These 2 organs are important in hormone manufacturing process. Ganoderma triterpenoids have a protective effect on the liver and kidney. When these 2 organs can function effectively, the endocrine system will be in good order.
(b) Pollen
  • From TCM point of view, as yellow colour food is good for the spleen, it follows that pollen has a positive effect on the spleen.
  • Regulates your endocrine functions with the supply of over 94 types of natural enzymes and coenzymes.
  • Pacifies the nervous system and thus help to give a good environment for the hormones to work effectively.
(Source: Shuang Hor seminar 8 April 2018)

Please email me at askfuiping@gmail.com to purchase Lingzhi and Pollen to regulate your hormones and endocrine system. I am an Authorised Distributor.