The term “glandular therapy” may sound like an obscure practice but it’s actually one of the most powerful ways to provide nutritional support for hormones!
If we know anything about human health and function, it’s that hormones regulate how we feel on a day-to-day basis. They affect sleep, energy levels, hunger, fat burning, muscle building, brain function, libido, immunity, and so on. If you are feeling it, hormones affect it.
Glandular therapy is defined as the use of supplemental glands and organs from animals for nutritional support. Historically, glands were regularly used in medical treatment. Humans regularly got nutritional support by eating organ meats, such as liver, brain (whole or as headcheese), offal, or sweetbreads (thymus and pancreas) from beef or sheep as a regular part of their diet. Today, these organs are hard to get and the reality is that many people find them unappetizing. This is where supplementation comes in.
One way to think of glandular therapy is as a back-up for your organs as you handle the challenges of modern life, including excess stress, lack of sleep, compromised nutrition, intense exercise, and toxin exposure.
How Does Glandular Therapy Work?
- Your glands and organs are the powerhouses in your body that keep you running. They include all of the following:
- Your heart, pumping blood and oxygen to power the muscles and brain
- Your adrenals, releasing stress hormones like cortisol to supply energy
- Your pancreas, releasing insulin to regulate blood glucose and energy levels
- Your spleen and thymus, supporting immunity
- Your thyroid, regulating metabolism and energy
- Your liver, working overtime to regulate metabolize and eliminate toxins
- Your brain, regulating motor function and allowing for cognition
- Your sex organs (ovaries for women and testes for men), overseeing libido and reproductive function
When working optimally, your organs keep you looking and feeling great. Unfortunately, stress, poor diet, aging, chemical exposure, inactivity, and the other ills of modern life take a toll on your organs.
Supplementing with animal glands (also known as organotherapy) can help your organs regenerate and strengthen themselves. When consuming specific animal tissues in supplemental form, the glandular DNA is incorporated and helps repair the organ in question (1). This approach is based on the ancient theory that “like heals like.”
Glandulars also supply hormones, enzymes, and other nutrients that are easily incorporated into the human body. In the case of glands like the thyroid and adrenals, the glandular is literally helping replace the missing hormone.
How Is Glandular Therapy Different From Herbal Supplementation?
Glandulars are unique from herbal, plant-based therapies because they contain enzymes that are identical to the human body but not present in herbs. These enzymes, which can partially bypass digestion, support physiological processes in the body (3).
The effect of glandulars on enzymes is worth noting. There are as many as 75,000 enzymes in the body that are involved in metabolic, anabolic, catabolic, and digestive processes. They help rebuild and detoxify. Enzyme activity is another way glandulars differ from herbal supplements because plants don’t have bioidentical enzymes, reducing their efficacy in the human body.
What Are Examples of Glandular Therapies?
Glandulars are typically extracted from organically fed livestock that live outdoors and receive no chemicals or antibiotics. Most glandulars are from cows (bovine) or sheep (ovine). Common examples and benefits of glandular supplements include the following:
Supplies thyroid hormone in a form the body can use. It is useful for people with symptoms of low thyroid including afternoon tiredness, poor circulation, poor temperature tolerance, headaches, low metabolism, diminished female libido, weight concerns, and dry skin (2, 3).
Used to support cortisol balance and help you handle stress. It is useful for people who are fatigued, find their mind racing all day, have trouble waking up in the morning, or have an abnormal craving for salt (2, 3).
Thymus and Spleen Glandulars
Support immune function and are useful for people who have compromised health due to frequent illness or infection (3).
From bovine heart may help with glucose uptake and the manufacturing of ATP, improving energy levels. They are often used by people with low blood pressure, overwhelming fatigue, and athletes interested in improved performance (3).
These are the most common and can support the liver to regenerate and detoxify (2). They have been found to support energy levels by providing bioavailable heme iron (to overcome anemia) and improve fatty acid and carbohydrate metabolism (3).
Take Away Points:
Glandular supplements provide nutritional support to promote growth and maintenance of organs and glands rather than an excess of a single hormone or factor.
The main reason to use glandular supplements is because organ meats have been largely removed from our food supply.
Glandulars provide DNA that helps repair the organ in question.
Glandular therapies are not a substitute for medication. Rather, they serve to support health before it reaches a diseased state.
Where To Start?
If you are looking for a place to start with glandular therapy, a liver glandular such as our Desiccated Liver is a reasonable place to start. Due to poor diets, chemical exposure, and inactivity, many individuals will benefit from liver support.