Schizophrenia.com

New Study: 6 months of Sarcosine Use Reverses Glutamate System (Memory / Cognition) Damage Done with Schizophrenia

#1

This seems like big news to me. If you use Sarcosine for 6 months it seems to reverse the damage to the glutamate system of the brain that is key in memory and cognition.

Here is what it says in regular english:

This is the first study showing that the addition to antipsychotic treatment with sarcosine for 6 months, may reverse the harmful increase in glutamate in the hippocampus that is thought to result the in memory and cognition problems in schizophrenia

• Sarcosine simultaneously improved mental state of patients with schizophrenia.

Background: The Glutamate system, the main stimulating system of the brain, plays an important role in the development of schizophrenia. Additionally, the Hippocampus, a structure crucial for memory and cognitive functions and rich in glutamate-oriented neurons. Sarcosine use for 6 months seems to reverse the damage done to the glutamate system during schizophrenia.

More information on sarcosine here:

4 Likes
1 week into sarcosine. unsure if it's for me
I skipped my Sarcosine this morning
A "brain training" Smartphone/tablet/ipad game developed in Britain may improve the memory of patients with schizophrenia
#2

Sure this wasn’t a paid study by the company?

1 Like
#3

“May” and “thought” are two key statements in this study. They still don’t know if this is legit and useful. Just that this might work does not mean it WILL.

1 Like
#4

Seriously, why did they not test the negative cognitive function in these patients alongside doing the spectroscopic study. The spectroscopic studies prove very little in real terms at the end of the day, it’s whether the cognitive decline can be fixed that is the real question.

#5

@crsaen and @alien99 - you are both right to be skeptical. Thats very important to do all the time - I applaud your lack of gullibility. Keep it up!

Yes Alien - you are right - they don’t conclusively say that these things “do” anything for absolutely sure. But at the same time - science only very rarely says anything for certain. Even with a few hundred years of scientific evidence they still call evolution a “theory” - even though its well accepted by virtually all scientists.

and yes - you should ALWAYS look for conflicts of interest - where a study is funded by, or linked to, a company or people who can benefit from the research financially. In this case the paper says that the researchers are at a Medical School at a university in Poland, and it doesn’t seem like there is any “conflict of interest” - but you’d have to look at the actual research paper to see if they make any statements on that issue (as they are required to).

I just checked the actual research journal page and they provide a little more information on the study - but entire paper does not seem to be available (for free). But it does say this:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/aip/03043940

Highlights

• Sarcosine decrease hippocampal glutamatergic parameters in schizophrenia.

• Sarcosine simultaneously improve mental state of patients with schizophrenia.

• Sarcosine is an effective augmentation of antipsychotic treatment.

1 Like
#6

Hmm Poland, that would make a conflict of interest less likely in my opinion, usually when companies are trying to buy results they will go for more “prestigious” sources.

#7

Right. Any mention of an increased risk of prostate cancer? That’s my only big worry about it. Even if there’s a tenuous link, it should be at least highlighted.

#8

I think this is interesting, its a cheap buy from smartpowders and Im going to try it.

#9

Its cheaper at brainvitaminz.com - and they focus exclusively on this supplement, vs. smartpowder’s focus on weightlifting supplements that have dubious qualities.

If I were buying this supplement I’d get it from either brainvitaminz or profrontal because both of these companies were started by PHD /MD type researchers (I’ve talked to both founders), and the companies focus only on this supplement, so if they don’t provide a quality product they will go out of business.

(Disclaimer - brainvitaminz is an advertiser on this site, so we benefit when you buy from them)

#10

Attached is the full paper for this research and some highlights summarized below:

Supplementation of antipsychotic treatment with sarcosine – G1yT1 inhibitor – causes changes of glutamatergic 1NMR spectroscopy parameters in the left hippocampus in patients with stable schizophrenia

Glutamatergic system, the main stimulating system of the brain, plays an important role in the pathogenesis
of schizophrenia. Hippocampus, a structure crucial for memory and cognitive functions and rich
in glutamatergic neurons, is a natural object of interest in studies on psychoses. Sarcosine, a glycine
transporter (GlyT-1)inhibitor influences the function of NMDA receptor and glutamate-dependent transmission.

In the sarcosine group, after 6-month treatment, we found significant decrease in hippocampal Glx/Cr
(Glx-complex of glutamate, glutamine and GABA, Cr-creatine) and Glx/Cho (Cho-choline), whille Nacetylaspartate (NAA), myo-inositol (mI), Cr and Cho parameters remained stable along the study and
also did not differ significantly between both groups.

This is the first study showing that a pharmacological intervention in schizophrenia, particularly
augmentation of the antipsychotic treatment with sarcosine, may reverse the pathological increase in glutamatergic transmission in the hippocampus. The results confirm involvement of glutamatergic system in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia and demonstrate beneficial effects of GlyT-1 inhibitor on the metabolism in the hippocampus and symptoms of schizophrenia.

Lately, it was proposed that glutamatergic and GABAergic systems may be involved in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. NMDA (N-methyl-d-aspartate) receptors are located all over the brain, but location on inhibitory GABAergic neurons is especially an object of interest. Lack of adequate control on glutamatergic transmission
(also influencing dopaminergic system) causes information bias and both negative and cognitive symptoms in schizophrenia [3–5]. Sarcosine – an exogenous amino acid – is serving in the brain as a glycine transporter type 1 (GlyT-1) inhibitor and as a source of glycine (natural coagonist of the NMDA receptor, metabolized from sarcosine by sarcosine dehydrogenase) [6]. It was reported to be effective in treating negative and cognitive symptoms [7].

Supplementation of sarcosine at a 2 grams daily dose is supposed to increase glycine concentration and normalize hypofunction of the NMDA receptors, which are present in high density in the the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus—areas associated with development of cognitive and negative symptomatology

Results

At baseline examination there were no differences regarding spectroscopic parameters between both studied groups (Table 2). There were also no significant differences in substance concentration ratios between sarcosine and placebo group on second assessment. However, after the therapy in the experimental group,
Glx/Cr and Glx/Cho ratios significantly decreased comparing to baseline values (21,4% and 21,2%, respectively).

At the beginning of the experiment, there was no significant difference in the PANSS scores between both groups However at the end of the experiment patients treated with sarcosine had significantly lower results in negative and general psychopathology subscales and total score in the PANSS

Discussion

To our knowledge, this is the first study assessing the effects of sarcosine (or glutamatergic agents) on spectroscopic parameters in the hippocampus of patients with schizophrenia. Differences in Glx/Cr and Glx/Cho ratios in the experimental group indicate that 2 g of sarcosine daily is a sufficient dose to cross the blood–brain barrier and affect the glutamatergic function within hippocampus as well as improve mental status of patients with schizophrenia.

Limitations of the study

Due to the small number of patients and the technical limitations of spectroscopy performed with 1.5T magnetic field, conclusions should be drawn carefully.

Conclusion

We conclude that augmentation of the antypsychotic treatment with sarcosine may reverse the increase in glutamatergic transmission in the left hippocampus in schizophrenia along with improvement of mental state, assessed with the PANSS. The results confirm involvement of glutamatergic system in the pathogenesis
of schizophrenia and demonstrate beneficial effects of GlyT-1 inhibitor on the metabolism in the hippocampus.

Conflict of interest

No potential conflict of interest

Full Paper Below:

SarcosineSchizophreniaGlutamate.pdf (797.4 KB)

1 Like
1 week into sarcosine. unsure if it's for me
#11

Is this permanent? If so then it might be very good for us to try sarcosine if we don’t get any adverse effects.

#12

I’m really bummed it didn’t work for me

#13

I don’t think sarcosine is any different than any other supplement, vitamin or medications - you probably need to continue taking it if you want the benefits (and if it works for you).

And, this is one study, small sample size - it needs to be duplicated with more people.

#14

I have taken it (not for 6 months) and I have found that there is some truth to it being benefical. It did take the edge of my negative symptoms. But the effect is mild. There is something in this but so far its low level stuff.

Having said that, SZ is such a nasty condition, that anything which can help will have a big market and may be useful.

The sarcosine effect is limited but the best bit is from my experience there are no nasty side effects of the drug so its easily tolerable.

I was thinking that OTs could do a study of sarcosine to see how it impacted negative symptoms.

#15

This might just be me, but I don’t want a souped up brain while I’m psychotic. I wouldn’t take this unless I was on the right AP.

I might try this someday. I need to get my med doses worked out first though.

#16

In English what is the effect after 6 months?

#17

It reduces negative symptoms. It is good for memory, and so for cognition, or thinking skills. Some people say it improves motivation. It works best combined wth anti-psychotics and, probably, exercise, according to what i have read.

#18

It also seems to help in depression.

See this study:

Sarcosine, an N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor enhancer, can improve depression-like behavior in rodent models and depression in humans.

1 Like
#19

I’ve been on Sarcosine 90% of the time since like February, 2016, so like 8 months now. I definitely think it improves my social functioning, including my desire to interact with others, my expressiveness (as opposed to flat affect), and my ability to speak in conversation with enthusiasm and eye contact.

Downside: too much and I get irritable. Not like monster irritable, but I’m usually laid back and the most chillax of the family, so it’s noticeable if I don’t put up with the usual verbal orders and criticisms. Like, if you get on my case about a dish in the sink, I’ll tell you that you’re blowing things out of proportion—instead of just saying, yea okay i’ll wash it.
In some ways, it makes me more assertive, but in my living situation, it comes off more as irritable.

I still cycle from 3 grams to 6 grams (one dose of smart powders is 3 grams, whereas Brain Vitaminz dose is 2 grams, guess it’s different in terms of efficacy and dosage across brands).

All in all, worth twenty bucks a month. I take extra if I have something special going on (I had a video interview for a tutor position!! and I took like 6 grams of smart powders that day and I was told by my disability work specialist that I did very good for the interview).

Downside number two: not covered by insurance. If it works, why can’t we get it prescribed as an over the counter supplement? Why hasn’t medical or any other insurance agency heard of it? I think it needs to be brought up to the insurance companies that it’s worth the investment to cover sarcosine for sz’s.

#20

A related article:

A New Tool in the Antidepressant Toolbox? Sarcosine, found in muscles and other body tissues, improved mood better than a popular antidepressant.

the actual study is here:

http://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/article/S0006-3223(13)00188-1/abstract