This Is Your Endocrine System - Pancreas
The pancreas is below our stomach, front and center, near the bottom of the rib cage. It may be the busiest twelve inches going.
First off, just to make things more complicated (and who in the world thought that was necessary?), the pancreas is both an exocrine and an endocrine organ. The exocrine part comes with the necessary tubing to send digestive enzymes to their designated destination.
The hormone-producing (endocrine) part of the pancreas emits its hormones into inner space where they, hopefully, meet up with receptors that accept them so they can do what they were born to do: Control blood sugar. And that's what I'll talk about here.
Pancreas produces two hormones
The pancreas produces two hormones, insulin and glucagon, to handle our sugar levels. To lower blood sugar, it shoots out insulin. To raise blood sugar, it pumps glucagon.
Like the rest of the endocrine system, the pancreas works in bits and bursts, not a steady flow of hormones. So your body works 24/7, shooting out insulin now, glucagon then, to keep your blood sugar in balance. A ballet of amazingly intricate choreography.
We can control some things that take the pancreas down: excessive or binge drinking for one. High fructose corn syrup for another; that's huge. As are vitamin and mineral deficiencies; no matter how much we watch what we eat, diet alone can't cut it nutritionally.
A whacked out thyroid, either not diagnosed or inadequately treated, as in most cases, can also put the pancreas into a tizzy. This link shows up big time in cases of inherited hypothyroidism.
A low/no fat diet creates an endocrine catastrophe. Saturated fat promotes endocrine health. And not just a dab of saturated fat, either. Good fat does all sorts of good things.
Side note: Keep the carbs low, and saturated fat won't blimp you up; it's the dastardly carbs-especially those loaded with high fructose corn syrup, soy, MSG and other bad actors-that do you in. (And in case you think you see a loophole, no-cal sweeteners also do a number on you.)
The fact is, saturated fat offers major help in maintaining blood sugar levels. Somehow it seems to uniquely satisfy the body.
Diabetes: high blood sugar
High blood sugar levels mean diabetes, aka hyperglycemia. Type 1 diabetes comes from simply not creating enough insulin to tamp down blood sugar. In Type 2 diabetes, you have enough insulin, but your receptors won't take it in, so it's like you don't have enough. Hypoglycemia, on the other hand, has you drowning in insulin, which can leave you in a heap on the floor-since fainting's pretty common in hypoglycemia.
If you eat something sweet, say a doughnut or a piece of cake, on an empty stomach, checking how you feel an hour later can give you a good clue. If you're wired, perspiring and light-headed, you really need to be tested for diabetes. If, on the other hand, you feel like a truck hit you, and all you want to do is sleep-which you may do wherever you are or whatever time it is-it's time to check for hypoglycemia.
Self-testing for blood sugar levels isn't safe, though. Putting yourself into difficulty regularly is, in a word, dumb. But if by chance you find yourself in difficulty, check back to what you ate/drank an hour before for a connection.
The best diet for hyper or hypoglycemia is high saturated fat, medium protein and low carb a la Dr. Atkins. 150 years of science says so. The diet pushed by the diabetes industry keeps you sick.
Add good vitamin and mineral nutrition to your new diet, and you'll find a whole new world.
God is good,
Copyright by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved
P.S. Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be She's a patient who's been studying and successfully handling her own endocrine problems for more than 30 years. She offers introductory teleseminars and an in-depth 12-month subscription program, "Moving to Health" about living well with endocrine issues. She explains how things work-or don't, discusses what things to avoid as well as the things that help, and she provides a lot of well-researched nutritional information. Subscribe to her free e-zine at Information is power.