Tag Archives: treat schizophrenia

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/