Endocrinology is an area of medical science that is devoted to the study of Hormones. The Endocrine System represents the variety of organs and glands which are responsible for hormone production and regulation. Endocrinologists are heavily involved in the investigation of medical disorders and conditions which impact human health via Hormone Imbalance, including infertility, Low-T, HGH Deficiency, Thyroid Insufficiency, Obesity, Hypertension, and more.
The Endocrine System is incredibly complex, but some of the central glands in the system are the Ovaries, Testes, Pancreas, Adrenals, Parathyroids, Thyroid, Pituitary, Pineal, and the Hypothalamus.
What Do Hormones Do?
Every Hormone in the body has at least one job to do. In the case of many hormones, such as HGH and Serotonin, they perform various functions depending on physiological circumstances. Hormones are often called Chemical Messengers because their job is to help different parts of the body communicate. The end-point where a Hormone completes its task is known as the Target and can be located pretty much anywhere in the body. It's estimated that as many as forty hormones can be active in the bloodstream at a time.
The Following is a brief list of functions modulated by Hormones:
- Sexual Function
- Growth and Physical Development
- Blood Sugar Regulation
The Perils of Hormone Imbalance
Our hormones interact in a very complex way. Proper function depends on Hormone Cascades, which are delicately balanced. If one hormone isn't being produced correctly, it affects entire systems. The human body is pretty great at maintaining Hormone Balance on its own, but sometimes things can get out of whack in a way that requires outside intervention. Endocrinologists are doctors that specialize in the area of Hormone Health.
Parts of The Endocrine System
The Adrenals are critical to the regulation of blood pressure and salt/water balance. These glands are situated just above the kidneys. They also play a pivotal role in metabolism and stress response. While they produce sex hormones throughout the lifespan, they also trigger the development of the sex organs themselves. The three main classes of hormones that the adrenal glands produce are androgens, glucocorticoids, and mineralocorticoids.
The Hypothalamus is considered the prime control center of the brain. It links the nervous system and the endocrine system via the Pituitary. The Hypothalamus produces many precursor hormones and also controls a lot of involuntary duties such as thirst, hunger, and temperature regulation.
The Pituitary is tiny—about the size of a single pea—but it has huge responsibilities. The Pituitary releases hormones which act upon other glands such as the reproductive organs, the adrenals, and the thyroid. It's often called the Master Gland for this reason. Growth, sexual function, and renal function are all high priorities for the Pituitary.
The Pineal gland is critical to the circadian rhythm. It's deep in the core of the brain and is responsible for the production of melatonin, which controls our sleeping habits.
The Pancreas does double-duty as a link between the Digestive System and the Endocrine System. The Islets of Langerhans are the parts of the Pancreas responsible for hormone production. The Pancreas helps control metabolism and blood sugar, and pancreatic malfunction is the prime cause of Diabetes.
The human body has four Parathyroid glands, all around the size of a pencil-tip. They are located behind the thyroid, deep in the neck. The glands are responsible for controlling calcium levels, not only in the bones but throughout the body. The glands produce Parathyroid Hormone to modulate calcium and also interact with the intestines to draw calcium from the digestive tract.
The thyroid is also located in the neck and is responsible for converting Iodine into T3 and T4. These hormones are critical to heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure. They also modify how the body responds to the influence of other hormones. The thyroid also down-regulates calcium.
Testes are the male glands. The Testes produce Testosterone and other sex hormones, which both control sexual development and support sexual health. Testosterone also has unique effects on several different systems.
As opposed to the testes, women have Ovaries as their primary sexual glands. The ovaries are responsible for spurring sexual development. The ovaries produce both progesterone and estrogen, which are both vital to menstrual regulation and pregnancy.