Lesson 5: Hormone Health

hormone is a chemical that is made by specialist cells, usually within an endocrine gland, and it is released into the bloodstream to send a message to another part of the body. It is often referred to as a ‘chemical messenger’. Hormones are the chemical substances which coordinate the activities of living organisms and also their growth. They are secreted by special tissues in our body through endocrine glands. Different hormones have different effects on the shape of the body. Some of these hormones work quickly to start or stop a process and some will continually work over a long period of time to perform their functions. They help in body growth, development, metabolism, sexual function, reproduction etc. What happens to the body when these hormones will release in more or less quantity. This article deals with the list of important hormones necessary for our body functions.

List of important hormones and their functions.

1. Hormones of Thyroid: Thyroid gland basically releases two hormones Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4), which helps in controlling the metabolism of our body. Further these hormones regulates weight, determines energy levels, internal body temperature, skin, hair etc.

2. Insulin: This hormone is released by pancreas, a leaf like gland located in the abdominal cavity behind the stomach. It allows the body to use glucose or sugar from carbohydrates in the food for energy or to store glucose for future use. It helps in keeping blood sugar level from getting too high i.e. hyperglycemia or too low i.e. hypoglycemia.

3. Estrogen: It is a female sex hormone released by the ovaries. It is responsible for the reproduction, menstruation and menopause. Excess of estrogen in the female body increases the risk of breast cancer, uterine cancer, depression, moodiness etc. If estrogen level is less in female body leads to acne, skin lesions, thinning skin, hair loss etc.

4. Progesterone: Progesterone hormone is produced in the ovaries, the placenta when a woman gets pregnant and the adrenal glands. It stimulates and regulates various functions. It plays an important role in maintaining pregnancy. It helps body to prepare for conception, pregnancy and regulates the monthly cycle. When pregnancy doesn’t occur, progesterone levels drop and menstrual cycle occurs. It also plays a role in the sexual desire.

5. Prolactin: This hormone is released by the pituitary gland after a child birth for lactation, which enables female to breast feed. Levels of prolactin hormone rise during pregnancy i.e. it also plays an important role in fertility by inhibiting follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and gonadotropin- releasing hormone (GnRH).

6. Testosterone: It is a male sex hormone. It is an anabolic steroid by nature which helps in building body muscles. In males it plays an important role in the development of male reproductive tissues; testes and prostrate. It also promotes secondary sexual characteristics like increasing the mass of muscles and bones, growth of body hair etc. If testosterone is secreted insufficient in men then it may lead to abnormalities including frailty and bone loss.

7. Serotonin: It is a mood-boosting effect hormone or also known as nature’s feel-good chemical. It is associated with learning and memory, regulating sleep, digestion, regulates mood, some muscular functions etc. Due to the imbalance of serotonin in the body, brain does not produce enough of the hormone to regulate mood or stress level. Low level of serotonin causes depression, migraine, weight gain, insomnia, craving of carbohydrate etc. Excess level of serotonin in the body causes agitation, stage of confusion, sedation etc.

8. Cortisol: This hormone is produced by the adrenal gland. It helps you stay healthy and energetic. Its main role is to control physical and psychological stress. In danger condition it increases heart rate, blood pressure, respiration etc. At stressful times body secretes cortisol to cope up with the situation. High level of cortisol consistently causes ulcer, high blood pressure, anxiety, high levels of cholesterol etc. Similarly, low level of cortisol in the body can cause chronic fatigue syndrome etc.

9. Adrenaline: Adrenaline hormone is secreted in the medulla in the adrenal gland as well as some of the central nervous system’s neurons. It is also known as emergency hormone because it initiates the quick reaction which makes the individual to think and respond quickly to the stress. It increases the metabolic rate, dilation of blood vessels going to the heart and the brain. During stressful situation, adrenaline quickly releases in to the blood, send impulses to the organs to create a specific response.

10. Growth Hormone: It is also known as somatotropin hormone. It is basically a protein hormone having 190 amino acids which is synthesised and secreted by the cells called somatotrophs in the anterior pituitary. It stimulates growth, cell reproduction cell regeneration and in boosting metabolism. It is important in human development.