This is another hormone brought to us courtesy of the hypothalamus and with the assistance of the pituitary gland. It plays a major role in how we interact with people and react to sexual arousal, giving it the name “the cuddle hormone” or “the love hormone”. It can also affect our ability to trust and high amounts can lead to anxiety and even addictive tendencies. It also has gender specific effects, affecting the production of testosterone in the testes, as well as playing a huge role in the process of labor, child birth and child rearing.
These are the chemicals of the body produced to give you an almost morphine-like rush. That is why many athletes often experience what is called the “runner’s high”, a sense of euphoria caused by increased production of endorphins due to vigorous exercise. This hormone affects the way the human body perceives pain and can act as an analgesic and a natural pain reliever. In some cases, it even works as a sedative, allowing the body to rest after completion of a strenuous activity.
Also known as epinephrine, this hormone is produced in the centre of the adrenal glands known as the medulla. Adrenaline can also be produced by certain neurons in the central nervous system. Once in the bloodstream, it can have varying effects on different organs, usually activating the “fight or flight” instinct in the body. Adrenaline can affect the body in numerous different ways, from enlarging of the pupils to increasing the heart rate and blood flow to different areas of the body. As you can guess, low levels of this hormone could make your lethargic, while too much can make your body and mind go into overdrive.
This is one very important neurotransmitter, and in fact, among the first neurotransmitters discovered by scientists. Found commonly in both the central and peripheral nervous system, what makes this chemical of such vital importance is that it stimulates the contraction of our muscles. Essentially all behavior and almost all movement comes down to how this particular neurotransmitter sends across its message, and what that message is. Naturally, if this hormone is in large or short supply, it can lead to some strange and almost unexplainable behavior.
8) Gamma-Aminobutryic Acid (GABA)
This neurotransmitter plays the very important role of a neural inhibitor and regulator, reducing, where possible, the activities of nerve cells and neurons. In that way Gamma-Aminobutryic Acic is an essential determinant of our cognitive abilities and behavior. They work to keep neurons from becoming overexcited, which could potentially reduce anxiety and panic. A low-level of this neurotransmitter can cause disorders ranging from insomnia, to depression and even schizophrenia.