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The pineal gland and its important function

The pineal gland and its important function

The pineal gland is one of the endocrine glands Smaller that exists (with barely 8 mm) in the brain of vertebrates, and at the same time more important than there is in the body.

It is also known as pineal body, conarium, cerebral epiphysis or the "third eye". This small gland controls, among other things, the sleep-wake pattern of the body.

Content

  • 1 Anatomy and function of the Pineal Gland
  • 2 Melatonin: the hormone Pineal Gland
  • 3 The pineal gland and its spiritual connection

Anatomy and function of the Pineal Gland

Located in the center of the brain, near the pituitary gland, the pineal gland is named after its characteristic tree shape. It is reddish gray and consists of pineal cells and neuroglial cells. In people, it tends to solidify at a fairly early age, between 12 and 20 years, when some calcification can already be observed.

The pineal gland has several vital functions, including the melatonin secretion, the hormone that causes sleep and regulates certain endocrine functions. The gland also helps the body convert signals from the nervous system into signals for the endocrine system.

Physiologically, along with the gland of the hypothalamus, the pineal gland controls sexual desire, hunger, thirst and the biological clock that determines the body's normal aging process.

Melatonin: the hormone Pineal Gland

The main function is that pineal gland secrete melatonin. The production of melatonin is stimulated by darkness and inhibited by light. The nerve cells are sensitive to the natural light that enters the eye's retina and sends the signal to the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which passes through the spinal cord and the sympathetic system to the pineal gland, synchronizing our nervous system with the day-night cycle.

The pineal gland is the only one that secretes the hormone melatonin. Researchers have determined that melatonin has two main functions in humans: help control the circadian rhythm and regulate certain reproductive hormones.

The circadian rhythm It is a 24-hour biological cycle characterized by sleep-wake patterns. Daylight and darkness help determine our circadian rhythm. So, exposure to light stops melatonin release, and in turn, this helps control circadian rhythms.

Melatonin also plays a role in the development and functioning of the ovaries and testicles. It acts as a biological clock presenting an intense activity until reaching 7 or 8 years, then the production of melatonin begins to decline, and slowly the first changes towards sexual maturity begin.

It should be said that there are studies that indicate that the pineal gland is very sensitive to certain environmental chemicals. In some countries you are seeing that girls reach puberty earlier, supposedly due to the exposure of certain chemical components that are in the environment and food today.

The pineal gland and its spiritual connection

The concept of the pineal gland as the "third eye" has its origin the belief of the existence of a link between the spiritual and physical world Through this structure. In addition to the important physiological functions of the pineal gland, it has traditionally been considered a part of the brain capable of generating superior awareness and a link with the metaphysical world. In addition, the pineal gland seems to be more active during meditation and visualization.

References

Diamond, M.C .; Scheibel, A.B. and Elson, L.M. (nineteen ninety six). The human brain Work book. Barcelona: Ariel.

Guyton, A.C. (1994) Anatomy and physiology of the nervous system. Basic Neuroscience Madrid: Pan American Medical Editorial.

Kandel, E.R .; Shwartz, J.H. and Jessell, T.M. (eds) (1997) Neuroscience and Behavior. Madrid: Prentice Hall.

Martin, J.H. (1998) Neuroanatomy. Madrid: Prentice Hall.

Nolte, J. (1994) The human brain: introduction to functional anatomy. Madrid: Mosby-Doyma.