Why Do We Need Hormones?
10
March

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /


What’s the first thing that comes to mind
when I say the word hormone? Pimples? Mood swings? Cramps? Really inopportune moments where your armpits
get sweaty? Are we good? We’re good. Hormones are obviously involved in puberty,
but they’re so much more than that. Like hormones are involved in how we deal
with stress, and in triggering our immune systems, and in steroids. So, grab your antiperspirant and acne cream,
today we’re talking about hormones. In a previous episode you heard me talk about
blood and all the stuff floating around in it. We talked about blood cells and glucose and
different biomarkers, but I also mentioned chemicals called hormones. Now, I’m assuming that when I say the word
hormones, you’ve already heard about testosterone and estrogen, but hormones are a much more
diverse part of our physiology than just those two. Hormones are any number of chemical messengers
that get secreted by glands, travel through the bloodstream, and have an effect on cells
with receptors for that hormone all around the body. They’re like a long distance messaging service
in one of our body’s systems called the endocrine system, a system for communicating
messages across long distances in our bodies. And their effects are incredibly diverse as
well. Hormones can stimulate growth, metabolism,
immune function and much more. Some hormones even double, triple, or quadruple
dip in the functions around your body. For example, thyroid hormone is important
for development while you’re in utero, but also in maintaining metabolism in your adult
body. At the same time, multiple hormones can team
up to do the same job. Like controlling blood sugar largely depends
on the hormone insulin which is made by your pancreas. But it also depends on hormones like glucagon,
cortisol, epinephrine, and growth hormone. The point is, it’s really hard to imagine
the endocrine system as a single cause and a single effect. Hormones are less linear, and more like a
tangly web. That’s in part because this system is built
off of feedback loops, mechanisms where changing one aspect of the loop can lead to increases
or decreases of another depending on the situation. These feedback loops can be positive or negative,
which doesn’t mean good or bad, just how a hormone is affected by some other substance. In a positive feedback loop, if you increase
one factor, it also increases another which increases the original factor which keeps
the loop going. To quote a late nineties chip advertisement,
once you pop the fun don’t stop. Right, let’s take a look at childbirth. Now that I say that out loud I’m not sure
it was the best transition line, but let’s roll with it. During childbirth, the size of the baby’s
body applies pressure to the cervix it’s trying to pass through. This triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin
which stimulates more cervical contractions which stimulates more oxytocin which stimulates
more contractions and so on. We don’t use positive feedback loops as
often as negative feedback loops since they can end up with hormone levels spiraling way
past the normal, ideal value. But in this case, the feedback loop has a
natural stopping point when the baby is born. Then afterwards, the oxytocin levels return to what they were before childbirth. Way more commonly, our hormones are regulated
by negative feedback loops, where an increase in one substance eventually eventually leads
to a decrease of that same substance. This makes sure hormone levels stay fairly
consistent from day to day. For example, your body can sense when your
blood is dehydrated and it’ll adjust some hormones so you can conserve as much water
as possible. One of those involves increasing the release
of vasopressin, a hormone released by the pituitary gland. This bump in vasopressin makes the kidneys
more permeable to water by temporarily adding little water channels onto the surface of
cells. This moves water back into the bloodstream
towards a more normal value. And now that the blood is back to normal,
the pituitary stops pumping out as much vasopressin. That’s what makes this a negative feedback
loop. Vasopressin increased, it had its effect,
so the body lowers its secretion. One of the other hormones that uses a negative
feedback loop is cortisol, arguably one of the most important hormones, and an example
of a steroid, which we’ll come back to. Cortisol is often called the stress hormone
since it gets released during times of stress and gives our bodies resources for surviving
the stressor like increasing sugar metabolism and buffing up our immune system. This hormone is constantly in the process
of its feedback loop since, as you know from existing as a human in the modern world, life
is stressful. So our bodies are constantly pumping out cortisol,
which begs the question, how do we make a hormone? Well what they’re made of differs from hormone
to hormone. Most are made of proteins, or peptides, some
from phospholipids, while some are made out of cholesterol. And our buddy cortisol is made out of cholesterol. That’s part of what makes it a steroid,
hence the “stero-” part of both words. In order for cholesterol to turn into any
steroid, it goes through a transformation pathway ..
It starts by converting into a molecule called pregnenolone. From there it can convert into progesterone,
an important hormone in pregnancy and the ovulation cycle. Even if you personally don’t ovulate, progesterone
still makes important compounds in your body. And with a few more chemical conversions it
can turn into cortisol, or into androgens, which include testosterone or estrogen. Testosterone itself can then get converted
into estradiol, a super common estrogen. By the way, that was so fascinating to me
when I first learned it. When I was in primary school, I was taught
that testosterone and estrogen were opposites, but in fact, they’re extremely similar chemically
and get made from the same ingredients. So when we’re talking about steroids, we’re
talking about hormones derived from cholesterol. But in everyday conversation, when people
talk about steroids, they’re probably talking about anabolic steroids, hormones taken for
the purpose of building big strong muscles. These work by slipping into muscle cells,
and hooking up to an androgen receptor. This stimulates the cell to produce more proteins
and thus bigger muscles. Now, just because these types of steroids
have been abused in the past doesn’t mean that the broader class of steroid hormones
themselves are harmful — in fact, doctors often prescribe steroids as a medication. Most of the time, these medications have nothing
to do with muscle. Take a group of hormones called corticosteroids. The etymology gives this one away, but these
are any steroids that resemble cortisol. These hormones have a /bunch/ of different
effects from controlling the stress response to regulating our immune system. Now, I want to be super clear. Corticosteroids aren’t immune cells, they’re
chemicals that can have an immune effect. What makes them so effective is their ability
to switch off multiple genes involved in different aspects of inflammation. Let’s break that down. Inflammation is what happens when our bodies
mount an immune response, and part of that is making certain proteins. These proteins aren’t just the ones that
go into building muscles, but include enzymes for speeding up chemical reactions or different
chemical messengers involved in recruiting immune cells. Now, our genes hold all the information needed
to manufacture these proteins. And certain chemicals called transcription
factors can get our cells to crank out more and more of those inflammatory proteins. So when corticosteroids are floating around
in our blood and make their way into a cell, they start a process that inhibits the effect
of those transcription factors that keep inflammation going. Plus in larger doses they can stimulate the
production of anti-inflammatory proteins. And because of that, these steroids are also
a useful treatment for reducing inflammation in conditions like arthritis or allergies. That long-acting asthma inhaler? Yep, that’s a steroid to reduce inflammation
in your lungs. One of their other biggest use cases is acting
as an immunosuppressant, literally a drug that intentionally weakens your immune system. Wait, why would you weaken your immune system
on purpose? Well, most of the time the immune system is
good at identifying the things we don’t want in our bodies and getting rid of them. But sometimes, our immune systems turn on
us and attack our own tissues. For instance, if you watched our other series
Sick, you’ve heard us talk about lupus, an autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation. One of the consequences of that disease could
be kidney inflammation, and if it gets bad enough it might lead to kidney failure, which
is lethal. The steroid comes in handy by slowing down
the production of chemicals that lead to inflammation, and by tweaking how white blood cells work. A doctor might prescribe an immunosuppressant
steroid to someone with lupus to reduce inflammation and save their kidney and thus life. So it’s a trade off. Increase your risk of infections from the
outside world but save yourself from your own body. You might also need to weaken your immune
system after getting an organ transplant. According to your body, that new organ is
a foreign object and shouldn’t be there. We’ll learn all about how different cells
in the body communicate with each other, including some of those immune cells, in the next episode. Thanks for watching Human on Seeker. I’m Patrick Kelly.


100 thoughts on “Why Do We Need Hormones?

  1. Because biology exist? despite what some deranged lunatics, science deniers has to say about gender and sexuality is a social construct bull💩.

  2. … I really hate how tiny things like Oestrogen is changed… like it really ticks me off. Be consistent then. Let’s call it Fenix, Beryllum, and Advertize

  3. So don’t give hormone blocking drugs to confused kids because it’s dangerous? Thanks for the low key red pill.

  4. @ time 7:00 that is not a steroid inhaler that is ventolin HFA with the active ingredient albuterol NOT AT CORTICOSTEROID ;like advair or flovent would be

  5. "Your body sees the new organ as foreign and rejects it" not when they can grow me a liver from a chimeric pig! Haha I can't wait. Someday I will have my health back thanks to science. Only science can save humanity.

  6. So that i can be driven into lust while worshipping another mans body of course

    I might be abnormally HYPER confident today xd

  7. I had my doga castrated… by advice of multiple vets. I really regret it and feel guilty towards my dogs.

    How the cuckoo can that be okay to do to a dog…

    I think I eventually might have to give them hormones… it cant be okay in any way.

  8. We All need more Sun 🌞…
    Vit D3 is NOT a vitamin like we have been told but a hormone…The Sun helps our bodies to produce the hormones we all need for balance.

  9. 2:08 "To quote a late '90s chip advertisement; once you pop, the fun don't stop. Right, let's talk about child birth. Not that I said that out loud I'm not sure it was the best transition line, but let's roll with it."😂

  10. When I hear hormones I remember the day in 7th grade that I realized that gretchen mcpimples had developed boobs.

  11. This is why babies cling to their parents and eventually push them away like flipping a magnet. That’s also why the word feedback is so fitting. It’s one of those inherent things we do, just like a bear hibernating or birds migrating. It’s why the poles keep shifting. That’s also why it was such a bad idea to have put all that soy hormone in baby formula and why removing it and encouraging mother’s milk is better. It’s all connected. We already have an internet of things. We don’t need the fake one that is created by man and steals all our energy. We don’t need a Jafar with the power of the Genie, but we’re always going to get one and he will always fail. It’s our fallen nature. The driver of all this perpetual motion is the ultimate power; the creator of all these things. God! Have a nice day. 👍

  12. If you're not very familiar with the topic, just know that epinephrine is same thing as adrenaline, literally same thing, just different name. It may save you from confusion I felt when I studied physiology in school for the first time.

  13. Yeah Hormones do amazing things, until women get a hold of them then they just turn into a chaotic unstable mess once a month.

  14. Spoke mostly on the effects on the body, but what about the effects on the brain, sounds like the main source, if not in conjunction with abnormalities of the brain, for mental health.

  15. I love these episodes but I don't know if it's just me but they feel like they are 40-50 minutes long even though they are 7-8 min long lol though I still love and enjoy them *.*.

  16. As a former researcher in sex/gender and neuroscience and interested in ednocrinology, I can recommend following DR. Sari Van Anders as state-of-the-art for hormones related to sex/gender claims.

    The most important thing to realise with any chemical or other molecules is that they are not behaviours or the subunits of them (except in exceptionally rare cases). Bravo to Seeker for being careful, if not fully explicit about this.

  17. Not specifically related to THIS video (which was awesome btw) but I just wanted to say thank you to the entire Seeker staff. I LOVE to learn and I look forward to these videos. Thank you so much everyone 🙂

  18. 2:18 "I'm sorry sir, we lost her. The baby was delivered normally, but when she popped, the fun started leaking out and, it just wouldn't stop. We tried everything we could, I'm so sorry for your loss."

  19. These complexity of our body really makes me hard to believe that we ONLY exist because of a random explosion billion years ago ..

  20. everytime i learn about hormones i get disgusted when i think about how much dairy i used to consume…. literally may as well get an estrogen injection every week.

  21. Why Do We Need Hormones? to relay the feelings from the heart to the mind then the body. look up dan winter's heart research and know for yourself.

  22. This corticosteroid growth seems to superficially resemble cancer accelerated cell growth. Has that been explored with cancer research (ex: verifying rate of growth and at a trigger, switching off that growth with a negative feedback loop)?

  23. I only have a handful of critiques, this time. Good info. Amazing what Seeker can accomplish when the presenter knows what he's talking about.
    •". . . and also steroids!" Steroids are hormones.
    •It would have been worth mentioning that both males and females produce testosterone and estrogen.
    •You didn't make it entirely clear to the layman that steroids are not proteins, and you assumed everyone already knows what an enzyme is. They really don't.
    •You should talk about arachidonic acid and prostaglandins. I was expecting that when you brought up inflammation.

  24. "Find out more about how hormones are regulated, and the role hormones play in things like maintaining your metabolism or controlling your blood sugar in this Human."

    That…doesn't sound like it came out the way you thought it would.

  25. I have been on immunesuppressant for about 6 months. It changed my life completely for better. After suffering for 6 years of constant pain,I literally cried when I finally ran without pain.

  26. Had my whole Thyroid removed more than a yr ago due to cancer. Now taking artificial hormones for the rest of my life. Isn't that crazy 😜.
    – a 34 yo Asian dude

  27. Oh, honey, at 4:10, "How do we make a hormone?" You *do* realise that the last word is homonymic with the last *two words* in the opening question of an old, bad joke, right?

  28. After watching this video as a control systems student I feel hormones are like control signals which control the plant called human body. If the control fails you are dead.

  29. Yesterday I was researching some hormones and their effect on the human body. C21H30O2 is the formula for progesterone. Delta 9 tetrahydrocanabinol has the same formula. There was some speculation on whether that would mean that marijuana users would have higher levels of a "female" hormone.
    Turns out that in males progesterone has an effect similar to that of collagen, reducing wrinkles in skin and slowing down aging. Most of the female-like activities of progesterone have to do with female body parts, such as the ones used in lactation, pregnancy and menstrual cycle. Without those body parts, progesterone in itself could not change male-like features to become female-like.

    Another great difference is the molecular structure of C21H30O2 in both. Even though they are comprised of the same elements, they are structured differently and end up therefore in different locations of the body and perform different functions.

    I also discovered that even if you smoke marijuana, your liver through the process of glucoronidation gets rid of the smoke toxins and makes them soluble in water secreting them through urine.

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