The two Governors
of our body: The Hypothalamus and the Pituitary Gland
The fact that you are able to sit comfortably in your
chair and read these sentences is due to systems that
organize the internal balance of your body for your
benefit. For example, no matter what the temperature
outside, your body must always be kept at a constant
temperature, usually between 36.5 and 37.5 degrees.
A sudden fall or rise in body temperature may result
in death. The body temperature of a healthy individual,
thanks to these systems, will vary at most 0.5 of a
degree. In the same way, the pressure of the blood in
the veins, the amount of fluid in the blood, and the
speed at which the cells function must be delicately
measured, and the existing balance safeguarded at every
Let us imagine the efforts needed to artificially ensure
these balances. First, imagine that there exist delicate
thermometers in a few places in the body, special devices
to measure the density of the blood in the veins, and
mini laboratories to control the rate of speed at which
the cells function. Then, imagine that all these thousands
of tiny devices located in every point in the body must
make the right assessments every second and transmit
the information they receive to a highly advanced computer.
However, it is not enough that these assessments are
made alone; at the same time, it is also necessary to
know, according to the available data, which actions
must be taken and what kind of command must be given
to which cells.
Of course, even with the state of today's technology,
it is still impossible to place thousands of thermometers,
a mini laboratory, and pressure measuring devices in
the depths of the human body. Yet a special system with
the finest possible design has been placed from birth
deep in the human body.
Thousands of different receivers measure such things
as the body's temperature and the pressure in the blood
vessels. Then they send this information to a very special
computer. This computer is the area of the brain called
Your Body's Hidden Manager: The Hypothalamus
The hypothalamus is the general director of the hormone
system; it has the vital task of ensuring the internal
stability of the human body. At every moment, the hypothalamus
assesses messages coming to it from the brain and the
depths of the body. Afterwards, it performs a number
of functions, such as maintaining a stable body temperature,
controlling blood pressure, ensuring a fluid balance,
and even proper sleep patterns.
The hypothalamus is located directly under the brain
and is the size of a hazel nut. A considerable amount
of information relative to the body state is sent to
the hypothalamus. Information is transmitted to it from
every point in the body, including the sense centers
in the brain. It then analyses the information it has
received, decides what measures are to be taken, what
changes must be made in the body, and causes the appropriate
cells of the body to carry out its decisions.
The basic point that must be noticed here is this:
the hypothalamus is an organ composed of unconscious
cells. A cell does not know how long a human being needs
to sleep; it cannot calculate what the body's temperature
should be. It cannot make the best decision based on
the information at hand, and it cannot make another
cell in a far removed area of the body carry out this
decision. Yet the cells in the hypothalamus act in an
extraordinarily conscious manner to ensure that the
necessary balances in the body are maintained. In the
pages that follow, we shall examine in detail the remarkable
activities displayed by these unconscious cells.
Most of the information about the human body comes
to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus interprets
this information, makes the necessary decisions
and causes the cells put these decisions into
practice. On the left, we see the position of
the hypothalamus in the brain. It is the supreme
power of God that enables the hypothalamus to
make vital decisions.
One of the most important functions of the hypothalamus
is to form a bridge between the hormonal system and
the other system that controls and oversees the body-the
nervous system. The hypothalamus not only directs the
hormonal system, but also the nervous system with a
high degree of expertise.
The hypothalamus has a very important assistant in
its role of governing the body; this assistant informs
the appropriate body areas of the decisions that have
been taken. For example, when there is a drop in blood
pressure, bits of information are set into motion, and
these inform the hypothalamus of the change in pressure;
then the hypothalamus decides what measures must be
taken to raise it and informs its assistant of its decision.
In order to effect the decision, the helper knows which
cells must receive the command. It writes messages in
a language that these cells can understand and transmits
them immediately. The cells obey the command they have
received and take the appropriate action to raise the
This assistant to the hypothalamus is the pituitary
gland, which also has a very important influence on
the hormonal system.
Between the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland there
is a marvelous system of communication. These two pieces
of flesh actually communicate like two conscious human
beings. The hypothalamus has complete control over the
pituitary gland and its vital secretion of several hormones.
For example, the hypothalamus of a growing child sends
a message to the pituitary gland with the command, "secrete
the growth hormone" and the pituitary gland then secretes
the growth hormone exactly as needed.
Something similar happens when the cells of the body
need to work faster; this time there is a two-stage
chain of command. The hypothalamus sends an order to
the pituitary gland which, in turn, sends the order
to the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland secretes the
proper amount of thyroid hormone and the cells of the
body begin to work faster.
The location of the hormonal glands under the
control of the hypothalamus in the body.
When the adrenal glands (which produce several very
important hormones) must be activated or the reproductive
organs must produce their hormones, the hypothalamus
again sends a message to the pituitary gland, which
directs it to the relevant areas and ensures the required
hormones in those areas are secreted.
The hormones produced by the hypothalamus to direct
the pituitary gland include:
- Growth hormone-releasing hormone
- Thyrotropin-releasing hormone
- Corticotropin-releasing hormone
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone.
In some cases the hypothalamus, in order to intervene
in the activity of the cells, uses two hormones that
it has secreted itself. To store these hormones, it
first sends them to the pituitary gland, then, when
required, it ensures that they are secreted by the pituitary
gland. These hormones are:
- Vasopressin (an antidiuretic, i.e., water retaining,
These two hormone molecules produced by the hypothalamus
are very small. One of them is only three amino acids
large. The hypothalamus hormones are distinguished from
other hormones not only by being small; they also differ
from other hormones by the distance they cover in the
body. Hormones generally travel a long distance from
the hormonal gland where they were produced to the designated
organ. However, the hypothalamus hormones reach the
pituitary gland after passing through only a capillary
vessel a few millimeters thick. They never enter the
general circulatory system.
The hypothalamus produces the hormones that activate
the pituitary gland, and when necessary, it also produces
hormones that stop the pituitary gland at the appropriate
time from secreting a certain hormone. In this way,
it has complete control over the activity of the pituitary
The hypothalamus, which is located right under
the brain and is the size of a hazel nut, controls
many vital functions such as the regulation of
the body's metabolism, the operation of the adrenal
glands, the production of milk and the regulation
of body's growth. While performing these activities,
it employs the other hormonal glands under its
command. In the illustration above, we see the
hormones that work in conjunction with the hypothalamus.
The thought that these little pieces of flesh
can communicate with each other like conscious
human beings and perform their activities concertedly
help humans understand the majesty of God.