671. The Pineal Gland


If you search online for the pineal gland, it’s often referred to as your body’s “third eye.” It’s located deep in the center of the brain and is important for receiving light. It’s also responsible for helping make melatonin.

Melatonin is a widely recognized supplement for helping you sleep. 70% of the population in North America doesn't get enough sleep, so it’s no wonder so many rely on supplements and sleeping pills.

In today’s episode, Dr. Martin teaches about melatonin and how your body naturally produces it. He talks about the pineal gland and how it becomes calcified as you age, essentially slowing down your body’s ability to create the melatonin hormone.


Announcer:  You're listening to The Doctor Is In Podcast, brought to you by MartinClinic.com. During the episode, the doctors share a lot of information. As awesome as the info may be, it is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. It's strictly for informational purposes.

Dr. Martin:  Well, good morning, everyone. Once again, welcome to another Live this morning. I hope you're having a great start to your day here. Okay... the pineal gland, if you Google it, it's often called your third eye. It's located deep in the brain and the pineal gland is important for receiving light. So for ophthalmologists, optometrists, they know all about the pineal gland, but it's more important than people think. I mean, obviously for the sight, but it's a very important organ in your brain that helps to make melatonin. Melatonin. Now, melatonin is a well-known supplement. It really is. You see it advertised a lot, melatonin for sleep. I'm not so big on the supplement of melatonin because first of all, your body makes it. That doesn't mean you can't supplement with it. I just found over the years for me, generally, that melatonin had a shelf life like people that used it for sleep. Again, I got no problem with that. It's been my experience that your body gets used to it when you take it in a supplement form.

Now, if it doesn't for you, and you find it helpful to sleep, hey, go for it. But I want to break down melatonin because melatonin, your body makes. We're going to talk about how your body makes it, and it's importance because people think of melatonin for sleep and absolutely. But melatonin does a lot of other things. So I want to talk to you about the development of melatonin, the production of it in the body, the pineal gland, and why we are at... At least it seems conservative estimates that 70% of the population in North America doesn't get enough sleep. So this is an important topic. This is an important topic. Okay? So let's talk about melatonin and what it does. 

So melatonin is a hormone that your body produces from the pineal gland. How does your body produce melatonin? One, the sun. You don't even have to sunbathe to get melatonin. You know how important I think sunbathing is. Vitamin D from the actual sun, there's nothing better. Your body produces vitamin D in four ways. The best way is to think of your body as a solar panel. It's the best way to get vitamin D from the sun. I mean, you can get it from food. You can get it from a supplement and your body actually makes vitamin D. But the best way to get it is from the sun. Now melatonin, the pineal gland, your third eye center deep within your brain is very important in the production of melatonin. You get the sun. Your pineal gland produces melatonin.

Now, the problem with the pineal gland is that it calcifies as you age. It calcifies. Why does that happen? Well, just natural aging is partly responsible, but you can accelerate that aging. That gland actually glycates. Now, don't get sidetracked by that word. Glycation it's like hardening. Glycation affects your skin. It affects every organ in your body. It affects your blood vessels. It affects your tendons. It affects your muscles. To some extent, aging, but glycation is advanced. We call it A-G-E apostrophe S. Advanced glycation end products.

It really is a big, big problem today because of food. There's nothing that will glycate age, harden the pineal gland like bad food. I've talked about your insulin. Have I ever mentioned that word before to you, insulin? I'm a one trick pony. Always talking about insulin, but insulin resistance. I read the book of Proverbs every day. For every day of the month, I read a chapter. So the 25th chapter of Proverbs, that was actually pretty funny because I read it this morning and how I've said how insulin is like a bad neighbor. Okay? Insulin resistance is when your neighbor... and actually that's found in Proverbs. It says don't go to your neighbor's house too often. They're going to get sick of you.

How about that for wisdom? But when you eat too many carbohydrates, you need too much insulin and insulin, it doesn't matter. Remember what I've said all along. It doesn't matter. It has a job to do. And if you insist on eating carbs, if people insist on living on carbohydrates like about 88% of our population. 88%, almost 90%, they live on carbs. That is why they're metabolically unwell. And when you use your insulin too much, your cells develop insulin resistance and they get sick and tired of that neighbor insulin coming over all the time. Knocking on the door and say, "Hey, I got to open up yourself to let the sugar in. I'm sorry. I have to." The cells hate it. They develop insulin resistance, but it doesn't matter. Insulin will just secrete more and more, and more, and more, and more, and more and more in order to put sugar inside cells. 

But what that does, take it a step further. What that does, what insulin resistance creates is inflammation and glycation. It wears your brain out. And one area in the brain that gets glycated is your pineal gland, your third eye. And now, you do not produce as much melatonin and melatonin is a big factor in your circadian rhythm, meaning that it helps with your metabolism as you start off your day. And then it gives you a good jolt and then it comes down. Melatonin, as you collect it during the day, it helps you to wain down at night and puts you into a REM sleep. 

Huge problems. I've talked to you about this in the past. One of the things that happens when you don't sleep is the repair. I should have got the number ahead of time. If you haven't listened to this podcast, you've got to go listen to it because this is something we just didn't know in school. Okay? I've got a chart of the brain here and I'll show it to you. Again, I'm bringing out my old atlas and I'm showing for those who will listen to this on a podcast, the brain. Okay? And it's interesting that when we studied the brain... And there's actually a couple of charts of the blood vessels over here in the brain, but what we didn't know is that the brain actually has its own lymphatic system. It's separate. We've called it the glymphatics. And really what it is, is when you sleep, the night shift comes in. 

It's like you put your phone in airplane mode. When they tell you, you get on the plane and they tell you to flip it so that your phone doesn't receive any data while you're on the plane. You've heard of that. Well, your brain, when you're sleeping, it's not receiving data. If there's enough melatonin, it's going into a deep... I mean, there's different phases of sleep. But during the night, your a glymphatic system. They worked the night shift and you know what they're doing because your brain... Think about it. Your brain is headquarters. It uses 25% of everything you eat. In any manufacturing, right processing, there's going to be debris. So your glymphatics, they only work when you sleep. See a lot of people, they don't realize it. They work night shift, and it's not their fault for a lot of them. A lot of people just don't get a lot of sleep, but what they don't realize is they're not getting the brain repair because they're glymphatics are not working.

One of the things that happens is when your glymphatics and when you're not sleeping properly, you're not getting melatonin, not enough melatonin. You're not getting the repair. So this is really important. Melatonin is good for a lot of things. What it does, melatonin, okay? The hormone that your body makes, it actually lowers at night while your glymphatics are working. It lowers your body temperature. It actually has a good effect on your thyroids. So during the night you're cooling. I always tell people... Look, the best way to sleep is completely dark because the same pineal gland that is your third eye and is a solar panel really. It takes in the sunlight. It stores that melatonin and produces it especially when you're sleeping. Sleep guys in a dark room, no lights and get your kids used to that. "I got to have mommy keep my light on. I'm scared." Try and get them used to no light because they're going to make more melatonin. Cold, dark. Cold and dark. "Oh doc, I need 10 blankets." Well, put 10 blankets on. Cover your eyes at night because your body will make more melatonin guys. 

During the day, the sun. So don't put your sunglasses on. Okay? For about 20 minutes,. Now, don't go look directly in the sun. But for a good 20 minutes or so on a sunny day, don't put your sunglasses on. Think of it. You're making a hormone. Your third eye, your pineal gland is making melatonin in the sunlight. Even in the middle of winter, 40 below in Northern Ontario. If the sun is out, your body's making melatonin. Don't cover up your eyes. Cover them up at night. Very dark, okay? It protects the brain. It's good for inflammation, melatonin. And remember, the best way to make melatonin... light from the sun, the UV, the sun and darkness at night. Okay? 

You know what, the more they study melatonin now, the more they realize how it is hooked up to the sun. The boogeyman brought to you by Johnson and Johnson. They made it into a boogeyman in the '60s and '70s. "Oh, the sun. Stay out of the sun." Oh, don't stay out of the sun folks. Don't stay out of the sun. I always get frustrated with my Florida friends. They get the sun about 320 days a year, and they're scared skinny of it. Oh, that drives me crazy. It drives me crazy. Day one of medical schools should teach them, you make melatonin when you get out in the sun for heaven's sakes. 

Now again, melatonin is hooked up to insulin because of glycation. Okay? So aging of the pineal gland, it calcifies in the brain. It hardens when you got a bad diet. So you need the sun for melatonin and you need to have a good diet. You got to cut out the carbs and the sugar. You would be shocked how many people who have done The Reset have told us in testimonies how their sleep has improved? Well, they're lowering inflammation. They're lowering glycation. They're lowering these things. So food is really really important. Okay? Food is really, really important. They go together. You need that vitamin D. Oh, boy!

I read an article yesterday and it was a doctor talking about vitamin D. It's overrated really was what he was trying to say. He didn't give any proof of that. He just made a statement. He was more interested I think from what I could read, more interested in this whole thing with the virus and vitamin D as a therapeutic. He didn't like it. But he didn't give any real rebuttal. He just said, "I don't like it. And I think it's overblown." Not that he's ever tried it, not that he's ever done what we talked about, I think last week or the week before, “The Hammer.” At the first sign of a virus, the studies have been talking about hammering the virus with vitamin D therapeutic levels of it. One of the studies showed 50,000 IUs a day for seven days. I know my colleague and friend Dr. Rona in Toronto did a study on a seven day hammer of vitamin D and pneumonia, bacterial pneumonia. And the results were fascinating.

So vitamin D, guys, vitamin D. You need vitamin D. You need the sun on your pineal gland to make melatonin. You need to keep your insulin down in order to make melatonin. It all has to do with the pineal gland. Important isn’t it? You want to get a good sleep. I've this again, a lot of times, but one of the medications that create an enormous side effect, long-term, are sleeping pills. And the jury's not out on that. There are many major studies showing the link between long-term use of sleeping pills and Alzheimer's and dementia. Cognitive decline.

I get it. I understand it, where people are so frustrated. They can't sleep. So they take a sleeping pill. I don't even care if it's over the counter. You get an over the counter. These things guys sedate you. There's a big difference between sleeping and being knocked out. Because when you take a sleeping pill, you're being sedated. It's like you're getting a mini dose of anesthetic before going into an operation. You know what I mean? A mini dose. It should be handled by an anesthesiologist because what it does, the glial cells, guys, that glymphatics, the mechanism that takes the debris away from your brain, the waste products. It cleans up on the night shift. If you're taking a sleeping pill, you're not getting that. You're glymphatics or sedated. They're there, but your glial cells are asleep. Okay? Guys, that's really important.

So I know there's so many millions of people that take a sleeping pill. "Oh, doc. I can't sleep without it." You're not really sleeping. I hate to tell you, you're not making melatonin. You're not clearing the debris. You're going to pay an enormous price for that down the road. You won't get it today, but you're going to get it down the road. And it's almost invariable. You're going to go into cognitive decline. So you get a little bit result on, "Oh, I'm sleeping." Well, you're sedated, you're not sleeping. You're not getting into the REM sleep. You're not getting into the repair state that your brain needs. So you do everything, guys. You do everything. I know for some, it's no fun, especially, but this is why I look at a person holistically. I always break them. When people tell me they don't sleep, it's usually because their adrenals, they are stressed. Stress is a huge, huge factor. Their cortisol is through the roof.

You see, your cortisol should be high in the morning, but down to nothing. It works with melatonin. It works with melatonin in what we call their circadian rhythm. So that's a factor. Stress, cortisol. It's a huge factor. People that used to sleep well, they don't sleep well. They've been through a traumatic event or loss of a loved one or whatever, and their brain don't want to turn off at night. Well, you're not getting no repair if your brain is not turning off. It should be playing old movies in the background when you dream. Okay? But it shouldn't be, "Oh, my sister-in-law, I want to kill her." Family dynamics, and stress, and loved ones, and hurt. I mean, those have major effects on cortisol. This is why for me, people ask me a thousand times a year at least. "Okay, doc. What do you do for sleep?" We'll do it naturally. Melatonin, try it if you want. But for me, I aim at getting your vitamin D levels up, your sunlight up, and your melatonin will take care of itself. Dark room at night and cold room at night. Turn off that blue light, guys. Don't play on your phone or on your iPad right until the end, and TV if you can. Cut it out about a half an hour before you go to sleep. You got to try all those tricks. Okay?

But I found the cortisol like cortisol formula, lowering cortisol, balancing cortisol, because that stress in your brain, it wakes you up. A lot of people wake up, they're sleeping, they fall asleep, they're exhausted, and they wake up in the middle of the night because their brain turns on and they're thinking about problems. Dr. MacEwen, am I right? She knows. Huge problem in our society today. Big, big problems. One of the unintended consequences of all the shutdowns in that too has been that because people need people. We need each other. This whole shutdown has affected people a lot of ways. You would think they would sleep better. It's worse than ever. Stress, see, ooh, has a big effect.

Okay, guys, so did you learn a little bit about your pineal gland today? Okay. It's important, your third eye. Your third eye in the brain. Okay. Now, again, Friday Question and Answer Friday. Okay. We appreciate your questions. Tell your friends and you can share this by the way, just share it right on Facebook. Facebook likes that by the way, do you know that? Facebook likes that and you can get the Doctor Is In Podcast on your smartphone. You can sign up for it. It'll come automatically. Don't ask me how. Mine comes automatically to the phone. I think my son did that to my phone because I wouldn't know how to do it. I'm sorry. Sorry for being a senior. Okay, guys. We love you dearly. Okay? Have a great day.

Announcer:  You've reached the end of another Doctor Is In Podcast, with your hosts, Doctor Martin Junior and Senior. Be sure to catch our next episode and thanks for listening!

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