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The endocrine system is a complex system of glands that produce and secrete
hormones directly into the circulatory system to influence, regulate and
control metabolism and many of the body's processes. Following is a list of
the endocrine glands and their primary functions.
Pineal gland: Cone-shaped
gland at the base of the brain that secretes the hormone melatonin, which
may help to synchronize biorhythms and mark the passage of time.
Pituitary gland: A gland
that signals other glands to put forth hormones. The pituitary also secretes
growth hormone, and anti-diuretic hormone, prolactin, and oxytocin, a
hormone which causes contractions of the uterus during labor.
Thyroid gland: Produces the
hormones thyroxin, triiodothyronine and calcitonin, which stimulate
metabolism, body heat production and bone growth.
Endocrine glands whose hormones regulate the use and function of calcium and
phosphorus in the body.
Pancreas: The abdominal
organ which secretes insulin and glucagon, which control the utilization of
sugar, the body's chief source of energy.
Adrenal glands: The adrenals are two small glands which sit on top of each
kidney. They release hydrocortisone, which effects metabolism. They also
produce androgens such as DHEA and aldosterone, which maintains blood pressure
and the body's salt and potassium balance.
Ovaries: Female glands which
produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone, produce eggs in the ovaries
and influence female characteristics.
Testes: Male glands which
secrete testosterone, which stimulates sperm production and development of
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