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Hormone balance has become a topic of great interest in recent years due to the impact hormones have on both physical and mental health. Hormones are chemical messengers that signal organs or act on them directly. Too much or too little hormone can have a large influence on the function and regulation of almost all parts of the body. Therefore it should come to no surprise that keeping hormones in balance would be an important aspect of a healthy and happy life.
There are many factors that can influence hormones such as age, diet, physical activity, substance abuse, emotional stress. With age many hormones tend to decrease, especially sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone. Women will experience a drop in estrogen during menopause, which can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, headaches, low libido, mental changes, vaginal dryness, fatigue, etc. Treating these symptoms with estrogen is an option, but can increase risk for ovarian cancer.
As a result of chronic physical and/or emotional stress hormones like cortisol can increase. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone and can lead to weight gain, difficulty sleeping, hair loss, and decreased immune function, which will increases your chances of getting sick.
Sex Hormones: are released from the ovaries and testes control reproductive growth and have indirect impact on other systems such as temperature control, mood, energy levels.
Endocrine hormones: are release from the thyroid, parathyroid, pituitary, thymus, hypothalamus, pineal, adrenal gland, and pancreas. Have direct impact on metabolism, energy, mood.
|Adrenal glands||Aldosterone||Regulates salt, water balance, and blood pressure|
|Adrenal glands||Corticosteroid||Controls key functions in the body; acts as an anti-inflammatory; maintains blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and muscle strength; regulates salt and water balance|
|Pituitary gland||Antidiuretic hormone (vasopressin)||Affects water retention in kidneys; controls blood pressure|
|Pituitary gland||Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)||Controls production of sex hormones (estrogen in women and testosterone in men) and the production of eggs in women and sperm in men.|
|Pituitary gland||Growth hormone (GH)||Affects growth and development; stimulates protein production; affects fat distribution|
|Pituitary gland||Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)||Controls production of sex hormones (estrogen in women and testosterone in men) and the production of eggs in women and sperm in men|
|Pituitary gland||Oxytocin||Stimulates contraction of uterus and milk ducts in the breast|
|Pituitary gland||Prolactin||Initiates and maintains milk production in breasts; impacts sex hormone levels|
|Pituitary gland||Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)||Stimulates the production and secretion of thyroid hormones|
|Kidneys||Renin and angiotensin||Controls blood pressure, both directly and also by regulating aldosterone production from the adrenal glands|
|Kidneys||Erythropoietin||Affects red blood cell (RBC) production|
|Pancreas||Glucagon||Raises blood sugar levels|
|Pancreas||Insulin||Lowers blood sugar levels; stimulates metabolism of glucose, protein, and fat|
|Ovaries||Estrogen||Affects development of female sexual characteristics and reproductive development, important for functioning of uterus and breasts; also protects bone health|
|Ovaries||Progesterone||Stimulates the lining of the uterus for fertilization; prepares the breasts for milk production|
|Parathyroid glands||Parathyroid hormone (PTH)||Most important regulator of blood calcium levels|
|Thyroid gland||Thyroid hormone||Controls metabolism; also affects growth, maturation, nervous system activity, and metabolism|
|Adrenal glands||Epinephrine||Increases heart rate, oxygen intake, and blood flow|
|Adrenal glands||Norepinephrine||Maintains blood pressure|
|Testes (testicles)||Testosterone||Develop and maintain male sexual characteristics and maturation|
|Pineal gland||Melatonin||Releases melatonin during night hours to help with sleep|
|Hypothalamus||Growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH)||Regulates growth hormone release in the pituitary gland|
|Hypothalamus||Thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH)||Regulates thyroid stimulating hormone release in the pituitary gland|
|Hypothalamus||Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH)||Regulates LH/FSH production in the pituitary gland|
|Hypothalamus||Corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH)||Regulates adrenocorticotropin release in the pituitary gland|
|Thymus||Humoral factors||Helps develop the lymphoid system|