The word pineal comes from the Latin word pinea, which means ‘pinecone’. The shape and structure of the pineal gland represents a pine cone, which is how it got its name. This incredible small gland in the center of your brain is quite literally a ‘third-eye’.
In this article, we explore the pineal gland and its functions. We also look into how it works and is able to detect extraocular light. We find how calcium and fluoride get deposited in the pineal gland in a process called mineralization. We also explore 4 supplements that may help improve pineal gland function.
What is the Pineal Gland?
The pineal gland is a small singular gland in the center of your brain. It is found in the brains of all vertebrate animals, including all mammals, birds, amphibians and fish (except for the hagfish).
The pineal gland secretes the hormone melatonin, which is responsible for helping you to fall asleep and to maintain healthy sleeping patterns. It also secretes some other compounds, including N,N-DMT, a powerful hallucinogen thought of by some scientists as the ‘spirit molecule’.
The pineal gland is a part of our culture and has been for over a thousand years. It was long thought of as the ‘seat of the soul’, and not without reason. The pinecone motif occurs in archeological findings all over the ancient world and is thought to correlate to the revered pineal gland. In the center of Vatican, instead of a statue of Jesus, you find a giant statue of a pine cone.
What functions does the Pineal Gland have?
The function of the pineal gland is remarkably similar throughout the animal kingdom. In all animals (including humans), the pineal gland is photosensitive (it is able to detect light) and acts as a regulator of the circadian rhythm and hormone production.
In invertebrate animals and some reptile species, the pineal gland is referred to as the parietal eye and is located on the top of the head. The parietal eye is used to detect predators from above as well as to regulate hormone production and the circadian rhythm.
Although there is some conflicting information about this, even in higher animals like mammals, the pineal gland remains photosensitive. The function of this was misunderstood for a long time. We have only recently discovered that light is able to enter the brain through entryways other than the eyes.
In fact, the most recent scientific research (published in 2016) has found that extraocular light is able to enter your brain through your ear canals as well as through your skull, which is not completely impenetrable to light.
In humans, the pineal gland is part of what scientists call the ‘deep-brain’. The pineal gland contains sensitive photoreceptors which behave somewhat differently to the rod and cone photoreceptor cells found in our eyes.
According to the latest research on pineal gland function, its main function is to produce and secrete the hormone melatonin, which is responsible for regulating our sleep-wake patterns, among other things.
Melatonin, the circadian rhythm, and the pineal gland are thought to play an important role in regulating an internal calendar that helps with reproductive cycles and plays a role in human psychology. Not only this, but melatonin also appears to be very important for maintaining a healthy immune system and works as a powerful antioxidant.
How does the Pineal Gland ‘see’?
The process of seeing without seeing is still being discovered by modern science. The latest review published about this interesting topic explains what we know in as simple a way as possible.
Recent discoveries in science have indicated that light-detection is far more ubiquitous in nature than we had previously thought. The lack of eyes does not necessarily indicate a lack of vision.
For example, in 2011, a team of international scientists discovered that sea urchins have the ability to actually see with their entire body. The spikes on their bodies detect light in a similar way to our eyes, in effect acting as one big eye.
In August 2016, researchers Thomas Cronin and Sönke Johnsen published an article in the journal of Integrative and Comparative Biology which detailed the evolution of extraocular and nonvisual photoreceptors.
Traditional vision involves a photon (a particle of light) ‘hitting’ a photosensitive protein (called an opsin) on the surface of your retina. The energy from the photon is absorbed and it changes the physical structure of the protein, which activates a chain of biochemical reactions. The accumulation of this chain of events results in an electrochemical signal being sent to the brain.
There are millions of light-sensitive photoreceptors in your eyes and the combined signals allow your conscious perception to create the image that you see in front of you.
Unlike the rod and cone cells in our retinas, the photoreceptors in our pineal gland are thought to respond to a complex series of proteins called opsins produced by the photoreceptors in our eyes. Researchers are still figuring out exactly how this process works.
There are other proposed biochemical mechanisms including the theory that the pineal gland responds to darkness rather than light.
The Pineal gland and Culture
The first written work on the pineal gland is attributed to a Greek doctor called Galen called On the anatomical usefulness of the parts of the body, written over 2200 years ago.
Many other people studied the pineal gland after its discovery, but the most influential was the French philosopher Rene Descartes, who wrote about it in his timeless book Treatise of man, written in the mid-1600s.
Put simply, Descartes believed that the bodies of men and animals were nothing more than automated piles of organic matter, robotic in nature and responding to stimuli merely through reflex action. However, he believed that humans had a special gland which connected them to a higher consciousness or God. This was the pineal gland.
“My view is that this gland is the principal seat of the soul, and the place in which all our thoughts are formed…”
Descartes wrote about this further in another book called The Passion of the Soul. His belief was that since we cannot experience the body as thinking in any way, our thoughts must all be linked to our connection to God. According to Descartes, the pineal gland acts as a link to God, through which all our thoughts are generated.
For some reason, Descartes felt that it was necessary to exclude prior research conducted over the previous 1600-1800 years showing that the pineal gland is actually found in the brains of all vertebrate animals.
He believed that humans were unique because they had a special capability of connecting to God through the pineal gland, thereby experiencing thoughts and emotions. Unfortunately, because Descartes had such a monumental impact on science, this has been an underlying concept in modern science even up until modern times.
Incredibly, some scientists still argue theoretically about whether or not animals are even capable of experiencing pain, despite overwhelming evidence showing that they do.
The pineal gland produces psychoactive compounds like DMT
5-MeO-DMT is widely regarded as the most powerful psychoactive compound available on Earth today. It has been used for millennia by ancient Amazonian cultures in the form of the tonic caapi or Ayahuasca. Today, its use is spreading to the West by shamans who legally engage people in the traditional Ayahuasca ceremony.
N,N-DMT is produced by the pineal gland in all vertebrate animals. Scientists have speculated that it is produced in higher quantities at the moment of death and birth, acting as a bridge between consciousness and unconsciousness.
N,N-DMT is produced by the pineal gland in higher-than-normal quantities during extended periods of deep meditation. Scientists have indicated that it may well be the chemical link responsible for the experience of many mystical and spiritual states.
What is Pineal Gland calcification?
Calcification or mineralization is the process of a build-up of Calcium inside the cells of the pineal gland. Mineralization of the pineal gland seems to occur over time and results in decreased pineal gland function.
The interesting thing about the pineal gland is that it is separated from the rest of the brain, but more attached to the body. What this means is that minerals do not need to cross the blood-brain barrier to interact with cells in the pineal gland.
It is for this reason that scientists have found a build-up of fluoride and calcium in the pineal gland of elderly cadavers. In 2001, scientists found that significant mineralization had occurred in the pineal glands of 11 aged cadavers. The amount of fluoride deposited in the pineal gland was positively correlated to the amount of calcium deposited.
Researchers have linked decreased pineal gland function to a number of diseases and disorders. As the pineal gland loses function due to increased mineralization, circadian rhythms become disturbed. This may partially explain why the elderly have difficulty maintaining regular sleeping cycles.
A dysfunctional pineal gland has also been linked to degenerative diseases as well as to the onset of cancer and a compromised immune system. Scientists have found a clear link between fluoride from dental products and mineralization of the pineal gland.
Supplements to help improve Pineal Gland function:
Phenibut is a Russian developed compound that is used to help reduce feelings of stress. At higher doses, it helps induce sleep. Phenibut users often also report feeling more comfortable and sociable on Phenibut.
Phenibut targets GABA-receptors in your brain, which make you feel more calm and relaxed. The GABA receptors are an important target for many tranquilizers and sedatives.
By using supplements that improve sleep patterns, like Phenibut, you may help to restore and maintain your natural circadian rhythms over time.
Using Phenibut to help with sleep has not been scientifically verified to improve any functions in your brain. However, getting more sleep is essential for the proper functioning of your brain and body.
In response to a lack of sleep, the melatonin levels in your body become out of sync. This disrupts your natural circadian rhythms and may put extra strain on your pineal gland. Not getting enough sleep is also linked to a number of psychological issues, which are directly related to the hormones in your brain.
Preliminary animal studies have found that Oleamide may have the potential to work as a powerful stress-reducing compound. Like Phenibut, Oleamide also targets GABA receptors.
At high doses, some users report feeling psychoactive effects. Oleamide is a great naturally derived supplement for people who would prefer to not use a chemical compound like Phenibut.
You can also take Melatonin supplements directly to assist with your pineal gland’s function. Melatonin is effectively absorbed into your blood system. It is used to promote healthy sleep, a strong immune system, and as a strong antioxidant.
If your pineal gland is not working properly, it won’t be secreting efficient melatonin. By taking a melatonin supplement, you help restore the nature hormone balance. This has been proven to mildly help with improving sleep quality.
Sleep is a complex phemonomena and falling asleep requires the right balance of hormones as well as a calm and relaxed mind. While a melatonin supplement may help you fall asleep by improving your hormone balance, if you are still very stressed or agitated you will still have difficulty falling asleep.
L-Theanine is a nonessential amino acid that is found in a number of dietary sources, including mushrooms and green tea. Nonessential means that your body makes enough of it to function properly without needing to consume any extra.
Scientific research has indicated that L-Theanine has the potential to be used as a powerful calming and stress-reducing supplement. Scientists found that L-Theanine supplements increased the activity of alpha brain waves in volunteers. This effect has also been found in people meditating for extended periods of time. It indicates a relaxed but alert state of mind.
Furthermore, evidence shows that L-Theanine may have the ability to significantly improve the quality of your sleep. A 2011 study on children with ADHD found that L-Theanine supplements dramatically improved sleep quality over a period of 6 weeks. This means that L-Theanine may be able to help boost pineal gland functions in people who struggle to sleep and maintain a healthy circadian rhythm.
As your pineal gland function deteriorates, all the hormones and compounds it produces are found in lower quantities than normal. This includes the endogenous psychedelic compound N,N-DMT.
Amazonian shamans hold ceremonial retreats in the US and around the world, where paying customers can legally consume Ayahuasca – the drink which contains 5-MeO-DMT. This powerful hallucinogen is not for the faint of heart.
However, recent research has indicated a clear potential for the use of Ayahuasca in the treatment of many psychological disorders. It appears to help the user to accept themselves and to help deal with trauma, substance abuse, as well as personality disorders and impulsive disorders.
In conclusion, the pineal gland is an endocrine gland found in all vertebrate animals. It is a photosensitive gland that can detect light the enters through your ear canals and your skull. The pineal gland is important for regulating the circadian rhythm, secreting hormones, and producing DMT.
Scientists have found that your pineal gland accumulates calcium and fluoride over time. This is a process known as mineralization. As you get older, the process of mineralization detracts from the overall function of the pineal gland. A number of disorders are associated with an underperforming pineal gland. These range from irregular sleeping patterns, to psychological disorders and a compromised immune system.
To help your body as you get older, it is important to try to keep a regular sleep pattern. Supplements like Phenibut, Oleamide, and melatonin can be used to help improve your sleep. These supplements may be able to help boost pineal gland functions. Getting better sleep is a great way to keep your body healthy and your mind clear!
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