Bye bye, booze!
Sober up with science
Chemists also call the natural neurotransmitter glutamate glutamic acid – the artificial flavor enhancer, on the other hand, monosodium glutamate. The term glutamate has become common for both, so it’s just a confusing name similarity. When we speak of glutamate here, we are referring to the body’s own messenger substance.
Glutamic acid is a non-essential amino acid. L-glutamic acid is a precursor in the biosynthesis of ornithine, proline and hydroxyproline. In addition, L-glutamic acid serves as a component of coenzymes, e.g. coenzyme A and folic acid.
Exercise, attention, alertness, concentration. That’s glutamate territory. If you have a balanced GABA and glutamate system, you can concentrate well, you are alert and wide awake – but you can relax just as calmly afterwards.
Alcohol also throws a stick between the legs of the glutamate system. It simply switches off the glutamate docking points. There can be as much glutamate floating around in the nervous system as it wants – if it can’t dock, it can’t work.
Now we have a nasty double effect. Alcohol pretends to be GABA and relaxes. At the same time, it mutes the glutamate system and suppresses the necessary counter-tension and alertness. In this way, it creates an artificial deep relaxation – as long as the alcohol flows through the veins.
In the medium term, the body counteracts this and increases the docking sites for the excitatory glutamate. As a result, the body enters a constant state of tension, which can be read in detail in the book “Bye bye, booze!“.
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