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In need of a neurochem guru...

Matt Jones jonesmat at ohsu.edu
Wed Sep 10 11:52:44 EST 1997


In article <5v62et$fac$1 at News.Dal.Ca> Chris Hardie, chardie at is.dal.ca
writes:
>The ingredients of the
>tablets, in order, are di-calcium phosphate, siberian ginseng, spirolina,
>guarana, GABA, L-Phenylalanine, Ma Huangg, Calamus extract.

I am by no means a neurochem guru, but I can comment on which ones are
probably _not_ the active ingredients. Calcium phosphate is probably just
the "substrate", a basic salt that serves to bind the rest of the
compounds together in tablet form, and also as a pH buffer to coat,
soothe and protect the lining of your tummy (I assume you ate the
tablet). GABA, although the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain
(acts on the same receptor molecule that valium does), does not cross the
blood-brain barrier to any significant degree. So it probably just gets
digested and has no psychoactive effects in this case. L-phenylalanine
might cross the BBB or get transported across, and might possibly have
some psychoactive effects, but I'm not sure. Never heard of spirolina,
guarana, Ma Huangg or Calamus extract. Ginseng, however, is an "ancient
Chinese remedy", so to speak, and contains trace amounts of a
steroid-based chemical called Ginsenoside-Rf. This compound mimics the
effects of opioid receptor activation (i.e., like morphine, it acts via a
pertussis toxin-sensitive G-protein to suppress neuronal voltage-gated
calcium channel activity; Nah et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.
92,8739-8743). This is likely to have contributed to the relaxing effects
you describe (and also the "stimulation" as opioids can also have that
effect at low doses). 

I wouldn't bother trying to synthesize any of this, because a) it could
be dangerous to ingest anything you cook up unless you really know what
you're doing, and b) you can probably get all of this stuff at health
food stores pretty cheaply.

Have fun, but remember that modern science doesn't really know very much
about the long-term health implications of using such substances.

Cheers,

Matt



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