Thursday, July 30, 2009

MAOI's and What They Do.

I have long been trying to understand the science behind the Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI’s)and their effect on the human mind. I wanted to understand this not just because they are an effective means of allowing your body to transport the active compounds in the psychedelic drug DMT, but also because they are largely used as an anti-depressants. This topic has always confused me because it’s very complicated, but over the last few weeks I have begun to understand more about how these compounds work and why we should study them more.

For those of you that don’t understand how MAOI’s work, the bases is that they are inhibiting the Monoamine Oxidase’s (MAO’s) that exist in our body that restrict different compounds from being absorbed into our bodies. These MAO’s that exist in our bodies are there to protect us from gaining to much of one type of precursor to a neurotransmitter, keeping us healthy, in balance, and sane. Without these compounds we would surly die or at least experience something close to that effect whenever we ingest anything that is aged or has specific types of compounds in them.

Some would say that it seems very un-natural to inhibit something in your body that is there to protect you from dyeing, but that is actually the opposite of what is true. Some MAOI’s only inhibit specific types of MAO’s that allow for specific types of precursors to neurotransmitters to cross over our blood brain barrier into our brain and reduce the breakdown of those same neurotransmitters. Pinoline a compound that is created in our brain in our pineal gland, is one of those MAOI’s that is considered a MAO-A which is categorized to allow for the transportation of serotonin, melatonin, epinephrine and norepinephrine into our brain. Many antidepressants resemble this compound as they also act as a MAO-A because the main cause of depression is thought to be a lack of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.

Harmaline is also a MAO-A but is considered a reversible MAOI because of its interaction with something called tyramine. Tyramine is what is found in anything that is aged which causes individuals to have the adverse effects when taking MAOIs because it causes a reaction by releasing stored up dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine which can lead to high heart rate, strong headaches and deadly circumstances. Harmaline, being a reversible MAOI also means that rather than waiting weeks for the MAO’s in the brain to replenish themselves (which occurs with current antidepressants) once the harmaline wears off (around 12 hours) the body is protected once again from those nasty tyramine’s. Another positive outcome of harmaline based MAO-A’s is that they also don’t need to be used for long periods of time in order to take effect as they are almost instantaneously effective with the body.

So what causes depression and why do we need drugs to help us with the problem? Well there are a lot of theories that are out there that produce great discussion on the topic. I have my own theory that others may agree or disagree with. The current nature of human beings in industry based cultures is to eat as much non nutritional material as possible. We don’t take supplements to make up for the deficiencies that we lack from our food and our body is unable to produce these neurotransmitters from the non-existent precursors in our bodies. Our body continues to produce MAOs to protect us from the aged foods and dangerous amounts of tyramine’s that are currently located in just about anything we eat and maybe our bodies even have increased the amounts of MAO’s to increase the protection needed. We in reaction lack many of the neurotransmitters needed in order to function, serotonin being one of them. We then ask our doctors for a drug (which is really just a synthetic patented compound that used to be a plant compound) that may help increase or keep the amount of serotonin we have in our bodies. We are then given this drug that we are told that can take several weeks in order to take effect and must be continually ingested in order to fend off those evil MAO’s from replacing themselves in our brains.

Now I know it sounds like I am bad mouthing current anti-depressants (which I am) but really some people do need these drugs in order to live their lives and normal human beings. There is no alternative to current medication, right? Well that’s not 100% true. Humans have long been using plants that are active MAO-A and MAO-B (ones that deal with domaine) for hundreds of years if not longer. One such plant is called Peganum harmala (Harmal) or Syrian Rue which is also a reversible MAO-A has been used in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and by the Persians as an anti-depressant. Banisteriopsis Caapi is also one of those plants that is in the same group as Harmal where it too is a reversible MAO-A . The list goes on and on with these plants.

In the near future I will be researching more into the reasons that we humans require such plants or drugs in order to maintain our mood while I also explore the human mind as much as I possibly can. I still strongly believe that many of our today issues that we face with depression are based on our poor eating habits and our inability to accept alternative means of increasing our neurotransmitters. The effects can be brutal as according to Dr. Hobson who is one of the leading scientists on sleep research, anti-depressants SSRI’s (which rather than allow for the transport of serotonin into the brain but instead builds it up by not allowing it to be used) has the long term side effects of REM Behavior Disorder (RBD). RBD in turn is a good sign of obtaining Parkinson diseases later in life.

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