One of the harder tasks we were faced with, was how to briefly summarize the severity of the glutamate sensitivity to our care providers (teachers, babysitters, and even family). While this letter is specific to our son, it may help serve as a guide as to how to explain this to care providers. You may also want to print this list for their reference.
Dear [INSERT NAME OF RECIPIENT HERE],
I know [INSERT CHILDS NAME HERE] food allergies can be quite confusing so I am going to attempt to give you a little more information as to what we are dealing with. I apologize in advance for getting a little scientific, there simply isn’t an easy way to describe what is going on. After a long journey and quite a bit of testing, we discovered that [INSERT CHILDS NAME HERE] has trouble producing an enzyme called glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD). This enzyme is necessary to convert the excitatory neurotransmitter and amino acid, glutamate into to the calming neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). Glutamate excites neurons and is responsible for a wide variety of functions like the release of adrenaline, the control of movement and motor systems, learning, memory and the expression of thought. It works in tandem with the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which calms and relaxes nerve cells. GABA is also imperative for sensory integration, sleep, focus, speech and language. Glutamate and GABA have a relationship similar to a seesaw, when glutamate is high, GABA is low, and vice versa. Because his seesaw is tipped towards high levels of glutamate, he is unable to tolerate any additional sources of free glutamate in his diet. Gluten, casein, and to lesser extent, soy and corn contain glutamate as part of their protein structure and need to be avoided. Gluten and casein are not the only concern, as high levels of glutamate can be found in over 50 different additives in most processed foods. These names can be as innocuous as “natural flavors”, “citric acid” or “spices”.
While his reactions are not life threatening, they are severe. Even the smallest amount of one of these sources will trigger [INSERT CHILDS SYMPTOMS HERE]
We kindly ask that he only consume the food and drink we’ve provided from home. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you need any help or if I need to provide an appropriate snack for him during classroom events. I truly understand what a burden this can be, but we really appreciate your patience and dedication to ensure his well-being.
Thank you again,
[ISERT YOUR NAME HERE]
[ISERT CELL PHONE NUMBER HERE]