Pituitary Gland Supplementation
Are You Ingesting the Nutrients Your Pituitary Gland Needs?
Nutritional supplements can influence and optimize the functioning of your pituitary gland. Taking vitamin A, iodine, vitamin D, vitamin E and magnesium supplements daily can ensure a healthy pituitary gland. To understand how these supplements aid in pituitary health, a background on basic pituitary functioning is necessary.
The pituitary gland is one of the most important glands in your body, controlling a myriad of bodily functions through the secretion of hormones. The pituitary gland is located between the optic nerves at the bottom of your skull, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. This pea-sized gland produces growth, sex and thyroid hormones, as well as controls other endocrine glands, such as the adrenal gland and hypothalamus. The pituitary gland consists of two primary sections, the anterior lobe and the posterior lobe. The anterior lobe excretes the growth hormone, which is responsible for a child’s growth. The posterior lobe stores oxytocin and an antidiuretic hormone. Oxytocin stimulates contractions in the uterus, while the anitdiuretic hormone regulates the water levels in your body.
The pituitary gland works with the vitamin and minerals you consume to achieve optimal functioning, as deficiencies can increase or decrease hormonal levels in the body. Ingesting vitamin and mineral supplements can replenish any deficiencies and restore hormonal balance. However, do not feel supplementation is necessary to obtain and maintain healthy pituitary functioning. Eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals can provide similar health benefits.
Recommended Supplements for the Pituitary Gland:
Vitamin A and Iodine
Vitamin A and iodine affect signaling between the pituitary gland and the thyroid gland. According to a 2007 study published in the “Journal of Nutrition,” vitamin A supplementation, independent of iodine supplementation, may assist in regulating the thyroid by reducing hyperstimulation. Vitamin A influences thyroid hormones associated with the pituitary gland and may increase iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency causes insufficient thyroid hormone production, leading to hypothyroidism. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include cold sensitivities, depression, fatigue, heavy menstrual cycle, paleness, unintentional weight gain, brittle hair and nails and muscle and joint pain.
The recommended daily allowance of vitamin A is 700 micrograms for females and 900 micrograms for males. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, beef liver, chicken liver, spinach, kale, cantaloupe, apricots, sweet potatoes, mango, papaya, oatmeal, peas, tomatoes, milk and peaches. The daily recommended allowance for iodine is 100 to 200 micrograms per day for adults. Foods rich in iodine include Cheddar cheese, sea salt, condensed milk, trifle, eggs, Naan bread, fish, fish oils, kelp, yogurt, malt bread, cow’s milk, strawberries, shellfish and Mozzarella cheese.
The pituitary gland assists in the absorption of vitamin D, which aids in the formation of bone mass and bone density. The pituitary gland controls growth and sex hormones, which help sustain skeletal tissue throughout life, according to a 2010 study published in the “Journal of Osteoporosis.” Additionally, vitamin D works with a protein, alpha-hydroxylase encoded by CYP27B1, located in the cells of the pituitary gland to stimulate hormone production. Vitamin D deficiency could cause diminished production of certain hormones, as well as cancer, autoimmune conditions, metabolic disorders and cardiovascular diseases.
Taking a vitamin D supplement with the recommended daily allowance of 600 to 800 micrograms could prevent hormonal changes. Foods containing significant quantities of vitamin D include cod liver oil, herring, catfish, oysters, sockeye salmon, Steelhead trout, halibut, tofu, sardines, mackerel, soymilk, shrimp, fortified juices, fortified milk and fortified cereals.
Vitamin E may assist the pituitary gland in hormone production. According to a 2009 study featured in the “Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition,” vitamin E acts as a protective factor against age-related stress and enhances hormonal output in the pituitary gland. A vitamin E deficiency may lower hormone production and increase your of risk of age-related damage and oxidative stress. Signs of such damage and stress include heart disease, wrinkles, dementia, depression, diabetes, hypertension and cancer.
A vitamin E supplement with the recommended daily allowance of 22.5 international units can prevent deficiency. Additionally, consuming foods with high quantities of vitamin E can satisfy daily requirements, such as sunflower seeds, dry-roasted almonds, olives, boiled spinach, papaya, boiled Swiss chard, boiled mustard greens, cooked turnip greens, boiled collard greens, blueberries, kiwi, red bell peppers, wheat, broccoli and wheat germ.
Similar to vitamin E, magnesium deficiency causes stress-induced inflammation in the body. This stress triggers the pituitary gland, hypothalamus and adrenal gland, potentially causing insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a precursor to metabolic syndrome, a condition increasing your risk for coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. According to 2010 study published in “Magnesium Research,” magnesium activates calcium, which plays an important role in metabolic syndrome, stress and inflammation.
Prevent magnesium deficiency by meeting your recommended daily allowance of 310 to 420 milligrams, according to Linus Pauling Institute. Foods containing high amounts of magnesium include rice, wheat and oat bran, chives, dill, spearmint, sage, basil, savory, seeds of squash, pumpkin and watermelon, cocoa powder or dark chocolate, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, sesame butter, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, molasses and edamame (roasted soybeans).
Herbs, such as alfalfa, ginseng and gotu kola, can aid in pituitary gland health. Alfalfa and ginseng provide nourishment for the pituitary gland and may decrease adverse side effects of an underactive pituitary gland. Gotu kola provides nutrients necessary required for pituitary activities. Additionally, other ayurvedic herbs, such as sandalwood and chasteberry, assist in pituitary functioning. Sandalwood poses as an aphrodisiac and increases sex hormones among women. Chasteberry may aid in regulating sex hormones, such progesterone and estrogen, important for a woman’s reproductive health.
Among females, the pituitary gland produces the Follicular Stimulating Hormone, known as FSH, which activates the follicles housing the maturing eggs. In males, this hormone regulates sperm production. Taking fertility drugs can increase and in some cases decrease the production of hormones in the pituitary gland. Follow your physician’s instructions regarding the prescribed dosage of fertility medications to prevent pituitary gland side effects. Some side effects associated with excess ingestion of fertility medications include ovarian tumors, cancer, pain, cramping, multiple births, nausea, abdominal bleeding, blood blisters, hair loss and vomiting.