Local Hormones vs Systemic Hormones: What Is The Differentiator?

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  • Dr. David Nazarian
  • April 5, 2022
  • 0 Comment
  • Hormones

Hormones in our bodies either work in a close-ranged area or travel a distance by circulating in the blood. Depending on this property, scientists have tagged these chemical messengers as local and systemic hormones.

 

Both these types have several similarities and contrasts. Catch a complete comparison of local hormones vs systemic hormones in the following article.

Local Hormones And Systemic Hormones

 

You can either go for local or systemic therapy when it comes to hormone replacement. Each of these two therapies works entirely differently and has a few additional benefits over the other one. Hence, you must go through the pros and cons of both these hormonal procedures before signing up for a replacement session.

 

While local therapy only influences its neighboring tissues, the systemic one offers a wholesome effect. Do the local hormones and systemic hormones share the same properties?

 

Well, yes, to some extent. Allow me to explain local and systemic hormonal functions to you. It will help you catch the benefits of each therapy more easily.

local hormones vs systemic hormones

What Are Local Hormones?

 

The name itself suggests the definition and functions of the local hormones. This group of signaling molecules works in close vicinity. In other words, the local hormones show their charms on nerves or glands from where they are secreted or bind to the neighboring cells.

 

Let’s put the whole mechanism in more simple words.

 

The nerves and the gland cells are the production houses of local hormones. If these messengers decide to work in-house, we call them autocrine.

 

Again, the hormones have the freedom to influence the adjacent cells, too, in which case they are named juxtacrine.

 

Furthermore, if these local messenger molecules travel within their area, they are tagged as paracrine.

 

Local hormones are in the chief control of vascular muscle dilation. They have a short lifespan and never travel far from the originating cell.

 

Moreover, activation and deactivation of these local hormones are real quick and smooth. 

 

Now that you know the basics, let’s move to the examples of the local hormones.

Local Hormones And Their Functions

 

Local hormones are the set of hormones that work within the close vicinity. Each one is bestowed with a particular lot of work to perform. They contribute to various functions, from building immunity to regulating blood pressure.

 

Take a look at the significant local hormones and their functions,

 

Prostaglandins

 

Prostaglandins, a group of lipids, originate from the fatty acids and act as a middleman. The hormone rushes to the work whenever there is an incident of tissue damage. Hence, the primary attribution of these molecules is to clot blood and form new cells on the wounded site. They do the task by inhibiting the aggregation of the platelet. 

 

Aside from that, prostaglandins control the inflammation due to injury, blood pressure, and blood flow. Furthermore, the hormone also contributes to uterine contraction during pregnancy labor.

 

Leukotrienes

 

Leukotrienes, the inflammatory chemical group, are responsible for your suffering during an allergy attack. These hormones signal the airway muscles to tighten and release excess mucus as soon as you make any contact with an allergen. The leukotrienes also cause lung swelling in asthma and play an inflammatory role in tissue damage or injury.

 

Histamine 

 

Histamine fights on your behalf against any potential allergy or alien that invades your immunity system. Your while blood cells secrets these compounds whenever under attack. Such inflammatory responses might trigger an allergic reaction in the body, such as itching or sneezing.

 

Histamine has some other roles to perform too. The local hormone contributes in

  • Smooth muscle contraction
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Capillary permeability enhancement by blood vessel dilation
  • Gastric juice secretion

 

Serotonin

 

The amino acids are the building blocks of serotonin, the essential neurotransmitter of our body. These local hormones are present in bulk in the digestive system, blood platelet, and central nervous system.

 

Serotonin has a noticeable contribution to mood stabilization, sharpening memory, and the cognitive system. But, do you know the lack of this neurotransmitter causes depression and anxiety?

 

Besides lifting your mood, serotonin plays a role in maintaining a healthy sleep pattern and digestion process. The hormone also takes part in blood clotting and boosting the immunity network.

 

Systemic Hormones And Their Functions

 

While the local hormones are limited within their vicinity, the systemic hormones work throughout the body. These molecules are produced from one specific gland and then secreted into the blood.

 

As these messengers circulate in the bloodstream coming in contact with almost all the existing cells, some may call them circulating hormones. Though these compounds can interact with multiple cells in the body, they do not influence them all. Instead, the systemic hormones are bound to work on specific target cells.

 

Generally, systemic hormones have wide demand in the supplement industry. It is because they have proven their worth and effectiveness in replacement therapy.

 

The primary systemic hormones are,

 

Estrogen

 

Estrogen, the female hormone, plays the master role in flourishing feminine characteristics. This hormone contributes to,

 

  • Breast and sexual organ development
  • Driving sexual desire and gratification
  • Healthy menstruation cycle
  • Body fat distribution

 

The estrogen level fluctuates and takes a hit during the menopausal transition. The lack of this hormone leads to hot flashes, night sweats, frequent mood swings, and weight gain.

 

Progesterone

 

The ovaries and placenta are the primary manufacturers of progesterone hormones. However, the adrenal gland also has a significant contribution to the production of this hormone.

 

Progesterone is considered the secondary female hormone due to its role during pregnancy, conception, and maintaining the menstrual cycle. Hence, the lack of these molecules leads to irregular periods, mood swings, interrupted sleep cycles, anxiety, etc.

 

Androgen

 

Androgen, also called the male hormone, is a group of sex hormones that dominates male characteristics. But, surprisingly, women also require a fair share of androgen to balance out their hormones.

 

The androgen surge during puberty contributes to the reproductive system development, pubic and facial hair growth, and the deepening of the voice. This hormone also has a significant role in libido and building muscle mass. 

 

Local Hormones vs Systemic Hormones

 

By now, you have a pretty good idea of both local and systemic hormones. These messengers have differences in their origin, type of work, and many other functions.

 

If I sum up all the differentiators, the comparison chart between local and systemic hormones will look something like this,

 

Local Hormones Systemic Hormones
Produced from nerves and glands Originates from one specific gland or tissue 
Localized work Work throughout the body 
Perform tasks like blood clotting, building immunity, and inflammatory response Carry out a particular task 

 

Local Hormone Therapy vs Systemic Hormone Therapy

 

The functions of local and systemic hormones also clarify the mechanism of the local and systemic therapies.

 

Local hormone therapy includes cream, rings, and sometimes suppository. It is applied directly to the desired area. For example, a practitioner delivers a ring or suppository inside the vagina to treat irritation or dryness. Again, creams are widely used for breast enhancement by leveling up localized hormones.

 

On the other hand, systemic hormone therapy includes supplements and pellets. An expert inserts these artificial grains into the bloodstream, which eventually releases the desired hormones. Estrogen hormone therapy is globally popular among women to get relief from menopausal nightmares.

Final Thought

An insight into the local hormones vs systemic hormones gives you more idea about how your body works. Later on, you can implement this knowledge and make an effective decision on choosing the type of hormone replacement therapy. Though these therapies are excellent, the systemic ones often outweigh the local sessions in their additional benefits.

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Dr. David Nazarian

Dr. Nazarian is board certified in Internal Medicine and practices integrative medicine in the heart of Beverly Hills. In his career he has worked in the Emergency Department as well as in the hospital setting as a hospitalist. He has extensive medical training in hormone replacement therapy.

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