Hormones are specialized substances which are secreted into the blood by cells that are located in glands lacking ducts (called endocrine), or epithelial cells, and whose purpose is to influence the functions of other cells. If you want to know more about how we work internally, at OneHowTo.com we will teach you what is the function of hormones and why certain effects occur in our body. Keep reading and, thus, you will know in depth the functioning of the human body and, also, why the hormonal disorder can affect us emotionally.
Types of hormones
Before knowing the hormone functions It is necessary to understand that there are two well differentiated types: on the one hand there are natural hormones but we can also receive certain treatments through synthetic hormones.
The production of hormones is not something specific to humans, but is a characteristic of all multicellular organisms, as for example plants do with their production of phytohormones. These chemical messengers (as hormones are also called) are part of the same group where we can include pheromones and neurotransmitters.
Hormone-associated diseases are studied by a branch of medicine known as endocrinology. The human body in particular is the producer of a large number of different hormones, each of them acting on different targets and causing varied effects on the body.
How do hormones work?
When a change occurs in the body caused by different effects (such as a change in temperature, light, atmospheric pressure or other internal changes), the nerves send a signal to our brain. Upon receiving these signals, the brain interprets it and sends a new message to the endocrine gland or organ so that it releases one or more hormones, which will reach the specific receptors found in the cells where they will act.
Between the most common functions that control hormones, effects such as:
- Energy use and storage
- Control of the levels of substances in the blood (for example salt and sugar)
- The total activity of certain organs
- Development and growth
- Sexual characteristics and reproductive effects
Functions of hormones in the human body
There is a truly large number of hormones within our body, and as we have said, each one produces a different effect. Among the most important we can recognize:
- Progesterone: Specific to women, it is secreted by the ovaries and acts on the mammary glands and the uterus, taking care of regulating menstrual cycles.
- Chorionic gonadotropin: This hormone is produced by the placenta, and acts on the gonads, its function is to help maintain the pregnancy continuously.
- Testosterone: This hormone is produced by the testicles in males and to a lesser extent in the ovaries of females and also by the adrenal glands. This is the main responsible for male sexual arousal. Its functions are that of growth, production of muscle mass and bone tissue, it is responsible for the formation of the scrotum, armpit hair and pubic hair, as well as being responsible for modifying the voice (making it more serious mainly in adolescence of boys)
- Insulin: This hormone is produced by the beta cells of Langenhans, its effect is general, causing an increase in the use of glucose (increased glucose metabolism) and reducing blood sugar.
- Thyroxine: This hormone is produced by the thyroid and parathyroid glands, in charge of regulating the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus throughout the body in general.
- Adrenalin: Also known as epinephrine, it is produced by the adrenal glands, is frequently associated with fight or flight reactions, and causes an increase in heart rate, constricts blood vessels, and causes heightened alertness and excitement.
- Serotonin: It is a neurotransmitter hormone, produced by the serotonergic neurons of the central nervous system, and also in the enterochromaffin cells located in the gastrointestinal tract, its function being to control mood, appetite and sleep.
- Dopamine: This hormone is a neurotransmitter produced in the hypothalamus, although it can also be produced artificially, its function is to increase the heart rate and blood pressure.
- Melatonin: As has been observed, its production is generated by light stimuli that enter through the eye, when they are detected by the pineal gland. Currently, all the functions that this hormone encompasses are still being investigated, but some of the most common effects associated with it are, the modulation of the immune system, its antioxidant effect and it is also a cause of sleep.
- Somatotropin: Or as it is also known as growth hormone, it is secreted by the anterior pituitary, causing its effects in the bones and muscles mainly, causing growth stimulation and cell mitosis (cell replication).
- Secretin: This hormone acts on the pancreas and is secreted by the duodenal mucosa, being responsible for stimulating the secretion of pancreatic juices
- Prolactin: Produced by the anterior hypophysis and acting on the uterus, the breasts and the central nervous system, it is in charge of milk production; in addition to the pleasure after sexual intercourse.
- Oxytocin: This hormone is produced by the posterior pituitary, causing its effect on the breasts, uterus and vagina. This hormone performs different functions, it is involved in the secretion of milk, it is part of the causes of orgasm and it is also present in the reactions that cause trust with people.
- Leptin: Hormone produced by adipose tissue, its function is to decrease appetite and increase the rate of metabolism.
- Orexin: Orexin is produced by the hypothalamus, and fulfills the function of increasing energy expenditure and inducing appetite.
As you can see so far, the functions of hormones are very varied and, depending on the hormone that acts and on which cells it acts, there are short or long-term effects on the body, in a subtle way or sudden changes that are not properly regulated or if there is some type of alteration in its function can be caused a wide variety of diseases or disorders.
If you notice that something is not going well with your body, it is advisable to visit an endocrinologist, who will be able to determine which is the hormone responsible for your condition and which is the most appropriate treatment to regulate its functioning and it works normally.
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