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group study Hormones, Environmental Chemicalization, and Yogic Health

Group study openly invites people to exchange thoughts together based on premises that are always explicitly pointed out, however loose they might be, and when any fixed outcome isn't called for. It's good to keep mindful and respectful of both what is and what isn't relevant for discussion though.

Roots of Virtue

At Your Service
Staff member
There is a lot to discuss about hormones. Not only are they essential to maintaining healthy homeostasis in the physical body, they also represent the important nourishing quality close to the primordial water element.

Steroid hormones are effective because they are small lipophilic (fat-soluble) molecules. These two qualities endow them with unobstructed passage through both the outer cell membrane and the envelope of cell nucleus. Very few substances can freely pass into the cell nucleus because it is protected for housing the eukaryote genome and delicate cellular machinery which operates on it. The safe-guarded entry is both a means of protection and homeostatic regulation. There exists a diverse range of different molecules, but how nature operates the internal communication of cells is rarely one-to-one unique in terms of signal molecules and receptors. Therefore, misplaced molecules may have disruptive effects on the receptors, which actually is a great concern for the modern age and consumer economies. Some molecules are known as endocrine disruptors because they mimic endocrine hormones with their chemical qualities and directly affect the cell regulation and gene expression like steroid hormones do, and human industrial production has unleashed such a huge quantity of these chemicals into nature where it has caused a noticeable environmental impact.

We live in a time when human activities have increasingly introduced many alien chemical compounds in the natural circulation of Earth's biosphere. The most oppressive of these chemicals are highly persistent and bio-accumulative, which can lead to their enrichment in the food chain. It's also typical that the worst chemicals in this regard are both small and lipophilic, thus they pose a range of very nasty long-term disruptive effects on both humans and other organisms. Everyone should now understand that this topic has direct connection to environmental conservation and protection policies, and that discussion around it is highly warranted. I will later present studies about the environmental chemicalization problem in closer detail and also bring up infamous instances about what chronic sub-lethal levels of exposure to small and lipophilic molecules can lead to.

From bodily cultivation perspective, avoiding pollution and the unwitting ingestion of harmful substances is obviously crucial. How could a yogi ever hope to sublimate his corporeal nature if it becomes burdened with obstructive materials that don't actually fit the naturally intended schematics? Yet, we shouldn't discount mentioning the necessity of emotional regulation in this context too, as emotional reactivity can be a very influential factor for deciding which hormones the body would favor in its homeostasis.

Avoiding mind pollutants fosters homeostasis that promotes growth and contentment. On the qualitative opposite edge is stress as understood in the holistic sense: stress hormones, stress reaction, physical and emotional tension, contraction, and stiffness. Physical stress is a catabolic state where the body diverts energy and resources away from the outwardly expanding senses and more superficial body layers such as muscles in order to protect the internal organs better. It calls attention inwards to attend an urgent need, but many misunderstand and malign the stress response. The important give-away is that stress can be useful, but ultimately dealt skillfully and with full awareness so that it and its relevant causes are no longer creating a bother.

Gonads and the adrenal glands produce the hormones we are most critically interested in around this topic, and therefore we note that it's imperative to keep check on the kidney health which is energetically tied to their regulation. We have cholesterol acting as the precursor to all steroid hormones (and some sterols) which are build upon each other through divergent chemical pathways or cascades where every additional step increases the relative size and complexity of the molecule. Stress skews the overall production among these towards cortisol which is the main stress hormone for humans. This skewing means that the relative abundance of all the other hormones, especially the sex hormones, is lowered in contrast to elevated stress hormone levels. One of the typical signs of stress unsurprisingly is a low libido.

Here are some graphs that help visualize the hormone pathways:

adrenal_steroid_hormone_synthesis.png adrenal_steroids_pathways.png steroidogenesis.png

It should be noted that there are many ways to skew body's hormonal homeostasis to harmful effect. Exposure to sex hormones of the opposite sex can lead to serious disturbances because the body aspires to retain its natural homeostasis relevant to the biological sexual function. Overexposure to one's natural sex hormones in artificial quantities can also lead to unintended effects because the body tries to either compensate with the other hormones or issue inhibition orders in order to retain a homeostasis. Much of the environmental chemicalization concern circles around the fact that the endocrine disruptors mimic sex hormones.

The human physique also produces hydrophilic (water-soluble) peptide hormones in various parts of the body. These have many functions, but they deal with relatively much shorter lifetimes than the steroids. Of interest to yogis is the production of endorphins and brain gland secretions such as endogenous DMT, which are indications of spiritually vibrant mind strata. There is another class of lipophilic hormones called eicosanoids, but their role in the long-term regulation of the body is negligible as their role focuses around regulating vascular flow and inflammation reactions.

Now we are ready for free discussion about hormones, environmental chemicalization affecting them, and your experiences with hormones in medicine or yogic arts.

Image sources are listed in the order of appearance.

"Adrenal_steroid_hormone_synthesis.png" by Endocrine doctor is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
"Adrenal_Steroids_Pathways_-_edited.svg" by Matthew Colo is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
"Steroidogenesis.svg" by Häggström M and Richfield D is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
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