The hypothalamus is an integral part of the human brain. It is also considered as the “control center” for the majority of hormones. The connection of the hypothalamus with the adrenals and the pituitary gland affects the nervous system as well as the endocrine system.
But what is it that the hypothalamus actually do? For starters, it plays an important role in the calorie intake, body heat, and the weight regulation. Even if you are not familiar with the importance of the hypothalamus, it must be clear to you how important it is for the sustenance of human life.
The hypothalamus is present deep inside the brain, just a little above the base of your skull. The main function of this tiny organ is the regulation of homeostasis in the body. In other words, it helps to keep the human body in a steady state.
When the hypothalamus is not working properly, this directly affects the working of the pituitary gland. The damage does not stop right there because the pituitary gland majorly controls all the other glands within the body, including the ovaries, adrenals, testes, and thyroid gland.
Recent research has shown that a lot of aspects related to aging are controlled by the hypothalamus. These studies have also provided the hope that we might be able to alter the signaling taking place within the hypothalamus to slow down the normal process of aging and prolong life.
How can we prolong life by improving the hypothalamus health? Keep reading to know.
- Increase Chromium Intake
Chromium is a type of trance mineral essential to the body in small amounts for normal functioning. The hypothalamus is a significant and a central part of your autonomic nervous system. It has been involved in different functions such as hunger, thirst, temperature, and sleep.
Different studies have related chromium to a healthier and a better hypothalamus function. The research has suggested that it can keep hypothalamus in a healthy and young state and regulate appetite in a better way.
As per the USDA, the following ten foods are the best source of getting chromium from natural sources:
- Green beans
- Grass-fed beef
You might want to consider supplementing your diet with chromium. However, the benefits of using chromium supplements are still controversial and heavily questioned by some medical experts due to mixed results provided by them.
- Use Essential Oils
Essential oils of myrrh and frankincense do not just have a lengthy history, dating back to the biblical times. In fact, these oils have also been shown to possess brain enhancing properties. Two of their basic components, sesquiterpenes, and terpenes, are found in both myrrh and frankincense oil.
These compounds are known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
Sesquiterpenes can cross the blood-brain barrier and cause the stimulation of the limbic system in the brain. This can promote the memory and release emotions. Sesquiterpenes have also been found to improve the oxygen, particularly around the receptor sites of the hypothalamus, the pituitary, and pineal gland. They also have a positive effect on the emotional center and aids us in being balanced and calm.
There are several ways to include frankincense and myrrh in our daily life. You can start by diffusing the essential oils or inhale them directly from the bottle. You may even mix them with a carrier oil and apply it directly to your skin.
- Try Vitex
Vitex also called the chaste tree berry, is actually a herbal supplement which is known for its exceptional property to balance female hormones. This medicinal property of Chasteberry to enhance the endocrinal health is because of the dopaminergic components present in it.
How does Vitex improve hormone balance? The herb does not supply the hormones to the body. In fact, it acts on the pituitary gland and hypothalamus directly. In women, it improves the luteinizing hormone levels, regulates prolactin and helps to inhibit the release of FSH. All of these changes balance the progesterone to estrogen ratio.
If you particularly suffer from infertility issues or other problems such as PCOS, Vitex can be the perfect solution for you. The product is also available in all local health stores in different forms. The ripe Chasteberry in a dried form is utilized to make liquid or solid extracts which are then placed in tablets and capsules.
If you do not like consuming capsules or tablets, go for the liquid extract. You may also find Vitex in the form of tea that promotes the hormonal health. The dried berries can also be ordered for preparing a tincture at home.
- Eat Healthy Fats
In addition to consuming Vitex, there are other ways of balancing the hormones and achieving an improved hypothalamus function. Maintaining the hormonal balance directly affects the function of your hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. One of the best methods to balance the hormones via diet is by eating healthy fats.
Cholesterol and other fats play an important role in making hormones and cell membranes. Some specific types of fats, such as cholesterol, can also act as an antioxidant and as a precursor to various brain-supporting molecules.
Such fats can be gained by using coconut oil, olive oil, grass-fed butter, avocados, and wild-caught salmon. Eating fats such as olive oil are also going to boost healthy cholesterol levels which, in turn, enhances the hormone synthesis.
- Get Enough Sleep and Decrease Stress
Sleep is a key to keep the hormones in balance. A lack of sleep, chronic stress, and a prolonged use of corticosteroids are the biggest contributors to a high level of cortisol. A study published in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism indicates that stress can alter the hormonal levels of catecholamines, glucocorticoids, prolactin, and the growth hormone.
Keeping the production of cortisol at a healthy level is beneficial for your hypothalamus because its regulation occurs primarily through the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. For this purpose, it is important to get proper sleep and reduce the element of stress.
- Exercise Regularly
Moderate level of exercise on a daily basis is great for the health of your hypothalamus.
A study that took place in 2000 examined the relationship between the hypothalamus, high blood pressure, and exercise in animals. The researchers concluded that exercise positively affects the gene expression as well as the neuronal activity occurring in the hypothalamus.
They also came to know that chronic exercise can lower the blood pressure. This means that exercise can not only improve the heart health but may have an important effect on the health of your hypothalamus.
Precautions Regarding Hypothalamus Function
To determine if you have a malfunctioning hypothalamus, your doctor will perform a complete physical examination and may inquire about your symptoms. He will also conduct urine or blood tests to check the hormone levels.
If you have any underlying hormonal deficiencies, you will be recommended medications to improve them. Make sure that you learn about the side effects of these medications. Additionally, follow the above-mentioned steps to balance the hormones naturally.
Be cautious while using essential oils, particularly if you have a sensitive skin. Discontinue using them at once if a reaction takes place. Lastly, always talk to your doctor before trying out any new treatment.