The little understood Pineal Gland has become a hot topic for researchers because of its roll in sleep and spirituality. Studies are linking pineal gland calcification to neurodegenerative diseases and a host of sleep disorders. We are now learning how different supplements and diets can help reverse the affects.
It's an exciting time.
Before we share more about the possibility of improving conditions, let's take a deep dive into understanding the pineal gland.
What is the function of the Pineal Gland?
The Pineal gland is part of our endocrine system - a network of glands that create and release hormones directly into our bloodstream. These hormones are chemicals that help tell your body what to do, and when to do it.
The other glands in the endocrine system are:
The pineal gland is the least understood of the glands. Research is discovering more and more of the vast properties of the pineal gland. What is known is the pineal gland plays a key roll in our body's circadian rhythm and sleep quality. If does this by producing and secreting melatonin.
Pineal gland and melatonin production
Your pineal gland releases the highest levels of melatonin when there's darkness and decreases melatonin production when you're exposed to light. It help regulates our circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is the physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle.
When our 24 hour cycle is altered, circadian rhythm sleep disorders can develop.
An example of this is "jet lag" from flying long distances across time zones. Jet lag refers to a circadian rhythm's disfunction. Symptoms include daytime sleepiness, and trouble falling asleep at night.
Jet lag is considered an environment induced disruption of circadian rhythms. But there are more chronic disruptions to the pineal gland function that can lead to endocrine disfunction and the associated health consequences.
Why is the pineal gland called the “third eye?”
The pineal gland, long shrouded in mystery due to its late discovery and uncertain functions, is often referred to as the "third eye." Placed in the center of the brain, the gland is linked to light through its control of the circadian rhythm and melatonin release. It is seen as a bridge between the physical and spiritual realms in many spiritual beliefs.
Chakras are prominent in certain forms of Hinduism and Tantric Buddhism. The Pineal Gland is believed to be linked to perception, awareness and spiritual communication.
Pineal Gland Dysfunction
Disfunctions of the pineal gland manifest in a variety of ways - from sleep problems to brain disorders such Alzheimer's. In the realm of Chakras, pineal gland dysfunction may create a lack of clarity and inability to connect with one's own inner wisdom.
Pineal Gland calcification
Much of the known research is around pineal gland calcification. The pineal calcification happens as we age. It's so common that a calcified pineal gland is used as a landmark to read x-rays. The pineal gland is also unique in that it isn't protected by the blood brain barrier, but receives the second most blood flow of any organ (second only to the kidneys).
Research suggests that pineal gland calcifications directly interrupt the body's ability to produce melatonin. But medical literature is split on some of the other dysfunctions and causes of pineal calcifications. Fluoride in toothpaste and water may cause the calcification - but cutting out fluoride may accelerate tooth decay.
A poor diet plays a role as well. Research found pineal gland calcifications were more prevalent in obese individuals. Obese individuals also had a significantly smaller pineal gland in comparison to leaner subjects. Pineal gland volume may increase after subjects lose weight.
What is agreed is that it is important to decalcify the pineal gland. There are many health benefits such as decreasing daytime drowsiness and improving chronic insomnia.
We'll go over that in the next section.
Do Melatonin supplements help pineal gland function?
We'll also share while melatonin use is good for sleep promotion, but shouldn't be used as a sleep aid for over 3 months at a time. Constant melatonin use may limit pineal gland's ability to produce melatonin over time.
Pharmacologic treatment of sleep disturbance also should be used as a last resort unless recommended by a doctor.
How to improve Pineal gland Function
Using complementary health approaches provides the best results for improving pineal gland function. We'll break down the best practices based on pineal research into 3 categories: Improving sleep, environmental factors and dietary supplements,
Good sleep is key to improving pineal gland function. While some people may have a hard time falling asleep, it's important to find ways to develop good bedtime habits. Significant variability in our sleep-wake cycles causes fluctuations in melatonin.
Some tips on improving your sleep:
Set a desired bedtime and work to unwind a few hours before bedtime.
Only use melatonin as an initial treatment (not long term).
Consider behavioural sleep-wake scheduling.
Get More Sunlight
Part of why integrative health is so important for helping pineal calcifications is that the environment plays an important role. Plos medicine has done extensive research on the physiological effects of not getting enough sunlight and how light resets the central nervous system.
If you are not able to get enough sunlight in winter months, consider using specialized lights to help regulate the body before taking melatonin.
Pineal Gland Supplements
While taking over the counter melatonin supplements can offer short term support, a dietary supplement that improves pineal gland function is better for overall health.
Two supplements that have had over a decade of research are Endoluten and Epitalon.
Endoluten is part of the Epithalamin peptide family. Epithalamin has been studied extensively in aged male rats as well as humans to control the free radical process. In randomized controlled trials epithalimin delayed age related changes to the immune and reproductive systems.
Endoluten is a bovine peptide that has been shown to regulate the body’s neuroendocrine and immune systems. Endoluten improves melatonin levels and sleep patterns. It may also help remove calcium deposits from the pineal gland.
Pineal gland peptides can lengthen telomeres, the so-called protective caps of the chromosomes that are responsible for keeping cells intact.
Epitalon is a synthetic peptide, telomerase activator, and anti-aging pineal gland extract made from epithalimin. It has shown to be more effective than a melatonin supplement in restoring normal pineal function without having allergic reactions.
Clinical trials have shown that Epitalon may increase the life span when combined with thymalin.
Pineal gland peptides have been studied for over 40 years and their high efficiency has been shown in more than 50 experiments on animals and multiple clinical trials and sleep medicine studies.
Pineal growth peptides are becoming an exciting new way to reverse the anti-aging process. It's being used more in clinical sleep medicine studies and performs better than most melatonin natural health products.
This is big news for the anti-aging revolution. While it is not a common clinical practice guideline yet, it may be in the near future.