I've come across a couple of articles about glutamate excess being involved in some nasty neuro diseases. And how diet can help normal nerve and brain function.
[i]Too much glutamate has a toxic effect on nerve cells (excitotoxicity - a pathological process that damages or kills nerve cells) and has been implicated in neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, Huntington's disease, Alzheimer's disease, MS, epilepsy and stroke. Removing glutamate through the transporter prevents nerve damage caused by excessive amounts of glutamate. "Increasing the glutamate transporter expression and removing the excess glutamate is essentially like turning on a fan to clear a smoke-filled room[/i].
Excitotoxicity the Common Cause for Nearly all Neurological Disorders
Recent evidence suggests that all neurological disorders have common causes, despite different presentations and symptoms (1). At the center is something called excitotoxicity, named in 1969. This is the triggering of certain brain mechanisms through over-stimulation of susceptible neurons by certain amino acids, the primary culprits being glutamate and aspartate (2). If these sound familiar to you, and bring to mind monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame, you're one step ahead of the game.
Glutamate is the most abundant neurotransmitter in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that transmit signals from brain neurons to other cells and neurons (3), and glutamate makes up 50% of all neurotransmission, and controls other neurotransmitters like serotonin, epinephrine, and dopamine. Yet Glutamate, like many things our body needs to work, is also toxic, and in this case is the most toxic of neurotransmitters, and is therefore heavily regulated in the body by other mechanisms. When glutamate is released, certain proteins attach to and transport the glutamate. The normal destination is to an astrocyte, where the glutamate is deposited (4).
Glutamate receptors control calcium channels, and around these channels are areas of zinc and magnesium that help prevent over-activation of the channel. It's this possible over-activation that causes excitotoxicity and results in neurodegeneration.Excess levels of glutamate can lead to very bad things. One result is that the calcium channel remains open for too long, resulting in too much calcium, which can eventually lead to the formation of certain radicals that are very damaging to mitochondria, the energy source of brain neurons (5). It can also lead to the formation of pro-inflammatory molecules (6). One of the eventual byproducts is called 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE), which can produce extensive cell damage (7).The impaired energy supplies caused by this process raises sensitivity to glutamate, increasing its negative effects. Synapses connecting brain neurons can be destroyed, and in some cases even lead to direct neuron degeneration.
Magnesium and Zinc. These act as inhibitors of excitotoxic sensitivity.
Avoid excessive Omega 6 fatty acids. (Peanut Oil, Safflower Oil, etc). They stimulate inflammation.
Plenty of Omega 3 fatty acids. This is essentially what the brain is made of, and needs them to do repairs. Particularly DHA. Also anti-inflammatory. Take 1000mg to 2000mg per day.
Avoid foods containing additive MSG.
Eat meat, but try and limit your intake to 4 to 6 ounces per day.
Plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Avoid sugar in excess.
Maintain cellular energy production with B Vitamins, Vitamin K, CoQ10, Acetyl-L-carnitine, and Acetyl-L-carnosine. Dr. Blaylock is very interested in carnosine in particular and wants more studies done.
Plenty of buffered Vitamin C.
Natural form of Vitamin E.
Silymarin and Resveratrol are very powerful inhibitors of microglial activation.
Vitamin D is a neuro/immune modulator so adequate levels are recommended. Children should get at least 1,000 IU per day, and adults 4000–5000 IU.