List Of Hormones And Their Functions

What are hormones

The endocrine system, which is made up of glands, is responsible for the production and secretion of hormones. Hormones are powerful messengers in the body and critical for good health. While some hormones are present at birth, others are produced throughout life and decline with age. They regulate our metabolism, moods, growth, sexual development, and more.1

List of hormones and their functions

There are various hormones in the body, each with a different role. Understanding the various hormones and their functions is essential to maintaining optimal health. Hormones derived from water-soluble amino acids are amine, peptide, or protein hormones. In contrast, those derived from lipids (oil-soluble) include steroid hormones.

The most important hormones are the endocrine hormones produced in the endocrine glands,  and they are delivered to target organs and tissues by the blood. Other hormones, such as catecholamines, are autonomic and produced outside the endocrine system.1

The endocrine system is made up of six hormone-producing six glands; below are the glands, their hormones and functions: 1,2,3,4

PituitaryAntidiuretic hormone (vasopressin)Controls blood pressure and regulates water retention in the kidney
Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) Controls the synthesis of the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen and the creation of sperm and eggs in men and women, respectively.
Growth hormone (GH) Regulates body growth and development from childhood through old age.
Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) Regulate the production of sex hormones in both men and women. They originate in the pituitary gland and are essential for sexual development and reproduction.
OxytocinHelps in lactation after childbirth by stimulating breast tissue contractions and uterine contractions during labour and childbirth.
Prolactin Stimulates and maintains breast milk production, and high prolactin levels affect sex hormones such as GnRH.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) Regulates the production and secretion of the thyroid hormone.
Hypothalamus Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) 
Controls the release of growth hormone in the pituitary gland
Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) Helps in the regulation of thyroid-stimulating hormones.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) Consists of LH, FSH, and chorionic gonadotropin and is produced by the hypothalamus and stimulates the pituitary to release sex hormones. It is essential during puberty and plays a role in the production of sex hormones throughout adult life.
Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) Regulates the release of adrenocorticotropic in the pituitary gland.
Somatostatin, also known as the growth hormone-inhibiting hormone (GI) Found in abundance in the nervous system. It regulates other hormones, such as the growth hormone, especially when the body does not need them.
Dopamine and Serotonin a.k.a feel-good hormones. Their functions include regulating mood, motivation, learning and attention.
Pineal Melatonin Controls the sleep-regulating circadian rhythm.
Thyroid Thyroxine (T4), Triiodothyronine (T3), Reverse triiodothyronine (RT3) and Calcitonin

They impact growth, maturation, nervous system activity, metabolism, and metabolic control. Thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) are controlled by the hypothalamus and pituitary and regulate metabolism and body temperature.
ParathyroidParathyroid hormone (PTH)The most significant controller of blood calcium levels.
Adrenal Aldosterone Regulates salt, blood pressure and water balance
Cortisol Controls vital body functions and our body's reaction to stress, is anti-inflammatory and keeps blood sugar, blood pressure, and muscular strength stable. It also regulates salt and water balance.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)A prohormone that aids in the production of other hormones
NorepinephrineMaintains blood pressure
Epinephrine or adrenaline Increases blood flow, heart rate, and oxygen intake.
Thymus (active from birth till puberty)ThymosinEncourages the growth of disease-fighting T-cells, a class of white blood cells that aid the body's defence against autoimmunity and its own fighting mechanisms.

Organs outside the endocrine system (called the exocrine system) which produce hormones include: 

  • The pancreas which has both endocrine and exocrine glands produces insulin to regulate glucose levels and glucagon to increase glucose levels
  • Ovaries produce the female sex hormones progesterone and oestrogen. The placenta also produces these during pregnancy.
  • Testes produce the male sex hormone testosterone.
  • The gut also produces somatostatin. Ghrelin which controls hunger and fullness, and Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), which enhances insulin and regulates glucagon, are also produced by the gut.
  • The liver produces insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which regulates growth hormones and angiotensinogen that performs the same functions as aldosterone.
  • The kidney produces erythropoietin to stimulate red blood cell production, renin which controls blood pressure by regulating sodium and potassium levels, and the active form of vitamin D (a prohormone that our body converts to a hormone) for good bone health.
  • The adipose (fat) tissue produces leptin for appetite regulation, adiponectin to regulate glucose and insulin sensitivity, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 for blood clotting, and angiotensin to maintain fluid balance and blood pressure. It also produces oestrogen.


What diseases are caused by hormone issues?

Hormonal issues arise from hormonal imbalance when your body produces very little or too much of one or more hormones. According to the Endocrine Society, hormone balance depends on many factors, such as genetics, age, diet, lifestyle, stress, pregnancy, and environment. 

Certain illnesses and therapies, such as naturopathic medicine, herbal supplements, and prescription drugs like opioids or steroids, can also cause endocrine disorders.

Endocrine disorders include:1,5,6,7

  • PCOS, amenorrhea - irregular or missing periods, and anovulation - when an egg is not released by the fallopian tubes into the ovaries for fertilisation
  • Diabetes, including type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (caused by pregnancy)
  • Thyroid diseases including hypothyroidism (low thyroid levels) and Grave's Disease or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid or high thyroid levels)
  • Pituitary diseases 
  • Male and female infertility
  • Cushing's syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Breast cancer
  • Prostate and ovarian cancer
  • Parkinson's disease

What are the signs of hormonal imbalance?

Hormone imbalance can lead to a variety of symptoms depending on the hormonal gland that is affected. Some symptoms include:7

  • Fatigue
  • Weight changes
  • Mood changes
  • Skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis
  • Sweating
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Body odour
  • Headaches

Can I treat hormonal issues and imbalances at home?

The adage "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" may be true regarding hormone balance. Your healthcare provider may recommend lifestyle and dietary changes or supplements depending on your symptoms. Some herbal remedies supporting hormone balance include ginseng, sage, and holy basil. 

You may take hormone supplements orally; however, you should seek the advice of a trained and certified health practitioner, as the FDA does not regulate them. Some supplements that help with hormone balance include calcium, Vitamin D, B vitamins, Magnesium and Zinc. 

Lifestyle changes for hormonal issues are:

  • Diet: A diet rich in proteins, healthy fats, and low-glycemic carbohydrates is ideal 
  • Exercise: Regular exercise can help maintain healthy hormone levels and reduce symptoms of hormone imbalance
  • Stress management: Hormones are regulated by the hypothalamus and pituitary. Chronic stress can overwork these glands leading to low levels of critical hormones5
  • Get enough sleep: A good night's sleep is vital for your overall health and well-being and ensures adequate melatonin and growth hormone production
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking enough fluids provides optimal fluid levels, enabling hormones to be delivered to the targeted cells

When to see a doctor

You should see a doctor when lifestyle changes do not seem to work or if you notice more severe symptoms such as hair loss, missed periods, or drastic weight changes. It could be a symptom of menopause, hypogonadism, or an endocrine disorder, which may require hormone therapy or other diseases unrelated to hormones. 


Hormones are essential for good health, but they are delicate and easily affected by several factors within and around us. This article explored the different types of hormones, their roles in the body, and how our lifestyle choices affect their production. With this information, you can better recognise the signs of hormone imbalance and make informed decisions about managing your health and when to seek medical attention.


  1. Campbell M, Jialal I. Physiology, Endocrine Hormones. [Updated 2022 Sep 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from:
  2. Guillemin, Roger. “Hypothalamic Hormones a.k.a. Hypothalamic Releasing Factors.” Journal of Endocrinology, vol. 184, no. 1, Jan. 2005, pp. 11–28. (Crossref), Available from:
  3. Shahid Z, Asuka E, Singh G. Physiology, Hypothalamus. [Updated 2022 May 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from:
  4. Paravati S, Rosani A, Warrington SJ. Physiology, Catecholamines. [Updated 2021 Oct 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from:
  5. Ranabir, Salam, and K. Reetu. “Stress and Hormones.” Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, vol. 15, no. 1, Mar. 2011, pp. 18–22., Available from:
  6. Boelaert, K., and J. A. Franklyn. “Thyroid Hormone in Health and Disease.” Journal of Endocrinology, vol. 187, no. 1, Oct. 2005, pp. 1–15. (Crossref), Available from:
  7. Crafa, Andrea, et al. “The Burden of Hormonal Disorders: A Worldwide Overview With a Particular Look in Italy.” Frontiers in Endocrinology, vol. 12, June 2021, p. 694325. (Crossref), Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Chimezirim Ozonyiri

Bachelor of Science - BS, Microbiology, General, Tansian University, Nigeria

Chimezirim has several years of experience in the healthcare, non-profit, and education sectors. She is passionate about health promotion and began her journey into health and lifestyle writing over two years ago.

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