Schoolteachers frequently observe certain forms of uncharacteristic behavior, often emotional, from their students and just chalk it up to hormones. In the human body, hormones are chemical messengers, released by specialized cells, that journey through the bloodstream, controlling functional activities of targets throughout the body. They are generated by a variety of tissues in the endocrine system, the last body system to be discovered.

This opportunity to meet your hormones is facilitated by Whitlock and Temple’s captivating explanations that introduce their readers to the different types of hormones (proteins, peptides, steroids, and amines), their molecular structures, molecular size variations, manufacture, evolution, functions, techniques of action and interaction, and the ways they help to organize and manage the lives of humans as well as animals, plants, and even microorganisms.

Hormones are related to or involved in numerous actions that people experience, even if they are not aware of them. Among many others, this alphabet of experiences includes appetite, bone formation, cell renewal, diabetes, energy regulation, fetal development, growth, hangover, immune response, jet lag, keeping glucose levels controlled, libido, menstrual cycle, obsessive-compulsive disorder, pregnancy, rhythms of the body, stress management, transgender treatment, uterine lining maintenance, voice change, and water balance regulation. By reading this book, one can learn which hormones are connected to each of these experiences.

There is much to attract a reader’s attention in this intriguing book. Here is a mere sampling of the interesting and sometimes surprising items you can find in this book:

  • how an “express lane” guarantees that hormones arrive at their target cells without getting lost in the bloodstream

  • how a hormone’s affinity for water or fat influences the ways it interacts with target cells

  • how urine from nuns was involved in the births of test tube babies

  • why teenagers often enjoy staying up late at night and sleeping late in the morning

  • the hormone whose use has been banned by the International Olympic Committee

  • the pregnancy-test record found on an Egyptian papyrus

  • the bizarre experiment of the Mauritian doctor who tried to discover the Fountain of Youth

  • the differences in the functions of hormones known as primary and secondary messengers

  • why the wives of Henry VIII may have had a tendency for miscarriages

  • the explanation of intersex

  • how hormones could be related to hangovers

  • the way that hormones might impact profits on certain days for male stock market traders

  • the reason a surgeon transplanted a piece of monkey testis into a man’s testis

  • the common vitamin that is more accurately categorized as a hormone

  • how a high estrogen level can affect a woman or a man

  • how hormones might be related to bed wetting

  • possible phenomena experienced by male and female athletes who overexercise

  • why a user of the drug “Ecstasy” might fall into a coma

  • why female and male sex hormones are produced by both sexes

  • how to protect oneself from the ~800 chemicals called endocrine disruptors

Meet Your Hormones is a captivating, eloquently written, user-friendly volume, packed with information and analysis of hormones, their activities, and their significance. Its design –consisting mainly of short, concentrated scripts accompanied by simple, compelling illustrations and graphics – is easy to use. It is appropriate for adult, college, and high school readers and possibly even middle school readers with parent or teacher approval. In addition to an index, the book includes a glossary and suggestions for further reading. As the authors point out repeatedly throughout, “Happy Hormones, Happy Day.”

Richard Lord
Retired Biology Teacher
Presque Isle High School
Presque Isle, ME 04769