Glutamate is a critical and paradoxical biochemical. In proper amounts and right times, glutamate can improve cognitive function, mental health, and physical performance. Excitement is a great feeling, but too much of it is not good for the body and mind.
Both excessive and deficient amounts can cause impairment of the cognitive, neural, endocrine, and immune systems leading to severe neurological and mental health disorders, as I summarize in this article linking to credible sources.
This post aims to briefly introduce glutamate as a critical amino acid and biochemical and highlight the severe impact of this neurotransmitter’s dysfunction in the brain and the nervous system. I introduced other neurotransmitters that interact with glutamate in previous articles.
Health conditions and lifestyle factors might cause glutamate dysfunction, as I will cover in the final section of this story. The critical contributors to this undesirable situation are neurodegenerative diseases, traumatic brain injury, stroke, infections, genetic mutations, excessive alcohol use, and substance abuse.
What is glutamate?
Glutamate is an amino acid and also biochemical in nerve cells. It acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and central nervous system.
As a neurotransmitter, it is critical for stress response, memory building, improving the learning process, appetite, metabolism, and homeostasis (balance) of the brain.
Unlike GABA, glutamate stimulates and excites the neurons, making them more active for various purposes, such as improving cognitive performance, memory formation, alertness, and increased mental energy. 90% of excitatory functions in the brain are caused by glutamate.
Glutamate’s interaction with GABA can provide a better balance in the brain and nervous system. An enzyme called glutamate dehydrogenase can break it down for a balanced release in the brain and nervous system.
But glutamate also interacts with other neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, acetylcholine, norepinephrine, adrenaline, histamine, and endocannabinoids for memory formation, attention, alertness, arousal, learning, pain perception, and mood management.
In a nutshell, glutamate has three primary functions in the brain: synaptic transmission for electrical signals, triggering electrical responses in the postsynaptic neurons, and maintaining homeostasis in the brain by balancing the levels of excitation and inhibition.
You can read the article on Medium.
Glutamate: A Biochemical Exciting Your Neurons for Better Memory and Learning, Yet…
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