What is a Hormone?

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Hormone Definition

A hormone is a chemical produced in one area of your body that travels to another area to produce a physiological effect. Hormones govern many crucial body functions including: sexual stimulation, growth, metabolism, lean muscle and fat mass,  emotions, disease prevention and more. Hormones have complex interactions which help us to feel healthy, strong, and vital. Beginning in our late 20s and early 30s, the hormones we like to be low typically begin to rise and the hormones we like high typically begin to fall. As a result, we see and feel the effects of aging: lack of energy, lack of sexual interest, difficulty maintaining muscular weight, fat gain, memory loss, and poor sleep.

Your body’s glands release hormones that travel through your bloodstream. These chemical messengers perform specific functions for your body, such as coordinating complex processes such as fertility, metabolism, and growth.

But where do hormones come from? Hormones are made in your endocrine glands, and they are passed from the cells of the gland to the blood flowing through that gland.

Endocrine Glands and Hormones

Endocrine glands are a special group of cells that produce hormones. These glands are distributed throughout your body, and they control various psychological and physiological functions.

Endocrine glands and hormones are vital for maintaining homeostasis in your body. Some major endocrine glands are pineal, thyroid, thymus, pituitary, testes, adrenal glands, and pancreas. Besides this, men produce sex hormones in their testes while women produce them in their ovaries.

How Do Hormones Work?

human brain sending signalsThe brain signals the hormonal glands to produce and secrete hormones into the bloodstream. These glands are a part of the endocrine system. The testes and ovaries are the most familiar endocrine glands that secrete sex hormones.

Other endocrine glands are the adrenal glands, pancreatic islets, and the thyroid. While all the cells in your body are exposed to the chemical messengers circulating the bloodstream, not all cells react to hormones. Instead, only a target cell with receptors for the specific hormone responds to the signal.

When the hormone binds to the receptor, it initiates a biological response in the cell. Thus, a cell cannot respond to the hormone without the receptor sites. Certain chemicals interfere with the action of hormones. These are called endocrine disruptors.

What Do Hormones Do?

Since hormones are chemicals produced in one area of the body and travel to another to produce a biological or physiological effect, they govern crucial body functions.

From altering behavior, influencing the immune system, controlling metabolism, to affecting disease prevention, growth and development, hormones manage complex interactions of the human body that are vital for you to stay healthy. Here are some important functions of hormones.

  • Altering mood
  • Burning fat
  • Regulating cognitive functions
  • Maintaining body temperature
  • Controlling hunger and thirst
  • Growth and muscular development
  • Maintaining sexual development

Importance of Hormones

If your body over produces or under produces certain hormones, it can be detrimental to your health as you can get several diseases from hormonal imbalances. So you must identify hormonal problems and treat them to make your body function well.

You can resolve hormonal deficiencies and imbalances by employing the Carragher Method for hormone optimization. But, first, let us look at the most important hormones and how they help you function properly.

  • Testosterone: The male testes and female ovaries produce testosterone, a sex hormone. This hormone is responsible for not only sex drive and muscle growth, but also heart function, brain function, fat burning, and more. Low levels of testosterone cause loss of muscle, erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, cardiovascular problems and fat gain, amongst other things.
  • Human Growth Hormone (hGH): hGH is a peptide hormone called somatotropin. The anterior lobe of the pituitary gland secretes hGH. It stimulates the growth of body tissues and bones, and maintains a youthful body.
  • Thyroid: The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland present in the neck in front of the trachea. The thyroid gland secretes hormones T4 and T3 that control metabolism and affect things like heart rate, body temperature, and fat burning. T3 and T4 work throughout your body to control energy production and utilization.
  • DHEA: Adrenal glands produce an essential hormone called dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) which helps with fat burning, mood, energy levels, and helps produce other hormones like testosterone and estrogen. DHEA levels drop in your body when you start to age. This is why many people take DHEA supplements for age management.
  • Pregnenolone: Adrenal glands produce the steroid hormone pregnenolone. It plays a critical role in the production of many other hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, cortisol, and DHEA. But alone it also affects memory and learning, and helps your body regulate cortisol levels.
  • Melatonin: The pineal gland in the brain and the gut produce melatonin, a vital hormone that regulates your circadian rhythm and sleep/wake cycle. It is also one of the most potent antioxidants in your body. Your brain amps melatonin production in the evening to prepare your body for sleep. Impaired melatonin levels affect sleep quality and disrupt your sleep/wake cycle.
  • Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG): Human chorionic gonadotropin is a pregnancy hormone secreted by the placenta. It stimulates the ovaries to continue producing progesterone.  It is also used therapeutically to stimulate testosterone production in men.
  • Thymulin (serum thymic factor): Thymulin, a neuroendocrine hormone, has immunoregulatory actions. It plays an essential role in inducing differentiation and function of T cells which is vital for immunity.

Hormone Regulating Peptides

Peptides engage with receptors present in your body to promote the release of hormones and other compounds that influence your health. While the body produces peptides, the number of peptides produced decreases with age.

The Carragher Method can help age management and hormone optimization by using therapeutic peptides as part of a treatment plan. Here are various peptides vital for promoting hormonal secretions.

  • Sermorelin: Sermorelin is a synthetic version of the naturally occurring substances that promote the release of human growth hormone (hGH) from your pituitary gland. When your body produces insufficient growth hormones, sermorelin helps increase its production to promote growth and development.
  • CJC 1295/Ipamorelin: Ipamorelin is a peptide that promotes growth hormone release from the anterior pituitary gland. Thus, it is a synthetic analog of the growth hormone-releasing substance. CJC 1295 is another peptide that also stimulates hGH production, but by a different mechanism. The two are used in combination to promote HGH release and therefore fat burning, collagen production, wound healing, and muscle development.
  • Semaglutide (Ozempic & Wegovy): Semaglutide injection sold under the brand name Ozempic & Wegovy helps the pancreas release optimum insulin levels when your body has high sugar levels. Insulin helps move sugar from your blood into the body tissues, which is utilized for energy production. It also works as an appetite suppressant and is the most effective, safest weight loss medication on the market. 
  • DSIP: Delta-sleep-inducing peptide (DSIP) is a nonapeptide (9 amino acids) that helps in neuroendocrine regulation, which naturally helps your body secrete hormones to promote delta sleep.
  • TB 500 and BPC-157: BPC-157 regulates the growth hormone cell receptors and increases the healing of various tissues associated with tendons, while TB 500 improves the healing process speed.
  • PT 141: Bremelanotide or PT-141 is a synthetic peptide. It treats sexual dysfunction in men and women. It stimulates libido and works for ED and lack of sexual sensitivity.
  • 5-Amino-1MQ: 5-Amino-1MQ stimulates an increase of the cofactor nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), which is responsible for cellular metabolism. This peptide increases metabolic rate in people with hormonal deficiencies. It is used therapeutically to assist fat burning. 

Hormonal Diseases

Hormonal diseases occur as a result of the malfunctioning of the endocrine glands. An increase or decrease of hormonal secretions severely affects metabolism, growth, and development, leading to various diseases such as heart disease, osteoporosis, hypothyroidism, and diabetes.

As stated before, hormonal imbalance is likely to begin to occur as early as  your late 20’s and early 30’s as hormone levels that should typically stay low begin to rise while the hormones that should be high begin to fall. It results in various problems associated with aging, such as lack of sexual interest, memory loss, poor sleep, lack of energy, fat gain, etc.

This is why several hormones and hormone-regulating peptides are of utmost importance to replace to treat the body’s underproduction and overproduction of hormones.

The Carragher Method

The Carragher Method is a methodology for age management where Dr. Mike Carragher’s expertise can help optimize your hormones and overall well-being.

At The Carragher Method, we test you for hormonal deficiencies, which help observe your key hormone levels such as testosterone thyroid, insulin, estrogen, human growth hormone, and DHEA. This helps to assess your current hormonal state.

Dr. Carragher’s services are available for patients across the United States and beyond. Contact us today if you also want a comprehensive evaluation and a custom solution for your health to optimize function and return to the optimal hormonal state.

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