The 65 main types of hormones (and their functions)

Hormones are chemicals that are produced in different places in our body and that, acting as messengers, reach target organs or tissues where they influence their functioning.

Therefore, these molecules regulate the cellular activity of our entire organism.

Each molecule fulfills a very specific function, and all of them together allow the correct activity of the human body based on the stimuli it receives. In this article we will see what the main human hormones are and what role each of them plays.


    What types of hormones are there and what is their function?

    Produced in endocrine or secretory glands, hormones are essential for life. Many vital functions depend on their correct production and subsequent action in the target tissues and organs, so that problems in their functioning can lead to serious diseases.

    Having confirmed its importance in human physiology, we are going to see some of the most important hormones in the human body and the role they play in it.

    1. Serotonin

    Serotonin regulates appetite, controls body temperature, induces cell division, and influences motor activity, perception, and cognitive function. It is also known as the "happiness hormone" since high levels cause feelings of well-being, relaxation and satisfaction.

    2. Adrenaline

    Adrenaline, basic to the fight or flight responses, increases the heart rate and suppresses non-vital processes.

    3. Dopamine

    Dopamine increases the heart rate and raises blood pressure, as well as inhibiting the production of prolactin and thyrotropin-releasing hormone.

    4. Melatonin

    Melatonin is key to controlling circadian rhythms as it causes drowsiness and helps you fall asleep.

    5. Noradrenaline

    Norepinephrine, despite being considered more of a neurotransmitter than a hormone, helps adrenaline to develop its function.

    6. Thyroxine

    Thyroxine is the main hormone secreted by the thyroid gland and helps regulate metabolism and control growth, in addition to participating in the control of protein synthesis.

    7. Anti-Mullerian hormone

    Anti-Mullerian hormone allows a woman's egg reserve to be accurately calculated by measuring the number of available oocytes.

    8. Growth hormone

    Growth hormone, as its name suggests, regulates the growth of the individual and stimulates cell division by controlling the process of mitosis.

    9. Histamine

    Histamine participates in the immune response to an infection or stressor stimulus from the environment. It is responsible for inducing inflammation of the tissues and also stimulates the production of gastric acid in the stomach.

    10. Insulin

    Insulin stimulates the entry of glucose and lipids from the blood into cells, in addition to participating in glycogenesis and glycolysis in liver and muscle and the synthesis of triglycerides in adipocytes.

    11. Oxytocin

    Oxytocin stimulates the secretion of milk from the breasts and intervenes in the process of uterine contractions, in addition to controlling circadian rhythms.

    12. Testosterone

    Testosterone stimulates the growth and increase of both muscle mass and bone density. It allows the maturation of the male sexual organs and modifies the speech apparatus by making the voice more serious.

    13. Progesterone

    Progesterone participates in the regulation of the menstrual cycle, in addition to maintaining pregnancy by inhibiting the response of the immune system against the embryo, one of the causes of abortion.

    14. Cortisol

    Cortisol stimulates gluconeogenesis in muscles and adipose tissue and lipolysis also in adipose tissue. It also has immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory effects, preventing the immune response to stress from being exaggerated.

    15. Adiponectin

    Adiponectin regulates glucose and lipid metabolism by increasing the sensitivity of cells to insulin.

    16. Vasopressin

    Also known as antidiuretic hormone, vasopressin causes moderate vasoconstriction and controls the amount of water in the kidney by regulating the concentration of water molecules in the urine.

    17. Calcitonin

    Calcitonin intervenes in the construction of bone since it increases the storage of calcium in them.

    18. Erythropoietin

    Erythropoietin stimulates the production of red blood cells.

    19. Gastrine

    Gastrin stimulates gastric acid secretion, thus allowing better digestion of food.

    20. Inhibin

    Inhibin suppresses follicle-stimulating hormone production.

    21. Prolactin

    Prolactin stimulates milk production, in addition to being linked to pleasure after sexual intercourse.

    22. Relaxin

    The exact function of relaxin remains unknown, but it is known to occur especially in the corpus luteum of women.

    23. Neuropeptide Y

    Neuropeptide Y has the function of regulating the energy intake received by the body, increasing the sensation of appetite and reducing thermoregulatory activity.

    24. Renin

    Produced in the kidney, renin has the function of stimulating the production of angiotensin.

    25. Encephalin

    Encephalin regulates the sensation and perception of pain.

    26. Aldosterone

    Aldosterone participates in the reabsorption of sodium and the secretion of potassium in the kidney, which increases the blood pressure.

    27. Estrona

    Estrone acts in the development of sexual characteristics and the female reproductive organs, in addition to increasing the anabolism of proteins.

    28. Estradiol

    Estradiol promotes the differentiation of female secondary sexual characteristics and intervenes in growth, in addition to increasing water and sodium retention. In men it prevents the death of germ cells.

    29. Secretin

    Secretin stimulates bicarbonate secretion and stops gastric juice production.

    30. Thrombopoietin

    Thrombopoietin stimulates platelet production.

    31. Thyrotropin

    Thyrotropin stimulates the secretion of thyroxine and triiodothyronine.

    32. Thyrotropin-releasing hormone

    As its name suggests, it is the hormone that is responsible for releasing thyrotropin.

    33. Prolactin releasing factor

    Stimulates the release of the hormone prolactin.

    34. Lipotropin

    Lipotropin stimulates melanin production, lipolysis, and steroid synthesis.

    35. Brain Natriuretic Peptide

    Brain natriuretic peptide lowers the amount of water, sodium, and lipids in the blood, thereby lowering blood pressure.

    36. Endothelin

    Endothelin allows the smooth muscle of the stomach to contract.

    37. Glucagon

    Glucagon increases blood glucose levels by promoting glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis.

    38. Leptin

    Leptin decreases appetite and increases the body's metabolic rates.

    39. Luteinizing hormone

    Luteinizing hormone stimulates ovulation and testosterone production.

    40. Parathormone

    Parathormone activates vitamin D and stimulates the production of bone tissue.

    41. Somatostatin

    Somatostatin has various functions: it inhibits the release of growth hormone and thyrotropin, suppresses the release of hormones that stimulate gastric acid production, reduces intestinal smooth muscle contractions, etc.

    42. Dihydrotestosterone

    Dihydrotestosterone controls hair growth on the body and face and influences the secretion of the sebaceous glands causing acne.

    43. Androstenedione

    Androstenedione acts as a substrate for estrogens, allowing them to perform their function.

    44. Dehydroepiandrosterone

    Dehydroepiandrosterone has a function similar to that of testosterone.

    45. Tetraiodothyronine

    Tetraiodothyronine affects protein synthesis and increases basal metabolism and sensitivity to catecholamines (epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine).

    46. ​​Triiodothyronine

    The Triiodothyronine has the same function as tetraiodothyronine but performs it more potently.

    47. Prostaglandin

    Prostaglandin regulates aspects related to blood pressure, the inflammatory immune response and the activity of the digestive system.

    48. Corticotropin

    Corticotropin has the function of stimulating the adrenal glands to produce mainly cortisol and testosterone.

    49. Estriol

    Estriol is responsible for ensuring that the placenta and fetus are in good condition, its levels increasing during pregnancy and decreasing at the time of delivery.

    50. Somatocrinin

    Somatocrinin has the function of stimulating the production of growth hormone.

    51. Gastric inhibitory peptide

    Gastric inhibitory peptide stimulates insulin secretion and triglyceride synthesis in adipose tissue. It also decreases gastric movement.

    52. Parathyroid hormone

    The parathyroid hormone increases the level of calcium in the blood and at the same time decreases that of sodium.

    53. Orexin

    Orexin is responsible for inciting a greater appetite and controls metabolic energy expenditure.

    54. Angiotensin

    Angiotensin has the function of causing vasoconstriction with the aim of increasing blood pressure.

    55. Somatomedine

    Somatomedin has similar functions to insulin.

    56. Human placental lactogen

    Human placental lactogen is produced in the placenta to alter a woman's metabolism during pregnancy by stimulating insulin production to deliver more energy to the fetus.

    57. Human chorionic gonadotropin

    Human chorionic gonadotropin is responsible for maintaining the corpus luteum during pregnancy and also inhibits the immune system response against the developing fetus.

    58. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone

    Gonadotropin-releasing hormone triggers the release of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone.

    59. Ghrelin

    Ghrelin has two main functions: to stimulate the sensation of appetite and to stimulate the secretion of growth hormone.

    60. Follicle stimulating hormone

    The follicle-stimulating hormone has the function of, in women, stimulating the maturation of the Graafian follicles, the step prior to the formation of the corpus luteum. In men, on the other hand, it stimulates spermatogenesis in the testes.

    61. Corticoliberine

    Corticoliberine has the function of releasing corticotropin. It also acts as a neurotransmitter in stressful situations.

    62. Calcitriol

    Calcitriol participates in the absorption of calcium in the intestines, thus maintaining adequate levels in the blood so that the bones have it available when necessary.

    63. Pancreatic polypeptide

    The exact function of the pancreatic polypeptide is still a mystery. It is known to be produced in the pancreas.

    64. Melanocyte-stimulating hormone

    The melanocyte-stimulating hormone is a key part of the melanogenesis process, as it induces darkening of the skin in response to sun exposure.

    65. Cholecystokinin

    Cholecystokinin induces a feeling of satiety by stimulating the production of digestive enzymes in the pancreas and bile in the gallbladder.

    Bibliographic references

    • Conn, M. (1997) "Endocrinology: Basic and Clinical Principles". HUMANA PRESS.

    • Gross, Richard (2010). Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behavior. London: Hachette UK.

    • Hiller-Sturmhöfel, S., Bartke, A. (1998) "The Endocrine System: An Overview". Alcohol Health & Research World, 22 (3),

    • Silver, R., Kriegsfeld, LJ (2001) "Hormones and Behavior." Encyclopedia of Life Sciences.

    • Triglia, Adrián; Regader, Bertrand; García-Allen, Jonathan (2016). Psychologically speaking. Paidos.

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