How does the pineal gland function?

Expert Answers
dano7744 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The pineal gland is in the brain, it is very small and looks like a pine nut hence the name pineal. The gland produces a couple of hormones but in very small amounts. Most significant is the hormone melatonin.

The hormone melatonin plays a role in regulating the onset of puberty, and in women it regulates the beginning of the menstrual cycle. The pineal gland is sometimes called the third eye because it receives sensory information from the optic nerves. Melatonin levels fluctuate at night when its dark because the eyes are responding to lower light. Levels of melatonin increase at night and decrease during the day. Some call this the body's internal clock mechanism.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Pineal gland is tiny body organ situated in the brain of humans and most other vertebrates. The functions pf pineal gland in human beings is not very clear to the scientists as yet. It is believed that some important roles played by pineal gland in human beings relate to certain reproductive processes. In most other animals this gland helps regulate certain daily and seasonal body cycles.

The pineal gland secretes a hormone called melatonin. Production of this hormone is influenced by the periods of light and darkness in the environment. Thus pineal gland tends to secrete small amounts of melatonin during the day and large amounts at night. In this way it enables the body to keep track of and respond to the changing day lengths which in turn is related to seasonal variations.

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