Glutamate is an amino acid your body produces naturally. It acts as a neuroexcitatory neurotransmitter in the glial cells of your brain by releasing calcium. It also regulates other neurotransmitters such as:
* Serotonin – made in the gut and regulates mood, digestion, sleep, cognition
* Dopamine – made in the adrenals and helps with a sense of calm and focus
* Norepinephrine – made in the adrenals. Also known as adrenaline which is induced in stress
* Acetylcholine – responsible for things like muscle contraction, memory and focus
Glial cells in the central nervous system, if over-activated, can release proinflammatory mediators such as cytokines, chemokines, interferons, and neuroexcitatory chemicals at toxic levels including glutamate, aspartate, calcium and quinolinic acid.
Over-activation of glutamate receptors in glial cells is implicated in neurological degeneration (neuron death) via acute and chronically injury, drugs, and glutamate consumption.
1. Pharmaceuticals that activate glutamate receptors:
2. Certain natural substances are implicated in the activation of glutamate receptors and glutamate production:
3. Injury to the brain can also result in increased glutamate levels include:
Examples of Neurological disorders exacerbated by high glutamate levels
1. Pharmaceutical Glutamate Antagonists (NMDA Antagonists)
2. Supplemental immune regulators that act as antagonists to microglial activation
Glutamate stimulates the brain, while GABA calms it down. But the Catch 22 is that your body uses glutamate to produce GABA!
1. Let’s understand the natural amino acid precursors:
Some pharmaceuticals deplete GABA so caution with overuse of these medications:
Savory processed foods are typically high in glutamate. The FDA requires that a food be labeled MSG (Monosodium glutamate) if it contains 99% glutamate. However, if the food contains less than that, glutamates will not be labeled.
Beware of the following ingredients as these still contain 15-70% MSG:
However, even some natural foods can contain high levels of glutamate:
Always check your labels and be extra careful with the following!
Increase Serotonin to Combat Glutamate Levels
Healing the gut is paramount and a foundational approach in the healing of neurological disorders or those with mystery illnesses marked by hyperactivity and hypersensitivity of the CNS.
Important things to keep in mind in these types of conditions:
Avoid supplements with the following:
Supplements and herbs that combat glutamate activity or increase GABA in the brain:
Supplements that generally reduce brain inflammation:
Peptides that reduce brain inflammation:
Limbic System Retraining
While diet and supplementation are foundational in healing the nervous system, lifestyle changes must align to start the healing cascade. One of the best ways we do this is through limbic system retraining. There are several programs we recommend including:
Apps that target breathwork, meditation, prayer and vagus nerve retraining that we like:
Neuroscience of Brain Trauma
Plant Medicine for Immunotoxicity and Neurodenerative Disorders
Glutamate Toxicity in Neurodegenerative Disorders
Low Glutamate Diet
Medically reviewed by Dr. Stephen Matta, DO, MBA CAQSM and Mary Anne Matta, MS, MA, LAC
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