Types of hormones: People are pure chemistry
Types of hormones. What are hormones and what functions do they have in our body and brain? Why are these substances so important? Humans are pure chemistry. Knowing the mechanisms that contribute balance and well-being to our organism, will help you to better understand your physiological and psychological reactions. What types of hormones do we produce? What functions does each of these hormones play? What happens when our hormones become unbalanced? Continue reading this article and find out!
What are Hormones?
Hormones are a type of molecule that originates in the endocrine glands. They greatly influence the growth and development process, metabolism and sexual function. The correct functioning of hormones is vital for the physical and emotional well-being of people. Correct hormonal levels also influence mood.
Hormones are a kind of messenger that communicates with the rest of the body through the bloodstream, initiating necessary mechanisms (such as metabolism) and regulating others (such as the sexual function).
10 Types of hormones, their functions, and foods that help regulate them
1-Oxytocin-Types of Hormones
Within the different types of hormones, you are likely to be familiar with the hormone oxytocin, since it is also known as the “Birth Hormone.”
Among its functions, it helps to regulate in the Central Nervous System (CNS) different adaptive behaviors, such as social behaviors, and patterns of sexual functioning.
In addition, it is responsible for the contraction and relaxation movements of smooth muscle fibers (such as those found in the uterus), so it is fundamental to the birth process and in breast milk production.
Where is Oxytocin located?
Dysfunctions associated with an oxytocin deficit
When oxytocin is being wrongly produced or regulated, it is related to various disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, and different anxiety disorders, as it is a key element in stress regulation. Autism is associated with low levels of oxytocin production.
Foods That Help Regulate Oxytocin
Although oxytocin is not physically present in any food, several studies confirm that certain foods promote its production. Foods like chocolate, and various spices like fennel, parsley, spearmint or rosemary.
2-Testosterone- Types of Hormones
Testosterone within the types of hormones, it is a sex hormone responsible for the development of typical male physical characteristics. These characteristics are hair, height, sexual organ development and sperm production. Although women also produce testosterone, they do so in very small amounts.
Testosterone’s main function is the regulating sexual desire and sperm production, making it vital for the reproductive process. In the fetus, testosterone is essential for the formation of the primary and secondary genitalia.
Where is Testosterone located?
Testosterone is secreted by the adrenal glands, in the testicles of man and in the ovaries in the woman. Meanwhile, the pituitary gland is responsible for its regulation.
Dysfunctions associated with a testosterone deficit
When there are low levels of testosterone in the body various diseases such as obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression and erectile dysfunction can appear.
If there is a high degree of testosterone in women, it can produce various problems, such as androgyne disorder, excessive body hair, acne, aggression and loss of the menstrual cycle among others.
Foods That Help Regulate Testosterone
To naturally increase testosterone levels in the body it is recommended to consume tuna, eggs, milk, seafood and oysters, red meat, and substitute carbohydrates for fruits and vegetables. In addition, consuming green beans is also beneficial due to its high zinc content, directly related to testosterone.
3- Adrenaline- Types of Hormones
Adrenaline has a dual function in our body, on the one hand, is a neurotransmitter and on the other its part of the types of hormones, also known as the “Activation Hormone”.
Among its main functions is survival. Adrenaline is the one that allows us to be alert to any danger and triggers the necessary behaviors in case of fight or flight response. The effects it produces in the body are varied, from increased blood pressure, dilated pupils and increased heart rate, etc.
Where is Adrenaline located?
Adrenaline is produced in the adrenal glands and is metabolized in the liver.
Dysfunctions associated with an Adrenaline deficit
In addition, it correlates with various cardiovascular conditions, obesity, insomnia and a deficit in the immune system.
Foods That Help Regulate Adrenaline
Caffeine, sugar, and alcohol are stimulants for the production of adrenaline. Fatty foods, such as sausage, and pastries also increase adrenaline levels.
4- Estrogens-Types of Hormones
While speaking about sex hormones one of the types of hormones in the female body is estrogens. They have similar functions as testosterone in the case of men: they are responsible for the development of secondary female sexual organs, such as breasts development, or the menstrual cycle. Estrogen levels gradually decline in women’s life cycle eventually leading to menopause.
These types of hormones have many functions, the main one, in this case, is cardiovascular protection. It also regulates sexual desire, and stimulates the production of collagen and pigmentation of the skin.
Among other functions, it helps distribute fat in the body, metabolism of bones and muscles.
Where is estrogen located?
This hormone is produced in the ovaries, in the placenta also in the case of pregnant women and in the adrenal glands.
Dysfunctions associated with a deficit of Estrogens
If hormonal changes happen in these types of hormones, irritability, frequent mood swings and depression may develop. Deficiencies in the production of estrogens can lead to diseases such as breast cancer, uterine or ovarian cancer.
Estrogen deficiency also correlates with memory loss and osteoporosis.
Excess estrogen or Hyperesthesia, which is also very harmful to our health, can lead to tumors and amenorrhea (loss of the menstrual cycle)
Foods That Help Regulate Estrogens
There are many foods that naturally contain estrogens, such as many fruits (cherries, apples or plums) and vegetables (tomatoes, celery, onions, cauliflower, and carrots, among others). Olive oil is highly recommended, and seeds as a seasoning as well.
5-Types of Hormones- Vasopressin
Other types of hormones are the ones in charge of water in the body. The main one is Vasopressin also called the “diuretic hormone,” and it also serves as a neurotransmitter.
The main function of this hormone is water elimination from the body by the kidneys. This concentrates the urine and decreases its volume. It also retains water and decreases the osmotic pressure in the body by body fluids.It fulfills a volume function: It also regulates the volume of blood circulating through the body.
It fulfills a volume function: It also regulates the volume of blood circulating through the body.
It is related to the memory function, specifically images, and short-term memory and long-term memory.
Where is Vasopressin located?
The secretion of vasopressin originates in the hypothalamus and is released by the pituitary.
Dysfunctions associated with a vasopressin deficiency
Alcohol prevents the vasopressin action mechanism, preventing the reabsorption of water. That’s why when we drink we have to take frequent breaks to go to the toilet. Find out more about how alcohol affects the brain.
A constant deficit of vasopressin in the body can lead to diabetes insipidus and a decrease in blood sodium levels. There is a syndrome produced by this deficiency known as SIADH: Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone.
Foods That Help Regulate Vasopressin
It is recommended to take licorice root to control the levels of vasopressin in the body.
6- Melatonin- Types of Hormones
Melatonin is among the types of hormones also known as “sleep hormone.” Among its main functions, we can highlight sleep regulation, the regulation of our biological clock, and the strengthening of the immune system.
Interestingly, melatonin happens in the dark. When the natural light begins to subside, our brain begins melatonin production and its release peak occurs approximately every 24 hours.
Where is Melatonin located?
Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland.
Dysfunctions associated with a Melatonin deficit
Low levels of melatonin in the body correlate with various sleep disorders, aging, various inflammatory disorders and autoimmune diseases.
Foods That Help Regulate Melatonin
Although there are many chemicals to increase melatonin, it is recommended to eat foods that contain it naturally. Among them, we can highlight tomatoes, oranges, pineapples, bananas, cherries, and cereals such as rice, barley, oats, and corn.
7- Insulin- Types of Hormones
Insulin is a type of hormone fundamental to the correct functioning of our body since it is an anabolic hormone. Its main function is the control of blood glucose. This hormone plays an important role in metabolism. Insulin “opens” the cells so they can absorb the sugar in the bloodstream.
Where is Insulin located?
Insulin is located in the pancreas, produced by beta cells.
Dysfunctions associated with an Insulin deficit
Among the pathologies associated with this type of hormone, we can highlight type 1 and type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovaries in women, hypertension, and obesity.
Insulinoma is a type of tumor that occurs in the beta cells of the pancreas when they produce excessive Insulin. It does not always result in a tumor, but you have to take into account the risk. A recent IPPC study states that lack of Insulin in the body can have consequences on memory acquisition processes.
Foods That Help Regulate Insulin
Food plays a key role in helping regulate this type of hormone. It is recommended to take turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, berries and black seeds. Increasing the consumption of chromium and Omega-3 is very beneficial. On the contrary, products that have high amounts of sugar, such as industrial bakery, are highly unadvisable. It is recommended not to abuse dairy or alcohol. Check out 13 superfoods for your brain.
8-Prolactin- Types of Hormones
Its main function is the production and secretion of milk from the mammary glands.
Where is Prolactin located?
Prolactin is secreted in the adenohypophysis, and it is located at the base of the brain, in a structure known as the “Turkish saddle”.
Dysfunctions associated with a prolactin deficiency
Hypersecretion of Prolactin may cause the menstrual period to disappear. An insufficiency of Prolactin is associated with Sheehan’s Syndrome, in which the woman’s previous pituitary gland may be destroyed after childbirth. In the case of men, excessive production of prolactin may lead to hormonal disorders, the appearance of secondary female sexual features such as breasts, and may even lead erectile dysfunction.
Foods That Help Regulate Prolactin
Suggested foods to help regulate prolactin include all those containing antioxidants, in addition to green leafy vegetables and berries. Zinc-containing foods are very good allies such as seafood, red meats, soy sauce and sunflower seeds can help.
9-Types of Hormones-Thyroxine
Thyroxine is a type of hormone that is commonly known as the T4 abbreviation. Its main function is the regulation of metabolism, but it also influences growth and development. In addition, it seems to play an important role in mood and mental health. Feeling sad, learn to overcome it.
Where is thyroxine located?
This hormone is secreted by the thyroid gland and develops in the pituitary gland.
Dysfunctions associated with thyroxine deficits
The most representative dysfunctions associated with poor thyroxine regulation are:
- Hypothyroidism: When the body does not produce enough thyroxine, this disorder is characterized by an increase in involuntary weight, cramps, swollen face, dry skin, and sadness, among others.
- Hyperthyroidism: Occurs when there is hyperactivity of the thyroid gland. The symptoms are usually weight loss, anxiety, tachycardias, tremors, fatigue and insomnia among others.
In addition, bipolar disorders and depression are associated with low levels of thyroxine in the body.
Foods That Help Regulate Thyroxine
If you suffer from hypothyroidism it is advisable foods rich in iodine and fiber. Lean meats are a good ally. You have to avoid alcohol and fatty products.
If your case is hyperthyroidism try to incorporate into your diet sugar, honey, nuts, all dairy products and eggs.
10- Growth Hormone
Growth Hormone is a type of hormone vital for proper endocrine functioning. It takes care of muscle mass, maintains body fat at optimum levels, protects against cholesterol and improves circulation.
Where is the Growth Hormone located?
The Growth Hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland and is located at the base of the brain.
Dysfunctions associated with deficits in Growth Hormone
When there is a deficit in production it can cause fatigue, muscle weakness, glucose intolerance, heterogeneity in the distribution of body fat, and can increase cholesterol level. In children, if there is a severe deficiency it can produce dwarfism.
Foods That Help Regulate Growth Hormone
To increase levels in the body of the growth hormone naturally, it is recommended to include in the diet lean meats, seaweed, dairy, eggs, nuts, pineapple, and watermelon among others.
You have to be very careful with products promising to sell you growth hormones to buff your body. Abuse of these substances, rarely recommended by a specialist, can have serious short and long-term consequences for your health. It’s important to be cautious with these products and consult your doctor.
If you want to delve deeper into how chemistry affects your body, do not miss Types of Neurotransmitters.
This article is originally in Spanish written by Cristina Martínez de Toda, translated by Alejandra Salazar.
Alejandra is a clinical and health psychologist. She is a child specialist with a diploma in evaluation and intervention in autism. She has worked in different schools with young children and private practice for over 6 years. She is interested in early childhood intervention, emotional intelligence, and attachment styles. As a brain and human behavior enthusiast, she is more than happy to answer your questions and share her experience.