Hormones (endocrine system)
The endocrine system regulates the production of hormones (chemicals that control cellular functions) from glands situated all around the body.
Hormones have a complete metaphysical effect on the body when released, but when secreted into the blood stream they have a specific job or target, and will only affect or work with the receptors that they are genetically paired with.
Hormones control energy metabolism, reproductive processes, tissue growth, hydration levels, synthesis and degradation of muscle protein, and moods.
Hormones also help build new muscle, and new muscle growth encourages the body to metabolically burn fat.
There are three separate identifications of hormones:
1. Steroids - hormones that interact with receptors in the nucleus of a cell.
2. Peptides - hormones comprised of amino acids which work with specific receptors sites on the cell membrane.
3. Amines - contain nitrogen and influence the sympathetic nervous system.
Autonomic nervous system:
The autonomic nervous system is where the stress response is activate, cascading hormones throughout the body systems. The Adrenal Medullas (on top of the kidneys) are seen as an extension to the autonomic nervous system that release important hormones.
The Autonomic part of the nervous system falls into two parts:
Sympathetic: stimulates nervous system activity Energetically Yang
Parasympathetic: slows down nervous system activity Energetically Yin
Hormones most Related to Sympathetic/Parasympathetic
Adrenaline (flight) - secreted by the adrenal medulla(s) (on top of the kidneys). Large amounts of adrenaline secretions are usually released in a threat situation or when the Emotional decision (of the limbic system) has been taken to run (take flight).
Adrenaline can quicken the heart rate whilst increasing blood sugar (fueling exercise), encouraging glycogen breakdown for energy expenditure to support fat metabolism.
Adrenaline reduces learning, alertness, concentration, decision making and overall mental abilities.
Over secretion of adrenaline can lead to adrenal burnout.
Arenaline is mostly known as a hormone.
Noradrenaline (fight) - secreted by the adrenal medulla(s) (on top of the kidneys) and the locus ceruleus (situated in the brainstem).
Notable noradrenaline secretions are usually released when in a threat situation or an Emotional decision (of the limbic system) has been taken to fight.
Noradrenaline: increases learning, blood pressure, alertness, concentration, decision making and overall mental abilities.
Noradrenaline can quicken the heart rate whilst increasing blood sugar (fueling exercise), encouraging glycogen breakdown for energy expenditure to support fat metabolism.
Excessive noradrenaline may lead to heart attacks (because noradenaline causes blood vessel constriction, which increases blood pressure), because constant noradenaline makes the heart work so much harder especially if the arteries are narrowed by plaque (arterial furring).
Over noradrenaline secretion can lead to adrenal burnout.
Note: Noradrenaline and Adrenaline are related hormones called Catecoalameans and are also known as Epinephrine and Norepinephrine -
Noradrenaline is mostly known as a neurotransmitter. Also see Vagus Nerve
Cotisol - is secreted by the adrenal medulla(s) (on top of the kidneys); and the release of cortisol is mainly controlled by the hypothalamus and pituitary glands (situated in the brain).
Cortisol is a catabolic (catabolic means they have a part in breaking down tissue) steroidal hormone, in which, secretions are released throughout the day and night, and as a response to a stress-threat situation, or when an Emotional decision has been made by the limbic system.
Cortisol is known as the energy hormone of resistance that has the ability to deal with long-term energy demands on the system. Cortisol suppresses allergic reactions and helps reduce inflammation (such as arthritis), encouraging wound healing of any injuries (including sport or exercise recovery).
Cortisol and the Circadian Rhythm
Cortisol is important to many normal/basal bodily functions, this fundamental hormone is not only released in times of stress, indeed, cortisol is slowly produced and released throughout the everyday, to complete day to day, living cycles. Futhermore, a steady stream of cortisol is a body need which is produced by the adrenals and naturally flows into the blood stream, and is an anatomical daily requirement that fulfils a function which has real purpose. Additionally, cortisol secretions are predictable and have a universal rhythm which live within all of us, being an important processing part of the bodies circadian rhythm (internal body clock) which relates to how the body relates to sunlight and darkness.
Following the natural internal body clock (circadian rhythm) cortisol is released on wakening, peaking in the early morning followed with a slow decline throughout the day until its time to go to sleep, then cortisol slowly builds again during a good sleep (during the night) to peak again at waking up.
Note: cortisol (and melatonin) release is very similar to some of the actions of Tradional Chinese energy Medicine protocol of wei qi.
Excessive cortisol secretions will cause suppression of the immune system by decreasing the production of the blood cells that fight infection (lymphocytes and eosinophils); causing the thymus and lymph nodes to shrivel whilst the body becomes more susceptible to colds, flu, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, cancers, asthma and affected testosterone (sex hormone) levels, possibly causing sexual dysfunctions. Over cortisol secretion can lead to adrenal burnout.Cortisol release can be related to painful emotions, therefore, emotional hurts can affect the immune system responce.
Melatonin is the hormone that naturally triggers sleep, its released when the sun goes down and darkness appears. In fact, healthy melatonin production may also helps with eye, stomach health, tinnitus and heartburn according to recent studies. Indeed, good melatonin production could promote an increase in Growth Hormone Levels in men.
Poor melatonin production has a definite connection with poor mental health, dementia and chronic pain partly due to sleep deprivation and mediocre sleeping habits (found in bananas, pinapple, oranges, walnuts and most plants). Melatonin release is very similar to some of the actions of Tradional Chinese energy Medicine protocol of wei qi.
Signs and Indications of Adrenal Burnout
Not enough energy to get up in the mornings: erratic cortisol levels with affect sleep patterns (read cortisol and melatonin-above).
Extreme tiredness/fatigue throughout the day: poor adrenal functioning will cause sleeplessness which can turn into sleep deprivation a serious disorder that can lead to severe mental illnesses.
Unable to deal with any stress: adrenal released, stress coping hormones, this means that if the adrenals have a dysfunctions then stress consistently becomes more and more difficult to deal with because of the lack of natural stress handling hormones during metaphysically difficult times.
Salty food cravings: the adrenal cortex produces aldosterone, a secreted hormone that regulates fluids and minerals.
Fatigued adrenals will produce less aldosterone which encourages mineral loss during urination, this process means blood will be taking up less sodium, potassium and magnesium, this mineral blood deficit need will eventually lead to the body to have a mineral, sodium (salt) craving.
Higher energy more in the evenings than during the day: balanced cortisol that gradually builds during the night and slowly decreases during the day is a natural preparation for day and night, a process that sees the body get the correct amount of hormones through the day for wakefulness, and at night to encourage sleep, however when this energy exchange between day and night is turned upside down, as seen with a time zone change synchronization then energy levels could become high during the night and low during the day until the body readjusts.
If the energy level are not as they should be and in the wrong place then this could suggest an adrenal dysfunction is in place or starting to develop.
In need of lots of caffeine to get through the day: high doses of stimulating caffeine will in the end develop an intolerance with the body systems needing more and more creating a over stimulated nervous system, endocrine secretions.
Weakened immune system: one of the jobs that cortisol does is to help regulate the immune system working as an anti-inflammatory, the immune system naturally needs balanced cortisol to work to its full potential.
Pituitary secretions - (master endocrine gland) deep in the base of the brain and commands hormonal release from several endocrine glands throughout the system. The pituitary does not necessarily work by itself and can receive hormone messages from the hypothalamus to fire-up adrenal medulla(s) adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol hormonal secretions (stress hormones). Stress hormones are supposed to be a way the body deals with an immediate threat (fight, flight and freeze), and is destructive holistically if turned on all the time.
Insulin, a peptide hormone which is produced by cells in the the pancreas, insulin's job is to regulate the way carbohydrates and fats are metabolized, by controlling the way and intensity the food products and drinks release energy into the bloodstream.
Insulin energy balancer
Insulin is a balancing hormone that is released when blood sugar levels become too high encouraging the extra energy to be taken up by muscle and fat cells.
At the beginning of an exercise session food should be avoided (including energy drinks, gels and bars), because during exercise the body suppresses insulin release, therefore if insulin levels are high before exercise this will encourage glycogen storage in the cells (fat, muscle) instead of using glycogen as a calorie burning energy source to aid weight loss and increase fitness levels through cells burning calorific energy.
Glucagon is produced by the pancreas and released as a metabolic reaction to lowered blood sugar levels, the presence of glucagon in the blood promotes the release of free fatty acids (FF As) from adipose (fat, lipid) tissue to elevate blood glucose levels; and when glycogen levels become more exhausted through the action of exercise, stored glucagon reserves are released from the Liver.
Testosterone is a steroid type hormone produced by the Leydig cells located within the testes of males and the ovaries in females, in both genders small amounts of testosterone are also produced by the adrenal glands. Testosterone produces muscle protein re synthesis to help repair any muscle damaged from exercising, and promote muscle growth.
Poor testosterone levels can contribute to the formation of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, blood clots and metabolic syndrome.
Human Growth Hormone
Human growth hormone (HGH) is an anabolic peptide hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary gland which, when released can stimulate cellular growth.
HGH works uses specific receptors which can produce a number of responses:
- Increasing muscle protein synthesis responsible for muscle growth
- Increasing bone mineralization
- Supports the immune system whilst fostering lipolysis (fat metabolism)
HGH is produced during the REM sleep cycles but is also stimulated by intense exercise, such as heavy strength training, explosive power training and cardiorespiratory exercises.
Insulin-like Growth Factor
Insulin-like growth factor (IGF) is a peptide hormone produced in the liver with a similar molecular structure to insulin and is encouraged by the same mechanisms that produce HGH.
One of IGF functions is to repair protein cells damaged from exercising, and is an important hormone to foster muscle growth.
Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a neurotransmitter that helps promote new cell production in the brain. The creation of BDNF is closely related to the way HGH and IGF are produced, through intense exercise that will through effort elevate levels of HGH and IGF, which, in turn also increases hormonal levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor.
High-intensity exercise can also prompt anabolic hormones for muscle growth whilst advancing levels of BDNF production, which can have the affect to encourage improved cognitive functions.
Irisin (the exercise hormone)
Irisin is suppose to have the ability to reprogram fat cells to encourage fat to burning instead of fat being stored into adipose tissue. Irisin may help foster an improved metabolic function that is brought about by a good, continuous exercise routine.
Irisin levels - Health
High irisin levels in the blood stream are indicated when the cap ends (telomeres) of chromosomes tend to be longer suggesting better overall immune system health because - research shows that people with diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's and heart diseases tend to have short chromosomal cap ends.
Serotonin (the happy hormone)
Serotonin is a hormone and neurotransmitter, serotonin is synthesized in the brain and body from tryptophan which is a amino acid. Serotonin is found in many tissues, including blood platelets, intestinal mucosa, pineal body, the central nervous system, the brain, kidneys and liver. Serotonin can inhibit gastric secretions, stimulate smooth muscles, and produce the action of vasoconstriction.
Tryptophan chemically changes into 5- hydroxytryptophan when introduced into the system, then 5- hydroxytryptophan chemically converts into serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) in a well balanced body. Low amounts of tryptophan in the system is believed to be the major cause of depression. High levels of tryptophan in a normal functioning brain can directly increased serotonin production encouraging new brain cell production.
Serotonin and the Brain
Naturally produced serotonin helps with the regulation of several important brain processes including, anxiety, moods, emotions, depression, aggression, sleep, appetite, memory and perceptions.
Foods high in Serotonin that may help with depressive disorders when eaten regularly:
Complex carbohydrates, chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, kidney beans, rolled oats, lentils, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, baked potato with skin, tahini (sesame butter), walnuts, avocado, almond butter, fresh fruits and vegetables (preferably organic).
More about serotonin
Dopamine (a happier neurotransmitter)
Although dopamine is not a hormone but a neurotransmitter it is worth a mention because it affects hormonal secretions throughout the body.
Dopamine has its own delivery system that is constantly releasing safe amounts of the natural chemical into the brain, the amount of dopamine released keeps the brain stable, balanced and generally happy unless an something happens; a positive event can switch the amount of more dopamine release into the brain, and the memory becomes involved so that the enjoyable dopamine experience is a memorable, future recognizable event. Indeed if a negative event occurs then dopamine production is slowed and we feel bad, the brain remembers this, stores the memory away to call upon (and avoided) should such an event happen again in the future.
Dopamine plays a major role in controlling the brain's reward and pleasure centers, whilst, an important part of the chemicals job is to help with regulating emotions and physical movements.
Dopamine enables a mental, chemical reward, and deficiency of dopamine can be seen in Parkinson's Disease. However, craving and feeding a dopamine high encourages addictive behaviour with the addict constantly in search of the "chemical high"; which tends to be seen in people known as "risk takers" such as gamblers, dangerous sports participant and drug taking or substance abusers. Dopamine supplements are used to treat Parkinson's Disease which can see sufferers of this illness go through a profound personality change, from a normal everyday person to becoming a risk taker (changing them into gamblers or sex addicts etc) which completely different the way they thought and behaved before taking a prescribed dopamine supplement changing them into someone completely unrecognizable to their previous normal, balanced behaviour's. When people with Parkinson's Disease stop taking dopamine their personality tends to revert back to their normal, non-risk taking behaviour. Unfortunately non Parkinson's Disease drug dependents do not always revert back to their previous way of being because of the damage caused in their brain's through previous constant drug or substance abuse.
Note: Amphetamines, Cocaine/Crack Cocaine (and other drugs) change the way dopamine works, held and is released within the brain. Although a drug induced dopamine high can be pleasurable for a short period of time, the brain will adapt, with the need (craving) for more and more of a dopamine, or feel good hormone promoting drugs required to get the same drug induced high, which, overtime can cause the drug taker to develop a form of mental illness known as drug induced bi-polar (bi-polar being a serious mental illness). Indeed, long term drug taking can seriously damage brain procesess and the way the delicate balance of the brain works so much that the persons chance of eventually developing memory problems and brain damage become extremely high. More about dopamine.
Estrogens are a group of important hormones required for sexual and reproductive development, mainly in women. Estrogens are commonly known as the female sex hormones. The word "estrogen" refers to a collective of chemically similar hormones in the estrogen group.
Estrogen group chemicals:
Estrone, estradiol (primary in women of reproductive age) and estriol.
Estrogen and how it works with the brain:
estrogen helps the body keep a constant brain temperature, and could assist in the postponement of memory loss, supervises and helps control parts of the brain that prepares the body for reproductive and sexual development, increases serotonin and serotonin brain receptors, controls the effect and production of endorphins and promotes nerve growth whilst protecting the nerves from damage.
Excessive Adrenal and Cortisol secretions will damage the mind/body over time
Each hormone carries a specific message that influences the mind or body in some way (also see fight, flight or freeze ). The brain sends out instructions to the body mostly via the sympathetic nervous system. The adrenal medulla's release hormones on hormonal (CNS) instruction, cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline when the brain/body has the need to react from a sustained stress response.
Alarm Response System
Increases muscular efficiency
Readies the body for action
Conservation of Energy
Protects the body
(immune system response)
|Mental Activity (brain)||Increased Mental Activity||Decreased Mental Activity|
|Eyes - Pupils||Pupils become larger
(increase in size)
|Pupils become smaller
(decrease in size)
|Lungs||Increased oxygen uptake||Decreased oxygen uptake|
|Heart||Increased in Heart Rate||Decreased in Heart Rate|
|Spleen||Almost No Change||Evacuation of Red Blood Cells|
|Liver (and fat tissue)||Almost No Change||Fats and Sugars are used|
|Gut Muscles||Increased Movement||Decreased Movement|
|Blood||Improved Clotting Ability||Almost No Change|
|Blood Vessels||Dilate (widen)||Constrict
(except to the Heart and arms)
|Sweat Glands||Increased Sweat Production||Almost No Change|
|Salivary Glands||Increased Saliva Production||Decreased Saliva Production|
What does all this intelligence mean for Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Gong:
Correct practice and instruction of taiji and chi gong will put the mind/body in a controlled right brain-parasympathetic state with an increase of heart rate, lung-oxygen uptake, peristaltic movement, sweat, mental activity and saliva production (these tend to be left brain and sympathetic nervous system alarm responses), which in this case can be considered a positive energy crossover sympathetic/parasympathetic stress activity, and if taught correctly is holistically healthy, health promoting metaphysically for the practitioner, and for a group situation, which may also allow a collective brain synchronization of everyone attending the group, brain waves synchronize as the taiji and chi gong class progresses brain's, subconsciously start be move at the same electrical frequency.
The guychitaichi trained meditation in movement method should also encourage limbic system stimulation of memories and emotions associated with the memory process, understanding and letting go of negative triggers as stress levels lower and more control is exercised on emotional rollercoster highs and lows by learning to release the ego in the moment (don't worry you'll get it back), students that cannot let go of the ego in the moment tend to leave taiji and chi gong classes, as this is how they deal with stress (Adrenaline - flight), in this case new people, and with some students stress tends not to be handled very well during the learning process, or stress happens from something unknown, a skill that is easy to look at but hard to metaphysically learn straight away.
Intelligent Qigong and Taiji
To fully achieve all the above, taiji and chi gong must have good solid training procedures and drills which need to be followed by the students and metaphysically corrected by the instructor using mindful instruction and hands on physical movement of students arms, legs and sometimes corrections of strange shapes and positioning. Should such training etiquette and practices be firmly established, and readily accepted by students in every class, then students can quickly gain internal and external progress, otherwise doing (as opposed to being) tai chi chuan and chi gong would have a similar therapeutic effect to taking the dog for a long walk or learning a dance routine, and taiji and chi gong (TCM) offer far more than that, (no offence meant to dog walkers or dancers).
Note: due to controlled cortisol hormone release through taiji and chi gong movement, arthritic and painful joints are sympathetically encouraged to let go of or manage pain, thus promoting the release of painful stiff joints, to get part benefit to the joints practice two to three times a week, but to gain full benefit to the joints taiji and chi gong must be practice every day, if not two to three times a day (health permitting).
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