8 Feb, 2024 570 Biology

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss some of the chemical signals coursing through our bodies throughout our lives, produced in separate areas and spreading via the bloodstream. We call these ‘hormones’ and we produce more than 80 of them of which the best known are arguably oestrogen, testosterone, adrenalin, insulin and cortisol. On the whole hormones operate without us being immediately conscious of them as their goal is homeostasis, maintaining the levels of everything in the body as required without us having to think about them first. Their actions are vital for our health and wellbeing and influence many different aspects of the way our bodies work.

Play on BBC Sounds website


  • Sadaf Farooqi No other episodes
    Professor of Metabolism and Medicine at the University of Cambridge
  • Rebecca Reynolds No other episodes
    Professor of Metabolic Medicine at the University of Edinburgh
  • Andrew Bicknell No other episodes
    Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Reading

Reading list

  • Silent Spring
    Rachel Carson (Penguin Classics, 2000) Google Books →
  • Endocrinology: An Integrated Approach
    Stephen Nussey and Saffron Whitehead (BIOS Scientific Publishers, 2001) Google Books →
  • Comprehensive Introduction to Endocrinology for Novices
    Aylinr Y. Yilmaz (Independently published, 2023)

Related episodes

Programme ID: m001w0z9

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001w0z9

Auto-category: 570 (Biology)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. At any moment of the day, throughout our lives, our bodies are producing chemical signals that are sent to other parts of the body.