A hormone is a chemical released by one or more cells that affects cells in other parts of the organism. Only a small amount of hormone is required to alter cell metabolism. It is essentially a chemical messenger that transports a signal from one cell to another.
Hormones have the following effects on the body:
* stimulation or inhibition of growth * mood swings * induction or suppression of apoptosis (programmed cell death) * activation or inhibition of the immune system * regulation of metabolism * preparation of the body for mating, fighting, fleeing, and other activity * preparation of the body for a new phase of life, such as puberty, parenting, and menopause * control of the reproductive cycle * hunger cravings
A hormone may also regulate the production and release of other hormones. Hormone signals control the internal environment of the body through homeostasis.
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