The endocrine system is made up of a number of glands which produce chemical “messengers” called hormones. These messengers control the body’s major functions from simple base needs like hunger to the complexity of reproduction.
Hormones are responsible for emotions and moods, along with stress levels, sleep, and even growth. When one or more of these chemical messengers is out of balance, it causes havoc on our health.
Understanding how these hormones work and what their roles are is an important step in protecting and managing your health.
The major hormone-producing glands in the endocrine system are:
- Hypothalamus – regulates body temperature, hunger, moods and works with the other glands to trigger the release of hormones from each.
- Parathyroid – controls the amount of calcium in the body.
- Thymus – keeps the immune system working properly.
- Pancreas – produces insulin and assists with blood sugar control.
- Thyroid – produces hormones related to calorie burning and heart rate.
- Adrenals – controls the release of cortisol, the stress hormone.
- Pituitary – the “master gland,” controlling all other glands and releasing growth hormones.
- Pineal – sometimes referred to as the thalamus, the pineal gland produces serotonin and impacts sleep.
- Ovaries (female) – produces female sex hormones.
- Testes (male) – produces male sex hormones.
When properly balanced, hormones keep the body thriving and healthy, but even small imbalances can trigger life-altering symptoms.