Frequently Asked Questions

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Here are a few questions that I am frequently asked or that are discussed within the FB group.

  • What have your top, most rewarding interventions been? Absolutely diet and homeopathy but I would also consider MNRI and a Speech & Sensory preschool as some of our top interventions.
  • What does a glutamate reaction look like for myself?  While my reactions are not as severe as my sons, they definitely have a negative impact on my life.  I will suffer from a range of symptoms including, migraines, dull headaches, rashes, extreme fatigue, impatience, irritability, poor sleep, brain fog, anxiety and I am pretty much an emotional hot mess.  I seem to react worse on day two following exposure and will taper off by day three.
  • What does a glutamate reaction look like for my son? Symptoms for my son include everything from shaking/convulsing, rigidity, slurred speech/trouble word finding, head banging, neurological loop, irritability, tantrums, impulsive, sensory seeking, aggression, hyper activity, stimming, head-banging (assuming from a headache), self-injurious behavior, night waking (one of our biggest indicators), accidents and overall symptoms that he is almost in pain.  While we may notice some symptoms immediately, but it seems like 24 hours after exposure the negative symptoms/behaviors peak and will last anywhere from 3-5 days-ish.
  • Diet changes seem really overwhelming, do you have to be strict?  The answer depends on the severity of health issues you’re dealing with.  While I personally believe everyone can benefit from the removal of processed foods and lowering glutamate consumption, I understand that things become quite a bit more complicated when children are involved. If you’re dealing with a mild case of ADD or ADHD, you may see substantial enough improvements from just strictly* going gluten and diary free (corn and soy free would also help) and choose not to continue with the elimination of other sources of glutamate.  For us, we absolutely have to be strict and I accredit this to the substantial amount of progress we’ve seen in the last few years.  One extremely small dietary infraction would once take us a week or so to recover from.
  • How long does it take to see a difference?  We polled the FB group and most people saw changes within the first two weeks to a month.  However, in some cases it took up to 6 months.  In my opinion, this is largely going to depend on how quickly you implement diet changes, how much glutamate you remove, severity of the health issues (underlying glutamate load) and how strict you are.
  • We are witnessing negative behaviors after removing sources of glutamate, what is going on?  There is often a period of withdrawal (remember the opiate connection) and some may use this as an indication to slow down their diet transition but it is most important to help the body detoxify as gently as possible.
  • We just started diet changes and thing are worse, what is going on?  Depending on where the diet starts from, the transition can cause quite a change in cellular metabolism. Withdrawal symptoms may result in increased irritability, anger, and aggressiveness.  Detox from some microbial populations dying can result in release of toxins that results in short term increased inflammation (aching of joints).  Motility function may also change as the body responds to new foods.  During consultations, Dr. Reid guides people how to better control detox reactions, because depending on the status of one’s health, increased inflammation is something that needs to be controlled
  • How do I know if we are getting enough nutrients?  It may be beneficial for those just starting off to use a program like the Cronometer App, but those struggling with malabsorption or undigested food in stool may really need to work to help absorption with the incorporation of digestive bitters and lemon water (pineapple, papaya, or any food with natural digestive enzymes) before meals.
  • In which areas do people see the most dramatic changes? When polling the group, members ranked improvements in the following order (although many were closely tied and some did not apply to those taking the poll):
    1. Tantrums, Emotional Behavior
    2. Attention, Focus, Calmer
    3. Stimmng, Movements, Tics
    4. Social Skills, Pretend Play
    5. GI or Skin Issues
    6. Sleep
    7. Speech and Language Development (expressive/receptive/more complex language, etc.)
    8. OCD, Rigidity
    9. Gross and Fine Motor Skills, Muscle Tone
  • Help, my child has accidentally consumed a food source of glutamate. How can I help them calm down?!?We’ve all been there before and I am convinced I actually have some sort of PTSD from negative reactions like this.  Immediately* following a dietary infraction, we give a capsule of activated charcoal (opened and poured into a glass of water…it will turn the water black).  We also make an effort to increase fibrous vegetables and water consumption to help detox on a cellular level.  If you find yourself in a bit of crisis mode, take a look at this post for additional ways to lower glutamate.

Activated Charcoal: Activated Charcoal acts as a great natural binder for toxin removal. It is great to keep on hand for accidental dietary infractions, stomach bugs, detox and hangovers.  You can even make a paste of it or apply it topically to whiten teeth, reduce blemishes or even as a natural deodorant.  While activated charcoal can be incredibly beneficial, it is also very constipating and should be used in moderation.  I also understand that it can be damaging to the gut so we personally tend to avoid ingesting this unless  we’ve had an accidental dietary infraction or are managing substantial detox.

Epsom Salts: Epsom salt baths are a great way to naturally increase magnesium levels and help the body to detox.  We started with 1/4 cup of salts in a bath filled with just enough water to cover the belly button, and worked our way up in frequency from there.  When in the tub, we allow for a long soak and do not rinse with fresh water following the soak.  If you’re unable to take a full epsom salt bath soak, simply soaking the feet may help.   Many often use baking soda or bentonite clay in this process, although we do not. If you see an increase in foul smelling gas or hyperactivity following the baths, it may be indicative of a sulfur sensitivity.  Here is my recipe for what we call our Glutamate Lowering Salt Soak

Frankincense & Bergamot Essential Oil:  We are not a huge essential oil family, but we became believers in them after trying frankincense and it continues to be one of our most frequently used remedies to date.  Frankincense and bergamot have been studied for their neruoprotective qualities, specifically regarding glutamate. They are also hugely anti-inflammatory.

Magnesium: Magnesium is hugely important as sits on the NMDA (glutamate) glutamate receptor, can prevent excitotoxicity, calms the body by establish balance between glutamate & GABA, help stabilize mast cells, helps relieve constipation/headaches and so on. Because of these properties, it can be very important following a dietary infraction. We typically use leafy greens, squash/pumpkin seeds and other whole foods as our source of magnesium.  See above comments on magnesium regarding supplementation.

Homeopathy: homeopathy is unlike traditional medicine and is hugely dependent on the state of the person and symptoms.  (I would NOT advise taking these unless you’re working under the care of a practitioner) However, here are some of the remedies we’ve used to help.

Nux Vomica- While I will admit that I have not used this with my son for acute dietary infractions, I have used it for myself with good success.  The primary reason I have not used it with him, is because I don’t want to stray from our overall healing progress with our practitioner. Nux vomica is a great remedy to help the body rid toxins.

Chamomilla matricaria- is our crisis mode remedy for our son as it inhibits glutamate because of its high concentration of the flavonoid, apigenin.  This remedy helps to restore balance when he seems to be very overwhelmed, irritable, emotional and aggressive.