Welcome back to the Healing Pain Podcast with Dr. Kathleen Holton
In this episode, we are discussing how a low glutamate diet effectively improves pain and fatigue, and veterans diagnosed with Gulf War Illness. My expert guest is Dr. Kathleen Holton. She is an associate professor in the Department of Health Sciences at American University and is also affiliated with the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience. She is a nutritional neuroscientist whose research examines the negative effects of food additives on neurological symptoms, as well as the positive protective effects of certain micronutrients on the brain. The main focus of her research is on glutamate, which is an excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. This becomes dysregulated in many neurologic conditions, including chronic pain, migraine, multiple sclerosis, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I enjoyed speaking with Kathleen on this topic, much of her research informs how we treat people with chronic pain by using nutrition and clinical practice. Without further ado, let’s begin and let’s meet Dr. Kathleen Holton.
Watch the episode here:
A Low Glutamate Diet Effectively Improves Pain & Fatigue In Veterans With Gulf War Illness With Dr. Kathleen Holton
Kathleen, welcome back to the show. It’s great to have you here again.
Thank you for having me.
How long since you’re on last? I was looking through the records and I can’t remember. I had you on where you’re talking about a similar topic with regards to fibromyalgia.
It was a couple of years ago.
Time does fly, but it gave you time to run a nice randomized controlled trial, which had some interesting outcomes that I’m excited to share with everyone. Everyone can access this paper. It’s in the August 2020 Journal of Nutrients and the papers called The Low Glutamate Diet Significantly Improves Pain and Other Symptoms in Veterans with Gulf War Illness. It is an interesting paper and an interesting population of people to be working with that I’m sure were thankful to be enrolled in this study because they had good outcomes. I think a good place to start is to tell us what Gulf War Illness is and what some of those symptoms are that people struggle with.
Gulf War Illness is a name given to a multi-symptom illness that is common in veterans of the Gulf War. You might remember, the Gulf War was a short conflict. It’s in 1990, 1991. People were not in that conflict for a huge amount of time, but they had a ton of neurotoxic exposures while they were over there. What we found is a huge proportion of those people are coming down with this multi-symptom illness. It is similar to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome and that has a similar spectrum of symptoms. They usually have widespread chronic pain and fatigue and they also have other symptoms. Most of them have headaches or migraines.
They have a lot of cognitive dysfunction, problems with memory and with attention. They’ll talk about the brain fog, similar to someone with fibromyalgia. They have a lot of comorbid mood disorders. We see a lot of depression, anxiety, and PTSD, which are more common in veterans, in general. We also see other things like problems with sleep, a lot of gastrointestinal problems and the symptoms that set them apart are sometimes we will see symptoms like skin issues and respiratory problems. Those are unique to those in the Gulf War that would be separate from someone with fibromyalgia.
You mentioned an extreme burden or overexposure to neurotoxins from the war. I know we’re learning a lot about the condition. Is the theory that the toxins are still potentially inside our bodies or that in somehow it damaged the central and the peripheral nervous system?
We don’t think that they’re still inside. There is a case where it’s still inside. You could have depleted uranium exposure so someone could have shrapnel inside of them. We do see veterans with shrapnel where they might be having to continue to exposure to something inside of them. Outside of that though, it was more of an acute exposure that causes a change in the nervous system. A lot of these substances affect a different neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. What we know is that acetylcholine downstream affects glutamate. A lot of the toxicity of these compounds is mediated by glutamate downstream. This is why it was of interest to me. Not only had I had those positive results in fibromyalgia patients. We have a similar spectrum of symptoms, but also we know that glutamates being affected downstream. There was a potential there that the low glutamate diet might be able to help.
This is good. We’re going on a neurophysiology tour here. Take us back, acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that gets released in the snack to cleft and helps one nerve communicate with another nerve.
All neurotransmitters because in our nervous system, our nerves get close together but they don’t touch. We have this chemical released that allows that signal to be passed on.
Downstream, it affects glutamate. Tell us why glutamate is important potentially for people with pain.
Glutamate has been well-documented to play a huge role in pain neurotransmission. As a matter of fact, in chronic pain conditions where someone has pain for a long period of time, we know that there’s a change in the nervous system that upregulates glutamate and glutamatergic neurotransmission. Glutamate’s job is to excite the next neuron in lines. We called an excitatory neurotransmitter. Glutamate is also called an excitotoxin because in high amounts it can overexcite a neuron to the point that that neuron dies.
This would be the case in something like a neurodegenerative condition like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s Korea. That’s where you’re seeing a lot of death of neurons. That’s all mediated by glutamate. When we talk about pain, depression, anxiety, and PTSD, all of these are mediated by glutamate. It’s just that glutamatergic neurotransmission may be overexciting things, but we don’t necessarily know if it’s causing the death of neurons. In these Gulf War veterans, it could be that the acute exposure period, they had the death of neurons or a time we have this dysregulation that has continued inside of the nervous system.
We should talk about where glutamate is found in the diet and how it enters our nervous system.
Typically, if you’re a healthy person, you could eat lots of glutamate in your diet and it probably wouldn’t affect you. We have what’s called our blood-brain barrier. That protects us from high levels of things that are circulating in our blood supply. What we notice is that the people tend to be sensitive to glutamate in their diet tend to be people who have conditions or something has happened that could have made that blood-brain barrier permeable. I’ll give you examples, head injury, infection, high amounts of stress, and neurotoxic exposures. You think of a veteran, they have lots of these puts together. They talk about high stress. How can you get higher stress than they worried about dying when you’re in a conflict. They also had neurotoxic exposures. They also many times had head injuries and stuff that occurred.
Within the case of something like fibromyalgia, people start having symptoms after a car accident or hit their head. A lot of things like that are common. My hypothesis is that we’re seeing these things are causing permeability of the blood-brain barrier, allowing dietary glutamate now to get to their brain in higher amounts. Glutamate is found in the diet in two forms. The first form is bound. This would be something like meat. If you’re eating animal foods, all of that would have glutamate in it, the protein structure. It’s all bound together in that big protein. That does not appear to cause people problems. People eat meat with no problem. Where we see the problem is with free glutamate. Free glutamate is added to foods purposefully, and it’s because it has flavor-enhancing properties. That is because we have neurons in our tongue that help us to taste. If you’ve heard of the umami flavor that the taste of MSG. MSG is glutamate attached to one sodium molecule.
We love the taste of sodium. We also like the taste of glutamate. We put glutamate in foods and then people like it. It excites the neurons in our tongue and makes us like that food more so we keep eating it. The food industry loves glutamate and it’s added to a ton of products under a myriad of names. The majority of your exposure is through food additives. The exception to that would be there are some foods that contain free glutamate in high amounts naturally. This would be things like soy sauce, fish sauces, and seaweed. If you had tomato sauce, it has a little bit of free glutamate in it. Aged cheeses would be another great example. As you age the cheese, it releases free glutamate as part of that process. We restrict those foods as well on the diet.
Somethings that are processed, packaged or convenience foods, and then some that are natural foods that make people aware that as they age or potentially some of these foods have more of free glutamate in there. It’s like this double whammy of you have a nervous system that has been impacted in some way, so that there is a hypersensitivity as well as a leaky blood-brain barrier. At the same time, we’re adding extra glutamate to the system, which adds to that sensitivity. It’s an interesting model for central sensitization, which is talked about a lot in the literature.
Central sensitization is a great example where I was saying, there’s an alteration to your actual nervous system. It’s similar to long-term potentiation. It is useful in something like memory. We have glutamate who plays a huge role in long-term potentiation to help us remember something for a longer period of time, which is great. Central sensitization is almost like that same change is happening to the nervous system. Upregulating that excitation in a bad way or we end up having that pain signal for a longer period of time.
I still have one more technical neurophysiological question. I want to go into some of the details about your RCT. In the realm of central sensitization, we talk about microglial activation or microglia that are hypercharged in the nervous system. Microglia and astrocytes are similar. How does that play into what we’re talking about here?
We call microglia and astrocytes glial cells. They have some similarities but differences. Astrocytes are important for taking glutamate out of that synaptic cleft, that area between the neurons. If we don’t want glutamate to overexcite things, we need that astrocyte to function to take glutamate out of the synaptic cleft. We have some dysregulation at the astrocyte level. If can’t use energy appropriately, it’ll stop taking glutamate up. That could cause a problem. Glial cells are part of your immune system. In the brain and the rest of your body too when we talk about an infection or trauma to the brain, your microglial cells would be activated to help with that acute injury. However, when we have long-term problems like chronic pain or other issues like depression, we know that there is a neural inflammation that’s occurring by these microglial cells and that they’re being activated and it’s causing long-term problems.
What’s fascinating is the microglial cells have an intimate connection to glutamatergic neurotransmission. I finished a book chapter on this. We have some cytokines that are released by microglial cells. Cytokines are messengers. They’re little alert signals to say, “We should ramp up our ourselves because we have an invader.” They are not good when they shouldn’t be there. We have two of them. IL-1 beta and TNF-alpha are cytokines that can cause abnormal glutamatergic neurotransmission. They increase that excitation. That increase excitation glutamate can do the same thing where it can upregulate the activity and the release of cytokines. You can see the circular pattern. We also have a third piece to it called oxidative stress. If you have heard of free radicals, oxidative stress is bad for us too and causes damage. That is countered by antioxidants in the diet. Interestingly, it’s also a place where diet could have a bigger effect than some medications.
The reason why I wanted to dip our toe into that is that I often get emails from people with pain, as well as, certain licensed health professionals who want to dump more GABA into the system to offset glutamate. It’s almost like using a supplement as a pharmaceutical where you’re not changing or influencing the cause. What you’re talking about is a systems approach to optimizing the nervous system.
You know why I’m opposed to that idea, this is the same as a drug effect. When we take a drug and we take something that’s GABAergic in any manner, what our bodies do is they say, “That’s too much inhibition from GABA. Let me put out more glutamate to balance everything out.” Our bodies are all about that homeostasis. By doing dietary manipulation, what we’re doing is we’re helping everything calmed down and go back to homeostasis. We’re not putting something in that our body wants to oppose. That’s what GABA does. It’s the same thing if you drink alcohol, to be honest with you. Alcohol is GABAergic. It has what we call GABA agonist and as a GABA effect. What our body does is goes, “There’s too much inhibition. We should release more glutamate to balance things out a little bit.” People who have things like chronic widespread pain, or you’ll hear people a lot who have insomnia, who will talk about the fact that if they drink alcohol, they notice that they’re awake at night. The reason for that is as the GABA effect wears off, their body has increased exglutamate production and it leads to insomnia in the middle of the night. I’m in agreement with you.
You always have to change the diet first and the take-home message. With that, tell us about your study and tell us about how you had these wonderful results. I want to point out and we can talk about this too. You had a large effect size from the study, which is important in research. For those clinicians, licensed health professionals and researchers who are reading, that’s something that I want to point out and mentioned. Tell us about your study and what happened with the participants.
We recruited 48 veterans of the Gulf War from across the country. All of these veterans had Gulf War Illness. We brought them into DC. We did baseline measurements on everyone. They were randomized to either start the diet immediately or into a waitlist to control group. The waitlist to control group had the option to have the diet at the end of that waitlisted control month. They then got to go on the diet as well. Everyone had the opportunity to benefit. Everyone underwent nutrition training with me via Skype. We also gave everybody a lot of information and materials to help them follow the diet and they have access to me throughout the month. We brought them back to DC. We did a post-diet assessment. This is to see, did they get better? Did anything change? After that post-diet assessment, everyone goes onto a double-blind placebo-controlled crossover challenge.
How this is set up is that’s over two weeks, we bring them in for three days after they fast overnight. We give them pills and they’re randomized to receive either glutamate or placebo. It was a double-blind, I don’t know what they’re getting and they don’t know what they’re getting. The only person that knows is this unblinded research assistant that has no interaction with the subjects. They take the pills over three mornings and we monitor them for two hours afterward. On the third day of the week, we assess them to say, “Do they have symptoms? What are they experiencing?” They have a six-day washout period. The next week they go through three days again and this time they’re receiving the opposite contingency that of the one they did before.
It allows everyone to serve as their own control, which gives us our insight into study. That’s why we could get away with only 40 subjects in our study. If you did not have that crossover design, we would have needed more subjects. What we found was when we compared pre-diet to post-diet, we saw a significant improvement across the board in every measure we studied. The paper that you’re referring to summarize the results from their total symptom score. Meaning, how many of their symptoms went away. On average, we saw that people had nine symptoms remit or go away after one month on the diet. We also saw significant improvements in pain and significant improvements in their fatigue level. That fatigue went down.
We have other publications that are coming out that are looking at their cognitive change. We saw significant improvements in cognitive function after one month on the diet. We also saw significant improvements in those three mood measures that I talked about, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. To say how profound this change was in the symptoms, I couldn’t state this strongly. To the point brought us to tears sometimes hearing their stories because they were impacted by all of these symptoms and had been for many years. You can imagine this conflict was ‘90, ‘91. It was beyond profound. When we analyze the challenge results, the challenge is there. In our prior fibromyalgia work, what we found was when we challenged them with glutamate, the symptoms significantly returned as compared to placebo. That’s what we were expecting here as well.
What we found was interesting. Our models were significant, but it was significant because we were seeing significant differences between individuals. We had our largest group did react that way. We gave them glutamate, their symptoms returned. We had another group though that their symptoms significantly improved even more when we gave them glutamate, which was different from our other research. We have a small number of people who didn’t seem to respond to the challenge. This group over here that got better is fascinating. We’re again seeing that across all of the measures. We’re looking forward to figuring out exactly what’s going on here. A couple of things that this diet does is we’re improving nutritional status. We’re taking all of these nutrients that are important for protecting against or excitotoxicity from glutamate and we’re increasing them in the diet.
We’re wondering if that is somehow altering how their body is using glutamate and that it’s able to handle that challenge in a more positive manner as opposed to before how their body was doing it. This is not published yet, but we were talking about microglial cells. One of the cytokines I mentioned is IL-1beta. We saw a significant reduction in IL-1beta from pre-diet to post-diet. That suggests that we’re affecting neuroinflammation potentially too. It could be that we’re stopping that cycle between that inflammation and the glutamate. We’re hoping to go down that road and explore it more in our future research.
A lot of what you’re doing is you’re optimizing the neuroimmune response in a healthy way which is great. You mentioned, when you’re able to do that effectively optimize the nervous system and the immune system, that’s when you see things like pain, cognitive function, anxiety, depression, all the things that you were mentioning all start to change at once.
What’s profound is when you mentioned the effect size for the study, the effect size is large. If we compare this to a drug study, if I was a drug manufacturer, I would only be attempting to take care of one of these symptoms. By reducing that one symptom by 30%, I could market my drug and say, “It improved your one symptom by 30%.” This is profound because it improved everything across the board and we had symptoms completely going away on the diet. You might find this interesting. Being in the physical therapy world, we want people to be active too. That’s another big piece of the puzzle and these subjects aren’t active.
Many of them are obese because they’re in pain, fatigued and feel awful that they can’t exercise. Some of them were in peak physical condition when they were in the Gulf War. It kills them that they’re in this condition now. As much as someone might say to them, “Go exercise.” You start exercising, but physically, you don’t feel like they’re capable. After the month on the diet, we had a lot of subjects. We followed up with them three months after the study. Not only were the majority of subjects still following the diet, but we were hearing a lot of reports about people saying, “I can exercise again. I’d started walking. I started lifting weights. I am able to start being physically active.” It was huge. Many times, it had even more to do with the fatigue than it did the pain. They felt like, “I can work on this other aspect, which before I felt like I couldn’t.”
As I’m reading through your study, and I know there’s a lot of variables you’re tracking. Tracking some physical function outcome would be interesting to look at because you mentioned, you’re seeing and then you’re observing them. I’d love to see some objective data on that. I want to back up like a car length. You mentioned that through the dietary intervention, you’re optimizing certain nutrients that have an impact on glutamate, probably absorption reabsorption, in some way. Was that through a whole foods approach? Are we optimizing with supplements? How was that attempted?
It’s from a whole foods approach. Part of the dietary training that I do with everyone is I’m teaching people where nutrients are found. Where are they found in the diet? Not in a supplement form, not in a fortified food form. Not only are we teaching people how to avoid glutamate in the diet, but we’re also saying, “Let me teach you how to eat.” What are those healthiest foods and how do you balance them out to create a healthy diet? We created a document listing the foods highest in each micronutrient. I tell them about some of the ones that are most important from a glutamate perspective. We’re asking them to incorporate those foods into their diet more. We also supply some sample recipes. We’re going to even try to do those more for our next study where we’re incorporating a lot of those foods that are highest need micronutrient into those recipes even more. To give you an example, magnesium is important to protect against glutamatergic cytotoxicity. The best source of magnesium is pumpkin seeds. If people don’t want to snack on pumpkin seeds, they might be like, “Where do I use these.” We’re showing them some ways that they can incorporate them into some dishes.
Magnesium is important for that NMDA receptor, which is important with regards to central sensitization, everything we’re talking about.
NMDA receptors are glutamate receptor, and it’s one of the key glutamate receptors.
You mentioned that you as being the chief investigator, but you’re also the one who counseled them on nutrition. It sounds like you spent one session with them, but they also had time to maybe email you or had some communication with you throughout. I want to point this out to people also, it was only a one-month intervention, which is interesting to me. Oftentimes, people want to see effects after three months, but you’re having such good outcomes after one month so we should mention that. How much time are you spending with each participant as far as working on nutrition education?
It was about an hour and a half sessions to teach them the diet. There are a lot of materials though. I shouldn’t underestimate that in a sense. We provide them with a lot of materials that help them along the way. They receive a list of food additives to avoid that contain free glutamate. We have a list of foods that are commonly contained free glutamate naturally, but they should avoid. We have a list of foods highest in each micronutrient. We talk about antioxidants. We talk about the foods that are highest in antioxidants and trying to incorporate those. We give them recipes. We talk a lot about shopping, stuff and help them along the way. Where their communication with me after the fact comes in is in the initial transition.
If you can imagine, if I was to tell you, “I want you to start this diet on Monday.” I want you to completely take everything out of your household that has these additives in it. I want you to replace these things with things that are safe. That’s what these people are doing. We stress that people can’t do it halfway. We want people to do it 100%. Getting them set up at that beginning stage is the most work. They’re going to the grocery store and they’re reading labels for the first time in their lives. They’re like, “This is scary.” If I was to tell your readers to give them a simple way to think about this if they wanted to do something themselves, I would say, start reading labels and read those ingredients and that you should follow these three rules of them.
These lists should be short. If you see a long list, put it back on the shelf because it’s not worth your time. It should be short and easy to read. They shouldn’t be complicated words. You should be able to understand them. The last one’s important. It should be an ingredient you could add to food if you were cooking. This helps with difficult ones. I’ll give you an example. There’s a term natural flavor and you’ve probably seen it on labels. Natural flavor sounds innocuous and people see it and go, “It is natural.”
“This must be good for me.”
What happens is because glutamate comes from these natural protein sources that they use in a lab, they break it apart, and then they have the glutamate, they call it a natural flavor. It’s not always glutamate, but a lot of times it is. That term people aren’t scared of. Once I tell them, “You’d have to be able to add it to a food when you’re cooking.” They say, “I don’t have natural flavor in my cabinet.” It helps people think about it differently. Even the term spices or seasonings are tricky. The food industry allows us to be used because it protects trade secrets of what’s in the food. I’ve even seen labels where they say cumin, coriander, and spices. You should always ask yourself, “Aren’t cumin and coriander, spices?” When you start thinking about it differently and you’re looking at these labels, you start realizing how much stuff is added to food. If you follow those three simple steps, even ice cream, people go into the ice cream aisle and they start reading ice cream labels. They’re like, “I had no idea what was being added to my food.” It’s an eye-opening. I hope that answered your question.
It does. I always tell people if it comes in a box or a can or made by man, you want to be cautious and look at what’s in the ingredients. What you’re saying with regard to you’re asking people to buy it all in on day one. I talk about the pros and cons of that. With this study, there are lots of pros behind it. Some people will look at it from a behavioral perspective and look at someone’s readiness to change and would say, “I would like to see a longer period of dietary change or a runway for them to start on.” I do think your study lends to the fact that maybe people with certain conditions, this is the best way to approach diet. If glutamate is having an influence on people with Gulf War Syndrome, then maybe one package of processed food could offset that entire balance.
What it does is it makes people think that the diet’s not working. You can’t wait into it. By making them more drastic change, all of a sudden, you can feel how much better you feel. We have commonly had subjects report by the end of the first week, they start feeling better. You were talking about even having it be a one-month study. It does not take a long time. An important point is that when you do something fully and then you can feel the effect, it’s reinforcing. If I feel sick all the time, and by the end of the first week I’m feeling better, I’m motivated to keep going because I’m feeling good. If in reverse if I say, “I’m going to wait into it, but I’m not feeling better, I’m still fatigued. I don’t feel like cooking. My pain still here.”
Why it keeps going? Especially with pain conditions, because when a person’s suffering from chronic widespread pain, they are not feeling standing up and cooking. They don’t have to be chefs. They don’t have to cook. You can eat simply and eat well. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but even having a spouse or someone else in the household help in that initial step is nice too because that can of Campbell’s Soup is so much easier to open and heat up than to make something from scratch. It makes sense that is kind of reinforcing when a person’s chronic widespread pain that they’re going to want the easy food and they’re not going on to do the work, understandably. I think helping them to feel that effect faster is helpful.
If we piece that out a little bit, which is important to talk about is that reinforcement, if they go on this diet, if they buy all into this diet and they notice a change like you mentioned, a lot of people who want elimination diets, taking it anywhere between 3 to 7 foods. We noticed a change within seven days. It starts to hit them in the reward system. They said, “I’m eating better. In my nervous system, in my brain, and the reward system and parts of my brain is that this diet is helping me feel better physically, regardless of the pain feels better. Emotionally with regards to depression, anxiety, PTSD, all the things you’re talking about.”
There’s a whole other aspect of behavioral aspect that comes into play. That’s why I tell a lot of practitioners that, “If you have people who don’t want to change at all, then there may be a place for taking out, let’s say sugar.” For many of the chronic patients, we’re seeing in clinical practice, people with fibromyalgia, Gulf War Syndrome, multiple comorbidities, this may be a better option because it’s rapid in a way. That’s what people want. They want a rapid change. You mentioned from this study, it sounds like there were a couple of others that came off the spoke of the wheel. There’s one on cognitive function. Is there another one that we should look out for?
We have one working on now. We are looking at those mood measures I mentioned. This is huge. This has an effect on depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I would say in some ways, this has been more impactful than anything. For these individuals who suffer from these things, PTSD, I’ll give you an example. We had a person in this study who was suffering from severe PTSD but who loved to go to basketball games. His trigger for his PTSD was crowds. You can imagine going into a stadium full of people, it was difficult. He had a service dog. The service dog would come in. He entered the stadium, the service dog would circle him, take him about fifteen minutes. He would feel like he was going to die. He was sweating profusely and feeling like it’s going to have a heart attack and pass out and he’d have to get through it so he could go watch the game.
By the end of the diet, he went into the stadium and even his dog could tell the difference. Dogs circled him once and sat down with him. All he had was this little increase in his heart rate. He goes, “This is amazing.” We don’t have a measure to capture it in the study, but we had people report that they had severe anger responses, like abnormally angry. That was affecting their relationships with their spouse or their family members. That improved drastically on the diet so that they were able to interact with people in a completely different way. You can imagine those things are impactful on a day-to-day basis, in addition to things like the pain getting better.
Nutrition is fascinating when you start to work with them, the level you’re working with it, when you see both the physical, as well as the cognitive and behavioral changes that happen as we’re talking about here. In a matter of four weeks, you’re like, “Let’s continue to research this. Let’s continue to educate people about this.” We appreciate you coming and joining us on the show. As your work rolls out, which I know you’re working on other things at American University, please let us know. We hope to share them here, but in the meantime, let everyone know how they can learn more information about you.
The easiest way if they’re interested in what we’re working on is to go to our lab website and that’s at American.edu. They can look up my lab. It’s called The Nutritional Neuroscience Lab. It’s easy to find. It’s the first thing that pops up if you type that into Google.
Make sure you check out that link. You can check out the paper, August 2020 in the Journal of Nutrients, it’s called The Low Glutamate Diet Significantly Improves Pain and Other Symptoms in Veterans with Gulf War Illness. I’ll see you next episode.
- Dr. Kathleen Holton – LinkedIn
- Center for Behavioral Neuroscience
- The Low Glutamate Diet Significantly Improves Pain and Other Symptoms in Veterans with Gulf War Illness
- The Nutritional Neuroscience Lab
About Dr. Kathleen Holton
I am a Nutritional Neuroscientist who studies the effects of diet on neurological outcomes. I am interested in the negative effects of food additives on glutamatergic neurotransmission as well as the positive protective effects of nutrients in optimizing neurotransmission. The goal of my work is to find ways to optimize human health, and especially neurological health, through dietary change.
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