There is a theory shared by the Autism and Alzheimer communities, along with other neurological disorders as well that discusses the role of glutamate in brain over stimulation. Many children with Autism have brain hyper excitability caused by glutamate exposure. Glutamate is found in our brain in significant amounts, it is the most common amino acid in the brain. Glutamate is also found in our diets.
The theory proposes that some children with Autism have a receptor sensitivity to glutamate. The receptors are on the surface of the brain and receive information from other chemicals. If you can imagine the way a lock and key work together, you can see that glutamate is the key. Glutamate is the trigger for a specific receptor, called the NMDA receptor, to unlock cellular electrical activity in the brain. That causes the chemical impulses to be transmitted, and this is the normal functioning of the brain.
However, premature cell damage or even premature cell death can be caused from an over activation of electrical activity from glutamate. We know from the Alzheimers community that there can be a predisposition to neurological damage and dementia that comes from glutamate over activation of that NMDA receptor. There are now a few things that can provide help for over stimulation from glutamate.
There is a medication called Namenda which has been used for Alzheimers and Autism to reduce behaviours like excitability, stimming and even aggression. It blocks the NMDA receptors so they do not become over stimulated from glutamate.
You can also find natural alternatives to help with glutamate sensitivity. The first natural alternative to glutamate sensitivity is nutritional lithium. Nutritional, or elemental, lithium is not the same as the drug lithium. It can regulate or block NMDA receptor activity. You can also help regulated NMDA response to glutamate through a supplement called Theanine. Theanine is an extract of green tea that serves to decrease the over stimulation that can occur with glutamate exposure. So the glutamate activates the NMDA receptors which lead to over stimulation of the brain cells. Both nutritional lithium and theanine have been shown to reduce that over excitability.