The adrenal cortex helps to maintain salt and water balance in the body. It is also involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and the regulation of blood sugar. The cortex produces a sex hormone similar to that secreted by the testes as well. The medulla of the adrenal gland produces the hormone epinephrine, also called adrenaline, when the body is under stress. This hormone speeds up the rate of metabolism in order to help the body cope with stressful situations.