Hormones and Growth

Every parent or carer has heard of 'hormonal' teenagers and you may have already seen your child's mood and growth change throughout the different stages of their development.

BUT WHAT ARE HORMONES AND HOW DO THEY AFFECT GROWTH?

The human body produces chemical 'messengers' (hormones) and uses them to control certain functions. The endocrine system is the main system that controls hormones and, like the nervous system, it influences almost every cell, organ and function in our bodies.

Hormones influence growth, cellular repair, digestion, mood and sexual reproduction from infancy right through to puberty and beyond.

  • ABOUT HORMONES
  • ABOUT THE PITUITARY GLAND

THE HORMONE-PRODUCING GLANDS OF THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM INCLUDE:

  • Pituitary gland
  • Adrenal gland
  • Thyroid gland
  • Parathyroid gland
  • Pineal glands
  • Pancreas
  • Ovaries and testes

These glands produce hormones that are released into the blood stream and travel towards a target cell or organ. The hormones bring about a change or effect to that cell or organ.

The pituitary gland is a small pea-sized gland at the base of the brain often referred to as the ‘master gland’. The pituitary gland produces eight hormones and secretes eight hormones of its own – and it also stimulates other endocrine glands to produce hormones.

Several of the hormones controlled by the pituitary gland, such as growth hormone, thyroid hormone and sex hormones influence appetite, growth and metabolism. These hormones influence height and bone length.

Natural levels of growth hormone fluctuate during the day and rise in response to physical activity.

HORMONES WORK ON A 'LOCK AND KEY' SYSTEM. A HORMONE WILL ONLY WORK IN THE BODY IF IT 'FITS' THE SPECIALLY SHAPED 'LOCK' ON THE SURFACE OF THE TARGET CELL.

SO, WHAT IS METABOLISM AND HOW IS IT RELATED TO NUTRITION AND GROWTH?