glands involved in the
human endocrine system.
system is a chemical "factory" responsible for manufacturing
hormones which all play an important in a range of bodily
system regulates our weight, appetites and metabolism, raises
or lowers our blood sugar levels, is responsible for normal
growth and brain
development, signals menstruation, and stimulates the
production of sperm and ovaries in human sexual
How does it all work?
glands release more than 20 major hormones directly into the
bloodstream where they can be transported to cells that have
built-in receptors to receive them.
glands that make up the human endocrine system are the hypothalamus,
pituitary, pineal, thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, adrenals,
and the reproductive glands, which include the ovaries and
Pituitary gland About
the size of a pea, the pituitary gland, located at the base
of the brain just beneath the hypothalamus, is considered
the most important part of the endocrine system.
the pituitary gland is actually controlled by the nearby hypothalamus,
which transmits information sensed by the brain - such as
outside temperature, light exposure, and even our emotional
state - to the pituitary.
the most well-known function of the pituitary is the production
of "feel-good" chemicals called endorphins that
have a major effect on our mood and sensitivity to pain. The
pituitary also signals the ovaries and testes to make sex
hormones, controls ovulation and the menstrual cycle, produces
growth hormones that stimulates bone and body tissue development,
and activates the thyroid to produce hormones that effect
Pineal gland Located in the middle of the brain near the pituitary,
the pineal gland secretes melatonin, a hormone that is stimulated
by darkness, and usually produced most actively as we sleep
with a major influence on the body's circadian rhythm, or
Thyroid gland The thyroid,
located in lower neck, is the butterfly-shaped gland that
produces hormones that regulate metabolism, or how fast we
burn up food to produce energy. It's also a major influence
on bone growth and brain and nervous system development in
Adrenal glands Situated on top of each kidney, the adrenal glands have
several functions including the production of epinephrine
which increases our heart rate and "fight-or-flight"
reaction when the body undergoes stress. The adrenals also
effect our metabolism, the immune system, and sexual development
Although most associated with the digestive
system, the pancreas also produces the hormones insulin
and glucagon, that have a major effect on raising or lowering
glucose (sugar levels) in the bloodstream which helps boost
our daily energy levels.
Ovaries and testes
The main source of hormones involved in sexual reproduction,
the ovaries and testes are also most associated with regulating
body changes during puberty and the development of the sex
the ovaries produce eggs and the female hormone, estrogen,
which is responsible for breast development, and regulation
of the menstrual cycle. Another hormone produced by the ovaries,
progesterone, also helps regulate the menstrual cycle and
helps prepares the lining of the uterus for egg implantation.
the testes secrete androgens, one of which is testosterone
that controls sexual development and enlargement of the penis,
production of sperm, as well as growth of facial and pubic
hair and deepening of the voice during puberty.
Endocrine system and health
Since the endocrine system plays such an important role
in so many different bodily functions, keeping it working
properly simply comes down to giving the body what it needs
- proper diet
plenty of water, fresh air and regular
down on carbs and sugar will also help ward off such rampant
diseases as diabetes,
which occurs when the pancreas is overtaxed by superhuman
demands on insulin levels, rising in response to processing
all those sweets, chips, and junk food!
is another major factor that influences all major functions
in the human
body with sometimes debilitating effects on the thyroid
glands - such as hyperthyroidism
or hypothyroidism - which can dangerously speed up or
lower metabolism and heart rate.
Endocrine System - Wikipedia
- Complete overview with information and diagrams explaining
the glands, organs, chemicals and hormones involved in the
endocrine process with related references and resources.
Endocrine System - Take the complete tour provided by Colorado State University.
Endocrine System Diagram - Interactive diagram leading to detailed
information on the inner workings of the pineal, pituitary,
adrenal, testes and thyroid glands.
Diseases - Check out an excellent guide from MedlinePlus with clear descriptions
of diseases and conditions effecting the thyroid, adrenal
glands and pancreas with related diagrams, photos and illustrations.