The pituitary is an oval-shaped, pea-sized gland that sits at the base of your brain and produces a variety of hormones. It is often called the master gland as it controls the function of most other endocrine glands. The pituitary has two parts: the front anterior lobe, which accounts for 80% of the gland's weight, and the back posterior lobe. The hypothalamus controls the anterior lobe by releasing hormones through the connected blood vessels and the posterior lobe through nerve impulses.
The anterior lobe produces and releases several hormones:
- Growth hormone, which regulates growth and physical development
- Thyrotropin, that stimulates the thyroid gland and produces thyroid hormones
- Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol and other hormones
- Follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormones which stimulate the reproductive organs to produce sperm, eggs, and sex hormones
Prolactin, which stimulates the mammary glands to produce milk
It also is responsible for hormones that affect skin pigmentation, inhibit pain sensation, and help control the immune system. The posterior lobe only produces two hormones: Vasopressin, which regulates the amount of water excreted by the kidneys, and oxytocin, which causes the uterus to contract and stimulates milk ducts.
In order to keep your pituitary gland healthy, it's important to eat a balanced diet rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, along with plenty of good fats. Stay hydrated, reduce sugar intake, and manage stress levels.