How do hormones affect your brain

Hormones: which messenger substance does what?

Happiness hormones, cuddle hormones, sex hormones: everyone has heard of them. But what do the messenger substances do in the body? The most important hormones and their effects.

  • © dpa
    If a person is in love, a hormone mix turns his head.
  • © dpa
    Sometimes pregnancy is like a roller coaster of emotions. Hormones are also responsible for this. But they also play a major role outside of this special condition.
  • © dpa
    Hormones are produced in different organs in the body.
"These are the hormones" - this is the phrase that pregnant women hear all the time. However, not only expectant mothers are influenced by the body's own substances, but every person. "The hormone system is part of our internal company organization," explains Peter Walschburger, biopsychologist from the Free University of Berlin. Basically nothing works without hormones. An overview.

Endorphins: Powerful natural pain relievers

When a person gets injured, the body does something pretty awesome. He pours out painkillers: endorphins. This is not a mild drug like everyone has in their medicine cabinet. "Endorphins are the body's own opiates," says Walschburger. The body keeps these substances in stock so that people are still able to react in an emergency.

Adrenaline: hormone enables quick escape

Adrenaline is responsible for mobilizing additional forces so that people can escape. The messenger substance is formed in the adrenal medulla and from there it is released into the bloodstream. All over the body, adrenaline activates receptors that constrict the small blood vessels so that blood pressure increases. "That's what makes hormones so special: They are released in one place, but can have a completely different effect," explains Prof. Matthias M. Weber, spokesman for the German Society for Endocrinology.

Serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine make you happy

Serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline are hormones and neurotransmitters that are responsible for the transmission of excitation from one nerve cell to another, explains Prof. Joachim Spranger, Director of the Clinic for Endocrinology and Metabolic Medicine at the Berlin Charité. Serotonin ensures that people feel alive during the day - which is why it is often referred to as the “happiness hormone”. Together with dopamine and noradrenaline, it puts the proverbial “rose-colored glasses” on lovers.

Estrogen and testosterone: Sex hormones can do a lot

Thanks in part to the two sex hormones, women look like women and men like men. They influence the sensation of pleasure and the ability to reproduce. But that's not all: "Estrogen is also important for bone structure, for example," says Spranger. After the menopause, the body gradually ceases to produce estrogen - this is why bone density often decreases in women. "Testosterone, on the other hand, is not to be equated with lust," explains Walschburger. For example, there is also a connection between the hormone and a sense of achievement. If the favored team wins a football match, for example, the testosterone level rises - "even if the fans only sat in the stadium and didn't play themselves."

Thyroid hormones: energy in the right dose

Hormones such as triiodothyronine and thyroxine produced in the cells of the thyroid gland are among the messenger substances that work throughout the body. They are involved in the regulation of the cardiovascular system, stimulate the metabolism and thus ensure that the body always has enough, but not too much, energy available.

Cortisol: stress hormone gives you strength for the day

Cortisol is produced in the adrenal cortex and, like adrenaline, is a stress hormone. But it is not only poured out when the person feels stress. Without enough cortisol in the bloodstream, humans would not be able to live at all. It would be hard to get up in the morning at all. Cortisol affects both blood vessels and metabolism. It is particularly important for the blood salt balance.

Insulin: the body's vital storage medium

Insulin enables the body to store energy. If a healthy person has eaten carbohydrates, the islet cells in the pancreas release insulin. The insulin then opens up the cell walls so that the sugar can get into the cells and be stored there. As a result, blood sugar levels drop: a vital mechanism.

Oxytocin: cuddle and bonding hormone

While lovers turn their heads with a mix of serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine, the brain pours out oxytocin when an affair turns into a love affair. It also affects how well a person interacts with others outside of couple relationships. So attachment hormone might be the more appropriate term. Oxytocin is especially important for the relationship between parents and their children.

Somatropin: growth hormone regulates fat distribution

The growth hormone somatropin is - as the name suggests - responsible for growth in children. In adults, it is responsible, among other things, for the distribution of fat in the body. If you want to have an athletic body, you should stimulate the release of growth hormone. In contrast to other hormones, people can do this very consciously, explains Spranger: "For example, by getting enough sleep."

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Source: dpa

| Updated: Thursday, September 21, 2017 12:18 PM

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