MSD Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link
Major Hormones

Major Hormones

Where Hormone Is Produced



Adipose (fat) tissue


Regulates energy balance by controlling appetite


Blocks the effects of insulin on muscle

Adrenal glands


Helps regulate salt and water balance by causing the kidneys to retain salt and water and excrete potassium


Has widespread effects throughout the body

Especially has anti-inflammatory action

Maintains blood sugar level, blood pressure, and muscle strength

Helps control salt and water balance

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

Used in the production of androgens (male sex hormones) and estrogens (female sex hormones)

Has effects on bone, mood, and the immune system

Epinephrine and norepinephrine

Stimulate the heart, lungs, blood vessels, and nervous system

Digestive tract


Controls gallbladder contractions that cause bile to enter the intestine

Stimulates release of digestive enzymes from the pancreas


Controls growth hormone release from the pituitary gland

Causes sensation of hunger

Glucagon-like peptide

Increases insulin release from the pancreas

Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide

Controls smooth muscle cell activity, epithelial cell secretions, and blood flow in the gastrointestinal tract


Corticotropin-releasing hormone

Stimulates release of corticotropin (also called adrenocorticotropic hormone [ACTH])

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone

Stimulates release of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone

Growth hormone–releasing hormone

Stimulates release of growth hormone


Inhibits release of growth hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, and insulin

Thyrotropin-releasing hormone

Stimulates the release of thyroid-stimulating hormone and prolactin



Stimulates red blood cell production


Controls sodium, potassium, and water levels that affect blood pressure



Controls the development of female sex characteristics and the reproductive system


Prepares the lining of the uterus for implantation of a fertilized egg and readies the mammary glands to secrete milk



Raises the blood sugar level


Lowers the blood sugar level

Affects the processing (metabolism) of sugar, protein, and fat throughout the body

Parathyroid glands

Parathyroid hormone

Controls bone formation, blood calcium level, and the excretion of calcium and phosphorus by the kidneys

Pituitary gland

Corticotropin (also called adrenocorticotropic hormone [ACTH])

Controls the production and secretion of hormones by the adrenal glands

Growth hormone

Controls growth and development

Promotes protein production

Luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone

Control reproductive functions, including the production of sperm and semen in men and egg maturation and menstrual cycles in women

Control male and female sexual characteristics (including hair distribution, muscle formation, skin texture and thickness, pitch of voice, and perhaps even personality traits)


Causes muscles of the uterus to contract during childbirth and after delivery and stimulates contractions of milk ducts in the breast, which move milk to the nipple


Starts and maintains milk production in the ductal glands of the breast (mammary glands)

Thyroid-stimulating hormone

Stimulates the production and secretion of hormones by the thyroid gland

Vasopressin (antidiuretic hormone)

Causes kidneys to retain water to prevent dehydration and, along with aldosterone, helps control blood pressure


Chorionic gonadotropin

Stimulates ovaries to continue to release progesterone during early pregnancy

Estrogen and progesterone

Keep uterus receptive to fetus and placenta during pregnancy



Controls the development of male sex characteristics and the reproductive system

Thyroid gland


Tends to decrease blood calcium levels and helps regulate calcium balance

Thyroid hormones

Regulate the rate at which the body functions (metabolic rate)