What are hormones and how do they work?


I work with peoples? hormones every day and people really don’t understand what hormones are a lot of times. They think they know what hormones are, but I want to tell you a little more about how the hormones work in our body. So hormones are our body’s chemical messengers and they send messages from one place to another. One thing people really don’t realize is that the brain is very integrally involved in this whole thing. So it starts really with a message from the hypothalamus, which is an area of the brain. And the hypothalamus makes hormones called releasing hormones. Then those hormones go to the pituitary. So they’re sent from the hypothalamus to the pituitary, which is another section of the brain. And the pituitary makes what they call stimulating hormones. Those stimulating hormones are then released from the pituitary to other glands in the body. Those glands might be ovaries; might be testicles; might be thyroid; adrenals. All of those different glands are activated upon by those stimulating hormones and that causes the end gland to release their own hormone – whether that be testosterone, progesterone, estrogen, thyroid hormones. The really cool part is those hormones go back in what we call a feedback loop and they act back upon the hypothalamus. So if there’s more than enough of a hormone around, the message that goes back to the hypothalamus is “slow down the releasing hormone.” So it slows down the whole systems. It’s a whole cycle that happens. And that’s how hormones really function in our body. Another thing about hormones that’s really important to understand is that not only is there this whole feedback loop, but there’s also the balance of hormones and how hormones work together in the body. Certain hormones make other hormones work better or not work as well. So when we have too much of a certain hormone, that may inactivate other hormones. Also, when we have too much of one hormone, it may interfere with another hormone acting upon its receptor. So there’s a very complex interplay within these different hormones, and what we really need is all of the hormones being balanced together. It’s kind of like a symphony. If you have the woodwinds section missing and the tympani section missing, the music just wouldn’t be as full and as rich. But when you have all of the sections functioning together it makes beautiful music and it works the same with our hormones. When all of the hormones are balanced, that’s when we feel our absolute best.