Pop quiz! What does your pineal gland do? Most people know it as a little blob in your brain that makes melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that's made when it gets dark outside. Your eye has really cool photoreceptor cells that sense light, so it can tell the brain (and pineal gland) that it's time to start making melatonin. Melatonin makes you sleepy and lowers your body's temperature. Have you ever taken a trip to a different time zone? Even a change of one hour can be annoying, right? It's because your body already has an established "sleep/wake cycle." That means you will still get sleepy at the same time, but the daylight (or darkness) outside will not agree with you! Your body is used to making melatonin at similar times every day, so even if you fly halfway across the globe (a 12 hour difference), you will have jetlag: aka a hard time staying awake during a bright, sunny day! There's more. Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants keep cells from being damaged by free radicals. Read more about antioxidants and free radicals here!
Check out these awesome hand-sewn pituitary and sebaceous glands, thanks to jellyfishghost3 on instagram!
This month is Celiac Disease Awareness Month. Chances are, if you don't have the disease, you don't know much about it (unless you work in the health field). So to understand Celiac disease, we first have to know what a little thing called gluten is. Gluten is a protein in grains like wheat, oats, barley, and rye. It means "glue" in Latin, because it holds bread together and gives dough its stickiness. Different grains have different amounts of gluten; the more gluten, the chewier it makes your baked goods. For example, the flour used for bagels and pizza has more gluten than the flours used in light, crumbly pastries. So what does gluten have to do with Celiac disease? If gluten goes into the small intestine of someone with the disease, it causes an immune system reaction. This means gas, bloating, etc. "True celiacs" will have these reactions even if they eat a small amount of gluten. Other people may just be sensitive to gluten and need to eat less of it. More about Celiac disease here.