Chemical regulation is an essential process occurring in living organisms during which specific substances are produced to influence metabolism or induce the synthesis of other chemicals. These substances are called hormones. As hormones regulate various processes in the body and act as chemical messengers, they are also called chemical regulators. In fact, hormones are integral in a broad range of our body systems and our cells and organs would not be able to function properly without them. But what makes hormones so crucial for living organisms? Here are ten reasons why chemical regulators are important.
#1. Hormones Can Be Considered to Be Chemical Messengers
Before we even start discussing specific functions of hormones, let’s define what hormones are and explain why they are called chemical regulators. So, hormones are signaling molecules that carry messages through the blood to different cells, organs, muscles, or tissues in general to coordinate and regulate numerous functions occurring in the body. The signals sent by the hormones are chemical messages, meaning that hormones create changes in terms of chemical composition so that specific tissues know what is going on or how they are supposed to do. In addition, there are numerous glands in the body that produce these chemical regulators, AKA hormones. Some of the hormone-producing glands are the hypothalamus, adrenal glands, ovaries, testes, thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, and more.
#2. Hormones Regulate Growth and Development
In order for a living organism to grow and develop, the growth hormone needs to be released into the bloodstream. And this can only happen when the pituitary gland is stimulated to produce the hormone. So, how does this work? A growth hormone-releasing hormone is produced in the hypothalamus and then it stimulates the pituitary gland to produce and release the actual growth hormone.
#3. Hormones Regulate Metabolism
While metabolism is a complex process during which the breakdown of molecules provides our body with energy, it is essential to regulate it. To control the rate and direction of metabolism, the thyroid gland produces and releases a hormone called thyroxine. This hormone determines how fast or slow different chemical reactions of the metabolic pathway go in a living organism. As metabolism has a significant impact on numerous cellular functions, metabolic regulation by hormones is of huge importance.
#4. Hormones Control Homeostasis
Homeostasis can be defined as the ability of our body to maintain internal stability when it is affected by environmental changes. Regulating the internal body temperature, level of glucose in the blood, and blood pressure are a few examples of homeostasis. As a matter of fact, the endocrine system is involved in the maintenance of homeostasis. The ductless glands, also known as the endocrine glands, secrete hormones into the bloodstream to regulate and maintain homeostasis.
#5. Hormones Are Essential for Proper Sexual Functioning
Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are some of the hormones that influence various sexual functions, such as sexual desire and arousal. In order for living organisms to maintain proper sexual functions, the secretion of the hormones mentioned earlier is essential.
#6. Hormones Are Involved in Sexual Reproduction
Sexual reproduction is a process during which genetic information from each parent is combined to produce genetically unique offspring. While the ovaries produce estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in the female body, the testes produce sperm and testosterone. The secretion of these hormones is absolutely necessary for reproduction as they are responsible for puberty, menstruation, sperm production, sex drive, and pregnancy.
#7. Hormonal Issues Can Cause Numerous Medical Conditions
Although hormones regulate a broad range of processes occurring in the body, the regulation of hormones may also be necessary sometimes. This is because hormonal imbalance can cause numerous health conditions that require medical treatment. While hormonal imbalances may initially lead to health issues, these health conditions can also cause hormonal imbalances. Some of the most common medical conditions caused by hormonal issues are type 1 and type 2 diabetes, thyroid diseases, Cushing syndrome, Addison’s disease, and many more.
#8. Hormones Regulate the Sleep-Wake Cycle
Have you ever noticed that something makes you feel sleepy when darkness comes at night? It can be explained by the secretion of the sleep hormone called melatonin. When there is no light, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) located in the anterior part of the hypothalamus sends a signal to the pineal gland by secreting glutamate. As a result, the pineal gland produces melatonin which is then released into the bloodstream, letting you know that it is the end of the day and it is time to go to bed.
#9. Hormones Affect Your Emotional State
Significant changes in your mood patterns, both good and bad, can often be caused by the secretion of certain hormones into the bloodstream. Believe it or not, hormones make a huge difference in terms of your emotional state. Some of the hormones that may affect your mood are estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, adrenaline, dopamine, melatonin, cortisol, and serotonin. Therefore, regulating your hormones will reduce the risks of developing mood disorders and allow you to improve or balance your emotional health.
#10. Hormones Are Essential for Your Body to Function Properly
As described above, hormones are crucial for regulating various processes taking place in living organisms, including but not limited to growth, development, metabolism, homeostasis, sexual reproduction, sleep and wake cycle, emotional health, and others. Therefore, it is obvious that our bodies would not be able to function properly without the secretion of chemical regulators, AKA hormones.