Functional Endocrinology: Understanding Hormones From the Pituitary to the Receptor Sites


The body secretes and circulates 50 different hormones to different organs in the body. Hormones are the chemical substances that coordinate the activities of living organism growth. They are secreted through the endocrine glands and travel through the bloodstream to different organs in the body to function properly. When there is an excessive quantity or an reduced quantity of hormones being produced, it can cause the body to malfunction and develop chronic illnesses.

The Pituitary Gland Functions

In neuroendocrinology, an endocrine gland can’t make a hormone without activation from a pituitary-stimulating hormone. The pituitary-stimulating hormone helps regulate hormones by secreting them to the endocrine glands. The pituitary gland is known as the “master gland” since it controls the activity of the other endocrine glands and it consists of 3 parts known as the anterior, intermediate and posterior lobes.

Anterior Lobe

The anterior pituitary gland is located in the sella turcica and is controlled by the hypothalamus in the brain. It secretes a quantity of peptides and glycoprotein hormones that help regulate the growth, metabolism, reproduction and stress response. The anterior pituitary gland produces 6 hormones that circulate to their respective targets in the body.

  • ACTH (Adrenocorticotropic hormone): This hormone is a tropic hormone as it regulates cortisol and androgen production to the adrenal cortex. Cortisol or stress hormones stimulates the release of ACTH, while the adrenal cortex secretes glucocorticoids to the body’s metabolism.
  • GH (Growth hormone): This hormone helps regulate the body’s growth, metabolism, and composition. GH is secreted by the somatotroph cells located primarily in the lateral wings of the anterior lobe. GH can also secrete in al pulsatile fashion and can have a maximal release during a circadian rhythm at night.
  • TSH (Thyroid stimulating hormone): This hormone is involved by coordinating the signal regulation of the hypothalamus, the pituitary, and the thyroid. It requires the oxidation of dietary iodine, since iodine is absorbed through the small intestine and transported to the thyroid. After the iodine is transported it can be concentrated, oxidized and then incorporated into thyroglobulin to be formed to T4 and T3 later on.
  • LH (Luteinizing hormone): This hormone is highly important to both men and women, since it affects the sex organs and plays a role in puberty, menstruation and fertility. For women, it creates progesterone, which help regulate menstruation and supports pregnancy in the female body. For men, it creates testosterone, which helps regulates fertility, muscle mass, fat distribution, and red blood production in the male body.
  • FSH (Follicle stimulating hormone): This hormone plays an important part in the reproductive system and is responsible for ovarian follicles. For females, FSH helps produce estrogen, which is a group of sex hormones that help promote the development and maintenance of female characteristics in the human body, For males, FSH helps produce spermatogenesis and regulates sperm function in the male body.
  • Prolactin: This is a protein hormone in the anterior lobe. It has the ability to promote lactation to nursing mothers. It synthesizes within the pituitary gland, the central nervous system, the immune system, and the uterus.

Intermediate lobe

The intermediate lobe is composed of a homogeneous population of the endocrine cells, the melanotrophs and secretes several bioactive peptides. It contains very few blood vessels and can be virtually avascular. The melanotrophs are richly supplied by nerve fibers that originate from the hypothalamus.

  • Melanocyte-stimulating hormone: This hormone has many functions in a diverse physiological role. It affects skin pigmentation and studies have shown that it has antiapoptotic and anti-inflammatory effects that help decrease in nephrotoxin exposure to the body.

Posterior lobe

The posterior lobe is similar to the anterior lobe since they both control endocrine function and the body’s hormonal response to the environment. The hypothalamus receives neural signals from the brain and secretes polypeptide and neuropeptide hormones for storage in the posterior lobe until they are ready to be released. The hormones in the posterior lobe are in charge of regulating water retention and inducing uterine contractions.

  • ADH (Antidiuretic hormone): Also known as vasopressin, this hormone is a nonapeptide that is synthesized in the hypothalamus. It plays a bunch of important roles in controlling the body’s osmotic balance, regulates blood pressure, and makes sure that the kidneys are working. ADH is mainly responsible for tonicity homeostasis as they act primarily in kidneys to increase water reabsorption.
  • Oxytocin: Also known as the “love hormone”, oxytocin is also a neurotransmitter that is involved in childbirth and breast-feeding. It has benefits as a treatment for a number of conditions like depression, anxiety and intestinal problems and is produced in the hypothalamus. Studies show that females have a higher level of oxytocin than males, especially to nursing mothers with their babies.

Free-fraction Hormones

When an endocrine gland synthesizes a hormone, it is released into circulation and bound to as a protein. Hormones attach themselves to proteins but they can’t bind to hormone receptors. So what a hormone needs to do is to lose its binding protein to become a “free-fraction” hormone. Studies have stated that a fraction of a hormone that is free is called in vitro and it is equivalent to the fraction of a hormone that is free and available to be transported into tissues are called in vivo. Free-fraction hormones make up less than 1% of all circulating hormones since they don’t impact the hypothalamus-pituitary feedback loop.

Hormone Metabolites

Hormones are metabolized by hepatic and microbiome biotransformation pathways into various hormone metabolites. Hormone metabolites have their own impact on cell receptors, studies have shown that this impact is not fully understood yet but hormone metabolites are not a reflection of direct endocrine gland production but it can be metabolized in the liver as well. Hormone metabolites can bind to hormone receptors or can be eliminated by renal or fecal clearance pathways.


All in all, the body secretes and circulates 50 different hormones to different organs in the body. These hormones are chemically produced in the body and keep an eye on what each of the different organs is doing. It is important that the hormone receptors are functioning properly so that an individual is feeling good both inside and out. If there is a hormonal imbalance in the body, it can cause dysfunction and chronic illnesses to a person.

October is Chiropractic Health Month. To learn more about it, check out Governor Abbott’s proclamation on our website to get full details on this declaration.

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal and nervous health issues as well as functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or chronic disorders of the musculoskeletal system. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .


Allen, Mary J. “Physiology, Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH).” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 3 Mar. 2019,

Clinic, Cleveland. “Overactive Pituitary Gland & Hyperpituitarism.” Cleveland Clinic, 22 Mar. 2017,–hyperpituitarism-overactive-pituitary-gland.

Cuzzo, Brian. “Vasopressin (Antidiuretic Hormone, ADH).” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2 Feb. 2019,

Ellis, Mary Ellen, and Rachel Nall. “Luteinizing Hormone (LH) Test: What It Is and Why It’s Important.” Healthline, 29 Aug. 2017,

Ellis, Ronald E, and Gillian M Stanfield. “The Regulation of Spermatogenesis and Sperm Function in Nematodes.” Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2014,

Freeman, M E, et al. “Prolactin: Structure, Function, and Regulation of Secretion.” Physiological Reviews, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2000,

Genes, S G. “Role of the Liver in Hormone Metabolism and in the Regulation of Their Content in the Blood.” Arkhiv Patologii, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1977,

Goyal, Shikha. “List of Important Hormones and Their Functions.”, 12 Mar. 2019,

Gunawardane, Kavinga. “Normal Physiology of Growth Hormone in Adults.” Endotext [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 12 Nov. 2015,

Hadley, M E, et al. “Biological Actions of Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone.” Ciba Foundation Symposium, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1981,

Lamacz, M, et al. “The Intermediate Lobe of the Pituitary, Model of Neuroendocrine Communication.” Archives Internationales De Physiologie, De Biochimie Et De Biophysique, U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 1991,

Lee, Heon-Jin, et al. “Oxytocin: the Great Facilitator of Life.” Progress in Neurobiology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2009,

M., William. “Transport of Protein-Bound Hormones into Tissues in Vivo *.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 1 Jan. 1981,

MacGill, Markus. “Oxytocin: The Love Hormone?” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 4 Sept. 2017,

MacGill, Markus. “Testosterone: Functions, Deficiencies, and Supplements.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 6 Feb. 2019,

Nichols, Hannah. “Estrogen: Functions, Uses, and Imbalances.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 2 Jan. 2018,

Patel, Hiran. “Physiology, Posterior Pituitary.” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 27 Oct. 2018,

Rawindraraj, Antony D. “Physiology, Anterior Pituitary.” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 25 Apr. 2019,

Researchers, Various. “Thyroid Hormone Synthesis.” Thyroid Hormone Synthesis – an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics, 2019,

Rousset, Bernard. “Chapter 2 Thyroid Hormone Synthesis And Secretion.” Endotext [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2 Sept. 2015,

Seladi-Schulman, Jill. “Everything You Need to Know About Progesterone.” Healthline, 29 Apr. 2019,

Post Disclaimer

Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Functional Endocrinology: Understanding Hormones From the Pituitary to the Receptor Sites" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.


Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*


Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

Licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN*) in Florida
Florida License RN License # RN9617241 (Control No. 3558029)
Compact Status: Multi-State License: Authorized to Practice in 40 States*

Presently Matriculated: ICHS: MSN* FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner Program)

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
My Digital Business Card

Recent Posts

Mastering the Pilates Neutral Spine: Benefits and Technique

For individuals wanting to try Pilates for back pain and exercise, can learning how to… Read More

May 24, 2024

Maintaining Endurance: The Secret to Sustained Activity

Can increasing endurance help individuals who want to improve their physical abilities or extend the… Read More

May 23, 2024

The Role of Nucleus Pulposus in Spinal Shock Absorption

Can understanding the nucleus pulposus help in body positioning and prevention for individuals wanting to… Read More

May 22, 2024

A Clinical Approach to Recognizing HIV: What You Need to Know

How do healthcare professionals provide a clinical approach to recognizing HIV for individuals in pain… Read More

May 22, 2024

Treating Muscle Contracture: Restoring Flexibility and Function

Can physical therapies help relieve muscle contractures in individuals who have endured prolonged bed rest,… Read More

May 21, 2024

The Power of Kimchi: A Nutritional Superfood

Can kimchi benefit individuals trying to incorporate more fermented foods into their diet? Kimchi Kimchi… Read More

May 20, 2024