Glutamate Overload = Squirrel Brain

In an earlier post (Brain Damage in 10 Easy Pieces), I wrote about a process called “immunoexcitotoxicity,” going into detail about glutamate’s role in that process. If this doesn’t sound like it applies to you, you’re forgetting that you eat food. Glutamate is everywhere, and foods are even purposely processed so they contain even more glutamate.

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Ever heard of MSG? Of course you have. It’s added to foods to make them taste better; MSG and other “natural flavors” are actually excitotoxins that stimulate your taste buds and artificially intensify flavor. You’re also probably familiar with aspartame; it’s related to aspartate, another excitotoxin, which can also be converted to glutamate.

Now, glutamate has many important roles in the body, like stimulating brain cells so we can think, talk, pay attention, learn and process information, and create short- and long-term memories. And our bodies need glutamate to create GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), the brain’s main inhibitory or “calming” transmitter. Paradoxically, however, too much glutamate can actually reduce GABA, resulting in, among other things, my very favorite thing: anxiety. Too much glutamate can cause neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration and neuron death. As in all things, balance is required. 

So, here is part of that original article I wrote, followed by a link to one of the best articles I’ve ever read about the relationship between GABA and glutamate, which goes into detail about how to keep them in balance, in part by avoiding foods high in glutamate.

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Cytokines, Glutamate and Excitotoxicity

Nerves are made of neurons, which are made of cell bodies, dendrites and axons. Glial cells surround, protect and nourish neurons. Certain kinds of glial cells, such as Schwann cells or oligodendrocytes, produce myelin for some kinds of axons, encasing the nerve fibers.

Myelin, axons and oligodendroglial cells have receptor sites for glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter and the precursor for GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), an inhibitory neurotransmitter.

In excessive amounts, glutamate overactivates receptors in a neurodegenerative process called “excitotoxicity.” Overactivated glutamate receptors release high levels of calcium, which activates “a cascade of cell degradation processes involving proteases, lipases, nitric oxide synthase, and a number of enzymes that damage cell structures often to the point of cell death.”

Excessive glutamate surrounding glial cells prevents them from pushing out glutamate and taking in cystine in sufficient amounts to make the antioxidant glutathione. The ensuing shortage of glutathione leads to oxidation that kills the glial cells, which in turns leads to less glutathione, more oxidation, more cell death, and so forth.

Cytokines play a role in excitotoxicity, which led one researcher, Dr. Russell Blaylock, to rename the complicated – and circular – process “immunoexcitotoxicity.”

Neurons, astrocytes, oligodendroglia, endothelial cells and microglia (the primary immune cells of the brain) can release pro-inflammatory cytokines. These cytokines can also cause microglia and astrocytes to release excitotoxins (glutamate, aspartate and quinolinic acid), which further stimulate these same cells to release cytokines.

The interaction between immune receptors within the central nervous system (CNS) and excitatory glutamate receptors trigger a series of events, such as extensive reactive oxygen species/reactive nitrogen species generation, accumulation of lipid peroxidation products, and prostaglandin activation, which then leads to dendritic retraction, synaptic injury, damage to microtubules, and mitochondrial suppression.

MicrogliaImmunoexcit

Cytokines are not neurodestructive individually, but in certain combinations, such as IL-1Β and TNF-ɑ, “destructive reactions can be robust.” Damn. My cytokines, my circus.

The evidence strongly suggest that it is the combination of pro-inflammatory cytokines and excitotoxins that lead to neurodegeneration, rather than inflammation alone. Subtoxic concentrations of glutamate, when combined with subtoxic concentrations of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or pro-inflammatory cytokines, become fully neurotoxic.

MIcrogliaInflamm

The neurotoxic effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines acting in synergy with excitatory amino acids. Immunoexcitoxicity damages neuronal cell membranes, mitochondria, DNA, dendrites and synapses.

 

Excitotoxicity and immunoexcitoxicity, which produce “cognitive, behavioral and psychiatric impairments,” are believed to be involved in:

• spinal cord injury

• stroke

• traumatic brain injury

• hearing loss

• neurodegenerative diseases of the CNS, like MS, Alzheimer’s, ALS and Parkinson’s

• Huntington’s

• alcoholism or alcohol withdrawal

• over-rapid benzodiazepine withdrawal

How do extracellular glutamate levels get too high? Neuroinflammation adversely affects glutamate transporter proteins, decreasing cellular uptake of glutamate. Inflammation also diverts tryptophan1,2 from transforming into serotonin to transforming into kynurenine and eventually quinolinic acid, which overstimulates glutamate receptors into producing excess glutamate.

Glutamate levels in the CNS can also be increased by hypoglycemia, as blood sugars are the primary glutamate removal method from inter-synaptic spaces at receptor sites. Dehydration also contributes to concentrations of glutamate in those inter-synaptic spaces.

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Please don’t stop with what I wrote. Please continue by reading this article, by Cynthia Perkins, M. Ed.

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Lyme Isn’t Bacterial? Don’t Believe It.

I bought Anthony William’s book when I read about his solutions for the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), one of the viruses in the herpes family that have plagued me since I contracted mono at 17. Testing performed during Lyme disease detection turned up antibodies against nearly all of the viruses in that family, along with many other viruses. In the light of the discovery that I fail to adequately produce antibodies of the class that responds to viral infections, it made sense that viral infections might be at the heart of many of my health problems, especially the neurological ones. And my immune system’s constant preoccupation with viruses might allow other organisms to take hold. That much could be true.

But Anthony William goes so far as to say that Lyme disease is not a bacterial infection, but merely the manifestation of a virus. He says that spirochetes are just viral casings. And we are to believe him because “Spirit” has told him these things. Does this mean that syphilis spirochetes are also merely viral casings? He says that he’s a decade ahead of current medical findings, but syphilis spirochetes, and their destruction of the human brain, were discovered in the early 1900s. What does “Spirit” say about that? How do casings, shed from viruses, move about, and bore through tissue? How do they coil up into little balls in the presence of antibiotics, in order to hide? How do non-living casings shed parts of themselves to evade the immune system (a process called blebbing)?

He says that he has successfully treated numerous cases of Lyme without antibiotics, instead addressing the syndrome as viral and thereby concluding that Lyme is not of bacterial origin or passed to animals through ticks (which he claims we have unjustly vilified, prompted by our general fear of nature). He claims that the causative agent of Lyme, Borrelia burgdorferi, is not in fact causative and actually harmless, along with Bartonella and Babesia; these bacterial strains are found everywhere in nature, he says. Really? Are they harmless when they have attached themselves to, entered and destroyed red blood cells in countless numbers? Would he like to see the pictures of my red blood cells? No, he claims that “Spirit” has shown him how to scan the human body and see what’s really wrong.

He seems to claim that Lyme is not real, but a fad whose symptoms lead to a diagnosis of a disease that does not exist. Indeed, he says, the bull’s-eye rash of Lyme disease is actually the result of a staph infection caused by tick “parts” left behind after a bite. (I wonder how he would explain the bull’s-eye rashes that appeared while I was in treatment, not immediately after a tick bite that left “parts” of a tick in my skin?)

Instead, I suggest, there might be other explanations for overcoming Lyme. For one thing, when you address viral infections, your immune system has a better chance of dealing with bacterial infections. Then there is this: perhaps those with a Lyme diagnosis were misdiagnosed. That is, if they showed all the symptoms of Lyme but never had the infection, treating the real problem would obviously be effective. It would not prove that Lyme disease is not bacterial in origin but might suggest that the source of the trouble was never Lyme to begin with.


This is the first page of the “Lyme Disease” chapter of the book Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal, by Anthony William. Click the image to read the full chapter of nonsense.

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Read more about why I don’t trust this man. Click here.

Don’t Consult Mediums

ntDon’t consult mediums, even if – maybe especially if – they claim to be in touch with a spirit that calls itself “The Spirit of the Most High.”

“I am the Spirit of the Most High,” a voice told a four-year-old boy. “There is no spirit above me but God.”

That boy, Anthony William, has now grown to an adult who has taken to calling himself “The Medical Medium.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been talking to God since before I can remember. My parents tell a story about how, after being scolded for something, I went to my room, slammed the door, and asked, “God, did you hear what they said to me?!” They laughed at my taking up the matter with a “higher authority.”

Our communication has been more than a one-way arrangement, for a very long time. From a young age, God has been talking to me and showing me things. One fall day in 1972, I got out an orange marker and wrote that the Vietnam War would end on January 27, 1973, and that the prisoners of war would be released 60 days later.

For months, I had been praying for my Uncle Loren, who was shot down and imprisoned by the North Vietnamese in 1967. Being young, I didn’t always remember to pray on the hour, as my mother and grandmother had indicated they would do. But I knew the unrelenting pain his imprisonment caused my mother; she had always been very close to him, and had named me after him. I remember praying once, “If you don’t bring him home, I don’t know if I can believe in You anymore.” My concerned mother told me, “Don’t say that.”

Months later, when I showed her what I’d written, her face blanched. She took the sheet of paper from me, and filed it away. I’m sure I’ll eventually find it in the boxes of P.O.W. materials she cannot bear to go through, even now, 40-some years later.

My mother was very involved in the P.O.W. movement, meeting with generals and other high-ranking Air Force officers at the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command, and writing to government officials and everyone she thought could help. I remember her typing letters late into the night. My sister and I helped mail out metal bracelets inscribed with the names of P.O.W.s and M.I.A.s. She and my grandmother even attended the Paris Peace Talks, where the North Vietnamese managed to change their accommodations to a brothel.

When my uncle came home after six years as P.O.W. in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton,” he told my mother that the North Vietnamese knew who she was, by name. “If it hadn’t been for you, Marian, I wouldn’t be here.”

My only explanation for receiving the premonition was our closeness to the issue. In any case, its details were correct.

VietnamCeaseFirePaper

(You can read the text of the accord here; note Articles 5, 8 and 23, which specify dates.)

That was the first, but not the only, time that God showed me something that turned out to be true. He gave me a premonition of a miscarriage I suffered between my sons Erik and Dain, when I was 4 1/2 months pregnant. He showed me an image of my body lying on the exam table, with my oldest son, Ryan, standing next to me with a tape recorder, getting ready to record the baby’s heartbeat … but the doctor couldn’t seem to find it. I suddenly knew he wouldn’t. The picture God had given me days before had somehow failed to register in my memory but became clear as the doctor moved the paddle over my abdomen. “You’re not going to find the heartbeat,” I told him. When he asked how I knew, I told him about the premonition.

Ryan chased after me as I ran, sobbing hysterically, through the doctor’s office, through the parking lot, to my car.

I now have to take a breath … or cry …

I knew that God had shown me this horrible scene to prepare me. If I had not received some preparation, even on a subconscious level that only later rose to my conscious mind, the loss and shock would have been more than I could have withstood. As it was, after the baby’s death, I knew with certainty that I had to give myself permission to feel and express every ounce of grief, or it would kill me. “The only way to the other side is through.”

Some months later, my Uncle Loren died. I sat in my parents’ car after the funeral and cried. I felt grief over his loss, but grief over my baby’s death joined it, because I had not finished grieving that loss. I have found that “griefs” tend to pile up on each other if you don’t finish the process for each; they all come out with a new loss.

God has talked to me and shown me things to ease my suffering, often simply by acknowledging that He knows I am suffering. I will write more about that later; there is much to write.

I know that God communicates with us, with me. But it is Him doing the talking, not another spirit. If He were to send another spirit to talk to me, I’d have one questions for it that Anthony William has not asked “Spirit.”

I’ll get to that in a moment. First, I want to address another of the troubling things he asserts. He suggests that we should ask angels, calling them by name, for help.

Angels do indeed minister to man. “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” (Psalm 91:11) They are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” (Hebrews 1:14)

But they are commanded by God. “Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.” (Psalm 103:20) “The Son of man shall send forth his angels.” (Matthew 13:41)

When we are in need of anything, we are not told to ask angels; we are told to ask the Father, in Jesus’s name. Before Jesus left this world, He told His disciples they would no longer ask Him anything, as they had become accustomed. “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” (John 16:22-24)

Just as we are not told to ask angels for help, we are specifically told not to consult mediums. “Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:31)

I am acquainted with spirits, the ones who need to be told to leave or stop talking. I know the ones who exalt themselves above the Most High God. Who is this “Spirit of the Most High?” It should be God, for He is the Most High. I suspect “Spirit,” as Anthony William calls him, is one who exalts himself against the True Most High.

Anthony Williams tells a story of an angelic being who appeared in the ocean, helping to rescue his dog. What could be wrong with that? Isn’t the light of the angel, along with its desire to help,  proof of its essence, of its goodness? Think again. “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” (2 Corin. 11:14) 

Even demonic spirits can “heal,” if it suits their purposes. They can use everything we consider good as garments to disguise themselves. Their purpose is to deflect, to get us to look anywhere else but Him. If they don’t proclaim and rejoice at the name above all names, they are not to be trusted, but shunned.

In 2 Thessalonians, we are told, “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing.” (2 Thess. 2: 9-10)

Jesus himself warns, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Matt. 24:4-5) Some will perform mighty acts, who will have power to do the miraculous, but they will not belong to God the Most High. “False messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Matt. 24:24)

I bought Anthony William’s book when I read about his solutions for the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), one of the viruses in the herpes family that have plagued me since I contracted mono at 17. Testing performed during Lyme disease detection turned up antibodies against nearly all of the viruses in that family, along with many other viruses. In the light of the discovery that I fail to adequately produce antibodies of the class that responds to viral infections, it made sense that viral infections might be at the heart of many of my health problems, especially the neurological ones. And my immune system’s constant preoccupation with viruses might allow other organisms to take hold. That much could be true.

But Anthony William goes so far as to say that Lyme disease is not a bacterial infection, but merely the manifestation of a virus. He says that spirochetes are just viral casings. And we are to believe him because “Spirit” has told him these things. Does this mean that syphilis spirochetes are also merely viral casings? He says that he’s a decade ahead of current medical findings, but syphilis spirochetes, and their destruction of the human brain, were discovered in the early 1900s. What does “Spirit” say about that? How do casings, shed from viruses, move about, and bore through tissue? How do they coil up into little balls in the presence of antibiotics, in order to hide? How do non-living casings shed parts of themselves to evade the immune system (a process called blebbing)?

He says that he has successfully treated numerous cases of Lyme without antibiotics, instead addressing the syndrome as viral and thereby concluding that Lyme is not of bacterial origin or passed to animals through ticks (which he claims we have unjustly vilified, prompted by our general fear of nature). He claims that the causative agent of Lyme, Borrelia burgdorferi, is not in fact causative and actually harmless, along with Bartonella and Babesia; these bacterial strains are found everywhere in nature, he says. Really? Are they harmless when they have attached themselves to, entered and destroyed red blood cells in countless numbers? Would he like to see the pictures of my red blood cells? No, he claims that “Spirit” has shown him how to scan the human body and see what’s really wrong.

He seems to claim that Lyme is not real, but a fad whose symptoms lead to a diagnosis of a disease that does not exist. Indeed, he says, the bull’s-eye rash of Lyme disease is actually the result of a staph infection caused by tick “parts” left behind after a bite. (I wonder how he would explain the bull’s-eye rashes that appeared while I was in treatment, not immediately after a tick bite that left “parts” of a tick in my skin?)

Instead, I suggest, there might be other explanations for overcoming Lyme. For one thing, when you address viral infections, your immune system has a better chance of dealing with bacterial infections. Then there is this: perhaps those with a Lyme diagnosis were misdiagnosed. That is, if they showed all the symptoms of Lyme but never had the infection, treating the real problem would obviously be effective. It would not prove that Lyme disease is not bacterial in origin but might suggest that the source of the trouble was never Lyme to begin with.

Aside from all this non-science (note that I am not opposed to science!), he has entered into dangerous ground. I don’t care if he turns out to be right about anything – or if, as his source, “Spirit” is right about anything.

Even spirits that serve Satan can speak some truth. A girl who followed the apostle Paul and his group repeatedly cried out, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” Sounds good, right? Paul finally turned to her and said, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” Despite her truthful words, she was possessed with a spirit of divination. (Acts 16:16-19)

Even demons recognize the Truth. “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God.” Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” (Luke 4:34-35)

Peter used nearly identical words to those used by the spirit: “We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:69)

Who is this “Spirit of the Most High” that speaks to Anthony William? “Spirit” tells Anthony that he is a word. “At the fingertip of God sits a word, and that word is compassion. I am that word. A living word. The closest word to God.”

He continues.

“A word is an energy source. Certain words hold great power. God pours light into words such as I and instills us with the breath of light. I am more than a word.”

“Is there anyone else like you?” I ask.

“Yes: Faith. Hope. Joy. Peace. And more. They are all living words, but I sit above all of them, because I am the closest to God.”

“Do these words speak to people, too?”

“Not as I do to you. These words are not heard by the ear. They live in each person’s heart and soul. As do I. Words such as joy and peace do not stand alone in the heart. They require compassion to be complete.”

“Why can’t peace be enough by itself?”

“Compassion is the understanding of suffering,” Spirit replies. “There is no peace, joy, or hope until those who suffer are understood. Compassion is the soul of these words; without it, they are empty. Compassion fills them with truth, honor, and purpose.

I am compassion. And no other sits above me but God.”

Trying to make sense of this, I ask, “Then what is God?”

“God is a word. God is love, which is above all other words. God is also more than a word. Because God loves all. God is the most powerful source of existence.

“People can love. But people do not love all others unconditionally. God does.”

There is much truth in those words. I have personally felt God’s compassion when I encounter someone who is suffering, in any way. It overcomes me, moves me to do things I probably wouldn’t do otherwise. It was compassion that often moved Jesus to heal everyone in sight. And it is said that Jesus Himself is a word – the Word.

What could possibly be wrong with this scenario?

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (I John 4:1)

Okay, so how do we know if a spirit is from God?

“By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.” (1 John 4:2-6)

Not seeing a single reference to Jesus in his book or anywhere on any of his web sites, I asked “Medical Medium” Anthony William this very pointed question on his Facebook page: “Are you a Christian?”

On his web site, I sent him a message, asking if “Spirit” speaks of Jesus.

He has not answered.


This is the first page of the “Lyme Disease” chapter of the book Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal, by Anthony William. Click the image to read the full chapter of nonsense.

MedMed_Lyme-1