WHAT IS A HORMONE?

A silver sea, TRANQUILITY
TRANQUILITY, daughter of Balance and Security

Hormones Control their target organs’ function.

A hormone is a molecule produced by a hormone-secreting gland and carried by the blood to another organ, whose behavior it controls. Generally, the Hormone plugs into a specific receptor protein in the target cell, changing the shape of the receptor protein and thereby, producing a change in cell function.

Hormones are used to communicate between organs and tissues to regulate physiological and behavioral activities, such as digestion, metabolism, respiration, tissue function, sleep, excretion, lactation, stress, growth and development, movement, reproduction and mood.

It is also possible for a cell to produce a hormone to control activity within itself [an “Intracrine” hormone] or to control nearby cells in the same organ [a “paracrine” hormone].

There are many kinds of hormone molecules: eicosanoids, steroids, amino acid derivatives, peptides, proteins etc.

Some are soluble in water, while some only dissolve in oils and fats (lipids).
The lipid-soluble ones need either special transport proteins in the blood, to carry them from their gland of origin, to the target organ, or to be produced in a water-soluble form for transport, with conversion back to fat-soluble when it enters the cell, like DHEA.

Your hormones need to be in balance, to produce the right effect

Hormones Control their target organs’ function: they pack a powerful punch, in terms of their effect on the body. Therefore they need to be “balanced”: produced in exactly the right amounts, at the right time, to keep the target organs running smoothly and to keep the body as a whole, “in tune”.
This is achieved by a delicate; but effective feedback system in which a chemical [often, another hormone] produced by the target cell goes back to the hormone producing gland, which can tell how much target hormone is present in the blood. The secreting gland then fine-tunes its hormone production accordingly.

Your hormones need to be produced at the right time

Hormones are produced in a “diurnal rhythm”, with maximum production at a particular time of day, to best control their target organs’ function.
Each hormone has its own rhythm: for example thyroid 3 hormone is boosted at 4 AM and testosterone at 8 AM.

Your body is like an orchestra: the players (hormones) need to be in tune

The body is like an orchestra:
The Pineal gland is the timer, to tell the system when to sleep and when to play.
The Hypothalamus is the sensor: it detects signals from the hormonal glands, skin, blood, intestines, eyes, ears – even the emotions (in fact, the whole body), and responds by adjusting its hormonal instructions to the Pituitary.
The Pituitary gland, like a conductor, tells the individual glands when and how forcefully, to play their part.
Thus the Brain, the Hypothalamus and the Pituitary control the timing and the output of the peripheral glands, by adjusting the levels of controlling hormones, like TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and ACTH (the adrenal stimulating hormone).
If all is in balance, the individual gland does Its work perfectly and the body is in tune.

Apart from the brain, there are many players:

Major “generalist” glands like the skin, the thyroid, the parathyroids, the pancreas, the intestine, the adrenals and the gonads (ovaries in the female and testicles in the male) produce hormones which affect the entire body,
“Specialist” hormone producers like the kidneys, stomach, bowel, placenta and the fat make hormones which act directly on other specific glands or tissues.
“Local” hormone production (for example testosterone, made from DHEA) is used by individual cells to run their own systems.

Why do we need hormones?

Because Hormones Control their target organs’ function, every cell in your body, from your skin and hair, to your brain and all your other parts, dances to the beat of your hormones and can only function optimally when they are “in tune”: in each cell, Pregnenolone, DHEA, Thyroxine (“thyroid #4 hormone”, or “T4”), Cortisol and other “generalist” hormones are processed into specific molecules for that cell’s own maintenance and repair.
So if the raw material hormones (pregnenolone, DHEA, etc.) which a cell needs to adjust its internal hormone balance are not available, that cell is unable to function properly and if the situation is bad enough, it may stop functioning altogether. For example, hair root cells deprived of thyroid hormone and DHEA are unable to continue making hair.

Hormone deficiency or imbalance

Hormonal imbalance can be responsible for physical dysfunction, including obesity, for cognitive dysfunction including “fuzzy thinking”, for psychological dysfunction, including anxiety, panic attacks and depression and perhaps for some neurological diseases.

Therefore the idea of hormonal “restoration” or “rebalancing” Is to maintain stable, normal function in spite of the yearly loss of hormone production which begins at age 25.

G. A. Harry, MD.

REFERENCES

1: DEFINITION – Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hormone

2: RECEPTORS – Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Receptor_(biochemistry)

3: TRANSPORT PROTEINS – Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport_protein

4: PINEAL GLAND – Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/science/pineal-gland

5: HYPOTHALAMUS – Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/science/hypothalamus

6: PITUITARY – Merck: https://www.merckmanuals.com/en-ca/home/hormonal-and-metabolic-disorders/pituitary-gland-disorders/overview-of-the-pituitary-gland

7: PUBMED:

[A]: 17 BETA HYDROXY STEROID DEHYDROGENASES https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11091120

[B] INTRACRINOLOGY (Prof Fernand Labrie) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10915214

8: THYROID GLAND FUNCTION – https://mcb.berkeley.edu/courses/mcb135e/thyroid.html

9: REGARDING AGING – https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05582-3

10: EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PINEAL GLAND – https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-the-pineal-gland/#1
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pineal_gland

G. A. Harry, MD

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