Obscure Organs – Part 7

Today we might talk about having a “gut feeling” or an emotional pain that is a “heartache.” But in ancient times, they talked about the reins (or kidneys) being the seat of one’s deepest feelings. Our bean-shaped kidneys are about the size of a bar of soap. But they are incredibly engineered. Here is a quote from a recently published textbook: “Every day the kidneys filter nearly 200 liters of fluid from our bloodstream, allowing toxins, metabolic wastes, and excess ions to leave the body in urine while returning needed substances to the blood. Much like a water purification plant that keeps a city’s water drinkable and disposes of its wastes, the kidneys are usually unappreciated until they malfunction and the body fluids become contaminated.” (Marieb, Hoehn, & Katja, Human Anatomy & Physiology, Pearson, 2015.)

The kidneys perform a chemical balancing act that would be tricky even for the best chemical engineer. For example, they regulate the pressure of the filtration to amazing consistency by constricting and relaxing surrounding muscles. After the kidney takes into account the amount of solutes in the body and the acid-base balance, they reabsorb just the right amounts of water and salts. Then the remaining fluid goes into a collecting duct to be sent down to the bladder. Besides their normal filtration job, the kidneys produce important molecules like renin and convert vitamin D to its active form. They can even produce critical sugars when the body lacks food. Truly we should marvel along with King David at how God created our reins (kidneys) and knit them together while we were still a developing embryo (Psalm 139:13).

Posted on August 1, 2017 by dwoetzel.

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