The pineal gland is located between the two hemispheres of the brain, tiny, pine cone–shaped gland is joined by the habenular trigone and the posterior commissure to make up the epithalamus, which serves to connect the limbic system to other parts of the brain.
Is responsible for the synthesis and secretion of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin maintains the body’s circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle), regulates the onset of puberty in females, and helps protect the body from cell damage caused by free radicals.
Released by the pineal gland’s pinealocyte cells, melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals that damage neurons (or any cells, for that matter). The amount of melatonin found in spinal fluid is much higher than the amount in our bloodstream.
The pineal gland creates more of the antioxidant at night, in the absence of light, which helps to dictate our sleeping patterns.
Interestingly, aside from our eyes, the pineal gland is the only other organ in our body that detects light.
The pineal gland also has an effect on our reproductive system. High levels of melatonin in children are thought to inhibit their sexual development, and pineal gland tumors have been linked to the onset of early puberty. In addition, when the gland is damaged, accelerated growth of sexual organs occurs.
As a calcifying tissue that is exposed to a high volume of blood flow, the pineal gland is a major target for fluoride accumulation in humans. Although the soft tissue of the pineal does not accumulate fluoride to the same extent as the calcified part, it does contain higher levels of fluoride than found than in other types of soft tissue in the body. Some evidence indicates that fluoride, via its effect on the pineal, could be a contributing cause to early puberty.