Melatonin-  Melatonin is often just associated with sleep and there is a huge connection between sleep disturbances and an imbalance in glutamate (excites) and GABA (calms). Our children lean towards excess glutamate which will make them more prone to sleep disturbances. The smallest amount of glutamate would wake my son for 2-3 nights. Melatonin and glutamate have a complicated relationship.  It appears as though melatonin protects against excess glutamate AND glutamate inhibits melatonin (fluoride and aspartate/aspartame do as well).

Some Foods/Herbs Highest in Melatonin

  • Tart cherries
  • Asparagus
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Pomegranate
  • Raspberries
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumber
  • Mustard seeds
  • Fenugreek
  • Rice

“The present report demonstrates that melatonin is able to offer neuroprotection against neurotoxicity induced by glutamate and the three glutamate receptor agonists” http://annalsofneurosciences.org/journal/index.php/annal/article/viewArticle/79/262

Neuroprotection by melatonin from glutamate-induced excitotoxicity during development of the cerebellum in the chick embryo. “Our results show that melatonin has a neuroprotective effect against glutamate-induced excitotoxicity. This effect is morphologically revealed by the lack of neural cell death in the embryos treated with melatonin prior to glutamate injection and also by the degree of a synaptogenesis similar to that exhibited by the control group. Likewise, we corroborate the absence of teratological effects of melatonin on chick cerebellar development. Although the possible mechanisms involved in the neuroprotective effect of melatonin are discussed, i.e., direct antioxidant effects, up-regulating endogenous antioxidant defenses, and inhibiting nitric oxide formation activated by glutamate, further studies are required to establish the actual mechanism involved in the neuroprotective effect of melatonin.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10709969

“Melatonin disrupts circadian rhythms of glutamate and GABA in the neostriatum of the aware rat: a microdialysis study” “The results also suggest that the day:night variations in GLU and GABA may relate to daily changes in endogenous melatonin production, while DA and its metabolites are minimally influenced by this secretory product.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11068943

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.