What is the Pancreas?
The pancreas is a large organ approximately six inches long and is a key part of the digestive and endocrine systems. It is located deep within the upper abdomen, surrounded by the stomach, small intestine, liver and spleen. This organ is shaped like a pear, broad at one end and narrow at the other end. It is divided in three sections – the broad end of the pancreas is called the head, the midsection is called the body and the narrow end is called the tail. If pancreas health is compromised a number of serious disorders can occur within the body.
The pancreas is a very important digestive organ. It works both as an endocrine gland (like the thyroid, adrenal, pituitary glands), secreting hormones directly into the blood stream and also as an exocrine gland like the liver, secreting digestive enzymes thorough a duct in the small intestine to assist the digestive process.
As an endocrine gland it secretes insulin which regulates the blood sugar. When too much insulin is produced, it causes low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. When too little insulin is produced, diabetes results. Both these conditions are, to a great extent, influenced by diet. Some people inherit diabetes, while others acquire it.
Our diet in fact determines the health of this gland. High consumption of sugar, sugar-based products and refined starch put stress on the insulin producing cells which first over-stimulate them (leading to low blood sugar) and if continued over a long period of time, exhaust them (leading to high blood sugar). Diabetes is the final outcome. Over-eating in general, a common problem mentioned in earlier chapters also exerts strain on the digestive function of the pancreas.
There are several digestive enzymes secreted by the pancreas to assist the small intestine in breaking down starches, fats and proteins. Eating less, avoiding sugar and eating natural “complex carbohydrates” ensure a healthy pancreatic function.
Help for Pancreatic Disorders
Treatment for pancreatic disorders depends on the cause. These are serious disorders and intensive medical treatment and care is required. Lifestyle changes including adjustments to diet and elimination of alcohol and smoking are also required. Surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and life long medication such as insulin may be necessary to treat individual disorders of the pancreas.
Natural Remedies for the Pancreas Natural and holistic remedies can be highly effective when used in combination with other conventional treatments. These remedies manage to address the symptoms of pancreas problems as well as the individual’s overall health and wellbeing. Herbal and homeopathic remedies are gentle, yet effective without the harmful side effects of conventional medicine. Herbs such as Galega officinalis maintain pancreatic health and healthy insulin levels while Vaccinium myrtillus (Bilberry) is traditionally recommended to promote healthy blood sugar levels as well as healthy insulin production.
Gymnema sylvestre is a well-known and highly respected Ayurvedic remedy which is also known as the ‘sugar killer’ as it is said to remove the taste for sweet foods. Another powerful herb is Ginkgo biloba which has a beneficial effect on peripheral and cerebral circulation and can therefore help to promote pancreas health as well as healthy body tissue and circulation. Remember to find a remedy that suits your individual needs obtain all herbal and homeopathic remedies from a reputable source.
Symptoms are: Exhaustion or feeling of weak ness, excessive thirst, increased frequency in urination, excessive hunger, slow healing of wounds and boils.
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