Sulforaphane- Found highest in broccoli sprouts/microgreens (can often be found at your local health food store by the lettuce), followed by broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, bok choy and collard greens.  Remember that good old study, linking improvements in autism symptoms to broccoli sprout extract/sulforaphane?  One of the major mechanisms in this process, is that sulforaphane is neuroprotective against excess glutamate/excitotoxicity. Time to start adding the sprouts/microgreens to your meals!

  • “Many parents and caregivers articulated the positive effects of SF, both during the intervention phase and in the ensuing 3 years reported herein. These observations may contribute to understanding ASD and to treatments that may alleviate some of its symptoms. Diet- and supplement-based therapies deserve careful consideration for their potential to provide vital clinical as well as biochemical information about ASD.” Sulforaphane from Broccoli Reduces Symptoms of Autism: A Follow-up Case Series from a Randomized Double-blind Study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5672987/  
  • Orignial study here: Sulforaphane-rich Broccoli Sprout Extract for Autism https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01474993
  • “Some drugs, including sulforaphane (SF) and riluzole, can protect motor neuron against excitotoxicity. It has been demonstrated that SF is a potent inducer of Phase II enzymes, while riluzole is a classic anti-glutamate agent.” Protective effect of combination of sulforaphane and riluzole on glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20823560
  • This article is great and you may want to read more: “A wide variety of acute and chronic neurodegenerative diseases, including ischemic/traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, share common characteristics such as oxidative stress, misfolded proteins, excitotoxicity, inflammation, and neuronal loss. As no drugs are available to prevent the progression of these neurological disorders, intervention strategies using phytochemicals have been proposed as an alternative form of treatment.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3745957/

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.