Glands and Hormones
Glands are located throughout various parts of the human body. These glands take on the critical task of releasing hormones, and as a whole, they are most commonly referred to as the Endocrine system.
Important glands are:
- Andernal Glands
- Pineal Glands
- Pituitary Glands
This gland helps to control blood sugar. Adrenal glands produce hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, steroids, cortisol, and cortisone, and chemicals such as adrenalin (epinephrine), norepinephrine, and dopamine.
Its main functions are:
- Promoting proper cardiovascular function
- Properly utilizing carbohydrates and fats
- Helps distribute stored fat
- Promotes healthy gastrointestinal functions
The hypothalamus is in control of pituitary hormones by releasing the following types of hormones:
- Anti-Diuretic Hormones — The hormones that regulate water levels in the body, including blood volume and blood pressure
- Oxytocin — A hormone that controls some human behaviors and the reproductive system.
- Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone — Controls the body's response to physical and emotional stress, and is responsible for suppressing the appetite and stimulating anxiety.
- Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone — Stimulates the release of hormones connected to reproductive function, puberty and sexual maturation.
- Somatostatin — Inhibits growth and thyroid-stimulating hormones.
- Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone — Controls growth and physical development in children as well as metabolism in adults.
- Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone — Stimulates production of the thyroid hormone, which in turn controls the cardiovascular system, brain development, muscle control, digestive health and metabolism.
Ovaries are found in Women only. Hormones produced by ovaries are: Estrogen and progesterone, which promote the development of breasts. They also help a woman maintain healthy menstrual periods.
The main function of the pancreas is to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. It is a large gland located behind the stomach near liver. Hormones by Pancreas are:
- Beta cells secrete insulin and amylin.
- Alpa cells secrete glucagon;
- Delta cells secrete somatostatin, and
- Gamma cells which secrete Panacreatic Polypeptide
This gland is vital to proper bone development because it helps control both calcium and phosphorous levels in the body. The parathyroid gland is actually a group of four small glands located behind the thyroid gland in the neck of humans.
These are present in brain which helps the body recognize when it is time to go to sleep. Hormones released by this gland are Melatonin.
This gland is often referred to as the "master gland." It is located at the base of the brain. It greatly influences other organs in the body, and its function is vital to the overall well-being of a person. The pituitary gland produces several hormones. In fact, the front part of it, commonly called the anterior pituitary, produces the following types of hormones:
- Growth hormone: This hormone promotes growth in childhood. For adults, it helps to maintain healthy muscle and bone mass.
- Prolactin: In women, it stimulates milk production. In males, low levels are linked to sexual problems; however, most males make no use of the hormone.
- Adrenocorticotropic: This hormone promotes the production of cortisol, which helps to reduce stress, maintain healthy blood pressure and more.
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone: Just as the name implies, this hormone helps to regulate the body's thyroid, which is crucial in maintaining a healthy metabolism.
- Luteinizing hormone: In women, this hormone regulates estrogen. In men, it regulates testosterone.
- Follicle-stimulating hormone: Found in both men and women. It stimulates the releasing of eggs in women and helps ensure the normal function of sperm production in men.
The back part of the pituitary gland is called the posterior pituitary. It produces the following two hormones:
- Oxytocin: This hormone causes pregnant women to start having contractions at the appropriate time and also promotes milk flow in nursing mothers.
- Antidiuretic hormone: Commonly referred to as vasopressin, this hormone helps to regulate water balance in the body.
Testes are found in men only. This gland produces testosterone, which promotes the growth of the penis as a male gets older as well as facial and body hair. It also deepens the voice of a male at a certain age. Other functions of testosterone include:
- Maintaining sex drive
- Promoting production of sperm
- Maintaining healthy levels of muscle and bone mass
This gland secretes thymosin hormones that are commonly referred to as humoral factors and are important during puberty. The role of these hormones is to make sure a person develops a healthy immune system. This is present 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.
The thyroid controls a person's metabolism. It is located in the front of the neck. This gland secretes hormones that govern many of the functions in your body, such as the way the body uses energy, consumes oxygen and produces heat. Thyroid disorder typically occurs when this gland releases too many or too few hormones. An overactive or underactive thyroid can lead to a wide range of health problems.