6 Ways to Stimulate Your Hypothalamus for Healthy Functioning

To stimulate your hypothalamus, it's necessary to have better lifestyle habits, including quality sleep, nutrition, and stress management.
6 Ways to Stimulate Your Hypothalamus for Healthy Functioning
Mariel Mendoza

Written and verified by the doctor Mariel Mendoza.

Last update: 18 May, 2023

To stimulate your hypothalamus, the essential thing is to maintain healthy lifestyle habits. It’s as simple as that, but it takes commitment to sustain these healthy habits over time.

The hypothalamus is the regulatory center of the body. It’s related to the pituitary gland, controlling the secretion of most glands, although it’s also capable of releasing hormones directly into the bloodstream.

Stimulating the function of the hypothalamus may be key to improving cognitive deficits related to brain injury. According to recent research, this organ plays a critical role in creating memories and updating memory.

And to think it was neglected for so long! So let’s stimulate it, but first, let’s learn more about the hypothalamus.

What is the hypothalamus?

The hypothalamus is an organ located inside the brain, above the base of the skull and below the thalamus. From there it derives its name.

It’s considered the integrating center of the body, since its general function is to regulate body homeostasis. It’s connected through the pituitary stalk to the pituitary gland and releases hormones that inhibit or stimulate the pituitary gland.

The axis that forms the hypothalamus with the pituitary gland affects other glands:

In addition, it is capable of releasing neurohormones directly into the blood. So stimulating the hypothalamus affects both the nervous system and the endocrine system, modifying the following functions:

What can cause hypothalamic dysfunction?

When the hypothalamus is not functioning properly, it is called hypothalamic dysfunction. This can be due to a variety of causes:

  • The presence of tumors
  • Cranial trauma
  • Congenital malformations
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Eating disorders
  • Sequelae of brain surgery

The signs and symptoms that accompany this dysfunction are called hypothalamic syndrome. According to the specialized magazine Nature, the condition presents with being overweight, changes in the concentrations of different hormones, attention, and memory problems, as well as sudden changes in mood.

The best ways to stimulate your hypothalamus for healthy functioning

Stimulating the function of the hypothalamus can be useful if there is a risk of suffering hypothalamic syndrome – that is, if you have as a characteristic any of the causes mentioned above.

But as you’ll see, the tips to do so respond to good health habits. This means that anyone can put them into practice and contribute to their well-being.

Although the only way to stimulate the hypothalamus directly has been studied in mice and that is by means of intracranial electrical discharges, it’s suspected that certain lifestyles stimulate the organ indirectly in humans. Let’s take a look at some of the best options.

1. Increase your chromium intake

Chromium is an essential element for humans that, in addition to being involved in insulin metabolism, participates in the regulation of fat metabolism. It’s therefore essential for brain function. Its adequate concentration favors the synthesis of fatty acids for neurons.

An old study (but one that’s still valid for its findings), had found that chromium slowed neuronal aging. In theory, this happened because it improved insulin sensitivity in the hypothalamus.

Consuming chromium in the diet is one of the best ways to stimulate the function of the hypothalamus. In addition, because of its involvement in carbohydrate and fat metabolism, it helps regulate appetite.

The best natural sources of chromium are the following:

  • Garlic
  • Turkey
  • Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Oranges
  • Basil
  • Apple
  • Cambur

2. Use essential oils to stimulate your hypothalamus

The use of essential oils can stimulate the function of the hypothalamus. According to the Spanish Society of Phytotherapycertain herbal derivatives have shown a positive effect on mood. This benefit could be explained by the ability of some of them to cross the blood-brain barrier and reach the hypothalamus.

Essential oils have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, so that, in addition to stimulating the limbic system, they can also increase the oxygenation of neurons. They can be used with diffusers, inhaled straight from the bottle, or mixed with body oils and applied to the skin.

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3. Eat healthy fats

Healthy fats, such as those contained in olive oil and salmon, help maintain adequate levels of good cholesterol or HDL. This is able to stimulate the function of the hypothalamus because fat is required to synthesize hormones and parts of the plasma membranes of cells, as we have already mentioned.

Cholesterol is not a banned substance – far from it. It’s a natural antioxidant and precursor of important molecules, such as neurotransmitters. It’s recommended to increase the consumption of olive oil, avocado, salmon, and low-salt butter.

It’s essential not to overdo it with the amount of fats, however, even if they are healthy. According to a publication in the International Journal of Obesity, diets with excess fats inflame neurons in the hypothalamus.

4. Increase your vitamin intake

Increasing vitamin intake is capable of stimulating the hypothalamus, especially in the case of vitamin C and B complex.

Vitamin B1 or thiamine is able to favor the hypothalamus because it participates in the maintenance of appetite, as well as regulates the function of the nervous system. This micronutrient is abundant in sunflower seeds, pork, and different grains.

Vitamin B12 is involved in the regulation of mood and body energy levels. Maintaining adequate levels of this vitamin is key for cognitive functions, as well as for reducing symptoms of depression. It’s present in red and white meat, fish, and dairy products.

Vitamin C is involved as an antioxidant. It has the function of protecting the hypothalamus from oxidative stress, as it does with other organs. According to experts, its role in modulating the central nervous system is fundamental. To consume it, citrus fruits (lemon, orange, and grapefruit), as well as strawberries, potatoes, and red peppers should be eaten.

5. Exercise to stimulate your hypothalamus

Exercising regularly is able to stimulate the function of the hypothalamus, says a 2015 scientific study. It contributes to the maintenance of energy balance and metabolic activity. Exercise is able to modify gene expression and neuronal activity in the hypothalamus.

Incidentally, if you’re overweight, exercise will also contribute to reducing your extra pounds. With less extra fat tissue in the body, the hypothalamus improves its function.

Like this article? You may also like to read: The Benefits of Sudoku for the Brain, According to Science

6. Have a proper sleep routine and reduce stress

Elevated levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, are especially harmful to the brain. In order to stimulate the function of the hypothalamus, it’s recommended to keep cortisol production at its proper levels by reducing stressful events and having a proper sleep-wake cycle.

Too little sleep and living with chronic stress are associated with high cortisol levels. In addition, a pro-inflammatory state occurs that is deleterious to the brain and can lead to changes in the concentrations of different hormones, such as catecholamines, prolactin, and growth hormone.

Stimulating the function of the hypothalamus is all about having healthy habits

Having good habits is beneficial in many ways. It improves the hypothalamus, but we also contribute to the well-being of the body as a whole.

These strategies that we’ve shared with you have no adverse effects and, on the contrary, generate gains for your overall quality of life. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to put your hypothalamus to work!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.