Update: I’ve had several questions as to where we’ve sourced our bee pollen.  While we have historically purchased ours from our local health food store, here is a link for a great organic Amazon option, Greenbow Organic Bee Pollen.

Bee Pollen-  There has been a recent article out indicating the neuroprotective benefits of bee pollen on excess glutamate. The article shows that bee pollen effectively reduced the neurotoxic effects of methylmercury by improving neurotransmitter defects, inflammation, apoptosis, and glutamate excitotoxicity.  This study also confirms that mice treated with methylmercury exhibited increased levels of glutamate and low levels of GABA (among other neurotransmitter imbalances) in response.

In addition to this, you may remember I posted a few months ago about the benefits of bee pollen and how it can help reduce the damage of excitotoxicity/glutamate as a result of increased propionic acid. Why is this important? Propionic acid is often associated with clostridia, gut bacteria imbalances, protein and/or carbohydrate fermentation in the gut & a diet high in grains, all of which are very common with children on the autism spectrum. This can result from the inflammatory signaling but most importantly the propionic acid receptor is actually a glutamate receptor. Therefore, these imbalances in addition to propionic acid will increase glutamate levels.  Bee pollen helps to protect against the damage of these increased glutamate levels.
Since posting this, The Spectrum Mother did some researching and found this incredible article on how clostridium can induce autism disorder and by introducing bee pollen, it can enhance the recovery from autism disorder induced by clostridium.

“This is the first study that investigates the Clostridium perfringens in vitro by using bee pollen wide word. Many studies have been conducted in the past that elevated Clostridia incidence in children with AD. In the current study, we demonstrated that FAs and their derivatives hold high potential antibacterial agents that may lead to new antibacterial drugs. The knowledge about the various mechanisms of action show that the cell membrane is an important target for these substances, however, many enzymes as well as metabolic pathways are also targets for these substances. In conclusion, we observed that a potent inhibitory effect of all fractions of bee pollen on production of anaerobes bacteria Clostridium perfringens in comparison with many antibiotic standards. This may be due to the present of numerous FA and TPC and PAC compounds in bee pollen that may trigger to inhibit growth of bacteria and intern prevent release of the toxins. The results of this study suggest that bee pollen can serve as an adjuvant therapy in the treatment of AD ailments in addition to its regular use in the management and prevention of such symptoms. In this study, we recommend that complete work on bee pollen towards AD in vivo should be conducted.””Interestingly, it has been reported that bee pollen can be used safely to ameliorate neuroinflammation, oxidative stress, poor detoxification, and abnormal gut microbes as mechanisms involved in the etiology of AD.”http://www.imedpub.com/articles/clostridium-perfringens-inducedautism-disorders-counter-act-byusing-natural-bee-pollen-in-vitro.php?aid=22586

I strongly encourage you to listen to this interview with Dr. Derrick MacFabe on the role of propionic acid in autism, https://highintensityhealth.com/derrick-macfabe-md-carbohydrates-ketones-gut-microbes-and-brain-function/

“The results showed that PPA caused multiple signs of excitotoxicity, as measured by the elevation of glutamate and the glutamate/glutamine ratio and the decrease of GABA, glutamine and the GABA/glutamate ratio. Bee pollen was effective in counteracting the neurotoxic effects of PPA to a certain extent.
In conclusion, bee pollen demonstrates ameliorating effects on glutamate excitotoxicity and the impaired glutamine-glutamate-GABA circuit as two etiological mechanisms in PPA-induced neurotoxicity.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5440900/

“The current study evaluated the protective and therapeutic potency of bee pollen in ameliorating the toxic effects of methylmercury (MeHg), by measuring certain biochemical parameters related to neurotransmission, neuroinflammation, apoptosis, and glutamate excitotoxicity in the male neonate brain” “MeHg-treated groups exhibited various signs of brain toxicity, such as a marked reduction in neurotransmitters (serotonin (5-HT), nor-adrenalin (NA), dopamine (DA)) and gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) and elevated levels of interferon gamma (IFN-γ), caspase-3, and glutamate (Glu). Bee pollen effectively reduced the neurotoxic effects of MeHg. Minimal changes in all measured parameters were observed in MeHg-treated animals compared to the control group. Therefore, bee pollen may safely improve neurotransmitter defects, inflammation, apoptosis, and glutamate excitotoxicity.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2897743/

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.

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.