Throughout the day and night, your body should be releasing hormones. There are a variety of factors that impact what hormones are released and in what amount. However, everyone should have hormones being released from their body.
It is very unlikely that someone would have no hormones being released at all, however, you can have hormone deficiencies that cause certain hormones to be released in lower amounts or not at all than they should be. Hormones are wildly important for the everyday functioning of the body and without a balanced level of hormones, there can be negative implications.
Keep reading to learn more about what hormones are, how to test if your body is releasing hormones, what part of the body releases hormones, what hormones are released, and what to do if your body is not releasing the hormones it should.
What Are Hormones?
Hormones can sometimes seem mystical because it’s not something that you can see with your own two eyes like skin or nails. Instead, hormones are microscopic chemicals in the body that work to send messages from one area of the body to another. Hormones cause many reactions and functions in the body to work. For example, when oxytocin is released the uterus will contract to allow for a baby to be born.
These small chemical messengers are released from glands in the body and sent to a receiving body tissue. On the body tissue, there is a receptor that only responds to a certain hormone. When the receptor is signaled, it will carry out a certain function in the body or signal to another gland to release a different hormone.
Testing for Hormones in the Body
Because you cannot simply see unbalanced hormones like you can a broken bone on an x-ray, some tests need to be done to measure the number of hormones in the body. Hormone testing is not straightforward because your hormone levels change throughout the day and can be impacted by things like food intake.
Because of this, the most common time to get a hormone level test is to take it in the morning after a 12-hour fast. Hormone level testing is usually done with a simple blood draw that takes only 5 to 10 minutes. After the blood is drawn it can be tested in a lab to detect things like how many red blood cells you have, how much cholesterol is in your blood, and of course, the different hormone levels in your blood. After your hormone levels are determined by your doctor you can have more understanding of what the best option is for you depending on the results.
What Parts of the Body Release Hormones?
As mentioned previously hormones are released throughout the entire body from different glands. The pituitary gland, adrenal glands, hypothalamus, thyroid gland, pineal gland, ovaries, and testicles are just some of the many glands in the body. These types of glands are called endocrine glands because they release hormones.
The pituitary gland is one of the most important glands in the entire body because it releases so many hormones that impact almost every system in the body..
The pituitary gland sits inside of the brain and is often called the master gland because of its wide array of functions. The pituitary gland is split up into two halves, the anterior (front portion) and the posterior (rear portion). Most of the hormones come from the anterior part and only two hormones come from the posterior section. When there is an issue with the pituitary gland releasing too much or too little hormone it can be a big issue because of all of the body systems that it impacts.
There is not only one adrenal gland, but 2. The pair sits on top of each of the kidneys, like little triangle hats.
The adrenal glands are very important for balancing metabolism and managing the stress response. The adrenal glands have 2 main parts to them: the inside (adrenal medulla) and the outside (adrenal cortex). Each section is responsible for different hormone secretions in the body. The adrenal glands release trophic hormones, which means when they are released they make a function happen in the body instead of signaling to release more hormones. Some of the common hormones from the adrenal glands are epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol, meaning one of its most impacted body systems is the central nervous system.
The hypothalamus is another “master” gland. The hypothalamus is also located in the brain and mostly signals to the pituitary gland with tropic hormones to release hormones. The hypothalamus also plays an important role in balancing body temperature. Some of the most common hormones that the hypothalamus releases are growth hormone-releasing hormone (GRHR), thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GNRH).
The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland located in the neck. The thyroid gland’s main focus is releasing thyroid hormones. The thyroid hormones are most important for balancing metabolism. Too much hormone and your metabolism ramps up resulting in symptoms like a fast heart beat, weight loss, and tremors. Too little hormone and you may experience a slowing of the metabolism with symptoms like a slow heartbeat, weight gain, and hair loss. In other words, the thyroid gland is critical for homeostasis.
The pineal gland is a very tiny gland in the brain that is responsible for balancing our sleep-wake cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm. The pineal gland works closely with the eyes and brain to accept and receive light stimuli. When the pineal gland senses that light is outside it helps to keep you awake. When the pineal gland does not sense the same amount of light, it assumes that it is dark out and helps you go to sleep with sleep hormone secretion. The pineal gland is most well known for releasing melatonin.
The ovaries are a female organ that also has glandular function. The ovaries are responsible for releasing an egg each month during the menstrual cycle. They are also responsible for releasing a number of hormones to keep the menstrual cycle in balance.
The testicles are similar to the ovaries, but they are located in men. There are two testicles located in the scrotum. The testicles are organs that help to produce sperm for reproduction. They also release hormones like testosterone to impact the whole body.
Important Hormones in the Body
The body has more than 50 hormones that help to regulate the body. Some have larger or smaller jobs than others, but they are all important. Some hormones are more well known because of the huge role they play. Testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin are just some of these very important hormones.
Testosterone is a primarily male hormone that is made in the testes and impacts not only the reproductive system, but the entire body. Testosterone plays a role in mood, libido, bone health, body composition, muscle development, and of course sperm production. Having balanced testosterone is very important because it can have a widespread impact in the body.
Growth hormone is another big hormone that is released by the anterior pituitary gland. Growth hormone is important throughout the lifespan. As the name suggests, its primary role is in growth and development of the body. As a child it is very important for physically developing at a healthy rate. In adulthood it is important for maintaining body growth such as with the muscles and bones.
Insulin is probably the most well known hormone due to its connection to diabetes mellitus. Diabetes occurs when the body does not produce insulin or is insensitive to insulin and doesn’t let it do its job. Insulin helps the body move blood sugar into the cells so that they can use the sugar for energy. Insulin is made in the pancreas, a fatty organ that is responsible for the production of hormones and enzymes that are important for digestion.
What To Do If Your Body Isn’t Releasing Hormones
If your body is not releasing the hormones that it should, you could have a hormone deficiency. If this has been discovered by a hormone test, your doctor will likely recommend hormone therapy. This is the process of helping to restore your hormone levels with a hormone medication or supplement. This hormone replacement can come in many forms including injections, pills, gels, and patches.
Having balanced levels of hormones can significantly impact your quality of life. If your body isn’t releasing hormones the way it should then it is something that needs to be addressed.
Your doctor or hormone replacement therapy specialist can lead you in the right direction of how to get your hormones back into balance.
Hormones and the Endocrine System