Endocrine Glands And Their Role In Hormone Function

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Hormone Function: The Endocrine Glands

Posted by The MAB Team on 7/27/2012 to Health Topics

We have talked a lot in past blogs about the importance of hormonal balance. The endocrine glands of the body produce various hormones that affect nearly every cell, organ and bodily process and ensures their proper function.

Here’s a quick overview of each endocrine gland of the endocrine system:Hypothalamus

The hypothalamus gland is located in the part of the brain that controls behaviour (including sexual behaviour) and emotion. The hypothalamus regulates appetite, digestion, sleep, blood circulation, body temperature and metabolic activities. It also helps maintain proper fluid levels within the body and helps to properly metabolize fats and sugars. Additionally, the hypothalamus secretes hormones that help the pituitary gland function normally.

Thymus

The thymus gland plays an important role in developing child immune systems. It is most active during infancy and childhood and begins to shrink after puberty. The thymus gland helps fight infection by creating white blood cells called “T-lymphocytes.”

Pituitary

Most notably, the pituitary gland produces the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) in women, which in turn triggers the ovaries to produce estrogen and progesterone, eventually leading to ovulation. In men, the pituitary gland regulates hormone levels associated with metabolism and growth. It also regulates the release of hormones in male testes.

Thyroid

Thyroid hormones work to deliver energy to the cells of the body. Located in the lower part of the neck, the thyroid gland mainly secretes triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). Many things can go wrong with the thyroid gland, and many health problems can develop that can symptomatically result in fatigue, weight gain and depression. These can include hypothyroidism (underactive thyroids), hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroids), goiters (enlarged thyroids), thyroid nodules (lumps), cancer of the thyroid and thyroiditis (inflammation).

Parathyroid

The parathyroid gland consists of four smaller glands that are located at the back of the thyroid gland. These four glands produce parathyroid hormone and helps the muscular and nervous systems of the body function properly. They also work to regulate the phosphorus levels in blood and bones, magnesium and blood calcium. Health problems can arise with the parathyroid gland as well, such as the common development of a disease called hyperparathyroidism, which is caused by overactive parathyroid glands.

Adrenal

The adrenal glands produce many hormones including estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, noradrenalin, adrenaline and androgens. These hormones help regulate body fluid, sodium levels, metabolism, blood pressure, heart rate, sexual function and stress. The adrenal glands consist of two triangle-shaped glands located at the top of each of our kidneys.

Pineal

The pineal gland produces melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleeping patterns, blood pressure, sexual development, body temperature, body growth and motor skills. The pineal gland is located in the cerebrum, the largest and most developed portion of the brain.

Ovaries

Women have two almond-shaped ovary glands, which are located on either side of the uterus. These glands produce progesterone, estrogen and a small amount of testosterone. Each ovary contains thousands of follicles (which we covered a bit in our last post), and 10-20 of these follicles eventually mature into secondary follicles. But usually only one of these follicles successfully matures into an egg capable of being fertilized during ovulation.

Testes

These endocrine system glands are found in men and are located behind the penis and inside the scrotum. The testes glands produce sperm and testosterone.

Pancreas

The pancreas gland produces enzymes that helps the digestive tract function, as well as insulin and glucagon, which regulate the body’s blood sugar levels. The pancreas is a long, bean-shaped gland that can be found between the stomach and spine.

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