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Mastering Nutrition

Hi, I'm Chris Masterjohn and I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences. I am an entrepreneur in all things fitness, health, and nutrition. In this show I combine my scientific expertise with my out-of-the-box thinking to translate complex science into new, practical ideas that you can use to help yourself on your journey to vibrant health. This show will allow you to master the science of nutrition and apply it to your own life like a pro.
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Mar 19, 2020

Question: Nutrition for children with ADHD.

In adults 100 to 800 milligrams per day has been used in a couple studies showing effects in the brain. One of the things that's going wrong in ADHD is that the brain is not getting dopamine's signal that something is valuable enough to keep paying attention to it.

I think the drugs that are used to treat ADHD are increasing the tonic level of dopamine in the frontal cortex, and they're increasing the tonic level of dopamine in the basal ganglia. In the frontal cortex, the increased dopamine is basically making more stable mental states. If you focus on something, you will hold on to that better. In the basal ganglia, increasing the tonic dopamine is making it harder for a new thing to grab your attention, which reinforces the fact that you are more focused. Anything that increases dopamine is going to be good. There's that.

Should we just use the glycine to promote sleep, or should I also use it in the morning? I would say, ultimately, you have to judge it based on the results you get, but you should try it at other times during the day because one of the roles of glycine would be to provide the buffer against excess methylation.

For dopamine to make you pay attention to something that has value, you must have GABA suppressing attention to everything else. Dopamine cannot be a meaningful signal of the value of placing attention on something unless you have adequate GABA to suppress your attention paid to everything else. Because if you're paying attention to your schoolwork while you are also paying attention to your video games and to the mosquito in the corner equally as much, then you're not actually paying attention to your schoolwork. So, I think that anything that would boost GABA would be helpful.

So, yes to the glycine during the day. Yes, you do want to keep choline levels up. But remember that choline is a methyl donor. Choline is a double-edged sword here. First of all, the choline is needed for acetylcholine. When dopamine tells you to pay attention to something, once you're paying attention, you need acetylcholine to sustain your attention on that thing and get results. Dopamine is the signal that that thing has value to pay attention to. Acetylcholine is what you actually use to pay attention to it and get results.

You do want to help his acetylcholine levels, but you have to remember that choline is a methyl donor and that the more choline you have, the more important it becomes that the glycine is kept high enough to buffer excess methylation. Otherwise, choline could act as a double-edged sword and potentially wind up reducing dopamine levels.

The other thing that I would add is the GABA. Maybe start at 100 milligrams a day and work your way up to 800 and just be careful with the low dose. See what results you get. If it seems promising, try increasing the dose.

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/podcast/2019/09/06/ask-anything-nutrition-march-8-2019

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up with a 10% lifetime discount here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/q&a

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