the miracle of the hormones

Preparations to Meet the Egg Cell

When the mature egg enters the second period of its four-week life (about 14 days later), it is released from the ovaries. Now, the egg cell begins its journey to the mother's womb. If it is fertilized during this journey, it will begin a new life; if it is not fertilized it will die and be expelled from the body.

When the egg cell leaves the ovary and starts its journey, it is still supported by the inside of the ovary it left behind and also by the pituitary gland located at a far distance from it. The pituitary gland knows that the released egg needs help and secretes a special hormone called LTH. This hormone travels by way of the blood to the ovaries and affects the mass of cells called the "corpus luteum" in the ovary, which in turn secretes progesterone.

The progesterone hormone has a special design and a very special purpose. This hormone, although it never leaves the ovaries and never sees the world outside them, influences cells located far distant from it, ensuring that these cells act according to a definite plan. This is yet another example of the wonder of creation that occurs in the human body.

When progesterone molecules reach the uterus, they cause, as in the case of the estrogen meeting the egg cell, that certain preparations are made. In one sense they increase the strength of estrogen.

Progesterone also affects the ovary itself, by preventing a new egg cell from being released. Otherwise, as an embryo was developing in the mother's womb, a second egg cell would be fertilized, producing a great danger both for the developing embryo and the mother.

The structure of an ovary where female sex hormones are produced...

How does progesterone know that, after fertilization has occurred, a second fertilization must not happen and that it is necessary to stop the activity of the ovary to prevent it? Who gave this ability to progesterone, which is only a molecule?

Another special function of progesterone is to diminish the influence of the oxytocin hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. As we saw earlier, oxytocin is a hormone that goes into effect as the time of birth approaches and ensures that the uterine muscles will contract. As a result of these contractions, the baby comes out of the mother's womb more easily.

If oxytocin affected the uterus during the first days of fertilization, these muscles would eject the fertilized egg as it attached itself to the uterine wall, and pregnancy would never occur. Progesterone goes into effect at this stage and inhibits the influence of oxytocin, preventing the fertilized egg from being ejected. Progesterone is amazingly designed to negate the effect of oxytocin.

How do the cells, which produce progesterone, know about the existence of oxitocin? Remember, progesterone is produced by cells inside the ovary. Oxytocin is produced far away from ovary, in the pituitary gland located in the skull. How did oxytocin learn what causes the uterus to contract, and that the fertilized egg could be ejected? What intelligence designed the progesterone molecule to prevent this?

A diagram showing the structure of the hormonal system in females. With the secretion of FSH and LH from the hypothalamus, the hormonal system is activated. The estrogen and progesterone secreted as a result of this causes a female to enter puberty.

The planning here demonstrates the existence of an intelligence that did the planning. And, in order for this planning to be done, this intelligence must know all the detailed aspects of the human body. God, Who has created human beings with all their special characteristics, has created an ideal harmony in the progesterone-oxytocin mechanism.

A maturated egg is ejected from the ovary in the direction of the fallopian tube (1). It advances through the fallopian tube (2-3-4), and reaches the uterus where it lodges in the uterine wall (5-6).

Progesterone has another special feature, which is still another proof of the helplessness of human beings before God Who created them.

The moment a fertilized egg cell reaches the wall of the uterus and begins to grow there, it becomes something foreign in the mother's body. The immune cells in the mother's body would inevitably attack this group of cells as they multiply. This attack would end the life of the baby even before it began and pregnancy would never occur.

But progesterone prevents the cells of the immune system from attacking the zygote in the wall of the uterus. Besides its other functions, progesterone also protects the developing group of cells from being attacked. Certainly, this shows once again that progesterone was created by a high intelligence, that is, by God.

As noted earlier, secretion of progesterone occurs in the second half of a four-week period. If fertilization does not occur in this period of time, the amount of progesterone and estrogen in the blood quickly decreases because it is no longer necessary to make preparations for a new human. These preparations (the multiplying capillary vessels to feed the fertilized egg in the wall of the uterus) are expelled from the body, a process called menstruation.

The secretion of the FSH hormone four weeks later in the pituitary gland corresponds to a new egg cell that begins to maturate in the ovary, and another new four-week preparation period starts.

The Male Reproductive System

Hormones also play a key role in the male reproductive system. About 10 years after birth, when adolescence begins, male hormones come totally into play. This happens when a chain of command is established in the body. At the top of this chain of command is the hypothalamus.

After birth, the hypothalamus secretes a hormone called LHRH every 3-4 hours, but the amount secreted is very small. About ten years later, the hypothalamus actually "understands" that the time has come to begin the shaping of the male body and begins to secrete LHRH in smaller intervals.43 The LHRH hormone moves to the second link in the chain of command, the pituitary gland. As soon as the pituitary gland receives the command, it secretes another hormone called LH. This hormone gives the command to activate the male sex glands, the testes.

Why do all these functions take so long to begin and how can we explain the timing of these mechanisms? The answers to these questions are still unknown to the world of science. In any case, this system (whose secrets human beings have not been able to solve) has operated since the beginning of history in the body of every human being.

When the LH hormone reaches the testes via the bloodstream, the cells there begin to produce a hormone called testosterone. The cells that produce testosterone know the time has come for the body they occupy to pass from childhood to manhood. The chemical formula of the testosterone they produce will turn a developing child into a man.

Testosterone molecules disperse to various parts of the body and know what they must do to certain cells in these areas. Some of the functions of testosterone in forming the male body are as follows:

Testosterone molecules cause the multiplication of muscle cells. For this reason, the male body is more muscular and stronger than the female body. The increase in muscle mass gives the male body its characteristic appearance.

At the same time, testosterone molecules affect the cells in the roots of the hair, causing the beard and mustache to appear. The hairline on the forehead is drawn farther back.

Testosterone affects the vocal cords causing a male voice to be lower than that of a woman. In addition, the testosterone molecule gives the male body its ability to fertilize the female egg.

Certainly it is surprising that an unconscious molecule can do all this. This molecule knows the particularities of the male body and directs trillions of cells in the formation of this body.

Testosterone molecule is not limited to these things. Clear evidence of design can be seen in the mechanism by which this hormone exerts its influence. In order to bring about its effects, testosterone reaches the targeted tissues (the male genital organs) and enters the cells. Inside the cell, it unites with an enzyme specially created for it whereby its effects are greatly increased.

This newly formed hormone then unites with a special receptor designed specially for it. The resulting molecular combination unites with the cell's DNA and uses the information received from the DNA to bring about a new protein synthesis. This operation ensures that the distinction between male and female bodies, and their different sexual functions, will continue.

This is such a flawlessly created system that the mechanism formed from the three-fold union of testosterone-enzyme-receptor finds the place allotted to it from among the numberless data codes contained in the DNA and, on the basis of this information, ensures production. For example, for the growth of the beard, they act on the relevant regions in the DNAs of the hair root cells. To lower the voice, they act on the appropriate region in the DNAs of the vocal cord cells.

The information given here is extremely important. Testosterone (C19H28O2) is a molecule produced from carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms. How does this unconscious, lifeless thing know that the information it needs to perform its function is located in the DNA? Even more important, how can it find so quickly (and accurately) the few letters it is looking for from among three billion letters (enough to fill thousands of volumes of an encyclopedia) in the DNA? The hundreds of scientists, who have worked for ten years with the most advanced technology on the Human Genome Project, are only today able to map the DNA. But they still do not know which section of the DNA is related to which organs, proteins or hormones of the human body. However, estrogen (C18H24O2) and testosterone (C19H28O2) know this very well and have applied what they know without error throughout countless years in the bodies of numberless individuals.

Certainly this system is a miracle of creation that demonstrates God's artistry.

Say: "Am I to desire other than God as Lord when He is the Lord of all things?" What each self earns is for itself alone. No burden-bearer can bear another's burden. Then you will return to your Lord, and He will inform you regarding the things about which you differed.
(Qur'an, 6: 164)

Testosterone is produced by the LH hormone secreted from the pituitary gland. But the LH hormone is just as much under the control of testosterone as testosterone is under the control of LH. When the amount of testosterone in the blood increases, testosterone molecules exert pressure on the pituitary gland to cause them to cease producing LH. Only when the amount of testosterone decreases does the production of LH begins again. The LH produced activates the testes and orders extra production in order to raise the amount of testosterone.

From this we can clearly conclude that there is an exchange of information between the pituitary gland and the testes. Two unconscious glands control each other's production and cooperate to ensure the secretion of the ideal amount testosterone for the human being, and prevent any danger that might arise from the secretion of too little (or too much) testosterone. More exactly, within the two glands molecular sub-systems are placed so as to ensure their harmonious cooperation. This flawless design shows that these systems were created to fulfill a common purpose.

At the same time, the FSH hormone secreted by the pituitary gland begins the production of sperm in the testes. Sperm cells are specially designed for the fertilization of egg cells. Another example of design is that, with the beginning of adolescence, FSH is secreted and sperm starts to be produced at just the right time.

Two Different Sexes From the Same Raw Material

Male and female sex hormones have a common characteristic. The male hormone, testosterone, and the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, are made from the same raw material, cholesterol.

A diagram of male hormonal control.

How is it that cells using the same raw material manage to form different sexes? A testis cell gives shape to the raw material that it is given and forms male characteristics; with the same raw material, an ovary makes the estrogen and progesterone that produce female characteristics. The same substance, just because of the modifications given to it by a cell, causes the growth of the beard, the widening of the shoulders, the lowering of the voice, and the production of sperm. Again the same substance, because of the different shape given to it by another cell, causes the widening of the female pelvis bone, the growth of breasts, the raising of the vocal pitch and the preparations necessary to give birth to a child.

Cells without intelligence use the same raw material to produce molecules, each with their own flawless design (and each one destined for a very different purpose).

This one example is enough to show the greatness of the intelligence manifested in these tiny cells too small to be seen by the naked eye.

It is God Who created the seven heavens and of the earth the same number, the Command descending down through all of them, so that you might know that God has power over all things and that God encompasses all things in His knowledge. (Qur'an, 65: 12)

43 Ic Hastaliklari (Internal Diseases), p. 392