8. Hormones That Maintain Balance
Several important hormones play significant roles in maintaining blood glucose balance:
- Cortisol (hydrocortisone) and cortisone
Cortisol and cortisone belong to a class of steroid hormones synthesized in the cortex of the adrenal glands, known as glucocorticoids. They have a primary effect on carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism. They are in many ways antagonistic to insulin. They elevate blood glucose and increase production of glucose from protein.
- Adrenocorticotropin (ACTH)
This Hormone is liberated by the anterior pituitary gland and stimulates the cortex of the adrenal glands. If too little of this hormone is secreted, the adrenal glands will secrete too little of their hormones and if ACTH is present in too large amounts, adrenal hormones will be secreted in too large amounts.
- Growth Hormone (Somatotropin)
Growth hormone is the only hormone of the anterior pituitary gland that does not exert its effect on other endocrine glands. Growth hormone or somatotropin is a protein. It stimulates growth, increases protein synthesis, decreases carbohydrate utilization, and increases fat catabolism. Because somatotropin suppresses carbohydrate utilization, blood glucose increases, stimulating insulin secretion. Two factors from the hypothalamus control secretion: the growth hormone releasing factor and the growth hormone release inhibiting factor. During protein deficiency, growth hormone secretion increases as it does when the blood sugar level falls. Exercise increases secretion also.
In times of stress, small amounts of epinephrine (adrenaline) are discharged from the adrenal glands into the bloodstream. Epinephrine ultimately causes the release of a flood of glucose molecules from the liver into the bloodstream for quick energy for the muscles. One epinephrine molecule is thought to cause the release of about 30,000 molecules of glucose.
- Thyroid Hormones
Thyroxine and triodothyronine are two chemically similar hormones secreted by the thyroid gland. Both have the same physiological effect on tissues. The most obvious effect they have is to increase the rate at which cells burn glucose. They also work in “partnership” with cortisol in defending the body against stress resulting from extreme cold. In general, thyroxine comes into play when there is an extra demand for energy.
As you can see, there is an intricate relationship between all bodily parts and the disfunction of one affects all. The more you study physiology, the more you realize the foolishness of treating symptoms. They are merely indications of systemic impairment.
- Part I – Diabetes Mellitus
- Part II – Diabetes Insipidus
- Part III – Hypoglycemia
- Questions & Answers
- Article #1: Diabetes Mellitus By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #2: Diabetes