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The Secret Life of Muscles: Skeletal Muscle is an Endocrine Organ

Skeletal muscles are known for their crucial roles in movement, structure, and posture. But did you know they also act as secret agents, releasing powerful substances that influence your overall health?


Skeletal muscles are not just passive tissues but active players in regulating bodily functions, skeletal muscle is an endocrine organ.

Diagram of Endocrine System
Diagram of Endocrine System

What is an Endocrine Organ?

An endocrine organ is one of numerous members of the endocrine system. The endocrine system is composed of glands (pineal gland, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, thymus, hypothalamus, pancreas, kidneys, adrenal gland, testes/ovaries, and skeletal muscle) and their chemical messengers called hormones.


Hormones affect nearly every cell in the body by traveling through the bloodstream and binding to specialized receptors. The endocrine system is instrumental in regulating growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, and reproductive processes.


Muscle Hormones: Myokines

Myokines are molecules produced and released by skeletal muscles during exercise. These myokines travel through the bloodstream, affecting not only nearby tissues but also organs throughout the body.


Researchers have identified several types of myokines and found that they have significant effects on our health.


Various myokines…

  • Help regulate systemic metabolism

  • Play a role in controlling inflammation

  • Regulate muscle metabolism

  • Regulate systemic glucose homeostasis

  • Perform regulatory functions on distant organs and tissues, such as bone, adipose tissue, brain and liver.  

Muscle is an Endocrine Organ: More Than Strength

Strength training is a potent method for harnessing the benefits of myokines. So, next time you join me for Mindful Strength, remember that your muscles are not just getting stronger – they're also working behind the scenes to keep your entire body healthy and strong.

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