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As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 70, lessons in math, English, science, history, and more. Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed. Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course. Login or Sign up. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.
What do you think of when you think of steroids? You may think of a muscle-bound body builder who takes anabolic steroids to beef-up. Or, your mind might conjure up an image of the professional athlete who got in trouble for using synthetic steroids to unfairly enhance his athletic performance. Believe it or not, regardless of whether you are male or female, your body produces natural steroids every day.
In fact, they are necessary to sustain life. In this lesson, you will learn about the structure and function of 'natural' steroids found within your body. Steroids can be defined by their chemical structure. We see that steroids are organic compounds that contain four rings of carbon atoms. Specifically, we see that all steroids have three 6-sided carbon rings and one 5-sided carbon ring.
However, different steroids have different functional groups attached. We recall that functional groups are groups of atoms that we often find together that have a specific behavior. When we attach different functional groups to the basic steroid rings, we get steroids with different functions. We will talk about the different functions of steroids later in this lesson. But first, we mentioned that steroids are organic compounds, and we know that organic compounds must contain carbon.
Therefore, organic compounds are things like carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. In fact, steroids are classified under the lipid group.
This is somewhat interesting because we see that the basic structure of a steroid differs quite a bit from that of other lipids such as triglycerides or phospholipids. However, steroids still fit this category because, like other fats, steroids are made largely of carbon and hydrogen atoms, and they are insoluble in water.
We see that steroids in the body can act as hormones, and, therefore, their presence can impact a number of things from your growth to your sexual development. For example, steroid hormones are secreted by the testes and ovaries. From the testes, we see testosterone, which is the male sex hormone that guides male sexual development.
From the ovaries, we see estrogen, which is the female sex hormone that guides female sexual development. Steroid hormones are also produced by the adrenal cortex, which is the outer portion of your adrenal gland that you can find sitting on top of your kidneys. Cortisol is one important adrenal cortex steroid hormone, and it regulates carbohydrate metabolism and has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
Aldosterone is another steroid hormone that comes from the adrenal cortex. It helps maintain blood pressure and regulate the salt and water balance in your body. Get FREE access for 3 days, just create an account. So, we see that steroid hormones control many vital functions in your body. Of course, we wouldn't have these or any steroids if we did not have cholesterol.
It could be said that the most important steroid molecule in your body is cholesterol , because cholesterol is the parent compound from which steroids are derived. It is basically the precursor for steroid hormones and other steroids. We see by looking at the structure of cholesterol that it is a steroid, because it has the four rings of carbon atoms.
Attached to the rings we see a hydrocarbon tail and a hydroxyl group. Cholesterol is a carbon steroid and has a molecular formula of C27H45OH. You may be familiar with the term cholesterol, and you might associate it with heart disease.
Cholesterol does enter your body when we eat animal products such as meat, eggs and cheese. And, we're often advised by doctors to reduce these foods in our diet because they are said to contain 'bad cholesterol. In fact, your liver makes cholesterol, and your body uses it every day. Cholesterol has many functions:. All steroids share the same basic chemical structure, because they all contain four rings of carbon atoms.
The presence of different functional groups attached to the basic rings give steroids different functions. Steroids are classified as lipids because, just like other lipids, they are made largely of carbon and hydrogen atoms, and they are water insoluble.
Steroid hormones are secreted by three endocrine organs: Cholesterol is the parent compound from which steroids are derived. Therefore, it is the raw material used to form not only the steroid hormones, but also vitamin D and bile salts. To unlock this lesson you must be a Study. Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2, colleges and universities.
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Explore over 4, video courses. Find a degree that fits your goals. Steroids can act as hormones in the body. In this lesson, you will learn about the different structures and functions of steroids, including the important role of a steroid called cholesterol.
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Students' quiz scores and video views will be trackable in your "Teacher" tab. Structure and Function of Lipids. Tertiary Structure of Protein: What is Fatty Acid? What is a Phospholipid? Introduction to Physical Geology: Holt McDougal Modern Chemistry: Introduction to Natural Sciences: