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Basics About Hormones

Hormones are chemicals released in the body as part of a system called the endocrine system. These hormone chemicals, or molecules act as signals between cells; most of them reach their target cells by traveling in the blood stream. This network of chemicals control and coordinate functions within the body, functions such as reproduction, behavior, metabolism growth and development.

In other words, hormones are the communication system from the brain to the body. They provide a way for the brain to talk to the body. The master hormone controller is the pituitary gland, which has intimate connection to the hypothalamus, which is part of the brain.

The endocrine system consists of the endocrine glands both major and minor. These glands secrete hormones, which serve as chemical messengers between the cells. The body is always striving for a state of homeostasis or balance. These hormones help the body maintain that balance. This system can be described as a symphony of sorts. As with any symphony when one part of the system is out of sync the whole system is out of sync. This disharmony of the hormonal system is responsible for a number of diseases.

Hormones can be divided into five major classes:

Those that are produced from amino acids such as dopamine, catecholamines, and thyroid hormone;

(2) Small neuropeptides such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), somatostatin, and vasopressin;

(3) Those that are large proteins such as insulin, luteinizing hormone (LH), and PTH produced by classic endocrine glands;

(4) Those that are synthesized from cholesterol known as steroid hormones such as cortisol, testosterone, progesterone and estrogen

(5) Those that are vitamin derivatives such as Vitamin A and Vitamin D.

Hormones must be delicately balanced; a number of disorders can result from a disruption of this delicate balance. For a thorough discussion of the disorders associated with hormone imbalance see “Hormone Harmony”.


Dr. Jill Waggoner
Charlton Medical Group
3450 West Wheatland Road
Physician Offices II, Suite 340
Dallas, Texas  75237

T 972.217.3007

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PO Box 2118

Desoto, Tx 75213


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