Hormones, we take them for granted, our amazing chemical messengers, they just do what they do, controlling all our bodily processes including growth, mood, metabolism, energy and appetite. So let’s take a closer look at just a few of our super-hero hormones with these "Did You Knows".
Did you know that endocrinology can be traced back nearly 2,000 years? It is thought that Chinese healers extracted sex and pituitary hormones from human urine using minerals and plant compounds and used the extracts for medicinal purposes. And did you know that it was the German pathologist Fredrik Henle who, in 1841, was the first to recognise glandular secretions but it was some 60 years later that Ernest Starling gave them the name “hormone” derived from the Greek word “hormao” meaning to set in motion.
Did you know that there are more than 70 hormones in the human body? The most talked about are the endocrine hormones which are those released by glands such as the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands into the bloodstream. But there are others such as the tissue or local hormones that are not usually found in the bloodstream, but act on nearby cells. And did you know that vitamin D is actually a hormone rather than a vitamin, produced by the skin in response to sunlight and regulated by the parathyroid gland to keep calcium levels stable in the bloodstream?
Did you know that Dopamine, the motivation and reward hormone, is also a neurotransmitter which means that it is responsible for sending signals back and forth from the brain to the spinal column, regulating important functions such as movement, speech and memory? And did you know that conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, Schizophrenia, ADHD and addiction are being linked to low levels of Dopamine?
Did you know that the “Bliss Point”, that tantalising balance between fat, sugar and salt that scientists and manufacturers of ultra-processed foods strive for, is designed to trigger the reward centre in the brain which responds by releasing Dopamine? The sense of intense pleasure that we get from that Dopamine rush drives us to want that feeling again and the more we get it, the less we appreciate it meaning we eat more and more to get that same blissful feeling!
Did you know that Oxytocin, our “love hormone” that gives us that warm, fuzzy feeling when we hug someone and that bonds a mum and her new baby is also responsible for stimulating contractions during childbirth, lactation and for male sexual function? And did you know that there is growing evidence that disrupted Oxytocin production may be implicated in conditions such as autism, depression and anxiety and mood disorders?
Did you know that there are 3 types of Oestrogen? Estradiol is produced mainly in the ovaries and is the most common type of oestrogen in the body during the reproductive years. Estriol, produced by the placenta, prepares the body for pregnancy and childbirth. Estrone which is produced in the ovaries, in body fat and in the adrenal glands, is less active than estradiol and is found in higher amounts in menopausal women. And did you know that men produce oestrogen too, mostly estradiol, which is responsible for libido, erectile function and sperm production?
Did you know that your growling tummy at lunchtime is your stomach responding to the release of the “feed-me hormone”, Ghrelin which tells your brain that your stomach is empty and it’s time to eat? Ghrelin levels increase as the anticipation of food grows causing the stomach to contract and “growl” but did you know that researchers have found that Ghrelin can also influence memory and that disruption to Ghrelin may even be implicated in Alzheimer’s disease?
Did you know that, as well as a “hunger hormone” we also have a hormone that lets your brain know that you are full and your energy levels are sufficient? Known as the “satiety hormone”, Leptin is released from fat cells and is primarily responsible for making sure that the body has sufficient energy by altering food intake over a period of time which helps us maintain our weight and our energy levels. And did you know that leptin, discovered relatively recently in 1994, is also being linked to obesity in certain individuals? This can happen when the brain stops receiving the signals that Leptin is sending meaning that the individual will eat more than is necessary to feel satisfied but why this happens is still not clear.
Did you know that hormones are responsible for regulating blood pressure? There are three main hormones, renin, angiotensin II and aldosterone that are involved in a complex system that involves the kidneys, liver, lungs and the adrenal and pituitary glands, all of them working together to make sure that our blood pressure remains stable and our hearts healthy.
How many did you know? We hope you found something that you didn't know and that you enjoyed this quick introduction to just a few of our many, very clever and very hard-working hormones.
If you’d like to find out more about how to achieve harmonious hormones, click here to download your FREE copy of our Healthy & Happy Hormones e-book and then click here to book your complementary Health and Lifestyle Review to find out how we can create bespoke plans to support your hormones to become healthy and happy.