The hormonal system (called the endocrine system in medical terminology) has various glands that release different hormones. It's the way in which one part of the body (the gland) tells another part of the body (the target cell) to do something important. The endocrine glands influence reproduction, metabolism, growth and many other functions.
Below is a list of the main glands (see diagram for their location), some of the hormones they produce and what effects they have on the body.
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- major hormones — anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), oxytocin and various hormones that stimulate the pituitary gland
- influences — nervous and hormonal systems
- major hormones — luteinising hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), prolactin, growth hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), oxytocin, anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH)
- influences — reproduction, growth, childbirth, breastfeeding, hormone regulation
- major hormones — melatonin
- influences — sleep cycle
- major hormones — tri-iodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4), calcitonin
- influence — metabolism, bone health
- major hormones — parathyroid hormone
- influences — calcium and vitamin D regulation
- major hormones — adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol, aldosterone
- influences — stress response and blood pressure/salt control
- major hormones — insulin, glucagon, somatostatin
- influences — blood sugar control
Ovaries (females only)
- major hormones — oestrogen, progesterone
- influences — female characteristics
Testes (males only)
- major hormones — testosterone
- influences — male characteristics
Find out more about the hormonal system.
Last reviewed: November 2018