Maybe you’ve wondered: exactly what hormones your hypothalamus produces?
I’ve talked before about all nine of the hormones, plus the neurotransmitters that your hypothalamus produces. The majority of those hormones cannot be measured. They’re not in the periphery of the body. They’re only in the hypothalamus. They direct your body’s hormone production using the pituitary gland as the middle manager.
Today, I’m going to talk about the three hormones your hypothalamus produces that actually circulate in the rest of the body. The other six are releasing factors to get the pituitary gland to release its stimulating hormones or stop the production of certain pituitary hormones. However, these three hypothalamic hormones affect your body directly.
The number one hypothalamus hormone is melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH).
Melanocyte stimulating hormone is not very well known by the public. Or even most doctors. It’s not easily measurable. Through scientific research, we do know the effects of melanocyte stimulating hormones. At first, we thought that MSH only did what its name suggests. It stimulates the melanocytes or the cells that produce melanin. However, that’s not the only thing MSH does.
Melanocyte stimulating hormone can also suppress your appetite. It regulates aldosterone, which is the adrenal hormone that controls your salt water balance and helps control your blood pressure. MSH also brings on sleep and affects learning and memory. MSH can stop fevers, and help to renew peripheral nerves. Melanocyte stimulating hormone is also involved in inflammatory and immune responses as well as sexual arousal.
The second hypothalamic hormone is antidiuretic hormone (ADH). Also known as vasopressin.
ADH maintains the fluid volume in your blood. ADH helps to increase your blood pressure when it stops your kidneys’ production of urine. If you don’t make enough vasopressin, you have a condition called diabetes insipidus in which you are incredibly thirsty and urinate a lot. Which results in dehydration because you can’t make enough antidiuretic hormone to stop the production of urine. ADH is active during the night concentrating your kidneys’ production of urine so you can sleep.
One of the hypothalamic dysfunctions we see during the change of life is getting up in the middle of the night to urinate more and more frequently. This is because your hypothalamus is not producing enough antidiuretic hormone to suppress urinary production, and your bladder keeps filling up.
The third hormone that the hypothalamus produces is oxytocin.
Oxytocin is known as the cuddle hormone. It’s the hormone that allows you to bond with other people. It’s how a mother bonds with her infant and starts the breastfeeding experience. Oxytocin is made when you’re sexually aroused, and in larger amounts when you orgasm. You make oxytocin when you hug, kiss, or cuddle another person. Even when you pet your dog or cat. Oxytocin is the feel-good hormone that allows you to bond with others. Biologically, this is an important survival function.
If you have any questions about the hypothalamus and its production of certain hormones, you can join us in our Hormone Support Group. You can get access through our free Hormone Reboot Training. It is all about helping you understand how your hypothalamus works to affect your hormones and so much more.
Research Reference: The Interrelationship Between Serum Pituitary Hormones in Healthy Adults, Hypothalamic regulation of pituitary secretion of luteinizing hormone—II feedback control of gonadotropin secretion, Sex differences in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in patients with burning mouth syndrome.