A hormone is a signaling compound or molecule in the body that enables one part of the body to communicate with another part of the body. The term itself appears in the scientific literature in the opening decade of the twentieth century. In 1905, E.H. Starling, writing in the British medical journal the Lancet notes that "these chemical messengers [are] 'hormones' ... as we might call them" (Starling 1905: 340). Hormones are produced by the endocrine system in organs like the thyroid and adrenal glands (Harvey 2005: 92-3). In terms of metabolism, some functions performed by hormones are to signal to the stomach when enough food has been consumed and to increase fat storage in times of calorie excess. However, hormones have many functions that go far beyond those required for metabolism.

SLG/Suzanne Judd

See also Calorie; Metabolism

References and Further Reading

Harvey, R.A. (2005) Biochemistry, Baltimore, Md.:

Lipincott, Williams, & Wilkins. Starling, E.H. (1904) "The Croonian Lectures on the Chemical Correlation of the Functions of the Body," The Lancet 166 (4275): 339-41. Stipanuk, M.H. (2000) Biochemical and Physiological Aspects of Human Nutrition, Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders.

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