The Science

Hormones

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hormonesHormones are commonly associated with women. That’s mainly because men tend to ignore, or choose not to talk about the fact that they are also in possession of hormones. Most men’s first experience of ‘hormones’ are probably the early teen years, when masturbation and ‘morning wood’ were daily occurrences.

On a more serious note, the fact that you may not be a teenager anymore, does not exempt you from hormonal imbalances, which could potentially mess up your life.

Such imbalances can cause you to gain fat, find dealing with stress a major struggle, and cause you to continue eating, even though you may be full.

Hormonal imbalances can also lead to more serious conditions such as the development of metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

As you can see, there’s a lot that can go wrong with your hormones. The endocrine system is responsible for commanding various hormones, a bit like a local area network (LAN), where the server is responsible for sending out and receiving messages to various machines.

Your organs such as your pancreas, thyroid, testes and adrenaline glands are all the machines receiving, and sending back signals. This system is extremely complex, relying on intricate information to be passed from one area to another, to help the body to regulate itself.

If this information somehow becomes distorted, the whole process can be disrupted, leading to various health issues.

Epinephrine and Cortisol: The ‘Stress’ Hormones

stress hormonesRegardless of whether you are trying to ‘fight off’ a vicious dog, or you are an annoyed client, your body’s response to the two situations is exactly the same.

To begin with, your hypothalamus gushes into your bloodstream, and overwhelms it with hormones designed to give you a fright, so you have no other choice but to act. Epinephrine and cortisol are the ‘alarm’ systems for the hormones.

They cause the heart to beat faster and dilate the bronchial tubes, allowing for oxygen to be fed to the brain, keeping you alert. These two hormones are also responsible for releasing glucose and fat into the bloodstream, allowing the individual access to ‘emergency energy’.

Leptin, Ghrelin, Insulin and CCK: The ‘Weight’ Hormones

Leptin, Ghrelin, Insulin and CCK: The ‘Weight’ HormonesYour body is rich in hormones that tell you when you should eat, and when you are full. For example, Ghrelin, kicks into action when the stomach is empty. It prompts the neurotransmitters in the hypothalamus that causes you to feel hungry.

Once you start eating, and your stomach begins to stretch, it then secretes CCL (cholecystokinin), which is essentially an appetite suppressant.

Hormones will go ‘all out’ to convince you that you have eaten enough. Peptide YY will be produced within the intestines, which will transmit signals to your brain that you have eaten sufficiently, triggering the pancreas to release insulin.

This effectively sends out a signal that you are in the process of metabolizing the food that you have just eaten, and that no more should be consumed.

Your fat cells produce a hormone called leptin, which signals to the hypothalamus that the stomach is full by secreting a further hormone called alpha-MSH, which is also an appetite suppressant.

Testosterone, FSH, and LH: The ‘Sex’ Hormones

sex hormonesRemember the morning wood mentioned earlier?

Well that was only possible thanks to your hormones, in particular testosterone. Testosterone is vital for maintaining sexual health in males. The production of testosterone is prompted by the luteinizing hormone (LH).

The follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) helps to produce sperm. During arousal, the adrenal glands work to release epinephrine and norepinephrine by increasing the heart rate, and thus allowing the circulating blood to be pumped into the muscles, penis, and the brain.

Subsequently, the dopamine helps to increase sexual appetite by communicating with the hypothalamus to coordinate the timings of any ensuing erections.

Thyroxine: The ‘Energy’ Hormone

energy homronesMetabolism is controlled by thyroid gland, which is also responsible for converting calories into energy.

When the hypothalamus detects symptoms of fatigue, the pituitary gland sends down signals to the thyroid for it to excrete more Thyroxine.

Thyroxine enters almost every single cell in your body, and also helps to raise the heart rate.

Melatonin: The ‘Sleep’ Hormone

sleep hormones melatoninWhen the sun finally sets, the pineal gland switches itself on, and begins to secrete melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for your sleep patterns, as well as regulating your circadian rhythm. Melatonin also helps to lower ‘core body’ temperature, this helps to induce sleep.

The production of melatonin reaches its peak at approximately midnight. Unfortunately, this process can easily be disrupted by even the slightest glimmer of light.

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Nick Evans is a fully qualified nutritionist and personal trainer. Nick is also currently undertaking a PhD in Food Science at a leading Scottish University. Nick has been a keen bodybuilder throughout his adulthood and is well-versed with health supplements, hence he feels he is in a good position to offer expert advice on testosterone boosters.