Tag Archives: schizophrenia

Glycine is an amino acid with neurotransmitter roles

Subtitle: Rebranding and the power of a name: “Essence of Meat-ade” or “Cheerful Juice.”

Sub-subtitle:  Genetic defects in metabolism can affect the entire body due to lack of essential nutrients.

Background: I was found to have eleven of thirty defects in the methylation cycle that were known to be more common in patients with autism spectrum disorder. The screening is not for diagnostic purposes at this stage but is available to consumers interested in the information for their own research purposes (which might include what to feed their child or themselves for better management of autism symptoms – but it is use at your own risk information rather than ‘evidence based’ medical treatment approved for a certain diagnosis).

One of my genetic defects affects my ability to break down betaine into the free amino acids glycine and methionine (roughly, I would have to review the chemistry for the specifics). So armed with this new information I ordered tablets of each amino acid and started taking them each day as supplements. They seemed to help but it wasn’t a dramatic change in how I felt.

A month or two later before reordering more bottles I considered the question of just how much glycine or methionine I might need each day if I had a defect that prevented me from digesting protein and releasing the essential amino acids. When I looked into how much glycine might be needed by the body each day, I didn’t find much research but there was some and the amount suggested was far greater than the amount I was taking in the form of a tablet — 200 milligram tablet compared to two grams of the essential amino acid as a minimum recommendation with up to ten grams being proposed as possibly beneficial. And no toxicity risks were mentioned. Two grams is equivalent to 2000 milligrams or ten of the tablets each day, which would be expensive and a lot of tablets.

Many things that are available as supplements are also available in bulk as a powder that companies might use to make capsules or tablets for the individual consumer to purchase. The amino acids glycine and methionine were available online in a package size that was designed for individual use, possibly being marketed to people interested in body building or weight lifting.

A teaspoon of a powder substance is roughly five grams, depending on the density of the powder. I decided to try one teaspoon of glycine and one teaspoon of methionine per day as that would easily provide two grams and might provide up to five grams per day.

Results: Free essential amino acids are acidic — like lemonade — but taste a little like protein aka meat, so two teaspoons of free amino acids in water tasted VERY BAD. My nickname for the concoction became “Essence of Meat-ade” for the first day or two, however almost immediately after drinking the vile drink my mood became incredibly cheerful and I was suddenly filled with energy. I was amazed — how could a horrible tasting glass of water change my mood? I started looking forward to the drink and while I had started taking it in the evening I gradually switched to taking it earlier in the day and even twice a day occasionally, which would provide about ten grams of the powder.

My mental nickname changed from “Essence of Meat-ade” to “Cheerful Juice,” it helped my mood so much that I loved the stuff no matter how silly my face looked while trying to gulp it down too quickly to taste. I was amazed, and a little sad to consider that I had been without “Cheerful Juice” for my first fifty years of life — but better late than never is a motto of mine. With a double genetic defect I wouldn’t have been able to release glycine or methionine from larger proteins for my entire life — and therefore wouldn’t have had the cheerful effects or boost in energy due to the incomplete digestion of my food.

Why would a bad tasting drink give me a good mood?

I knew the amino acids glutamine and aspartic acid can act as messenger chemicals within the brain so I looked up glycine and methionine and sure enough they both also can act as brain signaling chemicals.

The rest of this information is about glycine’s role as a brain neurotransmitter. It doesn’t cover methionine but it also has roles in brain chemistry.

Glycine is a Neurotransmitter: 

Glycine has inhibitory and excitatory roles in the brain as a neurotransmitter – a type of chemical that can serve as a messenger between brain cells which are called neurons.

“Interestingly, glycine receptors comprised of a1 subunits are efficiently gated by taurine and b-alanine, whereas a2-containing receptors are not (8). The a1 and a2 genes are expressed in the adult and neonatal brain, respectively.”

ie-the type of glycine receptor found within the baby brain is not as well protected as the type found within the adult brain, later in the next paragraph:

“Recently, the expression of a1 and a2 subunits has been shown to be developmentally regulated with a switch from the neonatal a2 subunit (strychnine-insensitive) to the adult a1 form (strychnine-sensitive) at about 2 weeks postnatally in the mouse (8). The timing of this “switch” corresponds with the development of spasticity in the mutant spastic mouse (5), prompting speculation that insufficient expression of the adult isoform may underlie some forms of spasticity.” [1]

Background: Glyphosate is chemically very similar to glycine in that it may be incorporated into proteins but is not functionally the same. A protein containing glyphosate instead of glycine would be dysfunctional. Glycine provides methyl groups which are important for turning strands of DNA on and off, (DNA is the genetic material that acts as recipe cards for making proteins).

If glyphosate is being physically incorporated within body tissues in place of the amino acid glycine, then the role of glycine within early fetal development discussed in the above excerpt might be part of the mechanism for how autism risk may be occurring during the prenatal stage of life.

From a Marketing Perspective: How to sell something that tastes horrible but makes certain people feel great?

From my experience working with special need infants and children I learned that sick children when given a formula they can tolerate will cheerfully start drinking the formula if it  isn’t making them feel sicker — no matter how bad the formula tastes — and some of them are like “Essence of Meat” because they are based on free amino acids that would be easy to digest and wouldn’t have the same allergy risk as the larger and more complex proteins.

So how to market a specialty product? Target the special needs market, and pitch having the genetic screening done first in order to find out who needs the special product — and put the bulk powder in capsules  😉 , I tried to add lemon flavoring to make it more like lemonade but that didn’t change the flavor enough — I’m working on acquiring a taste for it instead.

The genetic screening I had done is “For Research Purposes Only” but it was assembled by a specialist with a PhD and experience in genetics. She is not a medical doctor and no diagnoses are provided however some health information is provided I haven’t reviewed it yet and therefore can not provide any feedback regarding it.

  • The Methylation Cycle genetic screening test: http://www.holisticheal.com/dna-methylation.html
  • My results and my notes regarding the 11 defects, this is a list of notes rather than being in article format, see number three of the double defects for details about the gene BHMT/1 (Call – T), which is for the enzyme Betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase (BHMT): http://transcendingsquare.com/2016/03/30/methylation-cycle-defects-in-me-genetic-screening-for-research-purposes-only/
  • An excerpt from that post regarding diagnoses that may be helped by use of dimethylglycine (DMG) and methionine as supplements : DMG has been found helpful in ADHD, autism, allergies, alcoholism, drug addiction, and chronic fatigue syndrome among other chronic issues. Methionine has been found helpful in treating depression, allergies, alcoholism and schizophrenia among other chronic issues.

/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

  1. Steven M. Paul, GABA and Glycine, https://www.acnp.org/g4/GN401000008/Default.htm

Life expectancy may be linked to our peers’ and community’s habits

Children learn by example, from peer groups and also from watching their parents or caregivers. “Do what I say, not what I do,” may be a common wish of many parents but the opposite is more true. Children do what they see more than what they are told to do. They learn on average from their peer groups and communities than from their parents. “Why the Poor Die Young,” an article by Derek Thompson for The Atlantic, discusses how community habits may affect the earlier death rates of people living in poverty. Some communities have longer life expectancies than other communities and the link may be that areas that encourage and provide more areas for exercise and more access to healthy foods may also have healthier citizens whether rich or poor. We tend to follow our peers examples, and fit in with the group.  [http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/why-the-poor-die-young/ar-BBrFbCi?ocid=spartandhp]

Living in a state of denial about our real world only makes it more confusing for children.

Kanga did it,” is about the potential harm of lying to our current generation of children more than about my sister or me. Whether I think ballet is the best sport is not the point, or that I had an unusual upbringing. That lying to our children is wrong was the point. That denial about the risks of our modern society is dangerous was the point.

Babies are being experimented on with our food supply and medical routines and we are too often assured that evidence based medicine knows what’s best because of the clinical evidence of course. However the clinical evidence has become too tied to corporate profit and a drive to produce patent protected prescription medications. Private companies have become major providers of the clinical trials that are used to gain authorization by the Food and Drug Administration for new drugs and medical procedures.

In an effort to make new medicines safer after the disastrous birth defects caused by thalidomide the prescription drug industry actually ended up becoming more profitable for privately owned drug companies and potentially more life threatening to more people — including to developing infants. Pregnant women are cautioned to avoid all sorts of foods, beverages, and activities but they may be assured that their prescription anti-anxiety medication is probably just fine. It may not be but adverse drug reactions are not consistently reported or monitored. More often the lifestyle choices of the individual are blamed for adverse reactions or it might be labeled as a psychosomatic problem — physical symptoms caused by emotional problems or stress.

We are generally assured that vaccinations are completely safe for everyone even though the official review only did not find a causal link between autism and MMR or the mercury containing preservative called thimerosal. [1] The committee did offer recommendations for increasing adverse reaction reporting and monitoring. On average vaccinations may be safe for the average person but averages are made up of individuals, some individuals may be more sensitive to products containing heavy metals such as mercury or the aluminum adjuvant (immune system stimulator, [2]) that is now being used instead of or in addition to thimerosal.

Aluminum adjuvants have never been tested for safety, it was simply rated GRAS, Generally Regarded As Safe, by the FDA. Calcium phosphate adjuvant is a safer alternative to aluminum which has been found effective in a variety of types of vaccinations and it is a substance that would naturally be available to the body. The aluminum adjuvant is a heavy metal that is of a molecular size that wouldn’t be well absorbed by the intestines from food contamination. The molecular size also makes it too large for the kidneys to be able to remove from the body, so it collects over time, especially in individuals who have metabolic difficulties processing heavy metals. [2])

The committee’s recommendations for improvements in tracking and monitoring adverse vaccination reactions:

Surveillance of adverse events related to vaccines is important and should be strengthened in several ways:

The committee recommends that standardized case definitions for adverse events be adopted.

The committee recommends that formal guidelines or criteria be developed for using VAERS data to study adverse events.

The committee recommends the continued use of large-linked databases, active surveillance, and other tools to evaluate potential vaccine-related adverse events.

The committee supports the development of Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA) centers to improve understanding of adverse events at the individual level.

One area of complementary research that the committee continues to recommend is surveillance of ASD as exposure to thimerosal declines.

The committee recommends increased efforts to quantify the level of prenatal and postnatal exposure to thimerosal and other forms of mercury in infants, children, and pregnant women. Excerpt from Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism, BOX 2: Committee Conclusions and Recommendations, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK25349/#a2000af8fddd00068]

Adverse drug reactions also occur with many types of medications including psychiatric prescriptions and improvements in tracking and monitoring are needed for all ages and types of patients.

David Healy, Pharmageddon, from the book synopsis: “For diseases like schizophrenia, we are now doing 10 times worse in terms of life expectancy than we were 100 years ago.” [http://davidhealy.org/pharmageddon-is-the-story-of-a-tragedy/]

If you love someone who is exhibiting changes in their mental health or are someone with mental health symptoms it may be beneficial to visit a functional health specialist or Registered Dietitian or clinical nutritionist for a thorough nutritional assessment. Schizophrenia like symptoms can be caused by several different nutrient deficiencies. See this post for more information about schizophrenic symptoms and nutrient deficiencies that have been associated with the symptoms:

  • The voices that people with schizophrenia are hearing are probably their own inner thoughts, .

/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Substance P, neuropathic pain, migraines, and the cannabinoid system

Our bodies don’t have specific receptors just for sensing “pain.” Pain is a sign that something is wrong in the body and is sensed in a variety of ways. In medical terminology there are two main types of “pain.” Nociceptive pain is associated with physical damage to the body or by sensations of pressure or heat or extreme cold. It might be due to pressure from a cancer tumor. Nociceptive pain might be described as “sharp, aching or throbbing.” Neuropathic pain is caused by physical damage or pressure on nerves. It might also be due to a cancer tumor but one that is pressing on a nerve. Nerve damage can also be due to some nutrient deficiencies such as vitamin B12, [B12}, or other “Nutritional imbalance, alcoholism, toxins, infections or auto-immunity.” Neuropathic pain often is described as “a burning or heavy sensation, or numbness along the path of the affected nerve.” [http://www.medtronicneuro.com.au/chronic_pain_commontypes.html]

Some types of pain such as migraine headaches may involve both nociceptive pain due to the pressure of inflammation or dilation of blood vessels an neuropathic pain from pressure on nerves by dilated or inflamed blood vessels.

  1. G. La Rana, et al., AM404, an anandamide transport inhibitor, reduces plasma extravasation in a model of neuropathic pain in rat: Role for cannabinoid receptors, Neuropharmacology, Vol. 54 Issue 3, March 2008, Pages 521–529 Abstract opening: “Neuropathic pain consequent to peripheral nerve injury has been associated with local inflammation. Following noxious stimulation afferent fibres release substance P (SP) and calcitonin-gene related peptide (CGRP), which are closely related to oedema formation and plasma leakage. ” Read more, Abstract available:[http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028390807003504]
  2. Paul L. Durham, Ph.D., Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) and Migraine, Headache. 2006 Jun; 46(Suppl 1): S3–S8. Excerpt: “Activation of trigeminal sensory nerve fibers causes a pain response to be conveyed to the brainstem (and from there to higher brain centers) and evokes release of vasoactive peptides such as substance P and CGRP from trigeminal fibers. These peptides exacerbate vasodilation and cause neurogenic inflammation characterized by vasodilation, leakage of blood vessels, and degranulation of mast cells.4 ”  Levels of CGRP increase in people who suffer from migraines and a type of prescription medication, called sumatriptan, which has been found helpful to stop migraine pain, has also been found to inhibit the release of CGRP in migraine patients. The medication may be inhibiting the release of CGRP by increasing intracellular levels of calcium (*which might then be causing an increased release of endogenous cannabinoids from membrane storage.) “The cytokine TNF-α was studied in view of previous observations that it is among the most consistently elevated cytokine in migraine and that it, like nerve growth factor in the experiments described above, activates MAPK pathways in various cell types including neurons.19 The results of the investigations reveal that TNF-α-1 receptors were present on most CGRP-containing rat trigeminal ganglia neurons. In addition, CGRP release from cultured trigeminal neurons was increased after treatment with TNF-α or ceramide, an intracellular signaling intermediate from the TNF-α-1 receptor.“Read more, Full text available:[http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3134175/] (*TNF = Tumor Necrosis Factor. Increased levels of ceramide are found in Alzheimer’s and it is involved in the cannabinoid membrane system also. Ref’s: Surprising finding provides more support for Alzheimer’s being an autoimmune disease  ,  *Activating cannabinoid receptors type 1 –> production, which mediates cannabinoid induced apoptosis – p67 )
  3. Calcitonin is a hormone released by the thyroid that promotes lower blood calcium levels by reducing bone resorption (bone resorption: breakdown of the bone and release of minerals). [http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/calcitonin]
  4. Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide 1 and 2 cause dilation of blood vessels in the heart and brain and throughout the body. Its prevalence in the Central Nervous System (CNS) also suggests that it may also have a neurotransmitter or neuromodulator role. [http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P06881] [http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P10092] CGRP is produced by nerve cells in the brain and throughout the body. The protein has a role in sensations of pain. It is a member of the calcitonin family of proteins and exerts its effects at receptors that are formed from two other types of receptors including the “calcitonin receptor-like receptor (CALCRL) and a receptor activity-modifying protein (RAMP1).[7] ” ”  The alpha form of the protein may help reduce pain while the beta form is associated with migraine, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, psoriasis (an eczema-like condition believed to be autoimmune in nature), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The beta form is largely produced in keratinocytes found in the epidermis layer of skin. The alpha form is the type produced more within sensory nerves.[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcitonin_gene-related_peptide] *Note to self — ouch. I have had severe migraines, TMJ, symptoms like IBS, and severe eczema throughout much of my life. My keratinocytes may be the common element.
  5. Quanzhi Hou, et al., Keratinocyte expression of calcitonin gene-related peptide β: Implications for neuropathic and inflammatory pain mechanisms, Pain, Vol 152, Issue 9, September 2011, Pages 2036–2051, Keratinocytes also express the two types of receptors that form the CGRP receptor. Read more, Abstract available:[http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304395911003137]
  6. Xiaoyou Shi, et al., Neuropeptides Contribute to Peripheral Nociceptive Sensitization by Regulating Interleukin-1 Beta Production in Keratinocytes, Anesth Analg, 2011, July 113(1) 175-183, This article includes a discussion of Substance P and CGRP levels in a type of chronic peripheral pain condition and whether Substance P and CGRP might cause an increased production of IL-1beta. The discussion mentions that an abnormal response to capsaicin is observed in patients with the chronic peripheral pain condition called “complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).” [Capsaicin is the active phytochemical found in hot peppers which can also be a trigger for symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsaicin] Full text available: [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3123433/]
  7. Capsaicin is the active phytochemical found in hot peppers which can also be a trigger for symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Except probably not in birds: “The seeds of Capsicum plants are dispersed predominantly by birds: in birds, the TRPV1 channel does not respond to capsaicin or related chemicals (avian vs mammalian TRPV1 show functional diversity and selective sensitivity).” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsaicin]
  8. I love search engines and the large volume of knowledge available online. Somewhat related posts on this site:  1) And what do osmomechanical stress, changes of temperature, chili powder, curry powder, ginger, Benicar, hormone D, steroids, and cannabinoids have in common? (Answer – TRPV1 channels and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.) 2) Links about magnesium deficiency and Substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammation, .

Time for an Epsom bath perhaps.

Epsom salt baths can be a well absorbed source of magnesium because skin absorption will bypass a problem of poor intestinal absorption of magnesium. Calcium tends to be preferentially absorbed by the intestines, especially when there is an imbalance in vitamin and hormone D levels and poor intestinal absorption of magnesium over time can easily lead to symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency are usually labeled something else by the medical profession because the problem is not obvious on lab tests until it is quite severe because the body takes more magnesium from the bones as needed up until the point where osteoporosis is severe  enough to cause a shortage of stored magnesium.

Soaking in a bathtub for twenty minutes that has one cup of Epsom salt to a half full bathtub, and one teaspoon of a cooking vinegar such as apple cider vinegar to balance the alkalinity of the Epsom salt, can be a cure for a bad mood as well as various achy muscle cramps if magnesium deficiency is an underlying problem. Negative symptoms can occur if you stay in the bath too long. Excess magnesium absorption can cause loose watery stools for an entire day, not just once. Falling asleep in the bath can also lead to more life threatening symptoms of a weak, and fluttery heart rate, or even lead to coma and/or death — so twenty minutes to forty minutes is probably safe for a deficient person while someone who isn’t deficient might notice a weak slowing heart rate sooner than the twenty minute average that a person deficient in magnesium might find only as calming and soothing to  their mood and muscles. A person who was deficient but who then started taking the baths regularly might start noticing the weak heart rate sooner — get out of the tub then, even if its not been twenty minutes — shower and rinse time. Research on the therapeutic use of Epsom salt baths recommended one cup Epsom salt to the half full/full bath and use up to three to four times per week, but not daily.

I can’t find the actual research study among the following posts of mine (see below) but Dr. Oz has an article on the baths also and recommends the twenty minutes a few times a week also: [http://blog.doctoroz.com/oz-experts/restoring-magnesium-levels-with-epsom-salt-baths]

Previous posts on magnesium deficiency and Epsom salt baths:

1) Autistic kids wash up happier in an Epsom salt bath, .

2) Hypomagnesemia symptoms and causes list, .

3) Magnesium deficiency can cause irritability, anxiety, and chronic degeneration, .

4) Note to self: Epsom salt bath first, keyboard second; Irritability, Schizophrenia, T. gondii, and hormone D, .

An update on schizophrenia, unrelated to Substance P, migraines, or Epsom Salt baths:

5) The voices that people with schizophrenia are hearing are probably their own inner thoughts, .

/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

The voices that people with schizophrenia are hearing are probably their own inner thoughts

This is kind of breaking news — new news: A research scientist, with the aid of a powerful microphone, was able to record a patient with schizophrenia speaking to themselves in a sub-vocal voice. The patient was not aware that they were speaking at the time.

The research is very early, a first in its field perhaps, but the theory seems to suggest that the patient’s with schizophrenia symptoms may have some disconnect with the normal ability to identify internal thoughts and sub-vocal speech as being self generated and instead are interpreting the internal thoughts as coming from some external source of whatever type the person might think.

(Example of my interpretation of sub-vocal speech: the almost silent muttering under your breath that you don’t notice yourself doing, until suddenly you do notice that you’re talking to yourself, and then you stop because you don’t want anyone to notice. The brain of a someone with schizophrenia may no longer recognize the voices of self-talk, or those of voices in memories or in imagined conversations, as being internally self-generated and instead probably tend to make up some explanation for  whatever or whoever might be doing the talking that is being heard — hearing voices. Our internal chatter can get busy and sometimes pretty mean, it would be scary to not realize that it is just yourself. )

Read more, of the actual article:  [http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2016/03/schizophrenia_and_subvocal_speech_why_schizophrenics_hear_the_voices_of.html]

This seems like very important news — patients with schizophrenia may be able to be gently reminded that those voices are just brain mumbles, and to try to ignore them.

People with schizophrenia are generally not associated with violence unless there is also a history of violent behavior, alcohol or drug abuse, or more persecutory fantasies. [citation missing, I don’t remember where I read that recently, but I posted it in a comment somewhere.]

Mental health symptoms sometimes may be due to underlying issues that could be easily fixed, rather than considering the patient as being ‘mentally ill’ for the rest of their life and likely being placed on medications that tend to have severe side effects. Effective health care would seek for any underlying causes that can be returned to a state of normal function with the simplest solutions possible, “Let food be thy medicine,” the first part of the quote by Hippocrates may be the most important part.

There are several different nutrient deficiencies that can cause symptoms similar to schizophrenia or may be involved in an underlying cause for the condition, this information was from an older post of mine but it was not grouped together:

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Note to self: Epsom salt bath first, keyboard second; Irritability, Schizophrenia, T. gondii, and hormone D

My back was so sore after writing my last post that I took an Epsom salt bath when I was done and my back felt much better and I was less cranky. The research on Epsom salt baths had suggested three to four times per week so I hadn’t taken a bath that morning but I was fairly irritated while writing and my back got more and more cramped while I worked. My take home lesson: take an Epsom salt bath first thing in the morning and the job of editing or other tasks may be more pleasant.

Summary points that I’ve learned the hard way –

  • elevated hormone D can cause severe irritability.
  • elevated Thyroid hormone can cause severe irritability.
  • elevated Parathyroid hormone can cause severe irritability.
  • magnesium deficiency can cause severe irritability.
  • Psychiatric drugs and talk therapy can not correct symptoms that are actually caused by elevated hormone levels or nutrient deficiencies.
  • Even if you arrest the person or commit them to a psychiatric unit and force them to take the psychiatric drugs, they wouldn’t help an underlying physical problem.
  • “US prisons home to 10 times as many mentally ill as in state hospitals,”
    http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/4/8/mental-illness-prison.html

I’ve just been reading a new book about mental illness and infection. There is strong evidence that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may be caused by an intracellular parasite such as Toxoplasma gondii or a retrovirus HERV-W. A boy named Edwin F. Torrey made the study of schizophrenia his life’s work after his sister became ill with the disease. At the time his sister was diagnosed the current theory was that the condition was due to the child having a psychologically ambivalent mother. [3, pages 38-75]

The boy wondered why he didn’t get schizophrenia too, if that could really be the cause. To him it seemed like his sister had gotten a sickness and he went to medical school and kept working on the question of what might have happened to his sister because he didn’t think his mother could possibly have caused it in his sister without affecting him too. He found that the disease does have seasonal patterns which generally suggests an infectious cause. He also found it in historical references surfacing suddenly in the medical literature as a ‘new’ disease around the same time that keeping house cats became popular. [3, pages 38-75]

Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular parasite that can be spread through cat feces. Pregnant women are advised to avoid cat litter boxes because the parasite can pass to the fetus and can be deadly to the expected infant. It may also be a good idea to advise children under age thirteen to also avoid catboxes because that age group seems to be more associated with getting schizophrenia later in life if they had also had a pet cat during that part of their early childhood. [3, pages 38-75]

Why some people get sick from T. gondii while others don’t may have to do with underlying imbalances or deficiencies in vitamin D or hormone D. The active hormone D has been found helpful in animal studies for fighting the Toxoplasma gondii infection but only when given within an effective range, not at excessive doses. [1, 2]

HERV-W is a retrovirus that we all have within our genetic code but which only becomes active in some people – and levels of the retrovirus activity has been associated with level of schizophrenia symptoms. The research team theorize that an infection with T. gondii might be triggering an activation of the HERV-W retrovirus which then may cause an increase in cytokines and brain inflammation. [3, page 70]

Acceptance of people who have schizophrenia may vary between countries or regions around the world according to studies by the World Health Organization conducted over nearly twenty years. The results “revealed that people with schizophrenia in developing countries were far more likely than those in the United States to marry, hold a job, and maintain their social status. Americans with schizophrenia are far more likely than schizophrenics in the Global South (Africa, Central and Latin America, and most of Asia) to commit suicide, while the latter are more likely to recover.” The difference is believed to be due more to cultural differences between the regions than due to a possible difference in biology. Some psychiatrists consider the WHO studies to be flawed and deny the results. [3, page 42]

— Another summary point – Telling people that their symptoms are psychosomatic, or that they are due to delusions or malingering or lying, when the person is actually reporting physical symptoms, might be psychologically damaging to the person as well as missing an opportunity to use the list of symptoms to do a differential diagnosis and identify and treat the underlying problem.

  1. The Effect of Vitamin D3 Alone & Mixed With IFN-γ on Tachyzoites of Toxoplasma gondii… /mice-excess D3 not helpful

  2.  1,25(OH)2D3 inhibits in vitro & in vivo intracellular growth of apicomplexan parasite T gondii./D3 at < a max dose/

  3. Harriet A. Washington, “Infectious Madness: the Surprising Science of How We “Catch” Mental Illness,” (Little, Brown & Co., 2015, New York)  [Amazon]

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./