Endocrine System Will Secrete Different Types Of Hormones

The endocrine system the system of glands which produce and secrete different types of hormones directly into the bloodstream to regulate the body’s growth, metabolism, and sexual development & function. Hormones! Those things that make teenagers moody and miserable, and they cause growth spurts and acne; also they can make a perfectly normal student totally obsessed with his algebra teacher. Not that I have any real, boots-on-the-ground experience with that last one.

But all that mayhem is just the handiwork of your sex hormones. The fact is that there are more than 50 different kinds of hormones coursing through you right now, and all multicellular organisms produce one kind or another. For instance, hormones regulate the process of metamorphosis in insects; also they’re what stimulate plants to grow and fruits to ripen. In animals, the network that makes and releases hormones, your endocrine system, is one of the two ways, along with the nervous system, that important information is communicated from one part of your body to another.

The endocrine system

Using these methods, the endocrine system sends out all kinds of important chemical bulletins, many of which start up in the brain, in a tiny gland about the size of a pea. The pituitary gland. The pituitary gland, it’s the master gland, the Napoleon of the endocrine system. Except that Napoleon actually wasn’t very small, that’s a myth, but you get what I’m saying. The pituitary gland makes hormones that instruct other glands to make other hormones, and those hormones actually get the real leg work done.

The pituitary is connected to the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that acts as a liaison between the nervous system and the endocrine system. So a big part of its job is to tell your glands what to do based on information it gets from your senses and other nerve functions. For example, breastfeeding women will start releasing milk when their baby starts crying. Sensory information, in this case auditory, comes to the hypothalamus from the nervous system telling it that there’s a little snuggle of baby nearby that might be hungry.

All to help you on your quest to vanquish this dastardly drake. Unlike pretty much every other muscle contraction in your body, your heart is controlled by the endocrine system, as well as your nervous system! You may have noticed that after a scare, your heart races for a couple of minutes afterwards? That’s because the epinephrine is still in your bloodstream; so telling your heart to race like crazy, even after you’re no longer in mortal danger or whatever. Alright, I know you’re wondering when we’re going to get to the gonads. But let me warm you up first with the function of your pancreas. Super sexy gland, the biggest in the body.

Glycogen for storage

Liver and muscle cells convert the glucose to glycogen for storage, and other cells in the connective tissue called adipose cells convert the glucose into fat. But if your blood sugar is too low, your pancreas has got your back there, too. Say you’re in a pushup contest with, Christian Bale. You’re going to lose, but you’re going to try. And trying, is going to require quite a lot of energy.

Your friendly pancreas will release another hormone, glucagon, which stimulates the liver and muscles to start the process that breaks up the glycogen and fat to release the glucose, so that you can lose to Christian Bale. But you know, losing to Christian Bale is better than winning against most people. Alright, so now that we’re back to muscular men, let’s get back to everybody’s favorite topic.

They do know that, for instance, that estrogen is required for the manufacture of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that gives us a sense of calm and well-being. So when estrogen levels drop quickly during a woman’s menstrual cycle, it can make her feel off kilter. But the effects of sex hormones, not just on our bodies, but our minds remains a significant mystery. Which is good, because I don’t want to even go there. Thank you for watching this episode of Crash Course Biology.