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Types of Hormones in the Human Body

Types of Hormones in the Human Body

Thanks to the many types of hormones in the human body, we can move our muscles and bones to propel our bodies, stimulate our brains to process, store, and recall information, deal with stress, influence reproduction and sex drive, aid digestion and metabolism, and a whole lot more.

How many types of hormones are in the human body and what purpose do they all have?

There are 4 Main Hormone Types:

  • Amino Acids
  • Eicosanoids
  • Peptides
  • Steroids

These four types of hormones in the human body and their functions will be highlighted during this report – broken down by the gland or organ that produces them or the type category you will find them in. Hormones are essentially chemical messengers that deliver a particular signal to a designated receptor. They also aid in immune functions, glandular secretions, growth, and contraction of cardiac and smooth muscle.

As we also discuss types of hormones in a human body, we find that some are paracrine hormones (acting on neighboring cells) while others are autocrine hormones (acting on the cells that secreted them).

Then there are the major chemical classes of hormones found in the human body including:

  • Lipid -soluble hormones – bind to receptors in cells to create action that alters gene expression to form new proteins that alter cell activity
    • Nitric Oxide
    • Steroids
    • Thyroid Hormones
  • Water-soluble hormones – activate plasma membrane receptors that alter functions inside the cell
    • Amines – epinephrine, melatonin, norepinephrine, serotonin
    • Eicosanoids – leukotrienes, prostaglandins
    • Glycoproteins, Peptides, and Proteins – ADH, growth hormone, insulin

Amino Acid Hormones

Amino acids are the first types of hormones found in the human body that we will highlight:

Hormone Producer Function
Epinephrine (adrenaline) Adrenal gland Fight or flight response, blood pressure, heart rate, muscle contraction, respiratory rate, vasodilation
Melatonin Pineal gland Sleep, circadian rhythm
Thyroxine (T4) Thyroid gland Regulates metabolism, increases body temperature
Triiodothyronine (T3) Thyroid gland Cardiac output, heart rate, metabolism

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Eicosanoid Hormones

Eicosanoids are different kinds of hormones in the human body. They do not come from just one gland or organ but are released by cells throughout the body. Eicosanoids often alter production of other hormones.

Leukotrienes White blood cells Help with inflammation, allergy and asthma attacks, and influence function of WBCs
Prostacyclin Endothelium Vasodilator, platelet activation inhibitor
Prostaglandins Chemical reaction when needed Inflammation, blood clot formation, blood flow, smooth muscle contraction, glandular secretion, metabolism, labor induction, injury healing, tissue repair
Thromboxane Platelets Vasoconstriction

Peptide Hormones

As we look at these different types of hormones in the human body and their functions, we find some of the most well-known associated with the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland.

Hormones of the hypothalamus and the hormone release they stimulate include:

Hormone Target Hormone
Corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) Adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) from anterior pituitary gland
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) from anterior pituitary gland
Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) Growth hormone from anterior pituitary gland
Orexin Increases energy, appetite, wakefulness
Somatostatin Inhibits and prevents growth hormone release
Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) from anterior pituitary gland

These two hormones are produced in the hypothalamus, but stored and released by the posterior pituitary gland:

  • Antidiuretic hormone – ACTH release, water retention in the kidneys, vasoconstriction, blood pressure regulation
  • Oxytocin – circadian rhythm, labor contractions, breast milk production

Hormones of the anterior pituitary gland include:

Hormone Target Hormone or Function
Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) Adrenal gland production of cortisol
Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) Egg and follicle development in female ovaries, testosterone production in male testes
Human growth hormone (HGH) Release of insulin growth factor 1 by the liver, cell division and growth, metabolism, bone, muscle, cartilage, immunity, brain functions, glucose uptake, libido, more
Luteinizing hormone (LH) Female ovulation, estrogen and progesterone production, male testosterone release from testes
Melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) Skin and hair pigmentation
Prolactin (PRL) Stimulates milk production, impacts sexual behavior
Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) Thyroid gland release of thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine, promotes release of thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), inhibits growth hormone inhibiting hormone (GHIH)

In addition to the amino acid hormones mentioned earlier, the thyroid gland also produces calcitonin to help with calcium regulation, bone building, and prevention of bone resorption.

The parathyroid gland provides parathyroid hormone which increases calcium and decreases phosphate in the blood and increases osteoclast number and activity.

The pancreas is both an endocrine and exocrine gland and produces numerous hormones, including:

Hormone Function
Amylin Reduces food intake and inhibits digestive secretions
Glucagon Raises levels of blood glucose, stimulates glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis in the liver
Insulin Lowers blood glucose levels, speeds glycogenesis and lipogenesis, increases amino acid uptake and protein synthesis, slows glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis
Somatostatin Inhibits release of glucagon and insulin, slows nutrient absorption from gastrointestinal tract
Pancreatic polypeptide Inhibits contraction of gallbladder, somatostatin secretion, and pancreatic digestive enzyme secretion
Vasoactive intestinal peptide Lowers inflammation and blood pressure, glycogenolysis, heart contractility, vasodilation

The thymus gland produces four hormones that play a role in the maturation of T cells:

  • Thymosin
  • Thymic humoral factor
  • Thymic factor
  • Thymopoietin

The following organs also produce various peptide hormones:

  • Heart:
    • Atrial-natriuretic peptide (atriopeptin) – vasodilator
    • Brain natriuretic peptide – dilator
  • Kidneys:
    • Enkephalin – pain regulation
    • Renin – blood pressure regulation
  • Liver:
    • Angiotensinogen & Angiotensin – release aldosterone, vasoconstriction
    • Hepcidin – inhibits export of cellular iron
    • Insulin growth factor – cell regeneration, mediates effects of growth hormone
  • Stomach:
    • Gastrin – gastric acid secretion
    • Ghrelin – appetite stimulation

Other peptide hormones come from many other areas of the body, such as tissues, bones, and other organs as follows:

Hormone Producer Function
Anti-Mullerian hormone Testes Prolactin and TRH inhibitor
Adiponectin Adipose tissue Lipid and glucose metabolism modulator
Cholecystokinin Duodenum Digestion aid, appetite reducer
Cortistatin Cerebral cortex Slow wave sleep
Endothelin Vascular endothelium Contraction of smooth muscles
Galanin Central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract Energy homeostasis, water balance
Gastric inhibitory polypeptide Jejunum and duodenum mucosa Insulin secretion
Glucagon-like peptide-1 Ileum Insulin synthesis and release
Guanylin Epithelium Intestinal water and salt transportation regulation
Human chorionic gonadotropin Placenta Corpus luteum support at start of pregnancy
Human placental lactogen Placenta Insulin and IGF-1 production, carbohydrate intolerance, insulin resistance
Inhibin Ovaries, testes, fetus Inhibits production of FSH
Leptin Adipose tissue Metabolism support and appetite suppression
Motilin Small intestine Gastric activity
Osteocalcin Bones Memory formation, muscle function, testosterone synthesis
Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide Multiple Neuromodulator and neurotransmitter
Relaxin Corpus luteum, mammary glands, placenta, uterus Prepares cervix and pelvis ligaments for childbirth
Secretin Duodenum Pancreatic and liver secretions
Thrombopoietin Kidney, liver, striated muscle Platelet production
Uroguanylin Renal tissue Renal water and salt transportation regulation

Steroid Hormones

When we talk about what types of hormones in the human body are most well-known, people tend to think about steroid hormones. These vital chemical messengers come from the adrenal glands, ovaries, and testes, and some are the likeliest to decline with age.

The adrenal glands produce the following steroid hormones:

Hormone Steroid Type Producer Effect/Function
Aldosterone Mineralocorticoid Adrenal cortex Absorbs excess sodium in kidneys to increase blood volume, blood pressure regulation
Androstenedione Androgen Adrenal glands, gonads Steroid hormones, helps with estrogen and testosterone production
Cortisol Glucocorticoid Adrenal cortex Regulates inflammation, blood sugar, blood pressure, balance of water and sale, influences memory, the stress hormone

The different types of hormones in the human body that are estrogen hormones include:

Hormone Producer Function
Estradiol Ovaries, testes, testosterone conversion by aromatase enzyme Bone resorption inhibition, endometrial and uterine growth, lung functions, blood vessel maintenance, circulation, cortisol, SHBG
Estrone Ovaries Uncertain
Estriol Placenta Uncertain, may assist menopause symptoms

The different types of androgen hormones include:

Hormone Producer Function
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) Ovaries, testes, kidneys Estrogen and testosterone precursor
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) Multiple, testosterone conversion by enzyme 5 alpha reductase Stimulates male characteristic development
Testosterone Testes, ovaries, adrenal glands Muscle and bone development and growth, brain functions, hair growth, libido, spermatogenesis

Progesterone is the only progestogen steroid hormone and comes from the adrenal glands, ovaries, testes, and placenta. It supports nerve and thyroid hormone functions, is a source hormone, pregnancy support, regulates estrogen effects, blood clotting, and is anti-inflammatory.

The final two hormones are secosteroids called Calcitriol and Calcidiol. They come from the skin and proximal tubules of the kidneys and are the active and inactive forms of vitamin D3 respectively.

Unbalanced hormones can create many problems in the body. Please contact Kingsberg HRT Clinic with any questions you have about regulating your hormone levels.

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