The main functions of the endocrine system and its hormone messengers are to maintain homeostasis (a stable internal environment in the body) and to promote permanent structural changes. Homeostasis maintenance is a response to a change in the body, such as low sugar or unstable calcium levels in the blood. Permanent structural changes, occurring over a period of time, are those associated with growth and development.
Hormones bring about their effect on the body's cells mainly via altering the cells' metabolic activity by increasing or decreasing the rate at which they work. The effect is often rapid, such as increased or decreased heart rate. A few hormones, after binding to their target cells, cause those cells to produce proteins, which lead to long-term effects such as growth or sexual maturity.
Different organs of the body require specific hormones to function. The human body is one of the most beautifully designed creatures.
There are organs, bones and numerous nerves in our body that undergoes various chemical reactions. It provides us energy to survive. Energy comes from oxygen and calories from the food we eat. But, have you ever thought, what is the backbone of all the processes that undergoes inside our body?
Its Hormones. They carry the chemical messages to cells, tissues and the organs. Hormones affect everything, from growth throughout the childhood, sexual development, the air we breathe and the food we eat.
The process of converting oxygen from the lungs and the calories from the food is called metabolism. Metabolism is one of the most important chemical reactions that are involved in maintaining the living state of the body.
Glands And Secretions
All the cells require thyroid hormones for regulating their metabolic functions. The optimum rate of metabolism is dependent on the correct supply of thyroid hormones. The Thyroid gland converts the iodine present in the food to Thyroid hormones. These hormones are then released into the blood stream. They are transported to every cell in the body and control the metabolism process. Similarly, there are many glands present in different parts of the body. They secrete their respective hormones once they are asked to by the Hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a part of the brain. The parameters for the hormonal regulation are set by the Hypothalamus. It orders pituitary gland to trigger different glands to release the required amount of hormones.
Apart from thyroid hormone, following are the different glands, their location and the type of hormones they secrete. The thyroid gland is the production center for the thyroid hormones. But, the regulating authority is the Pituitary Gland. The parameters for the regulation are set by the Hypothalamus.
Once again. It determines the requirement for the thyroid hormones. It tells the Pituitary Gland to execute the order. The Pituitary gland asks the Thyroid gland to produce the correct amount of thyroid hormones and dispatches them to various parts of the body.
This is the general requirement of the whole body. Different organs of the human body require specific hormones to function.
Glands Location Hormone
Adrenal Kidney Glucocorticosteroids
Testes Male reproductive system Testosterone
Ovary Female reproductive system Estrogen, Progesterone
Pancreas Abdominal Cavity Insulin
Pineal Brain Melatonin
List of Glands of the Endocrine System--
Pituitary Gland :
The pituitary gland is a pea-sized gland. The gland is attached to the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls its activity.
Functions of Pituitary Gland: release and inhibit the production of hormones. The hormones of the pituitary gland help regulate the functions of other endocrine glands. Read more.
The hypothalamus is the link between the endocrine and nervous systems. It maintains the body’s internal balance (homeostasis). It also regulates various functions of the Body such as body temperature, Thirst, Stress, Sexual Desires and maintains longevity. It also orders Pituitary Gland to release other necessary hormones in the body. Read more.
The thymus gland, located behind your sternum and between your lungs, is only active until puberty. After puberty, the thymus starts to slowly shrink and become replaced by fat. Thymosin is the hormone of the thymus, and it stimulates the development of disease-fighting T cells. Read more.
Thyroid Gland :
The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system and is responsible for producing and releasing thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. The thyroid regulates your metabolism. Thyroid gland produces--The thyroid gland produces thyroxine (T4), and Triiodothyronine (T3). Collectively, T3 and T4 are referred to as the thyroid hormones. Read more.
Parathyroid Gland :
The parathyroid glands are situated in the neck and control the levels of calcium in the blood. This gland produces Parathyroid hormone, which regulates the body’s calcium levels. There are four parathyroid glands, and they are each about the size of a grain of rice. Read more.
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The pancreas maintains the body’s blood glucose (sugar) balance. Primary hormones of the pancreas include Insulin and Glucagon, and both regulate blood glucose. Diabetes is the most common disorder associated with the pancreas. Pancreas has the dual function of secreting hormones into blood (endocrine) and secreting enzymes through ducts (exocrine). Read more.
Adrenal Gland :
The adrenal glands are small structures attached to the top of each kidney.
The human body has two adrenal glands and one sits on top of each kidney. Each adrenal gland weighs 4-5 g in an adult. The adrenal cortex produces three hormones:
Adrenal androgensRead more.
Pineal Gland :
The pineal gland is situated in the middle of the human brain.
The pineal gland is known for the secretion of the hormonemelatonin, body’s daily (circadian) clock controls the production of pineal melatonin, so melatonin is commonly used in human research to understand the body’s biological time. It thus helps to maintain circadian rhythm and regulate reproductive hormones. Read more.
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Hormones of the Testes :
The testes are two oval shaped male reproductive glands that produce sperm and the hormone testosterone which is necessary for proper physical development in boys..The testes, also known as testicles or male gonads. Read more.
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The ovaries produce and release eggs into the female reproductive tract at the mid-point of each menstrual cycle. Ovaries produce and release two groups of sex hormones—progesterone and estrogen. There are actually three major estrogens, known as estradiol, estrone, and estriol. These substances work together to promote the healthy development of female sex characteristics during puberty and to ensure fertility. Read more.
What Can Go Wrong With This System
Any imbalance in hormone level causes diseases like Adrenal insufficiency, Cushing's disease, Gigantism, or and Hyperthyroidism. Now the question is why imbalance occurs? Any disturbance in the communication among hypothalamus, pituitary and local glands causes hormonal imbalance. This imbalance finds difficulty in keeping the right level of hormones in the bloodstream. Your's body undergoes changes, some natural and some not, all this affects how the endocrine system works. Some of the factors that affect endocrine organs include aging, certain diseases and conditions, stress, the environment, and genetics. Following are the reasons why communication alters:
Injury to an endocrine gland
Tumor of an endocrine gland
A problem with the endocrine feedbacks system
Failure of a gland to stimulate another gland to release hormones
What are the top factors that throw off balance within the endocrine system?
- Inadequate sleep.
- Environmental pollutants such as exhaust fumes, pesticides, paint fumes, heavy metals, plastics, unfiltered drinking water, smoking, and estrogens found in water bottles and makeup.
- A lack of Vitamin D from staying in the office too long and not getting out in the sun. Yes, this is how you can still be Vitamin D deficient in Southern California. Vitamin D is a potent modulator of the endocrine system, especially with the sex hormones.
- Emotions – the production and release of our neurotransmitters (GABA, serotonin, dopamine, etc) are linked with the endocrine hormones. An imbalance in one system, whether it’s an insufficient production of a neurotransmitter like serotonin, can throw off the balance of the other system.
- Stress – whether emotional or physical such as from chronic pain like endometriosis, will cause an consistent rise in cortisol from the adrenals. This will alter neurotransmitter production (affecting your emotions), it will deplete nutrients needed to produce other hormones and neurotransmitters, it will steal the production line away from other hormones and shunt the production supplies to making cortisol (creating imbalances in hormones such as estrogen and progesterone), and it burns through key nutrients such as the B vitamins, zinc, and Vitamin C. A stress is more than just an emotional stress, it can also be from a physical stress such as from persistent low blood sugar, chronic pain, chronic disease, inflammation, food allergies, and imbalances in the gut.
Support Your Endocrine System :
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Healthy Eating for Endocrine Health..........
Habitual, deeply restful sleep is one of the most powerful things we can do to support endocrine system health. Even as little as one night of sleep deprivation creates a hormonal imbalance! Yet, many people go night after night on too little quality sleep.
Many people I work with seem to think of a healthy night’s sleep as a luxury! Culturally we look down on those who “sleep too much” as being lazy and we tease them for being “sleepy heads”.