The pineal gland is the least known of all the endocrine glands. The pineal isn’t an actual gland; it’s a neuroendocrine transducer: meaning it converts incoming nerve impulses into outgoing hormones. Learn how the pineal gland behaves, the hormones it produces, and the foods that benefit it.
Human Growth Hormone, Melatonin And The Pineal Gland
By Larry R Miller
The Pineal Gland is the Least Known of All the Endocrine Glands
The pineal gland, no larger than a grain of wheat, is the most mysterious endocrine gland of all. In 1628 the famous French philosopher Descartes called the pineal gland, “The seat of the soul.”
Because of its inaccessible location, deep within the center of the skull and attached by a stalk to the posterior wall of the third ventricle of the brain, the pineal gland hasn’t been studied as exhaustively as the other glands.
The gland will sometimes shrink and then fill up with specific types of mineral salts that are referred to as “brain sand.” The condition has been traced directly to poor nutrition. When this condition exists in the pineal gland, thinking and sexual processes are affected. The pineal gland will respond quickly to proper nutrition even after being “starved” and degeneration has begun. The pineal contains more lecithin than any other body part.
The pineal isn’t an actual gland; it’s a neuroendocrine transducer: meaning it converts incoming nerve impulses into outgoing hormones. Most glands are triggered by changes in the body or hormones secreted by other glands. The pineal gland releases hormones in response to bioelectrical messages from the outside environment received through the eyes. The optic nerve sends information to the visual portion of the brain through nerve fibers. The impulses from the brain are carried to the superior cervical ganglia (a cluster of nerve cells) in the upper part of the neck by smaller nerve fibers. From there the autonomic nervous system relays the information to the pineal.
In low light, or darkness, the pineal gland secretes the hormone melatonin. Melatonin has been connected to many body functions. If one references back to medical information written before the early 90’s they may find no information on melatonin, even in medical dictionaries. Excesses of melatonin have been connected with alcoholism. Aging accelerates calcification of the pineal and calcification is connected with higher cancer rates. People who eat less sugar, less highly processed foods and spend more time outdoors, exhibit a lower incidence of calcification.
Melatonin production increases after dark. In the morning when sunlight hits the retina, production of the hormone slows. Light meals in the evening help improve sleep and maximize melatonin’s anti-aging effects. Keeping a regular schedule and eating at set times increases hormone production. If we exercise or participate in any strenuous activity at night, we delay melatonin output. Stimulants and caffeine at any time of the day, but especially at night, slow or stop melatonin production.
Human growth hormone (HGH), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and melatonin are all free radical scavenging, antioxidant and anti-aging hormones. Melatonin may be the most efficient of the free radical scavengers, especially for anti-aging, since it has the ability to permeate any cell in any part of the body. Within the cells, melatonin provides protection for the nucleus, the central structure containing the DNA. Protection of the central structure allows a damaged cell to repair itself. If a cell can’t repair itself, it can mutate and turn into a cancer cell. The enzyme glutathione is stimulated by melatonin.
Glutathione is a tripeptide containing the amino acids glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine. Glutothione functions in several oxidation-reducing capacities, meaning it’s an antioxidant. Research during the 30’s and 40’s showed it to be necessary for delivery of calcium to the brain cells. Research studies on 44 mentally retarded children using supplemental glutamic acid, raised their test scores from an average of 69 to 87 (almost normal). One of the test subjects, a 17-year-old boy, scored 107 (average/normal) on his first test and after 6 months of treatment with glutamic acid scored 120 (superior intelligence, just below genius).
Organs and other body parts take their share of glutamic acid before the brain receives any. A nutritionally deficient diet has low or nonexistent amounts of this necessary amino acid. When added to the diets of hyperactive children, and others with behavior problems, glutamic acid was able to obtain the same calming effects as the chemicals so often prescribed and without side effects.
Glutothione has shown to be highly beneficial in removing lead from the body. Lack of glutothione contributes to chronic fatigue.
Glutamic acid can be found in almost all protein rich foods, natural cheddar cheese, (not cheese substitutes or highly refined and processed cheeses), eggs, lean meats, peanuts, whole grains, soybeans, legumes, peas and beans.
Balance out your mental powers, get some sleep and slow the aging processes by “naturally” caring for your pineal gland.