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Hormone profile

Related Terms

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Background

  • Hormones are chemical messengers, produced by the adrenal, pituitary, thyroid, ovaries, testes and other glands, that have far-reaching effects throughout the body. Hormones regulate everything from growth and tissue repair to metabolism, reproduction, blood pressure and the body's response to stress. Hormones also regulate complex bodily functions, such as growth and sexual development.
  • The word hormone comes from the Greek word horman meaning "to set in motion." All multi-cellular organisms produce hormones, including plants. The system of glands that release hormones is referred to as the endocrine system. The branch of medicine that studies the endocrine system is known as endocrinology. The endocrine system is one of the body's main systems for communicating, controlling and coordinating the body's work.
  • The concept of internal secretion was developed in the 19th Century by Claude Bernard who described it in 1855, but did not specifically address the possibility of secretions of one organ acting as messengers to others. Still, various endocrine conditions were recognized and even treated effectively. The major breakthrough was the identification of secretin, the hormone secreted by the duodenum that stimulates pancreatic secretions, by Ernest Starling and William Bayliss, in 1902. Previously, it was thought that the process was regulated by the nervous system. Starling and Bayliss demonstrated that injecting duodenal extract into dogs rapidly increased pancreatic secretions, raising the possibility of a chemical messenger.
  • During the remainder of the 20th Century, all the major hormones were discovered as well as the cloning of the relevant genes and the identification of the many interlocking feedback mechanisms that characterize the endocrine system.
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Physiology

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Chemical Classes

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Glands

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Safety

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.