What are the three major glands of the endocrine system?

What Are the Main Functions of the Endocrine System?

The endocrine system is a network of glands called endocrine glands that are present throughout the body.

The endocrine system is a network of glands called endocrine glands that are present throughout the body. The endocrine system secrets chemical messengers called hormones directly into the bloodstream. These hormones control and regulate almost every bodily function, such as breaking down food into sugar, amino acids, and fatty acids, regulating the body’s temperature, maintaining the body’s weight, and cell growth.

Other important body functions controlled by the endocrine system include:

  • Metabolism (the burning of fuels by the body)
  • Growth and development
  • Sexual function and reproduction
  • Blood pressure
  • Appetite (satiety and hunger)
  • Sleeping and waking cycles

The endocrine system:

The endocrine system is made up of a network of endocrine glands that synthesize, store, and secrete hormones. Each endocrine gland produces one or more hormones, which have certain functions. The endocrine system includes:

  • Hypothalamus: The hypothalamus is a part of the middle brain. It controls and coordinates the entire endocrine system by controlling the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus also helps to regulate the body’s temperature, sleep-wake cycle, sexual behavior, emotional responses, and appetite.
  • Pituitary gland: This gland controls the functions of all the other endocrine glands in the body. It produces the following:
    • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH): Controls the reproductive functions.
    • Luteinizing hormone (LH): Controls the reproductive functions in both genders.
    • Melatonin: Controls the sleep-wake cycle.
    • Oxytocin: It is the “love” hormone. It is responsible for the “feel good” effect in a person when they meet or hug their loved ones.
    • Prolactin: It is required for milk production in mothers with newborns.
    • Growth hormone (GH): This hormone regulates the body’s growth, sugar levels, and bone growth.
    • Thyroid-stimulating hormone: Controls functions of the thyroid gland.
    • Adrenocorticotropic hormone: Controls the adrenal gland, which is associated with the salt-water balance and “fight or flight” response in the body.

    Endocrine Society. The Endocrine System. https://www.hormone.org/what-is-endocrinology/the-endocrine-system

    Teens Health. Endocrine System. https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/endocrine.html

    Science Direct. Hormones. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/hormones

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