Kidneys & Adrenal glands
The kidneys are located on the backside of the body, behind the lower ribs, and they have several important functions in the body. They remove waste products, maintain the right balance of fluid and salts in your body, regulate your blood pressure, and produce hormones that contribute to the production of red blood cells and the health of bones, among other things. These are very special and essential organs that you need to live because they purify your body from harmful substances by filtering the blood, allowing waste products and fluids to leave the body. On the kidneys, you can find two small triangular glands known as the adrenal glands. The Latin name for these glands, adrenes, is similar to the Dutch name, which is a combination of "ad," meaning "on" or "by," and "renes," meaning "kidneys." Every person has two adrenal glands, and their primary function is to produce a number of hormones in response to stress situations, including adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol. They also produce androgens such as testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and androstenedione.
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The function of the kidneys
Through a branch of the aorta, nearly a quarter of the blood pumped from the heart is directed to the kidneys. There, the blood is filtered through these small organs, after which the purified blood is continued through the renal veins, while the residual product urine is collected in the renal pelvis. Through the ureter, urine enters the bladder. The kidneys function as filters, differentiating between certain substances that should remain in the blood and those that should not. Besides removing waste products from the body, another task of the kidneys is to maintain the ion balance, or the amount of water and salts in the blood. They squeeze just about everything out of the blood and then very selectively retrieve the useful substances, including water and salts. In addition, the kidneys play an important role in regulating blood pressure and make vitamin D active. Thus, optimal functioning of the kidneys is important for a vital body.
Adrenal medulla and adrenal cortex
Contrary to what the name suggests, the adrenal glands have nothing to do with the kidneys. An adrenal gland consists of an inner part (medulla) and an outer part (cortex). The adrenal medulla is responsible for the production of two hormones (adrenaline and noradrenaline) that are important for the regulation of blood pressure, among other things. The cortex is made up of three zones, each with its own function. The inner zone provides both female and male sex hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. The middle zone produces glucocorticoids (including cortisol), which affect fat distribution, form glucose and suppress inflammation. Finally, the outer zone is responsible for producing hormones that affect mineral balance. Proper care supports proper functioning of this organ. There are targeted adrenal supplements on the market, including DHEA from BioMatrix and Adrenal Strength® from MegaFood that are specifically formulated to support the adrenal glands.
Testosterone, along with luteinizing hormone (LH), is the most important androgenic or male sex hormone. The hormone causes body growth, male sex characteristics, affects brain function, energy balance and muscle growth. Testosterone is produced in men's testes and adrenal glands. In women, testosterone is also produced in the adrenal glands and ovaries, albeit at lower concentrations. In addition to its physical functions, it also affects your decisiveness in stressful situations, your mood and your libido. As a man ages, testosterone levels will slowly decline. Men who are between the ages of 40 and 55 may even produce half the amount of testosterone.
Boosting adrenal glands
There are men who are not satisfied with their testosterone levels and would like to increase it, for example, to build muscle mass more easily when exercising. In the fitness world, anabolic steroids are still popular, but their use has many drawbacks and can even have serious health risks. These include the risk of acne, internal bleeding in the stomach or intestines, organ failure, increased blood pressure, impotence, kidney disease or heart disease. Fortunately, there are also natural ways to increase your testosterone levels, stimulate your adrenals or increase your muscle mass. You can opt for supplementation specifically to support your adrenals, or consciously take foods that stimulate your muscle mass and testosterone production. For example, vitamin D is good for muscle, a vitamin that we get from the sun and that occurs naturally in meat, fish and eggs. Furthermore, it is crucial to get enough good fats for optimal testosterone levels, such as through avocado and oily fish. It is further important to ensure less stress in your life. After all, stress causes higher levels of cortisol, a hormone that breaks down muscle and has a negative effect on your testosterone levels. Finally, zinc is also important: it helps maintain normal levels of testosterone in the blood, helps maintain strong bones and is good for sperm quality.