Types of endocrine hormones are not necessarily categories; rather, they are the hormones themselves produced by various glands of the endocrine system. They include cortisol, aldosterone, vasopressin, corticotropin, oxytocin, prolactin, thyroid, parathyroid, and thyroid-stimulating hormone. To the list can also be added dehydroepiandrosterone, epinephrine, norepinephrine, glucagon, insulin, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. There are other hormones produced in the body, but they are not all endocrine hormones. Some of these hormones are of the type that influence only certain organs, and others exert an influence throughout the entire body.
The aforementioned endocrine hormones are universally considered the major hormones of the endocrine system. A very wide variety of bodily functions are stimulated, controlled and regulated by them. For example, cortisol has anti-inflammatory action, helps to regulate blood glucose levels and blood pressure, assists in the control of salt and water balance and helps to maintain strength in the muscles. Glucagon raises the level of blood sugar, oxytocin in females is responsible for the contraction of the muscles in the uterus and milk ducts in the breasts, and insulin lowers blood sugar level. It also influences the metabolism of sugars, protein and fat throughout the body.
Calcitonin, which is produced by the thyroid gland, assists in the construction of bone. Growth hormone, which is produced by the pituitary gland, the most important gland in the endocrine system, stimulates growth during a person's childhood. It stimulates cell reproduction during adulthood.
Cell reproduction is necessary to maintain muscle and bone mass after the body's growth process during childhood is complete. Some endocrine hormones are known by more than one name. For example, antidiuretic hormone is vasopressin which signals to the kidneys to retain water and, in conjunction with aldosterone, assists in controlling blood pressure.
Corticotropin, also known as adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), controls the hormones that are produced and secreted by the adrenal cortex. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) affects bones, the immune system and even a person's mood. There are many glands in the endocrine system responsible for producing every type of the body's endocrine hormones.
The two most unique areas of production are the placenta and the pituitary gland. The placenta is an actual organ that forms and exists only during pregnancy and which behaves like an endocrine gland during pregnancy, in addition to handling other functions. The pituitary gland is known as the master gland because it produces a number of endocrine hormones, and the pituitary gland itself controls the function of most of the other endocrine glands.