Pituitary Gland (Crown Chakra)
The pituitary gland is sometimes called the "master gland"
because of its great influence on the other body organs. Its
function is complex and important for overall well-being.
The pituitary gland is divided into two parts, front (anterior)
and back (posterior).
The anterior pituitary produces several hormones:
• Prolactin or PRL - PRL stimulates milk production from
a woman's breasts after childbirth and can affect sex
hormone levels from the ovaries in women and the testes in
• Growth hormone or GH - GH stimulates growth in
childhood and is important for maintaining a healthy body
composition. In adults it is also important for maintaining
muscle mass and bone mass. It can affect fat distribution in
the body. (For more information go to the Growth section on
• Adrenocorticotropin or ACTH - ACTH stimulates
production of cortisol by the adrenal glands. Cortisol, a so-
called "stress hormone," is vital to survival. It helps maintain
blood pressure and blood glucose levels.
• Thyroid-stimulating hormone or TSH - TSH stimulates
the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones, which, in turn,
control (regulate) the body's metabolism, energy, growth
and development, and nervous system activity.
• Luteinizing hormone or LH - LH regulates testosterone
in men and estrogen in women.
• Follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH - FSH promotes
sperm production in men and stimulates the ovaries to
release eggs (ovulate) in women. LH and FSH work together
to allow normal function of the ovaries or testes.
The posterior pituitary produces two hormones:
• Oxytocin - Oxytocin causes milk letdown in nursing
mothers and contractions during childbirth.
• Antidiuretic hormone or ADH - ADH, also called
vasopressin, is stored in the back part of the pituitary gland
and regulates water balance. If this hormone is not secreted
properly, this can lead to problems of sodium (salt) and
water balance, and could also affect the kidneys so that
they do not work as well.
In response to over- or underproduction of pituitary
hormones, the target glands affected by these hormones
can produce too many or too few hormones of their own.
For example, too much growth hormone can cause
gigantism, or excessive growth, while too little GH may cause
dwarfism, or very short stature.
Hypothalamus (Forhead Chakra*)
The hypothalamus is part of the brain that lies just above
the pituitary gland. It releases hormones that start and stop
the release of pituitary hormones. The hypothalamus
controls hormone production in the pituitary gland through
several "releasing" hormones. Some of these are growth
hormone-releasing hormone, or (controls GH release);
thyrotropin-releasing hormone, or TRH (controls TSH
release); and corticoptropin-releasing hormone, or CRH
(controls ACTH release). Gonadotropin-releasing hormone
(GnRH) tells the pituitary gland to make luteinizing hormone
(LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which are
important for normal puberty.
Thymus (Heart Chakra)
The thymus is a gland needed early in life for normal
immune function. It is very large just after a child is born and
weighs its greatest when a child reaches puberty. Then its
tissue is replaced by fat. The thymus gland secretes
hormones called humoral factors. These hormones help to
develop the lymphoid system, which is a system throughout
the body that help it to reach a mature immune response in
cells to protect them from invading bodies, like bacteria.
Pineal Gland (third Eye Chakra)
Scientists are still learning how the pineal gland works. They
have found one hormone so far that is produced by this
gland: melatonin. Melatonin may stop the action of (inhibit)
the hormones that produce gonadotropin, which causes the
ovaries and testes to develop and function. It may also help
to control sleep patterns.
Testes (Sacral Chakra)
Males have twin reproductive glands, called testes, that
produce the hormone testosterone. Testosterone helps a
boy develop and then maintain his sexual traits. During
puberty, testosterone helps to bring about the physical
changes that turn a boy into an adult male, such as growth
of the penis and testes, growth of facial and pubic hair,
deepening of the voice, increase in muscle mass and
strength, and increase in height. Throughout adult life,
testosterone helps maintain sex drive, sperm production,
male hair patterns, muscle mass, and bone mass.
Testicular cancer, which is the most common form of cancer
for males between ages 15 and 35, may need to be treated
by surgical removal of one or both testicles. The resulting
decrease or absence of testosterone may cause decreased
sexual drive, impotence, altered body image, and other
Ovaries (Sacral Chakra)
The two most important hormones of a woman's twin
reproductive glands, the ovaries, are estrogen and
progesterone. These hormones are responsible for
developing and maintaining female sexual traits, as well as
maintaining a pregnancy. Along with the pituitary
gonadotropins (FH and LSH), they also control the
menstrual cycle. The ovaries also produce inhibin, a protein
that curbs (inhibits) the release of follicle-stimulating
hormone from the anterior pituitary and helps control egg
The most common change in the ovarian hormones is
caused by the start of menopause, part of the normal aging
process. It also can occur when ovaries are removed
surgically. Loss of ovarian function means loss of estrogen,
which can lead to hot flashes, thinning vaginal tissue, lack of
menstrual periods, mood changes and bone loss, or
A condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is
caused by overproduction of male hormones in females.
PCOS can affect menstrual cycles, fertility, and hormone
levels, as well as cause acne, facial hair growth, and male
Thyroid (Throat Chakra)
The thyroid is a small gland inside the neck, located in front
of your breathing airway (trachea) and below your Adam's
apple. The thyroid hormones control your metabolism, which
is the body's ability to break down food and store it as
energy and the ability to break down food into waste
products with a release of energy in the process. The
thyroid produces two hormones, T3 (called tri-
iodothyronine) and T4 (called thyroxine).
Thyroid disorders result from too little or too much thyroid
hormone. Symptoms of hypothyroidism (too little hormone)
include decreased energy, slow heart rate, dry skin,
constipation, and feeling cold all the time. In children,
hypothyroidism most commonly leads to slowed growth.
Infants born with hypothyroidism can have delayed
development and mental retardation if not treated. In adults,
this disorder often causes weight gain. An enlarged thyroid,
or goiter, may develop.
Hyperthyroidism (too much hormone) may result in
exophthalmic goiter, or Grave's disease. Symptoms include
anxiety, fast heart rate, diarrhea, and weight loss. An
enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) and swelling behind the eyes
that causes the eyes to push forward, or bulge out, are
Adrenal Glands (Solar Plexus Chakra, Base/Root Chakra)
Each adrenal gland is actually two endocrine organs. The
outer portion is called the adrenal cortex. The inner portion
is called the adrenal medulla. The hormones of the adrenal
cortex are essential for life. The hormones of the adrenal
medulla are not.
The adrenal cortex produces glucocorticoids (such as
cortisol) that help the body control blood sugar, increase the
burning of protein and fat, and respond to stressors like
fever, major illness, and injury. The mineralcorticoids (such
as aldosterone) control blood volume and help to regulate
blood pressure by acting on the kidneys to help them hold
onto enough sodium and water. The adrenal cortex also
produces some sex hormones, which are important for some
secondary sex characteristics in both men and women.
Two important disorders caused by problems with the
adrenal cortex are Cushing's syndrome (too much cortisol)
and Addison's disease (too little cortisol).
The adrenal medulla produces epinephrine (adrenaline),
which is secreted by nerve endings and increases the heart
rate, opens airways to improve oxygen intake, and
increases blood flow to muscles, usually when a person is
scared, excited, or under stress.
Norepinephrine also is made by the adrenal medulla, but
this hormone is more related to maintaining normal activities
as opposed to emergency reactions. Too much
norepinephrine can cause high blood pressure.
Parathyroid (Throat Chakra)
Located behind the thyroid gland are four tiny parathyroid
glands. These make hormones that help control calcium and
phosphorous levels in the body. The parathyroid glands are
necessary for proper bone development. In response to too
little calcium in the diet, the parathyroid glands make
parathyroid hormone, or PTH, that takes calcium from bones
so that it will be available in the blood for nerve conduction
and muscle contraction.
If the parathyroids are removed during a thyroid operation,
low blood calcium will result in symptoms such as irregular
heartbeat, muscle spasms, tingling in the hands and feet,
and possibly difficulty breathing. A tumor or chronic illness
can cause too much secretion of PTH and lead to bone
pain, kidney stones, increased urination, muscle weakness,
Pancreas (Solar Plexus Chakra)
The pancreas is a large gland behind your stomach that
helps the body to maintain healthy blood sugar (glucose)
levels. The pancreas secretes insulin, a hormone that helps
glucose move from the blood into the cells where it is used
for energy. The pancreas also secretes glucagon when the
blood sugar is low. Glucagon tells the liver to release
glucose, stored in the liver as glycogen, into the
Diabetes, an imbalance of blood sugar levels, is the major
disorder of the pancreas. Diabetes occurs when the
pancreas does not produce enough insulin (Type 1) or the
body is resistant to the insulin in the blood (Type 2). Without
enough insulin to keep glucose moving through the
metabolic process, the blood glucose level rises too high.
In Type 1 diabetes, a patient must take insulin shots. In
Type 2 diabetes, a patient may not necessarily need insulin
and can sometimes control blood sugar levels with exercise,
diet and other medications.
A condition called hyperinsulinism (HI) is caused by too
much insulin and leads to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
The inherited form, called congenital HI, causes severe
hypoglycemia in infancy. Sometimes it can be treated with
medication but often requires surgical removal of part or all
of the pancreas. An insulin-secreting tumor of the pancreas,
or insulinoma, is a less common cause of hypoglycemia.
Symptoms of low blood sugar include anxiety, sweating,
increased heart rate, weakness, hunger, and light-
headedness. Low blood sugar stimulates release of
epinephrine, glucagon and growth hormone, which help to
return the blood sugar to normal.
Glands are small but powerful organs that are located
throughout the body. They control very important body
functions by releasing hormones.
*The Forhead Chakra
extends outward from the
center of the forehead, about
an inch above the Third Eye
Chakra. It has not
traditionally been recognized
within metaphysical science,
and thus has not been given
a name. It is termed
"Forehead Chakra" simply
because of its location.
|The Endocrine/Hormonal Glands