Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Do You Know What Your Hormones Are Doing

In effect a hormone is a chemical messenger sent from a cell or gland in one part of the body to another instructing it to carry out a chemical response. Since hormonal instructions may or may not be carried out, it's paramount that you know what your hormones are doing.

Particularly, when hormones can stimulate or inhibit growth factors in the body, affect mood swings, control the reproductive cycles, activate or inhibit the immune system, regulate metabolism and homeostasis in the body, prepare the body for mating, fight or flight response, puberty, parenting, menopause, hunger cravings and the timing of cell mitosis and death.

To be sure your hormones are sending out the right instructions, you need to know how they are produced and what enable them to function effectively.

You would already know about the commonly prescribed hormones such as, estrogen and progestagen for hormonal contraceptive, testosterone for sex drive, thyroxine for hypothyroidism, steroid for autoimmune diseases and respiratory disorders, and insulin for diabetes. These and other hormones are also produced naturally by the body.

1. How Are Your Hormones Produced
In the body, hormones are produced by glands in the endocrine system which include the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, pancreas, adrenal gland, pineal, gonads and more. Endocrine cells are specialized to produce specific hormones according to which genes are switched on during protein synthesis, as hormones consist of proteins.

Proteins hormones are made from templates of information in your DNA. Within the DNA are nucleotides which represent the DNA sequence that are used to code for amino acids, which in turn form chains of amino acids to create the particular protein hormone they were coded for. The hormone produced are stored in vesicles in the endocrine cells awaiting instruction for their secretion either into the bloodstream or ducts.

2. How Your Cells Secrete Hormones
For example, the pituitary gland at the back of your brain produces several growth hormones. The amount of growth hormone secreted into the bloodstream is regulated by the hypothalamus located next to the pituitary gland. When growth factors are needed by the body, the hypothalamus secretes release factors which instruct the pituitary gland to secrete the specific hormones needed by the body.

If something were to interrupt the production of the growth hormones in the pituitary gland, or interfere with communication between the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, the essential growth the body needed will not occur, and this would lead to a disproportionate growth of the body parts and deformity of the body.

3. How Do Your Cells Communicate With Each Other
Cells communicate with each other hormonally through chemical signals. When a chemical signal exits one cell it is carried by the blood to another cell with receptors designed to recognize it. On recognizing and receiving the signal, the receptors activate a pathway which in biology is called a signal transduction.

Signal transduction is a chemical process that converts a stimulus to a cell into a specific response. The transmembrane receptors on a cell, so called, because part of the receptor is on the surface of the cell membrane and part is in the cell, receives the stimulus or chemical signal. This changes the shape of outer portion of the receptor, which sends another signal to the inner portion of the receptor.

From the initial stimulus or chemical signal, several more signals may take place within the cell until a final response is had, either in the expression of the nucleus DNA, or activity of enzymes in the cytoplasm of the cell. The final response of the cell is what should concern us the most.

4. Effect Of Breakdown in Hormonal Communication
For example, when the blood sugar level is low, the pancreas secretes glucagon from the islet cells to instruct the liver to take carbohydrate out of storage to raise blood sugar level, and when blood sugar level is too high, insulin is secreted to instruct the liver to take excess glucose out of circulation to lower blood sugar level.

If the pancreas were to fail to produce enough insulin, or there is inadequate response by the liver cells to the insulin chemical signal, or the liver cells receptors failed to recognize the insulin chemical signal, the blood sugar level will rise too high, and we say the person affected has diabetes mellitus.

When it comes to hormones and their effective use to improve the body performance, cells are the drivers. Cells produce the hormones and activate the signal transduction pathways that convert chemical signals from hormones into the desired response by the body organs.

Here again, homeostasis and tranquility in the physical body is maintained when your cells are healthy and performing optimally. By providing your cells the right micronutrients through a balanced diet and regular age-appropriate physical exercise, you will know what your hormones are doing from the enhanced performance of your body both at work and at home.

Related Article
How To Maintain Good Health Naturally

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