Our body’s hormones are like chemical messages in the bloodstream which cause a change in a particular cell or organ and surrounding tissues. The hormone adrenaline, for example, is produced by the adrenal glands (on top of the kidneys) and helps prepare the body’s “fight or flight” response during times of stress.
Hormones control many of the body’s processes, including growth, development, reproduction, responding to stress, metabolism and energy balance. The collection of glands that produce most hormones are known as the endocrine system and there are seven of them. Now let us look at the 7 Exciting Facts about Hormones to show You How Far we have Reached.
1. The Science of Love
We call it love. It feels like love. But the most exhilarating of all human emotions is probably nature’s beautiful way of keeping the human species alive and reproducing. With an irresistible cocktail of chemicals, our brain entices us to fall in love. We believe we’re choosing a partner. But we may merely be the happy victims of nature’s lovely plan. Helen Fisher of Rutgers University in the States has proposed 3 stages of love – lust, attraction and attachment. Each stage might be driven by different hormones and chemicals.
The initial stages of falling for someone activates your stress response, increasing your blood levels of adrenalin and cortisol. And finally, serotonin. One of love’s most important chemicals that may explain why when you’re falling in love, your new lover keeps popping into your thoughts. Oxytocin is a powerful hormone released by men and women during orgasm. Vasopressin is another important hormone in the long-term commitment stage and is released after sex.
2. Hormones released during sleep boost our immune system and make us hungry
Sleep is a time when several of the body’s hormones are released into the bloodstream. These include growth hormone, which is essential for growth and tissue repair, including in adults. Sleep helps to balance our appetite by maintaining optimal levels of the hormones ghrelin and leptin. So, when we get less sleep than normal we may feel an urge to eat more. Sleep also controls levels of the hormones insulin and cortisol so that we wake up hungry, prompting us to eat breakfast, and we are prepared for facing daytime stress.
If we get less sleep than normal our levels of prolactin may get out of balance and we can end up with a weakened immune system, difficulty concentrating and carbohydrate cravings during the day. Hormones stop us from having to get up in the night to go to the bathroom. Changes in hormonal levels during sleep, including higher levels of aldosterone and antidiuretic hormone, prevent us from needing to go to the toilet.
3. Joan Murray, the skydiver who survived
Murray lives in Charlotte, North Carolina and worked for Bank of America. She occasionally skydived before her accident. On September 25, 1999, she went on a skydive from 14,500 feet. Her main parachute could not open, and although her backup parachute opened at 700 feet, it quickly deflated. She approached the ground at 81 miles per hour (130 kilometers per hour), landing on a mound of fire ants. Doctors believe that the shock of being stung over 200 times by the ants released a surge of adrenaline which kept her heart beating.
Murray suffered serious injuries, shattering the right side of her body and knocking fillings out of her teeth. She went into a coma for two weeks at Carolinas Medical Center, but survived after 20 reconstructive surgeries and 17 blood transfusions. She continued work at Bank of America after the accident, turning down retirement because of disability. She took physical therapy sessions and went on a 37th skydive in 2001.
4. Trouble Sleeping? Go Camping
For those who have trouble sleeping, researchers say that one week of camping, without electronics, resets our biological body clock and synchronizes our melatonin hormones with sunrise and sunset. Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder found that if you live by the sun’s schedule, you are more likely to go to bed at least an hour earlier, wake up an hour earlier, and be less groggy, because your internal clock and external reality are more in sync. The sun adjusts your clock to what may be its natural state, undoing the influence of light bulbs.
Melatonin is the “hormone of darkness,” said Namni Goel, a psychologist and sleep researcher at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Scientists use the hormone to measure photoperiods, or the physiological response that organisms have to cycles of daylight and darkness. “It rises at night naturally, and falls during the day, suppressed by light,” said Goel. Melatonin also drops the body’s core temperature, making it easier to sleep. People often take melatonin pills to help them fall asleep, she said.
5. Trans Teenager Getting Her First Dose Of Hormones
Corey was always feminine, even from the time she was very young. “She loved to dress in high heels and dresses. In public she wore boy clothes — I just assumed she might be gay.” When Corey was in the fifth grade she was bullied so badly her mother made the decision to pull her out of public school and begin homeschooling. It wasn’t until Corey was 11 years old that the mother-daughter duo came across a video of transgender YouTuber Jazz Jennings and everything suddenly clicked. “She said, ‘Mom, I’m just like her, I AM a girl.’”
Hormone replacement therapy for transgender or gender variant individuals, also sometimes called cross-sex hormone therapy, is a form of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in which sex hormones (namely androgens for trans men and estrogens for trans women) are administered for the purpose of synchronizing a person’s secondary sexual characteristics with their gender identity
6. Vasopressin Emerges as Hormone of Interest in Autism Research
Vasopressin regulates the volume of water in your body and also affects blood pressure. But since the 1990s, vasopressin has been a hot topic in a very different field: social behavior. And recently it has emerged as a possible target for treating autism spectrum disorders (ASD), which are characterized by social, behavioral and communication impairments. The research is still in early stages, however, and has yielded more questions than answers.
One out of 68 children in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder, researchers are scrambling to figure out what in the brain might be related to the symptoms, and how they might design an effective treatment. Vasopressin may be a key player in the disorder. But scientists do not yet know whether too much or too little of the hormone—or perhaps some combination of both—is tied to autism. New clinical trials may yield insights. But high levels of vasopressin are also associated with anxiety and aggression, especially in males. If the hormone is indeed treated differently by receptors in the male brain compared to those in the female brain, that’s all the more relevant for autism: nearly five times as many boys have autism compared to girls.
7. Asprosin, new hormone could have potential implications in treatment of diabetes
What started as a search for answers for patients suffering from a rare genetic condition called neonatal progeroid syndrome (NPS) that keeps the body from accumulating fat, among other symptoms, has now turned into a discovery that could potentially impact the lives of millions of people living with type 2 diabetes. This newly discovered hormone, named asprosin, appears to be generated by fat. It travels to the liver where it instructs the liver to release glucose into the blood stream. NPS patients with abnormally low levels of asprosin are unable to do this and display low blood glucose and insulin.