An Introductory Guide to Hormones and Steroids.

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If you’re wondering which was the hormone that starts with “A”…, or how it is spelled what effects it has on your body, then have a peek here.

We have gathered a short list of hormones that is important to be known, especially if you are actively exercising or practicing any type of sport. This will help you to orient yourself in the meanings, effects and chemical properties of some of the general well known types of hormones and get deeper understanding of our articles related to sport, diet and healthy lifestyle.

Comprehensive list of the general types of hormones

Hormones that are of direct relevance to physical and sports development:

Adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine) are hormones which are formed in the core of the adrenal glands. They have a similar effect on the sympathetic nervous system – accelerated cardiac contractility, increased blood pressure, suppresses the movement of the stomach and intestines. Adrenaline and noradrenaline accelerate metabolism and promote the conversion of liver glycogen into glucose and thus increase its concentration in blood.  In a state of tension or stress, the secretion of epinephrine and norepinephrine are increased.

Antidiuretic hormone – increases the reverse osmosis of water in the renal (kidney) tubules, resulting in reduced urinary excretion of water. Consequently, the body retains more water and this increases the arterial blood pressure.

Glucagon – it has the opposite action of the insulin effect, stimulates the breakdown of glycogen to glucose and starts gluconeogenesis in the liver. As a result, there is an increased concentration of glucose in blood.
Dopamine – as a hormone and neurotransmitter, it takes care of the various processes in the brain, including: motor activity, learning ability (including movements learning), controls attention, the mood and motivation. Dopamine is a hormone that is released when we experience emotional pleasure.

Serotonin  – Serotonin, just like dopamine, is a neurotransmitter and is linked to aggression, anger, body temperature, mood, sleep, sexuality, appetite and even vomiting. The mood and serotonin levels affect emotions, behavior and thinking, so low levels of this bodily substance are most likely underlying cause of depression and aggressive actions.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA / DHEA) – involved in shaping the sexual characteristics and exhibits anabolic effect.
Insulin – Insulin is a hormone that is produced in the endocrine portion of the pancreas. It lowers the concentration of glucose in the blood by binding to it. Also transports and facilitates the entry of glucose into the cells.
Cortisol – it is known as the stress hormone and is part of a group of glucocorticoidal hormones. Following its release in the body a number of processes occur to prepare the body  for a stressful situation: it increases blood pressure, suppresses the action of insulin and  the immune system, glucose levels in the blood are also increased.
Leptin – this is a key hormone that regulates the storage and consumption of energy in the body. It also suppresses appetite and increases the volume of the metabolic rate. In the body, this is expressed by reduction of the volume of the body fat.

Luteinizing hormone – for women it starts ovulation. In men it is responsible for the production of testosterone, exerts influence on the process of spermatogenesis.
GH (growth hormone, somatotropin) – growth hormone is produced by the anterior pituitary gland and directly affects the metabolism. It stimulates cell growth and division, protein synthesis in the cells, the growth of bones and cartilage and muscle mass accumulation.
Somatostatin – known also as stop hormone or blocking hormone. It inhibits the release of a large number of hormones active in the human body and directly blocks the release of others (growth hormone, for example).

Thyroxine – thyroxin is the main thyroid hormone. Main functions of thyroid hormones are: increased excitability of the nervous system and speeded up heart rate, boosted metabolism and increased amount of heat created by the body.

Testosterone – except in shaping the characteristics of the male sexual development in youth, testosterone has a direct effect on increasing muscle mass and strength, and the increase in bone density. Other characteristic features of testosterone are increased libido and aggression.

Basic classes and groups of hormones

Hormones are divided into classes and groups according to their chemical composition.

Amines – they are assembled from one or two amino acids and as for the most part, these are isomers of the amino acid tyrosine. More popular hormones in the class are: adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine.
Peptides and proteins – these are substances with a peptide nature (small protein molecules), they are assembled in large part, from 3 to 200 amino acids. This class includes hormones such as insulin and leptin.
Steroids – they are substances made of cholesterol basis. Depending on the receptors with which they bind, human steroid hormones are grouped into five groups:

Important groups of hormones from the class of steroids

Androgens – this group includes all steroid hormones that affect the body in the direction of masculinization (masculine forming). The group includes primarily testosterone and its related substances: DHT, DHEA, androstenedione, androstenediol, androsterone and others.
Estrogens – these are a group of hormones that are essential for the metabolism in the female body.
Progestogens – are group of chemical derivatives of the only natural progestogen (or progestagen) called progesterone. The latter has a number of effects and impacts on many body systems, as in most reactions it is involved through interactions with estrogens. In the reproductive system participates in some phases of spermatogenesis, in the regulation of menstruation and in the suppression of lactation during pregnancy.
Glucocorticoids – these are hormones that are produced in the adrenal cortex. They regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats and inhibit inflammation and allergic reactions in the body.
Mineralocorticoids – hormones that are also produced in the adrenal cortex. They maintain normal levels of certain minerals in the body.

As you can see, every hormone has its important role and special place in our body system, because each one of them has a specific function,, which keeps us functioning properly in our everyday life. Even more so, they often cooperate and act together in a very complicated manner. So it’s quite helpful to know at least in general how the main hormones work and what effects they have. That way you will be more aware in case there is some hormone problem in your system and will be able to recognize and help yourself finding a proper solution.

Author: Jessy Donston

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