What are hormones and how do they make our lives amazing?
We all have heard about hormones and their functions more or less. We are also very much concerned about our health but not sure what are the factors responsible for healthy lives and health hazards. Hormones may be the answer to many questions, starting from metabolism, growth factors, sexual drive, and sleep cycles to reproductions and so on.
What are hormones?
Hormones are chemical substances produced by the body, coordinate different functions, and carry messages through blood streams to different organs, skin, muscles, and other tissues. The messages tell the body to follow the principles to act on time as per feedback. Today we may find about fifty hormones identified by scientists and researchers. The endocrine system plays a vital role in biological functions, including endocrine glands and hormones.
Endocrine systems regulate all biological processes in the body, including metabolism, blood pressure, blood sugar regulation, regulation of body temperature, growth and development, sexual function, reproduction and sleep-wake cycle, and so on. It constitutes the glands located throughout our body, and receptors of various organs and tissues to reorganize and respond to hormones. Further, it is also responsible for the development of our brain and nervous system.
Where are they secreted from?
Hormones are secreted from endocrine glands in the body. Glands are being ductless, hormones are directly secreted into the bloodstream. Major endocrine glands are the pituitary gland, pineal gland, thymus, thyroid, adrenal, pancreas, parathyroid gland, hypothalamus, testes, and ovaries. But of the above glands and organs, other tissues and organs also secrete hormones. They are adipose tissues (fat tissues ), kidneys, liver, gut (gastrointestinal tract ), and placenta.
The function of endocrine gland system hormones:
The pituitary gland is one of the most important members of the endocrine system, a pea-sized organ situated near the base of the brain. It produces a number of hormones and regulates most of the functions of other glands. One of its important functions is, it controls the growth and development of the body.
It releases human growth hormones (HGH or GH), thyroid-stimulating hormones (TSH), adrenocorticotrophin hormone (ATCH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and many more. Without the pituitary gland hormone, human growth and development shall be affected beyond recovery.
The pineal is a tiny pinecone-shaped gland is located deep inside the middle of the brain. It receives daily information about the day-night from the retinas ( of the eyes) and according produces melatonin hormone, which controls the sleep cycle of a person. Research reveals that melatonin also helps in regulating menstrual cycles and it can also protect against neurodegeneration.
The thymus gland is located in the upper chest region behind the breastbone. The thymus is responsible for maturing lymphocytes special white blood cells or immune cells. White blood cells travel from bone marrow to the thymus to get trained. After being trained it becomes specialized T-Cells, which enter the blood system to fight against diseases.
Thymus also produces several hormones including thymopoietin,(polypeptide hormone consisting of 49 amino acids) thymosin & thymulin, which stimulate other parts of the immune system. The thymus gland is most active during childhood and at the increase of age its size decreases.
It is brownish-red in color and is located at the front of the neck under the voice box. It is a very important hormone-producing gland. It produces hormones like Triiodothyronine or T3, Tetraiodothyronine/ thyroxine or T4, and both are made in epithelial cells of the thyroid. Iodine is one of the major components of both hormones.
As iodine can’t produce by our body, we take it orally with foods. Iodine is absorbed into our bloodstream from food, from where it is carried to the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones regulate many of the body functions including metabolism, growth, and development, regulating body temperature and brain development, etc. If the diet lacks iodine, the thyroid gland can get enlarged causing goiter.
Adrenal glands are small triangle shaped positioned just above the kidney. They produce a lot of important hormones including cortisol, aldosterone, and adrenaline. Adrenal hormones help in regulating many bodily functions including metabolism, blood pressure, immune system. Adrenal glands produce adrenaline hormones in times of fear, tension, or anger, affecting the heartbeat and energy level in muscles.
The pancreas is located behind the stomach in the abdomen. It produces hormones like -pancreatic juice/enzymes, glucagon, and insulin. Exocrine glands produce enzymes that are used in the digestion of food and the endocrine components produce glucagon and insulin that regulates blood sugar.
In the case of pancreas dysfunction, either insufficient insulin produced or excess leads to diseases like diabetes, Mellitus( high blood sugar), and hypoglycemia(low blood sugar) respectively including disorders of the digestive system.
Our body has four parathyroid glands of rice grain size each, located on the dorsum of the thyroid. Parathyroid hormones regulate the calcium level in the blood and enable the teeth and bones to make use of calcium to grow strong. It also stimulates the release of calcium from calcium storage in bones.
Hypothalamus is a small area in our brain, that constitutes neuron cells, and acts as smart control and coordinating center. It links the endocrine system with the nervous system. Its most important function is to keep our mind in a stable state known as homeostasis.
It pays attention to many functions of our body like body temperature, appetite, weight management, emotion, sex drive, sleep cycle, blood pressure, childbirth, digestive system, etc. It produces a big range of hormones including Corticotrophin Releasing Hormones(CRH), antidiuretic hormones, gonadotropin-releasing hormones, oxytocin, prolactin-controlling hormone, thyrotropin-releasing hormone.
CRH helps regulate metabolism, and gonadotropin-releasing hormones, and instructs the pituitary gland to release more hormones to keep sexual organs active.
Prolactin- a controlling hormone that asks the pituitary gland either to start or stop breast milk in lactating mother. If the hypothalamus stops proper functioning, that will put our body in a wide range of rare disorders making life difficult to survive.
The testes are two small male reproductive organs placed inside the scrotum. It performs three important functions. First, it produces sperm for male fertility. Secondly, it releases testosterone, the principal male sex hormone for a healthy sex drive.
Further, it participates with the hypothalamus-pituitary in regulating the reproductive function is the third function. Low testosterone leads to increase body fat and erectile dysfunction, causing conjugal and sexual life miserable and mental agony.
The ovaries are a pair of female reproductive glands, located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus. They perform two important functions like production and release of eggs(oocytes) into the female reproductive tract and produce female sex hormones. During ovulation one of the ovaries releases eggs for fertility.
Hormones secreted by ovaries estrogen, regulates the menstrual cycle, breast development, fertility, pregnancy, and bone health. Progesterone plays an important role in the menstrual cycle, strengthens the pelvic floor muscle, and maintains pregnancy. Another hormone testosterone produced by ovaries in small quantity regulates bone health and muscle, create new blood cells, and sex drive or libido.
Sex hormone deficiencies or disorder lands the fellow in very unhappy conditions, depriving sexual pleasures and giving birth to a child. In such cases need medical attention.
The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs placed on either side of our spine behind the belly. The principal function is to filter blood. The kidney removes wastes, acts as a catalyst to control the body’s fluid balance, and keeps the right levels of electrolytes.
Each kidney has around one million tiny filters referred to as nephrons. The kidneys produce two main hormones; vitamin D and erythropoietin. Vitamin D is essential for a wide range of functions in the body. Most of the Vitamin- D present in the blood are inactive state, modified by kidneys and other tissues to activate for proper functioning. Erythropoietin is produced when the oxygen level in the blood is low. One can live with one healthy kidney.
The liver is our largest internal organ and is located in the upper right portion of our abdomen. It performs many biological functions, including filtering the blood coming from the digestive tract before passing it to the rest of the body and secretion of hormones. It regulates the balance of thyroid hormones, sex hormones, and other adrenal hormones. If the liver makes any wrongdoing, humans can face emotional imbalance including other complications.
So many hormones are stored and secreted by adipose tissues and participate in verities of diverse biological activities. Adipose tissues secrete hormones like Leptin and adiponectin. Leptin involves in the control and suppression of appetite whereas adiponectin improves in controlling blood sugar levels.
The gastrointestinal tract or gut releases so many hormones, which include ghrelin & gastrin from the stomach, insulin, glucagon, polypeptide & amylin from the pancreas.
It also acts to realize secretin, GIP, and motilin from the small intestine, and GPL-1 & 2 from the large intestine. The hormones released by the gut are involved in many biological functions like control of metabolism, blood sugar, nutrient assimilation, digestion, and food intake.
The placenta is an organ that develops during pregnancy in the uterus. It provides oxygen and food to the growing baby inside and purifies the blood. Placenta produces varieties of hormones- including steroid hormones like estrogen and progesterone, growth hormones, and neuroactive hormones.
Progesterone act to maintain pregnancy and the placenta to growth, and estrogen regulates the growth, development, and physiology of the human reproductive system. All the other hormones act for the growth of the foetus and the expecting mother’s health.
Hormones the messenger molecules of our body, perform two types of communication. One is communication between two endocrine glands, when one gland releases a hormone, and stimulates another gland to release hormone as required quantity. Another -communication is between an endocrine gland and a target organ for balancing the hormone uses, enabling proper timely biological functions of the whole body, making our lives beautiful and amazing.