the miracle of the hormones

Taking the Necessary Steps

Put yourself for a moment in the place of the cells that measure the amount of calcium. Imagine that your only job throughout your whole life, day and night, without stopping, sleeping or resting, is to calculate the amount of calcium in the blood. This will give you a better idea of the importance of the wonderful work these cells do.

If the parathyroid cells conclude as a result of their measurement that the amount of calcium has fallen too low, they immediately secrete parathormone. At this stage, the cells demonstrate another conscious activity: They "understand" that the level of calcium has fallen and take appropriate action to restore the deficiency.

Put yourself in the place of the parathyroid cells and think: If you were aware that the calcium level in the blood had decreased, what remedy would you use to increase the level of calcium?

To answer this question you would have to be a scientist with every means at your disposal to investigate the human body. If people had no knowledge about calcium in the body, it would be necessary to do years of research and receive assistance from the best biochemists in the world. There would be only one purpose for this effort-to find sources of calcium that could be used in the body.

Finally, at the end of your research you would learn that there is a great amount of calcium stored in the bones and that some calcium leaves the body in the urine. You would learn that calcium comes into the body from food through the intestines.

In the light of this, the three measures you could take to increase blood calcium are:

1. Borrow some of calcium from the bones.

2. Find a way to recover the calcium excreted in the urine.

3. Arrange to have more calcium taken from the food.

But each one of these functions takes us into a different field of expertise.

If the amount of calcium in the blood falls, there is only one molecule that puts all the remedies in place: parathormone, whose amino acid sequence can be seen on the right. This wonderful molecule has been created with the ability to control the bones, kidneys and intestines.

Before deciding on the first choice, you would have to persuade the bone cells to lend you a portion of the calcium they have stored in the bones. The bone cells (osteocytes) do not want to lose any of the calcium, which is very important to the bones. However, you must find a chemical formula that will allow the bone cell to release some of its stored calcium into the blood. In order to find this formula, you will have to be aware of all the chemical secrets of the bone cells down to the smallest detail and also the process by which the calcium is stored. Then you will have to devise a molecular formula to reverse this process. Moreover, you will have to obtain in a moment all the information pertinent to the inner structure of cells whose secrets human beings have been trying to discover for a hundred years. At the end of your lengthy researches, you will find the miraculous formula to persuade the bone cells to liberate some calcium-that formula is parathormone. (See figure 1)

But there are still other things you have to do. You must find two other formulas to ensure that the second and third functions are carried out.

To make the second choice feasible, you must persuade the cells in the kidneys to conserve the calcium in the urine and mix it with the blood again. Normally, there is no necessity for these cells to search for calcium in the urine. This time you must solve all the mysteries in the inner workings of kidney cells, which are quite different from bone cells. Then, you must find one molecule in an endless combination of molecules that can activate the kidney cells to find calcium in the urine. Finally, if you manage to produce this special formula, you will have witnessed one of the greatest wonders in the world, and the formula you obtain is exactly the same as the first formula you discovered-parathormone. Molecules having the same formula are able to make cells perform two totally different functions, a wonder that cannot be explained by the operation of evolution.

Now there remains a third thing you must do. You must get the body to retain more calcium from the food that it consumes.

When the level of calcium falls, the parathyroid hormone ensures that calcium is removed from the bones, that calcium in the urine is reabsorbed, and that calcium in food is absorbed. When the level of calcium in the blood is too high, calcitonin ensures that calcium in the bones be retained and that the bones speed up the absorption of calcium.

The mixing of the calcium in the food you eat with the blood occurs in the small intestine, but in order for the calcium to be reabsorbed, the intestinal cells need "activated vitamin D." Here, a major problem arises, because the vitamin D you obtain through your food is inactive. In order for your intestines to absorb more calcium (therefore, to increase the amount of it in the blood), this problem must be solved. A special molecule must exist that will change the chemical make up of inactivated vitamin D and activate it. Again, you must do much research and many experiments in order to design a special molecule that will activate the vitamin D. At the end of your research, you will find the formula of the molecule needed to activate the vitamin D (and to ensure the absorption of calcium by the cells of the intestine) is the same as the formula of parathormone.

Think about this: Three different unrelated ways have been discovered to increase the amount of calcium in the blood, but the key to causing these three different systems to function is the same-this key alters the operation of the three systems. What is more surprising is that, when the operation of these three systems (with their very different structures and ways of functioning) is changed, the result is the same-the amount of calcium in the blood increases.

The fact that three different systems begin to work with the same key toward the same goal is a proof of the perfection and incomparable harmony of God's creation.

When the amount of calcium in the blood falls, the parathyroid cells demonstrate an incredible awareness. Using the appropriate key to alter the operation of each of the three systems, they ingeniously produce one molecule-parathormone.

In this way, they raise the level of calcium in the blood by ensuring that the bone cells release calcium, that the kidney cells extract more calcium from the urine, and that vitamin D is activated so that the digestive system can obtain more calcium.

There are three different ways to increase the level of calcium in the blood, and only one hormone can be matched these three ways. This is like saying that one single key can open three different locks.

How did the parathyroid cells find this ingenious formula? How do they know that this molecule will affect the bones, the kidneys and activate vitamin D? How is it that in the countless numbers of people who have lived in the course of history, the parathyroid has managed (except in cases of illness) to produce the right formula? How do the parathyroid cells know that the bones store calcium, that there is calcium in the urine that would be wasted, and that the cells of the small intestine need activated vitamin D to absorb calcium? How do they come up with the formula to make these three systems function? How do unconscious cells perform this feat of intelligence, which human beings could never manage?

Surely, the One Who manifests this intelligent design displayed in cells, Who creates cells, the calcium molecule and human beings from nothing, Who creates human beings in such a way that they need calcium, and Who also provides for this need with a perfect system is God, the Lord of the heavens and the Earth and of all that is in between. God's Majesty is exalted:

God, there is no god but Him, the Living, the Self-Sustaining. He is not subject to drowsiness or sleep. Everything in the heavens and the Earth belongs to Him. Who can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them but they cannot grasp any of His knowledge save what He wills. His Footstool encompasses the heavens and the Earth and their preservation does not tire Him. He is the Most High, the Magnificent. (Qur'an, 2: 255)

Your god is God alone, there is no deity but Him. He encompasses all things in His knowledge.
(Qur'an, 20: 98)