Of all the organs and glands in the human body, the pineal gland is possibly the one shrouded with the most mystique. Also known as "The third eye”, the pineal gland is said to hold the secrets to consciousness, and once correctly tuned will allow a sense of “oneness” - connecting your body and soul with everything around you - making it, some say, the “Seat of the soul”. Whatever your beliefs on the subject, there is no doubting the significance of this master gland in the healthy production and balance of hormones in the body. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to a pine cone (hence its name), this tiny endocrine gland is located deep in the centre of the brain, in an area called the epithalamus, between the brain midline (between the two hemispheres). and produces melatonin, a hormone responsible for modulating sleep/wake patterns.
It has been said, on more than one occasion, that our modern day diets are slowly and methodically calcifying (hardening via deposition of calcium/calcium compounds) our “third eye”. Methodically because it's seems, the powers that be are allegedly shutting our pineal gland down through the use of toxic chemicals in the foods we eat and the water we drink. Is there any truth in this accusation? Who knows, but the conspiracy of “The dumbing down of the masses” is out there for you to evaluate and ponder on yourself. We aren’t going to go all David Ike on you here, and whilst we respect this opinion and don’t doubt the potential for its validity, we cannot possibly prove the theory one way or another and so we’ll leave this aspect of the debate where it is, until some concrete evidence allows us to write a blog which won’t be dismissed as pie in the sky bollocks, by those who are indeed “calcified”.
What we are going to do though, is give you an incite into the history of this “master" gland and uncover the important functions which earned it such an esteemed title. We'll also take a quick look at the nutrition required to ensure an effective role in hormone modulation.
If you look back through history, you’ll see the pine cone was used to symbolise human enlightenment, the third eye and the pineal gland. Alluding to the highest degree of spiritual illumination possible, the pine cone was recognised by several civilizations and cultures throughout time, including the Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Intertwining serpents can be seen rising to meet a pine cone in ancient Egyptian artwork (Staff of Osiris) and still, today we can see examples in the Hindu religion, where deities are interwoven with both literal and symbolic representations of serpents and pine cones - also said to activate Kundalini (spiritual energy). Christianity also plays host to pine cone symbolism, with a clear example being found in catholicism, right at the top of the sacred staff carried by the Pope himself. So, it would seem, there is some real significance in the belief of the importance the pineal gland has as an activator, or illuminator, but let’s take a look at what science has to say…
Recent scientific research on the pineal gland has centred around its potential ability to produce Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). You may have heard of this psychedelic compound, which is the main active ingredient in the plant based mixture ayahuasca and can also be used by itself (usually smoked) - that’s not an endorsement, DMT is illegal and so is ayahuasca! Okay, so that may be a little confusing….DMT is (potentially) produced naturally in the human body (pineal gland), but it’s illegal? So, we are all walking illegal drug labs? Well, no, obviously we’re not, and there is a difference between synthetic DMT (illegal) and the endogenous form (if it exists), it’s just not easy to make the distinction, and some endeavour to explain this with the use of a compound they call Metatonin (Metatonin is endogenous DMT). According to metatoninresearch.org “….melatonin and METAtonin are both derivatives of serotonin. Serotonin is of the tryptamine family; Melatonin is of the methyltryptamine family and METAtonin is of the dimethyltryptamine family. Melatonin is a derivative of serotonin (serotonin + one methyl molecule), METAtonin, in essence, is a derivative of Melatonin (melatonin + one methyl molecule). Each of these is a higher octave of the previous one. Hence METAtonin, a higher octave of melatonin. Each of these hormones neurochemically shapes the state of consciousness in a unique way". Okay, that little snippet of info may have been one step too far, but don’t switch off just yet, bear with us, your consciousness is depending on you!
Whereas melatonin modulates our sleep state and allows our waking self-consciousness to rest, and our body to repair, it is alleged METAtonin allows self-consciousness to remain active and simultaneously separate from the sleeping body - giving you that “ quantum leap" out of body experience you hear ayahuasca users harp on about. But unlike melatonin, metatonin (according to some) is not a hormone we produce regularly, and is only produced in exceptional circumstances in small amounts. Metatonin is quickly destroyed in the blood stream by monoamineoxidaise (MAO), before it reaches the brain, and this is where the problem of measuring endogenous DMT (and proving its manufacture in the body) lies - its presence in the blood stream is extremely short lived. Although the natural release of endogenous DMT (metatonin) is said to be tiny, quickly scavenged and therefore (often) non-effectual, it is said a sudden surge triggered by the appropriate signal in the brain can be enough to saturate the cerebral spinal fluid in the surrounding brain area, such that a state of autonomy is induced and a separation between body and mind occurs - an example of this may be sleep paralysis.
Some scientists do indeed recognise the pineal gland as being responsible for producing a compound (metatonin) capable of catapulting the conscious mind far beyond the reaches of the physical body (as in sleep paralysis) but probably don't agree on further possibilities or claims of contact with extra-dimensional alien beings, because, well, they are scientists and this would not be within their remit. There are also those scientists who flat out disagree with the manufacturing of endogenous DMT in the brain full stop. And it’s no good ignoring them in favour of your new best mate who claims to have a closer connect with “Paul” than even Simon Pegg, because lets face it, they are well read and learned neuroscientists after all, so their opinion must count for something? Nope, we hear you say? They are wrong, and involved in a cover up of epic proportion? Well that’s up to you to decide for yourself, but just be careful about pushing your beliefs either way, whilst critiquing others for theirs - Ego trap impending! Bottom line on endogenous DMT? No one really knows, it’s that simple.
DMT aside, we can all agree the pineal gland does produce melatonin, which is responsible for the regulation of our internal body clock or "circadian rhythm”, and in women is paramount in the timing and release of reproductive hormones. The benefits of melatonin are far reaching and its capacity to scavenge free radicals, protect against oxidative stress and therefore reduce the risk of degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and certain cancers, makes this powerful hormone a necessity in the pursuit of health and longevity. Whether or not you believe the pineal gland calcifies as a result of the fluoride in your water or the chemicals and heavy metals in your food is up to you, but one link we can pinpoint is that of calcification through a natural factor - ageing. As we age the “seat of the soul”, as well as other areas of the brain calcifies and the release of melatonin decreases, making us more susceptible to degenerative diseases we often accept as a natural consequence of ageing. But let’s not be too naive here, the pineal doesn’t calcify due to ageing alone - the natural process of ageing allows for an accumulation of factors over time, which contribute to the onset of disease - it’s not simply a case of “he/she was old, that’s what happens when you’re old”.
For those still not convinced of the reality of pineal calcification - a study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry looked at intracranial calcifications in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients and revealed Alzheimer’s patients suffered from highly calcified pineal glands. And then there’s this from the National Research Council (2006) - “Fluoride is likely to cause decreased melatonin production and to have other effects on normal pineal function, which in turn could contribute to a variety of effects in humans.” Once again, we aren’t gonna jump on the conspiracy bandwagon and tell you Colgate are in cahoots with the government to bring about the ultimate demise of the human race by poisoning us with fluoride, but there is increasing evidence to suggest this inorganic, monatomic anion of fluorine, is not all that good for us and along with other factors, is contributing to the calcification of the pineal gland as we age.
So what if we were to somehow enhance the health of the pineal gland throughout our journey in this realm? Would this hold the secrets to a longer, healthier life? If melatonin is indeed as powerful as it is claimed by some researchers, then maybe this is the way forward. It’s just a case of finding the tools to do so and in this pursuit, we must look to nature, in particular the foods we eat. This takes us down the holistic path and much like the consciousness theories, is an approach not everyone is willing to believe in. The thing is though, we kind of are what we eat, so it does stand to reason if you consume foods said to strengthen a particular organ or benefit that organ in some way, you will prevent the onset of a disease related to that organ.
Below is a list of foods/habits to avoid and foods to consume in order to “clean” your pineal gland and limit calcification.
- Consume only organic, non-GMO foods.
- Drink high silica content mineral water - helps to push out stored aluminium.
- Consume non-predatory fish, to reduce/remove mercury from diet.
- Cut out alcohol and sugar.
- Stop smoking.
- Reduce caffeine intake.
- Cut out dairy.
- Reduce meat consumption.
- Remove refined starches from diet.
- Increase your intake of greens - helps to alkalise the tissues of the body.
- Use turmeric in cooking and supplement where necessary - turmeric is awesome stuff! As well as the many other health benefits of this “Golden spice”, turmeric helps to flush out toxins and protect against further chemical toxicity effects.
- Consume raw cacao - high in antioxidants and helps to detoxify pineal gland.
- Consume spirulina, chlorella and wheatgrass - helps to remove metal toxins, as well as boosting oxygen and immune function, which may decalcify the pineal.
- Consume apple cider vinegar and oregano oil - removes harmful organisms and metals. Reduces the chances of pineal calcification.
- Consume beetroot/beetroot juice - contains boron which removes metals and other compounds. Beetroot also helps to increase cellular health.
- Iodine - reduces the negative effects of fluoride.
- Tamarind paste - eliminates fluoride through the urine.
- Other considerations are coconut oil, garlic, coriander, lemon juice, carrot juice and aloe vera.
Wrapping all this up, it's enough to say the pineal gland is an extremely important little organ and whatever your beliefs, it deserves the same respect, due care and attention you would pay to a more well known organ such as say, the heart. Therefore taking your nutrition a little more seriously and consuming/avoiding foods which may contribute to the health/decline of the "master gland", may go much further than you think and it certainly won't hurt to try.