I know this study hit the pop media a few weeks ago, but is so interesting and germane to Unblind My Mind mission, that I will take a few moments to discuss. Here is the New York Times write up of the study: 5 Psychiatric Disorders Share Genetic Risk Factors
In this study, 5 brain disorders were shown to have similar genetic mutations. Two of the genes showing the mutations are involved in part of calcium channels. Calcium channels are used when neurons send signals in the brain. “The calcium channel findings suggest that perhaps — and this is a big if — treatments to affect calcium channel functioning might have effects across a range of disorders,” Dr. Smoller said.
This study involving 60,000 people impressed upon me that similar genetic mutations affect people differently depending on all the other variables that make us individuals. At some point these mutations are occurring at such a high rate of the population that it may be more proper to refer to them as genetic variations.
How does this relate to food? Oh it does. When glutamate binds to the NMDA receptor, it causes the release of calcium in the neural synapses and a signal along the neuron. This signaling system is supposed to be a tightly controlled process, but results in signaling anomalies when glutamate (or aspartate) concentrations are too high in the neural synapses causing calcium release.
We have glutamate receptors all throughout our bodies controlling calcium release and neuron signals. Any time glutamate concentration is too high in any of our organs with glutamate receptors, neural signaling could go awry. The more we tax our internal control systems used to tightly control glutamate concentration, the more likely that the system will get overburdened and eventually not be able to tightly control the glutamate concentrations. The grams of free glutamate that many of us subject our bodies to on a daily basis is taxing our glutamate control systems.