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Hormones 101

Hormones 101 - “Feel good / Look good”

Introduction to hormones

Hormones must be in balance

The Endocrine Glands

Endocrine organs and their hormones

Exocrine organ hormones

Hormone Biology

Mode of travel

Target cells and hormonal effects

Introduction to Hormones

Derived from the Greek word 'hormao', hormone means to excite or stir into action

Hormones regulate the body's biochemical reactions for everything the body does and makes - A balanced hormone presence will decrease the symptoms of aging (aging skin, memory loss, fatigue, aches /pains / stiffness, shortened life-span) and restore vitality, sexuality, a slim figure, a good attitude, healthier bones, a healthier heart, and a sharper brain.

Present in all multi-cellular organisms, a hormone is a “communication device”- in the form of a chemical messenger that transports a signal via the bloodstream from one or more cells to other cells in the organism, to affect a change in the receiving cells. Only a small amount of hormone is required. Different hormones work together to regulate many body functions, including:

✔ Mood / Stress response

✔ Tissue function

✔ Reproduction /Sexual function

✔ Growth and development

✔ Metabolism E.g. Mineral metabolism

Hormones must be inbalance

When your hormones are in balance you will:

✔ Sleep well

✔ Have energy in abundance

✔ Have a strong sex drive

✔ Have an efficiently functioning immune and digestive system

Conversely, when your hormones become imbalanced, a number of symptoms can present, including:

✔ Adrenal fatigue

✔ Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism

✔ Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Most hormone imbalances develop over time as a consequence of lifestyle patterns –only a few imbalances result from endocrine organ malfunctions.

–   Chronic stress resulting in CORTISOL imbalance is often the culprit - not only is CORTISOL the primary hormone for responding to stress, it is also primarily involved in helping your body convert food into energy, normalize blood sugar and maintain your immune system's inflammatory response. Unbalanced CORTISOL also deregulates female hormones. Thus, for example, hormonal symptoms experienced by women before, during and after menopause are largely avoidable by attending to lifestyle choices that affect stress on the body.

–   The response to stress that will interfere with hormonal balance is triggered by emotional, dietary or painful/inflammatory events –for example, work stress, financial worries, relationship problems, poor diet (e.g. too much sugar, refined carbs, processed food and damaged fats, not enough good fats, antioxidants and water), exposure to toxins.

 

Correcting a hormone imbalance requires an holistic, lifestyle approach before hormone replacement:

–   Apply the NEWSTARTS protocol to your life

NEWSTARTS

–   In particular, address past and present emotional trauma –using available “tools”, such as prayer and meridian tapping techniques (MTT)

Trust in God

MTT

–   That done, ensure your adrenal hormones are in balance - weakened adrenals will not allow your hormones to attain balance.

Balance Adrenals

Having addressed the above issues, you could now consider some specific bio-identical hormone therapies

The Endocrine Glands

Endocrine tissues or glands contain specialized cells that synthesize, store, and release hormones directly into the bloodstream in contrast to exocrine organs that secrete their substances into ducts. However, there are a few exocrine organs that also have endocrine gland function, secreting hormones directly into the blood stream. E.g. the pancreas, kidneys, liver

The endocrine glands are central to regulating and normalizing all the body's interconnected systems - of great significance, is a small gland in the brain, called the hypothalamus, which is the link between the endocrine and nervous systems.

–   THE BRAIN sends messages to the hypothalamus . . .

–   THE HYPOTHALAMUS then sends messages to the nearby pituitary gland (by secreting, so called, Releasing Hormones . . .

–   THE PITUITARY then produces hormones that stimulate Target Glands . . .

–   TARGET GLANDS then secrete their own hormones

A number of glands that signal each other in sequence are often referred to as an axis, E.g. the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

Hormone-producing cells produce one of three types of hormones:

–   Amines (water-soluble, produced from amino acids) - for example:

✔ Thyroid hormonesTHYROXINE (T4), TRIIODOTHYRONINE (T3);

✔ Catecholamines - produced by sympathetic nervous system activation, they include EPINEPHRINE (ADRENALINE), NOREPINEPHRINE and DOPAMINE, controlling autonomic arousal, fight-or-flight stress response, and reward response.

 

–   Polypeptides E.g. pituitary ACTH, INSULIN, parathyroid hormone);

–   Steroids (fat-soluble, produced from cholesterol) –include

 

✔  Glucocorticoids: E.g. CORTISOL

✔  Mineralocorticoids: E.g. ALDOSTERONE; involved in sodium retention;

✔  Sex steroid hormones: Androgens (E.g. TESTOSTERONE), estrogens (E.g. ESTRADIOL) and progestagens (E.g. PROGESTERONE);

✔  Sterols: Vitamin D (E.g. CALCIDIOL, CALCITRIOL). Closely related, also considered steroid hormones).

Steroid Hormones:

Sex Steroid Hormones

CHART OF HUMAN HORMONES

Endocrine Organs and their hormones

Endocrine

Organs

Hormones Secreted

Target Organ

Hormone Function

Hypothalamus

GROWTH HORMONE-RELEASING FACTOR

Anterior pituitary

Causes release of GH.

GONANDOTROPIN-RELEASING HORMONE

(GnRH)

Anterior pituitary

Causes LH /FSH secretion by pituitary

SOMATOSTATIN (SS)

Anterior pituitary

Inhibits GH

CORTICOTROPIN-RELEASING HORMONE (CRH)

Anterior pituitary

Release of tropic ACTH

DOPAMINE

Brain

Inhibits release of prolactin; important roles in behavior

Pineal Gland

MELATONIN

Body

Controls circadian rhythms

Posterior

Pituitary Gland

ANTIDIURETIC HORMONE (ADH)

Kidneys

Increases reabsorption of water

OXYTOCIN

Mammary glands

Stimulates release of milk

Anterior Pituitary Gland

(tropic hormones)

THYROID-STIMULATING HORMONE (TSH)

Thyroid

Secretion of T4 and T3

ADRENOCORTICOTROPIC HORMONE (ACTH)

Adrenal cortex

Secretion of glucocorticoids

FOLLICLE-STIMULATING HORMONE (FSH)

Ovaries, testes

Regulates oogenesis /spermatogenesis Regulates development, growth, pubertal maturation, and reproduction processes;

LUTEINIZING HORMONE (LH)

Ovaries, testes

Regulates egg development/ maturation and spermatogenesis

Anterior Pituitary Gland

(hormones)

GROWTH HORMONE (GH)

Bone, muscle

Stimulates growth /development; stimulates protein production.

PROLACTIN (PRL)

Mammary glands

Milk production

Parathyroid Glands (4)

PARATHYROID HORMONE

Bone

Affects bone formation and excretion of calcium and phosphorus; increases blood Ca2+

Thyroid

TRIIODOTHYRONINE (T3), THYROXIN (T4)

General

Increases cellular metabolism;

CALCITONIN

Bone

Stimulates osteoblasts/bone construction; Lowers blood Ca2+

Thymus

THYMOSIN

Matures white blood cells

Adrenal Glands (medulla)

EPINEPHRINE/ ADRENALINE

NOREPINENPHRINE

DOPAMINE

Blood vessels, liver, heart

Brain

Causes fight/flight Responses –increases blood glucose, constricts blood vessels

DOPAMINE, also produced by nervous tissue, is a neurotransmitter

Adrenal Glands

(cortex)

Glucocorticoids (e.g. CORTISOL), mineralpcorticoids (e.g. ALDOSTERONE)

General,

kidney

Increases blood glucose, increases reabsorption of Na+ and excretion of K+

Sex steroids (E.g. TESTOSTERONE, Estrogen, PROGESTERONE, DHT

Pancreas

(alpha cells)

GLUCAGON

Liver

Increases blood glucose

Pancreas

(beta cells)

INSULIN

Liver, muscles, fat

Lowers blood sugar levels; stimulates glucose, protein, and fat metabolism;

Placenta

HUMAN CHORIONIC GONADOTROPIN (hCG)

Promote corpus luteum maintenance at beginning of pregnancy; Inhibit immune response towards embryo;

CORTICOTROPIN-RELEASING HORMONE (CRH)

Determines length of gestation and timing of childbirth, when blood levels increase rapidly.

HUMAN PLACENTAL LACTOGEN (HPL)

INHIBIN (fetal trophoblasts)

RELAXIN

Estrogen (Mainly ESTRIOL)

PROGESTERONE

Increase INSULIN and IGF-1 production

Suppress FSH

Similar to ovarian follicle estrogen

Supports pregnancy

Ovaries

(in females)

Estrogen (Mainly ESTRADIOL)

Uterus, general

PROGESTERONE

Uterus, +

TESTOSTERONE (~1/7 of men)

ACTIVIN

Enhances biosynthesis/secretion of pituitary FSH

INHIBIN

Down-regulates biosynthesis/ Inhibits secretion of pituitary FSH

RELAXIN

Produced by corpus luteum, believed to soften pubic symphysis

Testes

(in males)

Estrogen

ANDROSTENEDIONE

TESTOSTERONE

Testes, general

Testicle development. Sperm Growth and maturation; Growth of Penis; Stimulates prepubescent facial / body hair growth and voice deepening and aids development of thick masculine muscles.

DHT

A metabolite of TESTOSTERONE , the more potent DHT has an essential role in formation of male embryo's external genitals, in the adult DHT acts as the primary androgen in the prostate and hair follicles (including women); DHT has significant roles in development of male secondary characteristics, also has role in prostate enlargement (BPH) /

cancer;

PROGESTERONE

RELAXIN

Enhances sperm mobility

Adipose Tissue

LEPTIN (protein hormone)

Strong appetite suppressant, increases metabolism

ADIPONECTIN, RESISTIN

Hair Follicles

DHT

Prostate gland

DHT

Exocrine organ hormones

Some exocrine organs contain an endocrine gland portion and a duct portio

–   Endocrine gland portion secretes hormones directly into the blood stream- E.g. the pancreas secretes the hormones INSULIN, GLUCAGONs and somatostatin; the liver secretes INSULIN-like growth factor hormones IGF-1 and IGF-2;

 

–   Duct portion secretes substances via ducts that lead into the bodily environment external to the gland - E.g. the pancreas secretes pancreatic juice to aid digestion; salivary glands secrete saliva. The mammary glands produce milk, but no hormones.

Examples of Endocrine Organs that secrete hormones

Organ

Secreted Hormones (or Hormone-like substances)

Stomach

GASTRIN, GHRELIN

Intestines

CCK, GIP, SECRETIN, MOTILIN,VIP, ENTEROGLUCAGON

Liver/other

IGF-1, IGF-2

Kidneys

RENIN, EPO, CALCITRIOL, PROSTAGLANDIN

Heart

NATRIURETIC PEPTIDE (ANP, BNP)

Skeleton

OSTEOCALCIN (acts as a hormone)

Pancreas

INSULIN, GLUCAGON, SOMATOSTATIN

Salivary Gland

EPIDERMAL GROWTH FACTOR (EGF)

Hormone Biology

Mode of travel

Hormones travel through the human body via blood circulation

Another communication method in the body is the Nervous System - which conducts electrically and so operates much faster, but does not have the longer-lasting effect of hormones

Target Cells and hormonal effects

Target Cells respond to a hormone if they contain the specific receptors for that hormone - the hormone binds to the receptor (like a key in a lock) to give the cell instructions (the activated response is called a signal transduction pathway) specific to the cell type.

In "target" cells, hormones bind to specific receptor proteins:

 

(1) Inside the cell – E.g. most steroid hormones enter the cell to initiate a slow process as they unite with either a receptor in the cytoplasm or the nucleus to form a hormone/receptor complex that:

(a)Has a genomic effect – complex moves into the nucleus (if not already there), where it attaches directly to special DNA binding sites and affects gene transcription of hormone-responsive genes; an mRNA molecule is formed, which is transported to the cytoplasm , where proteins are synthesized to mediate the effect of the hormone. This cytoplasmic/nuclear interaction (classic pathway) takes minutes or hours.

 

(b)Has a non-genomic effect - initiates a series of fast reactions in the cytoplasm and does not affect gene transcription.E.g. Estrogen can: (i) Trigger nitric oxide production, (ii) Flood the cell with calcium, or(iii) Initiate hormone release.

 

(2) On the cell surface -E.g epinephrine, norepinephrine and peptide hormones (“First messengers”) bind to a receptor on the membrane surface setting off a cascade of reactions, which proliferate “Second messengers”inside the cell, which affect existing proteins within the cell. Typically this process is much faster than those that bind to internal receptors and influence creation of new proteins (as in (1a) above)

Hormone Effects are complex

–   Different receptors within a cell can recognize the same hormone and trigger different actions

–   Several cell types can recognize the same hormone and trigger action in a number of different tissues – different tissue types may respond differently to the same hormonal signal. E.g. INSULIN triggers a diverse range of physiological effects.

–    Different hormones and their receptors can trigger the same action (by the same biochemical pathway)

Hormone Receptors determine the level of response to a hormone

–   Hormone receptor locations

✔ Many hormone receptors are embedded in the plasma membrane (at the cell surface)

✔ Most hormone receptors for steroid and thyroid hormones are in the cytoplasm inside the target cell – to bind to these receptors, the hormones must cross the cell membrane forming a combined hormone-receptor complex.

–   Amplification /Suppression of hormone signal – a hormone-receptor complex formed in the cellular cytoplasm then moves across the nuclear membrane into the cell nucleus, where it amplifies or suppresses actions of certain genes affecting a cellular response of protein synthesis in muscles and bones.

 

–   Concentration of Hormone-Receptor complexes dictate the level of response to a hormone –these concentrations are determined by:

✔ Number of hormone molecules - available for complex formation (Usually the key factor);

✔ Number of receptor molecules- available for complex formation;

✔ Binding affinity - between hormone and receptor.

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