Hormones: What are they, what do they do, and why do we have them?

Professor Hallux investigates!

Hormones are special chemicals that a body creates to make changes in cells – physical changes like growing taller!

Or things like insulin which regulates the amount of sugar in your blood.

Some of the changes affect the way we feel and behave – like adrenaline, that’s a hormone which can make us feel excited.

Other hormones can make us feel calm and happy.

Hormones are like chemical messengers that do a number of different jobs.

They’re are able to do their jobs because of the way they’re made and the way they work with other parts of the body.

Hormones are produced in the body by the endocrine system, which releases hormones when it detects changes in the body.

Different hormones will target different cells.

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Once they have targeted the right cells, hormone will enter the cell and cause a chemical change.

Sometimes it will enter into the DNA and switch genes on or off.

It’s incredible when you think about it – being able to change the instructions which tell our cells what to do. Like reprogramming a computer!

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Professor Hallux’s More Physiology Fix-Up, with support from The Physiological Society!

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