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Hormones are chemicals released by cells that affect cells in other areas of the body. Only a small amount of a hormone is required to alter cell metabolism. hormones are chemical messenger that transports a signal from one cell to another. All multicellular organisms produce hormones; plant hormones are also called phytohormones. Hormones in animals are often transported in the blood. Cells respond to a hormone when they express a specific receptor for that hormone. The hormone binds to the receptor protein, resulting in the activation of a signal transduction mechanism that ultimately leads to cell type-specific responses.

Hormones carry messages from glands to cells to maintain chemical levels in the bloodstream that achieve homeostasis. "Hormone" comes from a word that means, "to spur on." This reflects how the presence of hormones acts as a catalyst for other chemical changes at the cellular level necessary for growth, development, and energy.

  • Growth and development
  • Metabolism - how your body gets energy from the foods you eat
  • Sexual function
  • Reproduction
  • Mood

As members of the endocrine system, glands manufacture hormones. Hormones circulate freely in the bloodstream, waiting to be recognized by a target cell, their intended destination. The target cell has a receptor that can only be activated by a specific type of hormone. Once activated, the cell knows to start a certain function within its walls. Genes might get activated, or energy production resumed. As special categories, autocrine hormones act on the cells of the secreting gland, while paracrine hormones act on nearby, but unrelated, cells.

There are two types of hormones known as steroids and peptides. In general, steroids are sex hormones related to sexual maturation and fertility. Steroids are made from cholesterol either by the placenta when we're in the womb, or by our adrenal gland or gonads (testes or ovaries) after birth. Cortisol, an example of a steroid hormone, breaks down damaged tissue so it can be replaced. Steroids determine physical development from puberty on to old age, as well as fertility cycles. If we are not synthesizing the correct steroidal hormones, we can sometimes supplement them pharmaceutically as with estrogen and progesterone.

Peptides regulate other functions such as sleep and sugar concentration. They are made from long strings of amino acids, so sometimes they are referred to as "protein" hormones. Growth hormone, for example, helps us burn fat and build up muscles. Another peptide hormone, insulin, starts the process to convert sugar into cellular energy.

Hormones so perfectly and efficiently manage homeostasis due to negative feedback cycles. Our goal is to keep the concentration of a certain chemical, such as testosterone, at a constant level for a certain period of time, the way that a thermostat works. Using negative feedback, a change in conditions causes a response that returns the conditions to their original state. When a room's temperature drops, the thermostat responds by turning the heat on. The room returns to the ideal temperature, and the heater turns off, keeping the conditions relatively constant.

Endocrine hormone molecules are secreted (released) directly into the bloodstream, while exocrine hormones (or ectohormones) are secreted directly into a duct, and from the duct they either flow into the bloodstream or they flow from cell to cell by diffusion in a process known as paracrine signalling. Hormones work as your body's chemical messengers. They travel in your bloodstream to tissues or organs. They work slowly, over time, and affect many different processes, including:

Endocrine glands, which are special groups of cells, make hormones. The major endocrine glands are the pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, adrenal glands and pancreas. In addition, men produce hormones in their testes and women produce them in their ovaries.

Hormones are powerful. It takes only a tiny amount to cause big changes in cells or even your whole body. That is why too much or too little of a certain hormone can be serious. Laboratory tests can measure the hormone levels in your blood, urine or saliva. Your health care provider may perform these tests if you have symptoms of a hormone disorder. Home pregnancy tests are similar - they test for pregnancy hormones in your urine.



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Cholesterol HDL/LDL balance



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