Tag Archives: schizophrenia

Can Increasing Glutathione Improve Symptoms of Schizophrenia?

Can glutathione help schizophrenia? Schizophrenia, a psychological disorder characterized by impairment in a person’s ability to think clearly and manage emotions, is believed to affect an estimated 300,000 Canadians. Worldwide, up to 0.7 per cent of individuals are diagnosed with the mental disorder. Even Vincent Van Gogh, the artist who created the famous “The Starry Night” painting, suffered from schizophrenia.

Symptoms can include paranoia, delusions, disorganized speech and thought process and auditory hallucinations. Individuals living with schizophrenia may encounter significant social or occupational difficulties. It is believed the disorder is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. One of the biological factors may be due to low levels of the tripeptide glutathione.

In a study conducted at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, researchers looked at a precursor of glutathione, N-acetyl-cysteine, to see if it would improve neural synchronicity. Previous studies revealed that irregularities in neural connectivity leads to the symptoms expressed in schizophrenics.

For the double-blind, randomized trial researchers Cristian Carmeli, Maria Knyazeva, Michel Cuenod and Kim Do examined whether treatment with glutathione precursor N-acetyl-cysteine would improve EEG synchronization in schizophrenic patients. Eleven patients with a history of schizophrenia participated in the study.

One group received glutathione precursor N-acetyl-cysteine for two months as part of their treatment and placebo for the second half of treatment. Another group was given the placebo treatment first for two months and then the glutathione precursor N-acetyl-cysteine treatment for the two months after. All participants remained on their usual antipsychotic medication throughout the trial. EEG recordings were done before treatment, at the crossover and at the end of the trial.

The effects of the glutathione precursor in neural synchronicity

At the end of the experiment, the researchers found that glutathione precursor N-acetyl-cysteine significantly increased EEG synchronization, especially in the clusters located over the parieto-temporal, right temporal and right prefrontal lobes. The researchers believe that with treatment of glutathione precursor N-acetyl-cysteine, negative symptoms of schizophrenia will improve along with reduced side-effects of antipsychotics.

Based on these results they’re hopeful that the precursor to glutathione, N-acetyl-cysteine, has huge potential to be used towards treatment for schizophrenia.

Souce:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22383949

Phenylalanine Hydroxylase and Memory Performance

Phenylalanine, an essential amino acid, is the precursor to amino acid tyrosine, which helps regulate dopamine, noradrenaline and adrenaline. Found naturally in breast milk, phenylalanine is said to have analgesic and antidepressant qualities. Phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH) is the enzyme that catalyzes phenylalanine to tyrosine. Mutations in PAH can cause phenylketonuria (PKU), the inability to metabolize phenylalanine and a genetic disorder that can lead to intellectual disability, seizures, motor disorder and skin rashes when not monitored. Because of this association of genetic variations to cognitive ability, researchers at the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry in Japan set out to test the effect of variations, or single nucleotide polymorphisms, of PAH on memory performance in humans.

For the experiment, researchers Toshiya Teraishi et al. used 599 healthy participants. All participants underwent interviews to make sure they had no history with psychological disorders. They were then given the Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised to evaluate memory performance in five parts: verbal memory, visual memory, general memory, attention and delayed recall. Blood samples were also taken to determine the genomic DNA of the participants and tag six different single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) of PAH.

The effect of variations of PAH on memory

After analyzing the test scores and associated SNPs of phenylalanine hydroxylase of the participants, researchers Teraishi et al. found a significant association of the verbal memory set of the score with five SNPs. This suggests that common variations in PAH, specifically variations with SNP marker rs2037639 and haplotype markers rs2037639 and rs10860936, can have an effect on verbal memory performance.

Because SNP rs2037639 was found in previous studies to be associated with schizophrenia in sample of Bulgarian men, the researchers believe that the particular SNP variation increases an individual’s susceptibility to the mental disorder by affecting memory performance.

They report that verbal memory is one of the most altered neurocognitive function for schizophrenics.

Source:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3733818/

The Importance of GABA Amino Acid for the Central Nervous System

The human central nervous system is controlled by the brain. The brain’s neurotransmitters and receptor sites are affected either by how inhibited or excited the amino acids GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and glutamate (glutamic acid) are. Of all the neurotransmitters within the central nervous system, amino acids are considered some of the most plenteous.

Steven M Paul write about “GABA and Glycine” and their role in the central nervous system. Amino acids have been shown in studies, he says, to “support current dogma that the majority of neurons in the mammalian brain utilize either glutamate or g-aminobutyric acid (GABA) as their primary neurotransmitters. [And] … GABA and glutamate serve to regulate the excitability of virtually all neurons in brain and, not surprisingly, therefore have been implicated as important mediators of many critical physiological as well as pathophysiological events that underlie brain function and/or dysfunction.”

There are studies in pharmacology on utilizing drugs that either block or enhance what GABA or glutamate, which according to Steven M Paul, supports that these neurotransmitters “by virtue of their often opposing excitatory and inhibitory actions, control, to a large degree, the overall excitability” of the central nervous system.

What this means, is that drugs (such as for schizophrenia, neurological diseases, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) that inhibit what GABA does may decrease what glutamate may excite, or vice versa. This means there needs to be a balance between inhibition and excitation in the “drugs which are known to alter GABAergic or glutamatergic neurotransmission).”

GABA amino acid is important to the central nervous system and spinal column

In a study done by J Yowtak, J Wang, et al., at the Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology at the University of Texas, the neuropathic pain model in mice was studied regarding the antioxidant treatment on GABA neurons in the spinal column. The researchers suggested “that oxidative stress impaired some spinal GABA neuron activity in the neuropathic pain condition. Together the data suggest that neuropathic pain, at least partially, is attributed to oxidative stress which induces both a GABA neuron loss and dysfunction of surviving GABA neurons.”

Between the study above and the one spoken of by Steven M Paul, it is likely that all of the updated information on GABA, glutamate, or glycine will hopefully, as Paul states, “result in an even better understanding of their potential role(s) in various neuropsychiatric disorders and in the discovery even more of effective therapeutic agents.”

Certainly our central nervous system is dependent upon GABA and these other amino acids. It is no wonder that they are used in pharmaceutical drugs to enhance and inhibit certain neurotransmitters to help the body function properly.

Reference:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23880056

http://www.acnp.org/g4/gn401000008/

Can L-Lysine Help Treat Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a psychological disorder that is estimated to affect 300,000 Canadians, and the American numbers are staggering. Can the amino acid L-lysine help? 

Globally, up to 0.7 per cent of the population is diagnosed with the mental disorder. Characterized by impairment in an individual’s ability to think clearly and manage emotions, symptoms of schizophrenia can include delusions, paranoia, disorganized speech and thought processes, and auditory hallucinations. Individuals living with the disorder may encounter significant social or occupational obstacles.

Because both environmental and genetic factors contribute to the development of schizophrenia, researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto examined if L-lysine could be an effective adjunctive treatment for the disorder.

Previous studies suggest that the brain’s nitric oxide signalling system can be a contributing factor in developing schizophrenia. Since L-lysine is an amino acid that interferes with nitric oxide production, researchers Caroline Wass et al. hypothesized that adjunctive L-lysine treatment would alleviate the severity of symptoms and improve cognition in persons living with schizophrenia.

Lysine is an amino acid that can be readily absorbed from the intestine and has high brain penetration. Previous research have tested lysine as treatment for osteoporosis and recurrent herpes infection.

The effect of L-lysine on the symptoms of schizophrenia

For the single-blinded, crossover study ten patients with schizophrenia were used. Six grams of L-lysine or a placebo was administered daily to the participants as an add-on to their usual antipsychotic medication. The treatment took the form of L-lysine dissolved into a soft drink, or only the soft drink alone for the placebo group.

The experimental trial continued over a period of four weeks and then treatment crossed over for another four weeks. Clinical assessments of symptom severity and functional outcome were made at baseline, after four weeks and at the end of the trial after eight weeks. Blood samples and cognitive performance tests were also taken.

After evaluating the data, researchers Wass et al. found that L-lysine treatments significantly increased the concentration of the amino acid in the blood without causing adverse side effects. There was significant decrease in the measure for psychosis severity, especially the symptoms of delusion and paranoia. Problem solving abilities and cognitive flexibility were also significantly improved after L-lysine treatment.

Based on these results, the researchers believe that L-lysine can have valuable potential as treatment for schizophrenia.

Source:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3094237/

Glycine Amino Acid May Help Control Schizophrenia

Could glycine amino acid help people with mental health disorders such as schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder where someone suffers from the inability to tell the difference between what is real and what is not (delusional thoughts). The symptoms of schizophrenia can include hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, disorganized speech and thinking. These symptoms of this mental health problem disrupt work and social life.

A recent study was conducted at Harvard Medical School to determine if oral intake of glycine amino acids contributed to the treatment of schizophrenia. Previous studies showed that subjects who consumed glycine for two weeks showed signs of improvement.

Glycine is an amino acid, a natural compound that is produced by the consumption of protein in your diet. The amount of it in your diet is, however, very small.

For this specific study, the researchers at Harvard Medical School monitored oral glycine intake in 11 healthy adult men. The glycine intake in these subjects was monitored by using a non-invasive proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy technique to measure brain glycine changes.

The results showed a 38% increase in brain glycine ratio. The purpose of this study was to further understand the glycine dynamics in the human brain. Therefore, the findings are significant to future treatments of schizophrenia and other glutamate system dysfunctions.

The glutamate system is made up of neurotransmitters in the nervous system and glutamate receptors found throughout the brain and spinal cords. The glutamate system plays a huge role in normal physiological functions.

The results of this study suggest that people with schizophrenia and people with other physiological dysfunctions can benefit from oral glycine intake to help them control the mental disorder.

In other words, by taking glycine orally as a glycine dietary supplement, you may be able to control the symptoms of schizophrenia and other mental disorders.

To read further about the study, visit http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Oral%20glycine%20administration%20increases%20brain%20glycine%2Fcreatine%