· It is also known as Conarium, Epiphysis cerebri, pineal organ or pineal body orthird eye.
· Pineal gland is an endocrine gland found in vertebrates.
· Its name is derived from its shape which is similar to that of pinecone (Latin pineal).
· According to famous philosopher Descrates described the “pineal gland as the principal seat of the soul.”
· The pineal gland is one of the smallest glands in the body.
· Pineal gland controls sleep and wake pattern. However, due to lots of factors, calcification of pineal gland can occur which hampering the brain function.
The pineal gland develops from the roof of diencephalon, a section of the brain. It is located behind the third cerebral ventricle in the brain midline.
· In adult humans pineal gland is about 0.8 cm (0.3 inch) long weighs approx 0.1 gm.
· It is a reddish grey gland.
· Its size is of about the size of grain of rice in humans.
· It is present on the dorsal side of forebrain.
· Pineal gland produce melatonin hormone which regulates the daily and seasonal circadian rhythms, the sleep wake patterns that determine our hormone levels, stress levels and physical performance.
· Pineal gland releases the hormone melatonin. Both melatonin and its precursor serotonin, which are derived chemically from the alkaloid substance tryptamine which are synthesized in the pineal gland.
· Pineal gland also produces neuro-steroids along with other brain sites.
· Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a hallucinogenic compound present in the Amazonian Botanical drink ayahuosca, is chemically similar to melatonin and serotonin. It is considered to be a trace substance in human blood and urine.
· DMT has not been consistently detected in human pineal microdidysates and proof of its regulated biosynthesis in the mammalian pineal gland is lacking.
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by pineal gland of the body which help in regulating the biological rhythms or it direct the internal clock of the body. Melatonin is secreted in different amounts during the night or day. Melatonin secretions peak during the night time and this makes us feel drowsy. It does not necessarily induces sleep and allow a good night’s rest. Melatonin is a supplement to help people who deal with insomnia because melatonin secretion peak during puberty and then continue to drop throughout life. It is always thought that due to the lack of melatonin production so many elderly people report trouble sleeping.
Function of Pineal Gland:
i. It affects the modulation of sleep patterns in the circadian rhythm and season function.
ii. The primary function of the pineal gland is to secrete melatonin. Secretion of melatonin hormone causes sleepiness and wakefulness or circadian rhythms. It also helps in the regulation of certain endocrine functions. Natural light tends to turn this gland on. When the pineal gland is activated, your brain moves from sleeping to a state of wakefulness. This process is referred to as the awakening of the third eye- a common name for the pineal gland.
iii. The gland also helps the body to convert signals from the nervous system to signals in the endocrine system.
iv. Pineal gland also helps in the regulation of female hormone levels and it may affects fertility and the menstrual cycle. Reduced amounts of melatonin may also play a role in the development of irregular menstrual cycles.
v. Melatonin also helps protect against cardiovascular issues such as atherosclerosis and hypertension.
vi. Pineal gland helps in mood stabilization. One study indicate that lower pineal gland volume may increase our risk of developing schizophrenia and other mood disorders.
vii. A recent study on rats found evidence that lowering pineal gland function through overexposure to light led to cellular damage and increased risk for colon cancer.
Physiologically in conjunction with the hypothalamus gland, the pineal gland controls the sex derive, hunger, thirst and the biological clock which determine the body’s normal ageing process.
Pineal gland calcification:
Pineal gland calcification is a great cause for connection because it seems to happen at a very young age. In this process, the pineal gland accumulates calcium phosphate crystals, becomes hardened and loses much of its functionality.
Ways to activate pineal gland:
There are four ways to activate pineal gland. Activating pineal gland may be helpful for regulating mood, sleep and energy levels. Here are four ways to get started:
1) Get out and into the sun:
Sun exposure kicks starts the pineal gland and stimulates the mind. Any type of light exposure, either directly or indirectly activates the pineal gland, prompting it to produce serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for mood and energy levels. So, it’s crucial to amid light after the sun goes down because pineal gland is needed to produce melatonin and supports serotonin. This process can only be accomplished by reducing light from electronics and light bulbs as much as possible.
2) Sleep in complete darkness:
A dark environment ensures our pineal gland produces enough melatonin to ensure good, restful sleep. The lightening of electronic devices stimulates serotonin production, tricking pineal gland into thinking its daytime, confusing our wake or sleep cycle.
3) Sun Gazing:
Sun gazing, one of the most controversial exercise, can do to activate the pineal gland as within the first 15 minutes of sunlight the end of day, you gaze into the sun for couple of seconds; but only a couple of seconds.
The pineal gland responds to the bioelectric signals of light and dark and meditation activates this bioelectric energy.
Endocrine glands are ductless glands and their secretions are known as Hormones. They are chemical messengers which are secreted in trace amounts and affects the target organ of the body.
Pituitary gland release several hormones which regulate the functioning of different parts of the body. Growth hormone, PRL, TSH, ACTH, LH, FSH, MSH, oxytocin and vasopressin are the hormones released by the pituitary gland.
Thyroid glands are located in our neck region and secretes thyroxine, TCT and calcitonin hormone. On the other hand Parathyroid gland is located on the posterior side of thyroid gland and release PTH.
Adrenal glands are supra-renal glands which consists of two parts; cortex and medulla which releases certain hormones to regulate the process of human body.
Gonads,testes in male and ovary in female are the reproductive glands which secretes hormones that helps in the reproduction of male and female. Testes secrete androgen, inhibin,AMF and ovary release estrogen and progesterone.
Pancreas is a composite gland which function as both exocrine and endocrine gland. The endocrine pancreas consists of islets of langerhans. Alpha cells of pancreas secretes glucagon and beta cells release insulin.
Thymus gland is a lymphoid organ that secretes the peptide hormone thymosin. Thymus gland promotes the development of specific cell of the immune system called as T- lymphocytes.
Hypothalamus is the basal part of the brain which contain neuro-secretory cells called nuclei These nuclei produce hormones which regulate the functioning of pituitary hormones.
Hormones are natural organic substances that regulate growth, metabolism of the body. Protein hormones perform their action through extracellular receptors while mode of action of steroid hormones is through intracellular receptor.
Dwarfism is a condition in which the growth of the individual is very slow resulting in short stature. There are two types of dwarfism; Proportionate and Disproportionate dwarfism.
Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder that results from the excess of Growth hormone (GH)in the body. In Acromegaly pituitary produces excessive amounts of growth hormone.It is often diagnosed in middle aged adults and can result in serious illness and premature death.
Cretinism refers to severe hypothyroidism which is due to the deficiency of thyroid hormone. This is a medical condition present at birth and characterized by physical deformity, dwarfism and mental retardation..
Goitre is an enlarged thyroid gland that causes the neck to swell. The thyroid gland is controlled by the pituitary gland which prompts the thyroid to secrete hormones T4 and T3 by releasing TSH. Excessive stimulation of the thyroid gland by TSH can result in goitre.
It is preferably known as Diabetes Mellitus. It is a group of metabolic disorders in which the person has high blood glucose due to inadequate insulin production. There are three types of diabetes; type-1, type-2, Gestational diabetes.
Exopthamic goitre is also known as Grave's disease. It is the most common form of hyperthyroidism and thyrotoxicosis. It results in an abnormal over activity of the thyroid gland which produce too much of thyroid hormone; thyroxine.