Honokiol (connected to magnolol) also known as Magnolia Bark Extract , is rapidly gaining in popularity due to its ability to help relive the symptoms many aliments associated with excess glutamate.  Honokiol helps to convert excess glutamate into GABA. While it is primarily known to help combat cancer, inflammation, depression, sleep disturbances, EBV, Lyme and manage pain, it also carries quite a few risks, especially when recreationally misused.  Please do your own research and consult with your medical provider before starting this one as it impacts benzodiazepine sites. This is just a brief overview of what I have found on the connection.  You may find some additional information here.

“Honokiol is a poly-phenolic compound that exerts neuroprotective properties through a variety of mechanisms. It has therapeutic potential in anxiety, pain, cerebrovascular injury, epilepsy, and cognitive disorders including Alzheimer’s disease. It has been traditionally used in medical practices throughout much of Southeast Asia, but has now become more widely studied due to its pleiotropic effects. Most current research regarding this compound has focused on its chemotherapeutic properties. However, it has the potential to be an effective neuroprotective agent as well” “Glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) is an enzyme involved in GABA synthesis, and the activity of hippocampal GAD was significantly increased in honokiol-treated mice, suggesting that honokiol may alter the brain’s synthesis of GABA ().”  “Honokiol is not entirely without risks, although its limited empirical application to humans at therapeutic doses has limited the evaluation of its side effect profile thus far. There are potential risks that can be expected, including increased bleeding and potential neurotoxicity at high doses. Honokiol has been found to be a potent inhibitor of arterial thrombosis, so it may be advisable to avoid honokiol in coagulopathic patients or in those where bleeding or hemorrhage may be of concern (). These may include patients with hemorrhagic stroke, patients with hemorrhagic changes following ischemic stroke, patients on coumadin or therapeutic lovenox, and patients with clotting disorders such as hemophilia or von Willebrand’s deficiency. And, while honokiol has been found to have neuroprotective effects at low doses, it has also been found to increase neuronal death in vitro at higher doses (100 μM applied directly to fetal cortical neurons) ().” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3769637/

“Recently, we have observed that honokiol and magnolol, isolated from the bark of Magnolia officinals[8, 9], possess the ability to block the glutamate receptor-mediated intracellular cation signals [10] and inhibit glutamate-induced cell damage [11]. According to the above evidence, it is proposed that honokiol and magnolol may have the potent analgesic activity via blockade of glutamate receptors.” https://jbiomedsci.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1423-0127-16-94

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.