THE SENSITIVE CALCIUM-METERS
The amount of calcium in the blood is a very important factor in human
survival. In order for a human to survive, he needs to not only breathe
and drink water, but he must also have a certain amount of calcium in
his blood. If the level of calcium in the blood falls below what is required,
death will result. Now, let us think of this hypothetical example: A container
in front of you contains one liter of blood. This blood is to be transfused
into a patient waiting for an operation. It has been discovered that there
is a deficiency of calcium in this blood, but the amount of the deficiency
has not been determined. You are asked to make a guess and supply the
deficiency. You have been given a large container of powdered calcium
How would you make this decision?
First, you would have to measure the amount of calcium in the blood in
front of you. But you would need such advanced technological tools that
you would have neither the time nor the opportunity to do it. In this
situation, you would be completely helpless. The fact that you are unable
to measure the amount of calcium in the blood in front of you may result
in the patient's death.
us change our example slightly: Now you are given one liter of blood which
contains no calcium, and you have to add the right amount of it. How many
spoonfuls of calcium would you take from the container and add to the
blood? What is the correct amount of this vital substance that must be
added to one liter of blood?
You will never encounter this situation; the example has been given just
to emphasize the importance of the amount of calcium in the blood. If
a liter of blood were placed before you containing no calcium, the amount
of calcium you would have to mix with it would be one tenth of a gram.
In the five liters of blood in your body, there needs to be a total of
only half a gram of calcium. If there is any more or less than this, serious
illness or even death may result. Clearly, the human body has been created
in a marvelously delicate balance. A person weighing 80 kilos requires
only half a gram of calcium circulating in his blood-any more or less,
and he will die.
Calcium ensures the operation of several vital functions
in our bodies. Without calcium, the blood would not clot and a person
could die from blood loss from to a small wound or even a scratch. Calcium
also plays an important role in the transmission of nerve impulses. If
nerve impulse transmissions were severed, death would result. Calcium
also ensures that the muscles function and that the bones are healthy.
The body of an adult person contains up to two kilograms of calcium, and
of this, ninety-nine per cent is stored in the bones. The remainder is
used in functions relative to body metabolism. Approximately 0.5 grams
of calcium in the blood is sufficient for bodily functions.18
Above, we see the parathyroid glands. When the amount of calcium in
the blood falls, the parathyroid releases a wonderfully designed hormone
called parathormone. It is remarkable that a piece of flesh can recognize
calcium, measure it and make a decision based on the results of that
As we said before, in 100 milliliters of blood, there is 10 milligrams
of calcium-the equivalent of 0.1 gram in a liter. If the proportion falls
from 10 mg. to 6-7 mg. (the total amount of calcium in the blood falls
by 0.2 grams), tetany occurs, characterized by symptoms of painful muscle
contractions and convulsions. These contractions happen first in the heart
muscles and the muscles of the respiratory tract. The irregular contraction
of these muscles makes the heart beat erratic and inhibits the respiratory
function. Without treatment, the patient's heart will stop (or he will
not be able to breathe). In either case, death results. As we can see,
in order for such vital functions as heart beat and respiration to occur,
only half a gram of calcium is needed.
If the amount of calcium in the blood increases to 12
mg. in 100 ml. (that is, if the total amount of calcium in the blood increases
by one tenth of a gram), kidney stones could develop, the activity of
the nervous system reflex could slow down, and the muscles could atrophy
and (as a result) lose their strength. When the amount of calcium rises
to 17 mg. per 100 ml. of blood, calcium phosphate spreads to every part
of the body and poisons it.19 The fact that the
human body is so dependent on a substance (and that this substance is
used in several of this body's functions) demonstrates two important points:
that human beings are created according to a wonderful plan, and that
they are totally dependent on God Who created them.
After we have seen the importance of the amount of calcium in the blood,
this question inevitably comes to mind: what is the mechanism that determines
this amount that is so vital for life? The answer to this question reveals
another wonder of creation. Buried inside the thyroid gland is another
hormonal gland called the parathyroid. In order to ensure the balance
of calcium in the body, this gland, working cooperatively with others,
puts a highly intelligent plan into effect. The only function of the parathyroid
is to measure how much calcium there is in our blood; it does this day
and night throughout our whole lives, to keep the proportion of calcium
at the ideal level.
If you placed the material seen on the left in front of someone and
asked him what it was, he would not be able to recognize it unless
he had special training. But the cells in our body immediately recognize
calcium atoms from among the hundreds of materials in the blood.
Through the agency of a specially designed hormone that
it produces (parathormone), the parathyroid regulates the level of calcium
in the blood. If the level of calcium in the blood drops, it immediately
secretes parathormone.20 This demonstrates a very
important point: at the beginning of this section we asked whether you
could determine the amount of calcium in a container of blood placed in
front of you. We determined that, without laboratory devices specially
designed for this task, you would not be able to succeed. Yet the tiny
parathyroid can make a calculation that humans cannot do except in a laboratory.
The cells that compose the parathyroid gland not only produce a hormone,
but they also make measurements relative to the place where the hormone
will be used.
How does a cell pick out the calcium atoms in the river of blood flowing
in front of it? How can cells without eyes, ears or hands recognize calcium
atoms among the millions of kinds of other substances in the blood such
as salt, glucose, fat, amino acids, proteins, hormones, enzymes, lactic
acid, carbon dioxide, nitrogenous waste, sodium, potassium, urea, uric
acid, iron and sodium bicarbonate? How does a cell recognize calcium?
How does it know how much calcium there should be in the blood? With what
consciousness does it measure the calcium? With what intelligence does
it decide whether there is too much or too little calcium present? Cells
are tiny, only one percent of a millimeter in size, without conscious
intelligence. The fact that they can successfully measure the amount of
calcium in the blood is in itself a miracle.
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
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.21 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
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
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)
god is God alone, there is no deity but Him. He encompasses all
things in His knowledge.
(Qur'an, 20: 98)
A Control Mechanism
In earlier pages we have seen that a large part of the functioning of
the hormonal system is under the control of the pituitary gland, but it
will be noticed that the system in place to regulate the amount of calcium
operates under the direction of a different control mechanism. The parathyroid
glands measure the amount of calcium in the blood and decide what action
to take. If the amount of calcium in the blood is too low, they secrete
If the amount of calcium in the blood is more than is required, the secretion
of parathormone is reduced. This time a different hormone comes into play:
the thyroid gland secretes a hormone called "calcitonin," which has the
reverse effect of parathormone. That is, it prevents bone cells from releasing
calcium and makes them store it.
The cells which make up the parathyroid gland know that they must go
into action when the amount of calcium decreases, while the cells which
compose the thyroid gland know that they must become active when the level
of calcium increases. Who put this plan into the cells?
If the parathyroid went into action at the wrong time, when the amount
of calcium was already too high, and parathormone began to be secreted,
a serious danger for human health would result. Or, if parathormone and
calcitonin were secreted at the same time, the body cells would not know
what to do. If the cells that make up these glands were slow to go into
action when the need arose (or did not notice that they were needed) a
serious danger to health would again result. The harmonious functioning
of the thyroid and parathyroid glands and the intelligence guiding the
activities of the cells that make up these glands, are all proof that
the human body was created.