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Hormones and their Regulation Study Guide

Browse this article to learn about what hormones are and about their production. Hormones play a vital role in regulating critical functions of the body.

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Introduction:

The human body is a complex and minutely organized structure of unique cells, all working together to accomplish specific functions required for sustaining life. Proteins, vitamins, and minerals are essential nutrients necessary for the nourishment, maintenance, and functioning of the human body. Hormones in the body regulate the balanced functioning of various organs, including sleep, moods, and stress levels.

What are Hormones?

  • Hormones are chemical substances that act like messenger molecules in the body, coordinating living organisms' activities and growth.
  • Special tissues in our body secrete them through endocrine glands.
  • Hormones go to different body parts to help cells and organs carry out their designated work, intervening and regulating whenever there is an imbalance.
  • Hormones are essential for growth, development, reproduction, etc.

Production of Hormones in the Human Body

Hormones are produced by glands and conveyed to the various tissues in the body through the bloodstream. They are responsible for sending signals to the tissues instructing them to do a specific task or not. When the glands do not produce the right hormones, diseases develop that affect many aspects of life.

Studies indicate that the human body produces more than 50 hormones.

  • Hormones control or regulate many biological processes and are often produced in exceptionally low amounts within the body.
  • Hormone production or hormone secretion occurs in response to specific biochemical signals and is usually a result of negative feedback regulation.
  • For example, when there is high blood sugar, it triggers insulin synthesis. Insulin then works to reduce glucose levels and maintain homeostasis, leading to reduced insulin levels.

Types of Hormones

Maintaining homeostasis (steady state of internal, physical, and chemical conditions) within the body requires the coordination of many different systems and organs. Communication between neighboring cells and tissues in distant parts of the body occurs by releasing hormones. Although there are many different hormones in the human body, they can be broadly divided into three hormone types based on their chemical structure:

  • Lipid-derived
  • Amino acid-derived
  • Peptide (peptide and proteins) hormones.

What is Hormone Regulation?

Hormone regulation is the production and release of hormones either directly by an endocrine gland or indirectly through the action of the brain's hypothalamus to maintain homeostasis and is triggered by negative feedback (i.e., increase in blood sugar level).

Important Hormones and their Functions:

Each of the hormones in the human body has a specific effect on the health and functioning of the body. Some hormones work quickly to start or stop a process, while some hormones will continually work over a long period to perform their functions. Hormones control and influence body growth, development, metabolism, sexual function, reproduction, etc.

Let’s take a closer look at some important hormones and their functions!

1. Thyroid hormones

Production process: The thyroid gland releases two hormones called Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4)

Function: Thyroid hormones help in:

  • Controlling the metabolism of the body
  • Regulating weight
  • Determining energy levels
  • Maintaining internal body temperature
  • Maintaining the condition of skin and hair

2. Insulin

Production process: Insulin is released by the pancreas. The pancreas is a leaf-like gland located in the abdominal cavity behind the stomach.

Function: Makes the body use glucose from carbohydrates to produce energy or store glucose for future use.

  • Controls blood sugar levels from getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia)

3. Estrogen

Production process: Estrogen is the female sex hormone released by the ovaries

Function: Responsible for reproduction, menstruation, and menopause.

4. Testosterone

Production process: Testosterone is a male sex hormone. It is an anabolic steroid by nature that helps in building body muscles.

Function: Responsible for the development of male reproductive tissues, testes, and the prostate.

  • Promotes secondary sexual characteristics like increasing the mass of muscles and bones, growth of body hair, etc.

5. Prolactin

Production process: The pituitary gland releases prolactin hormone after childbirth.

Function: Prolactin enables women to lactate and breastfeed

6. Serotonin

Production process: A mood-boosting hormone, Serotonin, is also referred to as nature’s feel-good chemical.

Function: Serotonin is responsible for learning and memory, regulating sleep, digestion, mood, and muscular functions.

7. Cortisol

Production process: The adrenal gland produces cortisol hormone.

Function: Cortisol helps you stay healthy and energetic by controlling physical and psychological stress.

8. Adrenaline

Production process: Adrenaline hormone is secreted in the medulla in the adrenal gland and some of the central nervous system’s neurons.

Function: Also known as an emergency hormone

  • Initiates a quick reaction to think and respond quickly to stress
  • A stressful situation triggers the quick release of adrenaline into the blood, sending impulses to the organs to create a specific response.

Conclusion:

  • Hormones play an important role in ensuring the human body stays healthy and in a stable state.
  • It is good to be aware of the important hormones in the human body and the critical role they play every day to ensure their normal state and functioning.
  • As humans age, the natural aging process can affect hormonal imbalances or stress, which dietary alterations or medicines must address.

FAQs:

1. What are the seven hormones and their functions?

The seven important hormones and their functions are:

  • a) Insulin- Controls blood sugar
  • b) Thyroid- Control body metabolism and regulate weight
  • c) Estrogen- Is responsible for reproduction, menstruation, and menopause.
  • d)Testosterone- Plays an important role in developing male reproductive tissues, testes, and prostate.
  • e) Prolactin- Prolactin enables women to breastfeed
  • f) Serotonin- Is associated with learning and memory, regulating sleep, digestion, regulates mood, some muscular functions
  • g) Cortisol- Cortisol's main role is to control physical and psychological stress.

2. How are hormones regulated?

Hormones are regulated by the release of hormones either directly by an endocrine gland or indirectly through the action of the brain's hypothalamus.

3. What are the types of hormones?

Hormones can be broadly divided into three hormone types based on their chemical structure:

  • lipid-derived
  • amino acid-derived
  • peptide (peptide and proteins) hormones.

4. What are the roles of hormones?

It is estimated that we have more than 50 hormones. Hormones regulate the balanced functioning of various organs, including sleep, moods, stress levels.

5. What causes hormonal imbalance?

Natural hormonal imbalance occurs with aging. However, thyroid, stress, and eating disorders can also result in hormonal imbalances.

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Sources:

  1. How 8 Types of Hormones Affect Your Health. https://www.kernodle.com/obgyn_blog/how-types-of-hormones-affect-your-health/. Accessed on 25 Nov, 2021.
  2. Hormone Regulation. https://flexbooks.ck12.org/cbook/ck-12-biology-flexbook-2.0/section/13.22/primary/lesson/hormone-regulation-bio/. Accessed on 25 Nov, 2021.
  3. What are Hormones?. https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Hormones.aspx. Accessed on 25 Nov, 2021.