The Heart as a Hormonal Gland

https://pixabay.com/users/piro4d-2707530/

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https://www.heartmath.org/research/science-of-the-heart/heart-brain-communication/#

“In addition to its extensive neurological interactions, the heart also communicates with the brain and body biochemically by way of the hormones it produces. Although not typically thought of as an endocrine gland, the heart actually manufactures and secretes a number of hormones and neurotransmitters that have a wide-ranging impact on the body as a whole.

The heart was reclassified as part of the hormonal system in 1983, when a new hormone produced and secreted by the atria of the heart was discovered. This hormone has been called by several different names – atrial natriuretic factor (ANF), atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and atrial peptide.

Nicknamed the balance hormone, it plays an important role in fluid and electrolyte balance and helps regulate the blood vessels, kidneys, adrenal glands and many regulatory centers in the brain.

Increased atrial peptide inhibits the release of stress hormones, reduces sympathetic outflow and appears to interact with the immune system. Even more intriguing, experiments suggest atrial peptide can influence motivation and behavior.

It was later discovered the heart contains cells that synthesize and release catecholamines (norepinephrine, epinephrine and dopamine), which are neurotransmitters once thought to be produced only by neurons in the brain and ganglia.

More recently, it was discovered the heart also manufactures and secretes oxytocin, which can act as a neurotransmitter and commonly is referred to as the love or socialbonding hormone.

Beyond its well-known functions in childbirth and lactation, oxytocin also has been shown to be involved in cognition, tolerance, trust and friendship and the establishment of enduring pair-bonds.

Remarkably, concentrations of oxytocin produced in the heart are in the same range as those produced in the brain.”

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