The Rhythm of
Life: The Thyroid Gland
Today in factories and modern industrial plants, the
most important thing on the agenda is "productivity."
Every department of a factory must work with ideal speed
but it is not enough that the individual units work
to the ideal speed by themselves. Every unit must work
in harmony with the others. If one unit thinks that
there is an advantage in working on its own faster than
the others, this could cause harm rather than benefit.
For this reason, industrial engineers and strategic
planners work in factories and plants to put planning
into place and ensure productivity.
Imagine a factory that produces millions of different
products, operates twenty-four hours a day without a
break, and has 100 trillion workers. No doubt, an army
of engineers and business planners would be required
in this factory to formulate a productivity plan and
determine how quickly each group of workers will work
In real life there exists such a factory, but engineers
and business administrators do not work in it. The work
is done by a small set of cells and the hormones that
This factory is, of course, the human body and what
is responsible for the productivity of this factory
is the thyroid gland. With the help of the thyroxine
hormone secreted by the thyroid gland, 100 trillion
cells are individually organized to function according
to a certain rhythm and at a certain rate of speed.
This hormone determines how quickly nutrients are converted
into energy and how efficiently food burns in the body.
Children especially have a high rate of metabolism.
This is because they obtain a higher energy production
from the nutrients in their cells. It is the thyroxine
hormone that determines and supervises the speed
at which the body cells work.
For example, most young people, especially those still
in the process of growth, have a very high rate of metabolism,
and the food they consume is quickly turned into energy.
In other words, the nutrients they eat are quickly burned
so that they do not gain weight easily. Generally, as
people grow older, there is no difference in their appetite
but, if they eat the same amount of food as when they
were younger, they gain weight. The reason for this
is that, when they were younger, the body cells produce
energy from their food at a higher rate. When a person
gets older, the energy produced by the cells from the
burning of nutrients is lower and unburned food is stored
in the body as fat.
If you were a factory owner, you would work to ensure
that your employees worked in the most productive manner
and, at the same time, you would make sure that they
paid attention to their own health and safety. If the
employees in one department of your factory worked more
slowly than they should, it would not be good for the
factory's general production. If there is no foreman
to tell the workers what job they must do and how quickly
they must do it, production will suffer.
The same thing happens in our bodies.
If there were no foreman to tell your cells how quickly
they must work, the result would cause the activity
of the cells to slow down, the food you ate would turn
to fat, you would not have enough energy to raise your
arm, and your whole body would come to the point of
exhaustion. When too little thyroxine hormone is secreted,
a condition called hypothyroidism occurs which is characterized
by these symptoms.11
For a factory to achieve the highest level of
productivity, the speed at which the workers do
their jobs must be both organized and controlled.
But even if you are not aware of it, your thyroid gland
is working for you, secreting the thyroxine hormone
that controls each one of the 100 trillion cells and
prevents them from slowing down. As a result, you can
live your daily life normally.
Thyroxine not only prevents the cells
from moving too slowly, it also prevents them from working
too fast. Because this hormone is secreted in a definite
amount, the speed at which the cells work is kept in
balance. If the cells of the body worked more quickly
than they should, "toxic goiter" would develop, caused
by the excessive secretion of thyroxine.12
Symptoms of this disease include the increase of the
metabolic rate, a rise in body temperature and blood
pressure, weight loss, excessive sweating and general
nervousness. The eyes bulge in their sockets and, in
advanced stages of this disease, blindness and even
death (due to cardiac insufficiency) can result.
The tissues that
make up the human body are continually being renewed.
Every day approximately 200 grams of muscle and tissue
cells are renewed.13 Every minute
200 million cells in our bodies are produced to replace
dead cells,14 and it is the thyroxine
hormone that determines the speed at which this renewal
One of the conditions caused by the malfunction
of the thyroid gland is Grave's disease. This
condition causes the eyes to bulge (above left).
Goiter is a condition caused by the enlargement
of the thyroid gland (above right).
How does this hormone-producing thyroid gland know
the speed at which the cells in our bodies must function?
How does it determine the speed of the replacement of
body cells? The person himself does not even know the
speed at which his body's cells have to function, and
most people are not even aware that their body cells
have a particular speed at which they must function.
If someone wanted to interfere with the speed at which
his body cells work, he could certainly not affect the
cells with his own will. In order to do this, he would
have to obtain medical help or take some medication.
Human beings do not determine the speed at which their
own cells work; this is under the control of that small
piece of flesh called the thyroid gland.
How has the thyroid gland determined the ideal working
speed for the cells? How does it know the working speed
of the hundreds of different systems contained in the
cells-systems that scientists are still investigating?
Let scientists continue to try to understand these systems;
the thyroid hormone knows all the details of these systems,
including what kind of intervention is needed to increase
their working speed. To do this, it produces a specific
molecule type and sends them to each of the cells one
by one. In light of this, we must accept that the cells,
which make up the thyroid gland and produce thyroxine,
have a much higher intelligence about this process than
Remember, like all the cells in the body, cells that
compose the thyroid gland do not have any conscious
The thyroid hormones are responsible for the growth,
metabolism, development and the organization of
the activities in the nervous system.
As can be seen in the picture on the left, a thyroid
molecule is composed of lifeless, unconscious atoms.
The cells perform their function according to humanly
inconceivable genetic program written in their nuclei.
This fact brings to light even more the enormity of
the miracle of creation.
The structure of the thyroid hormone that determines
the speed at which the body cells work.
It is God, the possessor of eternal intelligence and
knowledge, Who wonderfully created the cells of the
body, the genetic program that determines the functioning
of this system, and the inner systems of the cells that
translate and interpret this genetic program.
Moreover, in the genetic programs of the cells that
compose the thyroid gland, He wrote the molecular formula
of the hormone that accelerates the activity of other
cells. So it is evident that a remarkably harmonious
system has been put in place which proves once more
the perfection of God's creation. In the Qur'an, God
reveals harmony and perfection that is seen everywhere
in the world:
He Who created the seven heavens in
layers. You will not find any flaw in the creation of
the All-Merciful. Look again - do you see any gaps?
Then look again and again. Your sight will return to
you dazzled and exhausted! (Qur'an, 67: 3-4)
The Proportion in Our Bodies
Thyroxine has another wonderful characteristic in that
it works in cooperation with the growth hormone. These
two molecules act together in harmony toward a common
goal. There is only one explanation for this: these
two molecules were created for this common task.
You will recall from earlier pages that the growth
hormone is the molecule that orders the cells of a developing
child to grow and multiply. This hormone stimulates
the cells to grow in both size and number. But there
is another very important detail that must be planned-the
speed of cell division. Thyroxine influences the speed
of cell division during the period of growth, ensuring
complete development of the body.
understand the importance of thyroxine, we just have
to look in a mirror. So long as there is no birth defect,
every individual's mouth, nose, eyes, the face-in short,
everyone's whole body-has a proportion that resembles
that of almost everyone else. The body has this proportion
due to the perfect functioning of the thyroxine hormone
that God created. If you were reading these sentences
years ago as a young person in your developing years,
and the thyroxine molecules did not go to each one of
your individual cells and inform them of the speed at
which they must divide, your body's organs would have
developed without proportion. You could even have become
mentally impaired, as is the case when cretinism occurs
as the result of insufficient secretion of thyroxine
immediately after birth. The bodies of people afflicted
with this condition lack proper proportions when grown;
generally they have very short legs and a large skull.
In addition, a lack of thyroxine also causes dwarfism.15
Most of the people you see in your daily life (your
schoolmates, fellow workers, people in the street, and
your family) have bodies perfectly shaped by God's creation
by means of the activity of two small molecules-growth
hormone and thyroxine. These hormones are secreted at
the right time and in the right amount, commanding trillions
of individual cells with orders as to how much and how
fast they have to multiply. As a result, a perfectly
formed human body comes into being.
The three-dimensional structure of the thyroxine
In the majority of human beings, the amount of this
molecule is adjusted in a very special way so that neither
too much nor too little is produced. If the amount of
these hormones produced varied too much from one individual
to another, there would be major physical differences
between people; millions of people would be between
2.5 and 3 meters tall; millions would be one meter or
less in height, everyone would have a body and facial
structure lacking proportion, and almost everyone would
be mentally retarded. Millions of people would die while
still in adolescence.
To repeat: the external appearance and physical characteristics
of human beings is due to two small molecules that God
has wonderfully created-the growth hormone and thyroxine.
This is another proof of how God has constructed human
beings on a foundation of delicate balances:
He created the heavens and the Earth
with truth and formed you, giving you the best of forms.
And He is your final destination. (Qur'an, 64: 3)
11 Musa Ozet,
Osman Arpaci, Biyoloji 2 (Biology 2), Surat Publishing,
February 98, p. 126
12 Biyoloji 2 (Biology 2), p. 126
13 Body Atlas, Ambrose Video Publishing, Inc. New York,
Discovery Communications, 1994
14 The Incredible Machine, p. 222
15 The Incredible Machine, p. 241