Pinealocytes are the primary cells of the pineal gland. Their function is to produce melatonin, a hormone that has very beneficial effects on the human body. Long regarded as a mystery gland and connected it to myths, superstition, and even metaphysical concepts, the philosopher Descartes called it the "seat of the soul.” It has also been associated with the Hindu sixth or seventh chakra. Discordian religion associated with psychedelic culture of California believes that the pineal gland, known as “the third eyes,” produces a psychedelic chemical that causes dreaming and mystical states. Alice Bailey of the New Age movement attributed spiritual significance to the pineal gland. Some have referred to it as “the atrophied third eye.”
In recent years scientist have studied the gland and the hormone the pinealocytes manufacture and have learned the function of the gland and the effects of its hormone on the human body. A pinealocyte has a nucleus that is irregular and contains outstanding nucleoli. Pinealocytes procures several enzymes including 5-HT N-acetyl transferase and 5-hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase that convert serotonin into melatonin, which they into the capillaries by means of extenuated cytoplasmic processes resembling axons of neurons. The superior cervical ganglion sympathetically stimulates the secretion of melatonin.
Melatonin is abundant in children and decreases at puberty, causing scientists to believe that melatonin inhibits sexual development. As one ages, production of melatonin decreases, until in old age the body no longer makes the hormone..
Research has determined that the pinealocytes are very beneficial to the human body. Originally it was thought that all they did was to regulate the circadian rhythm. It was observed that the pinealocytes make more melatonin during the dark hours of the day and less during the light. When it is dark people get sleepy. For years older people whose bodies do not make sufficient amounts of melatonin have been taking it in capsules to make them get sleepy at bedtime. It is readily available in the health food stores without a prescription. The wonderful thing about it, taking melatonin by mouth does not make one feel drugged upon awakening in the morning.
It has been determined that the melatonin that the pinealocytes produce is an antioxidant. There are studies that show evidence that melatonin helps fight cancer It is a scavenger for free radicals such as hydroxyl radicals and hydrogen peroxide.
People with Alzheimers disease benefit from the melatonin the pinealocytes manufacture. The hormone causes a decrease in brain degeneration in the elderly. Sufferers with Parkinson’s disease are helped by melatonin.
Studies have demonstrated that melatonin helps with stroke damage. Melatonin lowers the blood pressure at night helping to control one of the risk factors of stroke.
Women receiving radiation therapy for cancer got better results with their treatment when they were given melatonin. Men with cancer found improvement in their condition with the addition of melatonin. A study on people with various kinds of cancer showed that there was 34% improvement at the end of one year in those who took melatonin.
Migraine sufferers had fewer headaches when given melatonin.
It is well known that melatonin enhances good quality sleep. Men with enlarged prostates who had frequent urination during the night found they did not have to get up as often at night, if they took melatonin. People who work the night shift can sleep better during the day, if they take melatonin before going to bed. Travelers take melatonin to help them overcome jetlag.
The wonderful thing about melatonin is that it is natural and does not cause side effects, except for some people who have complained of having unpleasant dreams. Thanks to the pineal glad that taught us about pinealocytes and the great help they are to the human body.