A healthy brain is all about balance. One one side we have glutamate, which is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Think of glutamate as a charioteer with a whip forcing the horses in your noggin to GO GO GO. We’re glad we have glutamate. Without glutamate we’d be dead. But the problem is, glutamate doesn’t always know when to stop. That’s why we have GABA, the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. GABA is the groom who takes those horses out to pasture to munch on the green grass and rubs the horses down with a nice brush. In the right balance, you have a winning horse. With too much excitatory action you get a worn-out old nag.
In autistic spectrum disorders, there are a number of lines of evidence pointing to problems with the excitatory/inhibitory balance in the brain. Glutamate is actually the precursor for GABA, and the enzyme that catalyzes the transformation from one to the other is glutamic acid decarboxylase. Both reduced levels of this enzyme and increased levels of glutamate have been reported in areas of the brain and spinal fluid in some children with autism.
Autism symptoms may be a result of redox imbalance. That is, throughout the body, we have oxidants and antioxidants. We oxidize things to burn them in order to make energy, but we are left with “reactive oxygen species” as part of the burning process. Antioxidants go around and sop up the reactive oxygen species to prevent them from damaging and destabilizing proteins and fats and whatnot. Reactive oxygen species run amok can damage neurons and cause major brain problems.
We’re used to thinking of “antioxidants” as vitamins such as C and E. However, the major antioxidants in the body are actually superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione. The glutathione is one of the ways where NAC comes in, because as a supplement it is the best way to replenish gluathione in the liver and the rest of the body.
*You can also find vitamin shots and infusions with Glutathione available by alternative heath care providers.
Quoted from Source:
evolutionarypsychiatry – Glutathione – NAC – Autism
Featured Image Source: emuseumstore.com – Roman Charioteer