What is a hormone?
In simplest terms, hormones are chemical messengers that course through your bloodstream and enter tissues where they turn on switches to the genetic machinery that regulate everything from reproduction to emotions, general health, and well being. Hormones can be thought of as the life-giving force that animates you physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Where are hormones made?
Different glands and organs throughout the body produce hormones:
- the pancreas produces the hormone insulin
- the ovaries produce estrogens and progesterone
- other glands, such as the pituitary and hypothalamus in the brain, secrete hormones such as FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) that control how much estrogen and progesterone are produced by the ovaries.
The Steroid Hormone Family
Some hormones are composed of large proteins and others of small fatty substances derived from cholesterol. One class derived from cholesterol belongs to a family of hormones termed steroids. The steroid family is broken down into five major categories including including: