Andrographis (andrographolide)–Most commonly known as popular herb to treat Lyme, but it is also has antiviral, antibacterial, and antiparasitic properties. Most importantly, andrographis inhibits microglial activation (see below).  We have sourced ours from Sage Woman Consulting & Apothecary : Tincture & Leaf/Flower

“Neuroprotective effects of andrographolide in a rat model of permanent cerebral ischaemia” “Andrographolide exhibited neuroprotective effects, with accompanying suppression of NF-κB and microglial activation, and reduction in the production of cytokines including TNF-α and IL-1β, and pro-inflammatory factors such as PGE2. Our findings suggest that andrographolide may have therapeutic value in the treatment of stroke.”

Why Is This Important?

Glutamate is also the most abundant neurotransmitter, responsible for regulating over 50% of the nervous system. It is classified as an excitatory neurotransmitter, which means it excites or stimulates nerve cells located throughout the nervous system. Glutamate also has the ability to regulate other neurotransmitters, dopamine, serotonin and GABA are great examples. When glutamate is in excess it is extremely toxic to the brain and nervous system. It can become so excitatory, it is considered a excitotoxin, which means that it overstimulates brain cells to the point of killing them or damaging them enough to cause severe mitochondrial dysfunction (associated with low muscle tone) and neurological inflammation. Excess glutamate is believed to be involved in a variety of neurological and neurodegenerative disorders including autism, obsessive compulsive disorders, hyperactivity disorders, complex motor stereotypes, tics, insomnia, anxiety disorders, seizures, sensory processing disorder, addiction, depression, chronic fatigue, PANS, PANDAS, Alzheimers, and so on. Excess glutamate also impairs methylation and depletes glutathione levels, which are vital for detoxification, controlling inflammation and gut health.  Working to lower glutamate/inflammation and balance GABA, is key to improving overall health.

In the case of andrographis (andrographolide) it inhibits microglial activation. So how does this impact glutamate? Microglia are a type of glial cell located in the brain and the spinal cord. They act as the first and main* form of immune defense in protection against foreign invaders in the central nervous system (CNS). When the microglia are chronically activated (either from a single stimuli or multiple stimuli such as vaccines, physical injuries, or chronic underlying infections) they result in disruption of brain function and neuronal loss due to their surge of damaging cytokines and excitotoxic levels of glutamate.  For example, exposure to a prolonged viral infection can increase glutamate signaling as part of our body’s response to fighting that infection. This prolonged increased glutamate signaling can make cells sensitive to glutamate where it takes less glutamate to induce a response, compared to an individual with a ‘non-stress’ glutamate signaling response. Some are able to regulate back to ‘normal’ once a perceived invader is gone, however, some cells can take a long time not to be sensitive (chronically in stress response) once a stressor is gone.

Obviously diet (REID) is one of the most important, if not, the most important step in lowering glutamate. However, this natural option may prove beneficial in helping when experiencing a peak of symptoms related to high glutamate and neurological inflammation, i.e. following consumption of a high glutamate food, trauma or a “flare” from PANS (pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder) or PANDAS (pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections).  Additionally, working to lower inflammation/glutamate by treating underlying sources inflammation (metals, microbial imbalances, parasites, microglial activation, poor detoxification pathways, various toxins, etc.) will also be hugely beneficial.  We’ve personally found homeopathy to be great for this.

I do not have personal experience with all options mentioned in the “Lowering Glutamate” page, nor would I recommend all of them (especially the pharmaceutical options). You will want to read the comments as some of the items used to temporarily lower glutamate, can actual work to increase glutamate/glutamate sensitivity over time.

The information shared within this blog has been gathered by a mother, not a physician, and should not act as medical advice. Under no circumstances shall I, or any contributors and affiliates of the blog, be responsible for damages arising from use of the blog.