Medical Q&As

Pineal gland - functioning abnormally?

My mother has been told recently that she may have problems with her pineal gland. Seemingly it aids in the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron and lots of other minerals. She is very tired and sore all over. Can you give me any information about this condition?

The pineal gland is a tiny piece of glandular tissue that is located at the under surface of the brain. It produces a hormone called melatonin, which is involved in the body’s rhythmic response to the presence of light. Melatonin production is stimulated by darkness and is inhibited by light with peak levels being produced in the early hours of the morning. Alteration of melatonin levels is one of the reasons given for the modern phenomenon of jet lag. Melatonin is available from health food shops and has become a popular self-administered treatment for the fatigue and sleep disturbance that we associate with jet lag. Claims have also been made that it can be helpful in treating sleep disorders. However, I have to confess to being a little puzzled by the information in your question because I am not aware of any connection between disorders of the pineal gland and abnormalities in mineral absorption. Could you have the name of the gland wrong? Could it be the parathyroid gland that is abnormal? I also wonder if the issue of calcium absorption is being confused here with the connection between sunlight and vitamin D absorption? Rays from the sun convert ergosterol in the surface of the skin into vitamin D, which in turn facilitates the absorption of calcium from the gut and further assists in calcium transfer across cell membranes throughout the body. However, taking your question as read I would be slow to make a diagnosis of a pineal gland disorder as an explanation for symptoms of fatigue and soreness.