The pineal gland is a gland in the brain that produces the melatonin hormone. This hormone plays a role in causing drowsiness and regulating the natural sleep rhythm (circadian rhythm).
That is why, if the function of the pineal gland is disturbed, insomnia or sleeplessness can occur.
The pineal gland has a shape that resembles a pinecone and is small in size, which is about 5-8 mm. Despite its small size, this gland has a great function in human life.
What are the functions of the pineal gland in the body? Let’s look at the following discussion.
Various Functions of the Pineal Gland
The pineal gland produces the melatonin hormone, which plays an important role in regulating sleep patterns. Several studies show that the melatonin hormone also has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory effects, and plays a role in the ovulation process.
In addition to regulating sleep patterns, the pineal gland is also thought to have various other functions in the body, namely:
1. Maintain a healthy heart and blood vessels
The melatonin hormone produced by the pineal gland can maintain heart health and blood pressure stability. This effect is good for preventing cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke.
Some studies also suggest that melatonin, both naturally produced by the pineal gland and obtained from supplements, appears to reduce the risk of heart disease and aid recovery from cardiovascular disease.
However, the effectiveness of melatonin as a treatment still requires further research.
2. Regulates ovulation and menstrual cycle in women
Several studies show that the hormone melatonin produced by the pineal gland plays a role in regulating ovulation and a woman’s menstrual cycle. Therefore, if the function of the pineal gland is problematic, then this has the potential to have an impact on irregular menstrual cycles.
3. Affects mood and mood swings
There are studies that state changes in the shape and size of the pineal gland can increase a person’s risk for developing several psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and mood disorders (one of which is depression). This shows that the pineal gland plays a role in regulating mood and performance of the human brain.
However, further research is still needed to determine the effect of the pineal gland in general on changes in a person’s mood and emotions.
Impact of Disrupted Pineal Gland Function
If the function of the pineal gland in the brain is impaired and unable to produce sufficient amounts of the melatonin hormone, then a person may be at increased risk of developing:
- Sleep disturbances.
- Degenerative diseases of the brain.
- Impaired fertility in women.
One of the disorders of the pineal gland that can occur is a pineal gland tumor. This disease can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances and forgetfulness.
Until now, the pineal gland still holds a myriad of mysteries in the medical world. This is because knowledge related to the function of the pineal gland is still very limited and has not been known in depth.
Even so, if you experience complaints related to the function of the pineal gland above, consult a doctor so that an examination can be carried out and given the appropriate treatment.