What Are Hormones?

What Are HormonesGlands produce hormones in order to carry messages to cells. Hormones come in a variety of complex chemical structures including steroids (A mixture of elements that possess four rings of carbon atoms), peptides (compound with two or more amino acids), proteins (long chains of amino acids), amino acid derivatives, and eicosanoids (compounds created by polyunsaturated fatty acids that are involved in cellular activity).

These complex chemical structures communicate to maintain control of physiological and behavioral activities. These activities include, but are not limited to, digestion, respiration, metabolism, reproduction, growth, and movement.

We now understand what hormones are and what they do. Next, we’ll dive in to how they do what they do.

How Do Hormones Work?

Hormones maintain chemical balance within your bloodstream (Homeostasis). They do this by circulating through our bloodstreams and locating “target” cells.

Or rather: They expose themselves to every single cell they come into contact with. Only their target will have the necessary receptor to respond to their signal. When the hormone comes into contact with this cell, a biological response takes place.

Imagine for a second that hormones are a TV signal. Receptors would be the TV antenna. There are plenty of Tv’s (other cells) walking around without antennas, but they never connect with the signal and come to life.  The target cell (TV with antenna) comes into contact with hormones (Tv signal) and BOOM. The TV gets signal.

Once the hormone connect with the target cell, the cell knows to begin performing a certain action, such as stimulating an immune system response to harmful bacteria.

Types Of Hormones

Peptide Hormone Functions

Peptides regulate sleep and blood sugar concentration. An example of this would be insulin. Insulin begins the process of converting sugar into cellular energy.

What Do Steroid Hormones Do?

Generally speaking, Steroids are sexual hormones that play a role in maturation and fertility.