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What is the endocrine system?

Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics

The endocrine system influences every cellular function within your body. The foundations of the endocrine system are hormones and glands. A gland is a group of cells that produces and secretes hormones. Hormones are the body's chemical messengers. They send and relay messages between different systems. Many different hormones move through the bloodstream. Most hormones are intuitively designed to affect only certain cells. 

The endocrine system is also unique in that it uses glands and cells within organs that are all closely related to other body systems. The pancreas is one example; it is part of the endocrine and digestive system. Some of the major glands of the endocrine system are the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and pancreas.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.