What Are Hormones And What Do They Do?
In the current world of health and wellness it is not unusual to hear mention of hormones. In any number of illnesses or imbalances, someone is likely to point to their hormones as a probable root cause. And the fact is, it is quite likely true.
The word hormone comes from the Greek word “hormon” which means “to set in motion, to excite, or to stimulate.” This is a helpful definition as we consider the powerful role hormones play as the body’s chemical messengers.
In response to a signal from the brain, hormones are secreted directly into the bloodstream by the glands that produce and store them. Once secreted, these hormones travel to various tissues and organs and activate their target cells, controlling and coordinating activities through the body.
The human body produces more than 100 different hormones originating in various endocrine glands. The major glands of the endocrine system include the pineal gland, pituitary gland, pancreas, ovaries, testes, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, hypothalamus and adrenal glands. Some of the most important and familiar hormones are cortisol, adrenaline, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, insulin, and the thyroid hormones, T3 and T4.
While each hormone has specific tasks, it is easy to see that as a whole they control most of our body’s major systems, affecting growth and development, mood, sexual function, reproduction, and metabolism. Learning how to keep our hormones balanced is key to every aspect of good health.