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Battling the MSG Myth » Sharing Scientific Information » Depakote « Previous Next »

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Heather H.
Posted on Saturday, May 24, 2003 - 7:23 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have just been prescribed Depakote by a neurologist for my food reactions. The doctor said that it is a migraine medication although what I have are not really migraines at all but an intense pressure in the head after eating certain foods. Also, Depakote is an anti-seizure medication. The neurologist had never heard of head pressure caused by food reactions and said either I was having migraines or I was "totally nuts". He also said he'd "been around for a long time and had never heard such a story" (emphasis on "story") when I described my symptoms. then he said that maybe what I had was a "Heather disorder." (i think I am more embarrassed for the medical community than upset!) Anyway, I have no intention of taking this drug but I would like to know if anyone knows anything about it and why he would have prescribed it. Could it be some sort of glutamate blocker? I've read that lithium might be a glutamate blocker and apparently both are used to treat bipolar disorder.
It is so frightening that people like this are out there acting like they are healing people... I love how he basically said "I think you're making this up, but in case you're not, here's some anti-seizure medication for you." scary.
Judy T
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 5:04 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Heather and Laura Gould and Carol H: Depakote is divalproex sodium. One interesting site in Goodle at - 25k - May 23, 2003 says that it will "increase brain concentrations of GABA...". What does that mean? On the other hand, the warnings about pancreatitis are scary.
Judy T
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 5:06 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Google; the search engine. Not goodle.
Heather H.
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 1:50 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Judy, hmmm... interesting.. it also has a lot of scary looking inactive ingredients though.
Posted on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - 4:57 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Heather - Your neurologist never heard of head pressure from food reactions?!!! How can he say that when it is widely known that this drug is frequently prescribed for those who have problems due to food additives and food insensitivities? That's terrible how you were treated. (Reminds me of my neurologist who looked at me like I was crazy when I asked him about excitoxins.) Can you pinpoint the foods that cause your head pressure?
Carol H
Posted on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - 5:50 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Heather, The way it works is that it increases the activity of GAD (glutamic acid decarboxylase) This means it turns more glutamate into GABA. Unfortunately in a lot of the info I've just read, liver damage is a possible side effect. In other words, Heather, you've been given a glutamate CONVERSION drug. See this link - Do more searches but include GAD or "glutamic acid decarboxylase".
Heather H.
Posted on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - 8:31 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

WHAT?! Oh my god... I am so upset by the way I have been treated in general lately by the medical profession. I'm telling you, he stopped just short of telling me I was completely crazy. And MEMorris.. he had NO IDEA what I was talking about or that Depakote is prescribed for food sensitivities.. he had never heard of it. I would really like to send him some literature (send him rather than bring him, since I will never be in his office again), I'll do some searches but if anyone knows of anything please let me know...
Here's the worst part.. I just read on that site (thank you Carol H) that dosage could be as low as 10 mg and could go up to 60 mg in divided doses... he prescribed me 250 mg (to be taken once a day)!!!! I'm so frightened. it is totally malpractice for a doctor to never have heard of a food intolerance .. especially one who prescribes a drug that's widely used for it?? Rrrr... thanks for the info and sorry for the rant.
Roy Piwovar
Posted on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 3:15 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


Apparently doctors prescribe depakote for patients who they think are crazy. Please see the Margot Kidder interview about 2/3 down in the link below.
Laura Gould
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 5:27 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I found this GABA supplement...any opinions? After googling GABA I started looking up supplements and found lots of information......if anyone feels like googling GABA it looks

Source Naturals
GABA Calm Orange 60Tabkets

Brand Source Naturals
Form Tablet
Size 60 Tablets
Serving Size 60 Tablets
Product No. SN-GABACALMO-60T
UPC Code 021078009870

Save 34%

Retail Price: $15.98
Your Price: $10.50

GABA Calm combines two key inhibitory neurotransmitters, GABA and glycine, to reduce stress and promote relaxation. GABA Calm includes a small amount of N-acetyl l-tyrosine to assure a balanced formula.

Each tablet contains:
GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid)
100 mg
50 mg
Magnesium Taurinate
40 mg
Yielding 3 mg of Elemental Magnesium
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine25 mg

This came from the site
Laura Gould
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 5:30 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I just put in key word GABA on this site and see
it has been discussed in the past....

Has anyone had any luck with this supplement????

Mom of Graham
Heather H.
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 1:19 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm not sure if I would go that far.. Depakote is prescribed as an anti-seizure medication as well as for bipolar disorder and now for migraines. I do think the neurologist acted inappropriately, but I'm pretty sure he prescribed the Depakote for migraine. he was fairly open about the bipolar connection, but he didn't say that's what he thought I had.
Roy Piwovar
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 4:03 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I'm sorry if I implied that doctors prescribe Depakote ONLY for patients who they think are crazy, which they obviously do not. Still, I was under the impression from your doctor's remarks that those beliefs may have been at least part of his reason for prescribing it.

There are some bad doctors out there who, when faced with a medical problem they don't understand, tend to think the patient is crazy and made it up, or they treat the symptoms without verifying the causes.
Heather H.
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 7:07 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oh, don't get me wrong--I agree, clearly he was one of those doctors who thinks, "well I can't diagnose you on the spot so you must be nuts." But from the way he explained the drug's usage, I got the impression that he really meant to prescribe it as a migraine medication.

Fortunately, a few days after that, I visited an alternative medicine doctor who specializes in food sensitivities. I actually really like the second guy and think he has a lot of experience in the area. I discussed the Depakote with him and he actually thought it might be useful to treat food sensitivities (at a lower dosage). so I am cautiously starting on it, we'll see what happens. The best part of it though is that the new doctor is calling the neurologist to *discuss* the problem with him.... hopefully will set him straight!! somehow, I am feeling vindicated.
Posted on Friday, May 30, 2003 - 12:11 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Heather -
I wish that you would have had my neurologist and my doctor. It was last June (26th for the exact day) when I was DIAGNOSED with having an MSG allergy. She (the neurologist) was the one who told me to stop taking vitamins and not to eat anything in a bag, a box, a jar, frozen prepared, bagged, nothing for 2 weeks, and if MSG was the culprit, I would know. I knew after 1 week. If it weren't for her, my family physician (who was embarrassed by the fact that he never even considered food as a problem), and Deb's book, who knows how many meds I would be on. I have been truly blessed by having competent people around to support me and to be open to different problems. I am disgusted by the way you were treated. Absolutely no excuse for it. By the way, I was also taking 25 mg of Vioxx daily for the pain in my joints. Haven't had ANY need for it since changing the way I am eating.
Heather H.
Posted on Friday, May 30, 2003 - 6:55 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks so much for the support.. I've been treated that way now by 2 doctors, a neurologist and an allergist. Luckily I have had support from a nutritionist (who hasn't helped much but at least knows what I'm talking about) and an alternative medicine physician, who I am hoping and praying can help me. I haven't eaten anything in a box, frozen prepared, or bagged for at least 6 months and I haven't been able to tolerate vitamins for that long either, and I'm still sick as a dog. Hope he can help. thanks again for the support.
Laura Gould
Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 6:03 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Graham has recently added ginko to his
seems to be helping with the psycological effects
of disconnection, seperation..the bad feeling that
come over him like waves.

I don't remember where in my research I read that
it helps with glutamate overload...but we have now
used it for a few days and Graham seems to have
less of the "bad feelings"....

Cross fingers that it's really helping =)

Mom of Graham
Roy Piwovar
Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 4:50 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


Per the link below, gingko is said to be protective against glutamate.
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 9:00 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I happened onto an article that described glutamate and glutamine and the effects on our body. It also talks about the link of msg to other disease processes, the blood brain barrier, etc. The site:

Good info...
Laura Gould
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 5:51 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks so much for this Roy and Jackye =)

Graham is still feeling so depressed and disconnected. We are doing everything right...except for some organic grapes he ate 3 days ago...he went into an asthmatic episode that lasted 3 days =( Could it have been organic grapes =(

This is driving me crazy....I feel like I'm constanty being ambushed by foods =(

I wish I could help Graham recover more quickly.

Mom of Graham
Posted on Monday, June 09, 2003 - 6:13 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I bought some non-organic grapes, the big probably genetically engineered ones a couple of weeks ago (dumb I know, but I wanted some grapes), I only ate about 4 and became asthmatic, couldn't stop coughing. Threw the rest out! In your case, Organic is hard to prove unless you know the farmer--- I would definitely suspect the grapes.
Deb A.
Posted on Monday, June 09, 2003 - 3:15 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Coughing is one of the most common and first reactions caused by sulfur dioxide. Sulfur dioxide gas is used extensively on grapes today and the reaction is much more immediate than a glutamate reaction in most cases. The FDA recognizes that sulfites cause asmatic reactions. That is the way I always react to grapes treated that way. According to Jack Sammuels of, much organic produce becomes contaminated by treated produce and can even be mislabeled. In the case of some dried organic fruit, they have been known to be dried on the same uncleaned screens used to dry sulfur treated fruit. It's a mess.
Laura Gould
Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2003 - 7:14 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My health food store manager is contacting the farm.
I'll know if it was the grapes soon. Graham is finally breathing nicely took 3 days to
get him back to normal =(
Mom of Graham
Laura Gould
Posted on Friday, June 13, 2003 - 4:08 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It was not the grapes. Last night we had homemade
pizza again. The first repeat of this dinner since the grape incident. Within 2 hours Graham became tight and need prednisone to breath. I couldn't believe it....then I thought go to the recylce bin and get out the tomato read "organic tuscan tomatoes, basil, CITIC ACID!!!!!" I can't believe I missed this....I just feel so stupid!!!!! and every time I mess up it's Graham that pays......this is all so unfair.

I always buy Muir Glen tomatoes and they are fine
for Graham. My store was out of Muir Glen so I just grabbed the other brand of organic tomatoes.. I should have looked at the label......I never should have assumed that the Tuscan Organics were as safe as the Muir Glen.

The good news is the grapes seem to be fine. My health food store contacted the farm in California and they do not use Auxigro or anything on their
grapes =)

So I have once again learned to READ, READ, READ every label and never assume anything is fine =(

Mom of Graham feeling horribly guilty...

Pizza recipe:
homemade pizza dough
organic tomatoes blended to create sauce
organic motzerrella no animal renet or extra ingredients.

fresh veggie toppings of choice - or just plain =)

and from now on only Muir Glen tomatoes!
Deb A.
Posted on Friday, June 13, 2003 - 8:16 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So happy to hear you have solved the mystery, Laura. Don't feel guilty! deserve a huge medal. Let me remind you of the story of of the mother of a little boy, who is covered from head to toe in itchy red hives, but who is "too busy" to make her son healthy food that will make him well. Instead she picks him up from the day care center each and every day and they stop at McDonald's or at Burger King for dinner. It's so tragic. No more feeling guilty! Laura, do you have a freezer? This summer, it's so nice to get a box of roma tomatoes, wash and just freeze whole in quart size freezer bags. To use, I just partially defrost and the skins slip right off (or I keep on and just whirl in processor or blender) and then I slice or chop and add to dishes or sauces. To use for pizza, I let drain a couple minutes in a colander. But, I know how busy you are, and those cans of Muir Glen are so nice to have around.
Laura Gould
Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2003 - 12:42 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You are so sweet Deb, and have helped me feel so much better. Thanks so much for the freezer tip....I don't have a large freezer but maybe I should add it to my wish list.

Thanks again for all your help and your kind very kind words =)

Mom of Graham
Posted on Monday, March 06, 2006 - 9:42 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

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Unregistered guest
Posted on Saturday, August 02, 2008 - 9:45 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This is belated as I see it was posted several years ago.

Please be careful - looks like they're adding aspartame now to anti-seizure meds, including Depakote (when aspartame has been shown to INCREASE the susceptibility to seizures!) This is blatantly crooked as h***. Forgive my strong wording, it makes me angry.



"The Pacific Epilepsy Society in affiliation with the Epileptic Foundation of Maui has completed a seven year study on Epilepsy and Seizures, finding that epilepsy is at an all time high in Hawaii and the western states and Pacific Ocean Territories. There has been a 100% increase over the two previous years. See EFM Survey, Freedom of Info Act 2000-2008 & EFM Survey 1999-03

The most profound reason for the spectacular increase in seizures is the inclusion of the drug ASPARTAME in with the new larger sized anti-seizure drugs: DILANTIN, DEPACOAT, TEGRATOL and several others produced by major pharmaceutical corporations. In 2007 the manufacture of Dilantin changed the description of the 100 mg. Dilantin changed the 100 mg white capsule with red stripe to a much larger white capsule, orange on one end, which contains 100 mg of the drug, plus aspartame. 150 people who took the new Dilantin capsule found the seizure rate increased in every case. The Chemical Pharmaceutical Engineer employee, in fear of his job would not reveal his name, but said they were adding aspartame. He said the new larger orange & white Dilantin is also labeled 100 mg..."
Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2008 - 10:25 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't know about Depakote, but lamotrigine (a very successful sexy new anti-epileptic and anti-bipolar-disorder drug) and lithium are both glutamate antagonists and there's a lot of research going on right now into glutamate antagonists for this reason (drug companies wanting to cash in, of course). Depakote is sometimes also prescribed for bipolar so maybe it has an effect on glutamate as well. I don't know if that's been established, but it's intriguing.

Also, regarding GABA: from what little I've gleaned so far in two days of intensive Google madness (and I think people have said this already elsewhere in this forum and maybe in that book) it looks like part of the problem may be getting glutamate converted into GABA via the enzyme that regulates that conversion. If the glutamate can't get converted, too much of it hangs around doing its evil thing. How much of an enzyme our bodies can make is regulated by genes. So if some of us have genes that cause not so much of that enzyme to be made, we would have less GABA produced in our brains, and too much glutamate hanging around in our brains, get my drift.

Unfortunately this can't be fixed by adding GABA, it's not like that. Taking GABA supplements could be iffy. If you have lots of GABA hanging around in your brain, it pushes the conversion back the other way. That is,if you have a lot of GABA floating around, the chemistry involved "wants" to make less GABA so it causes LESS glutamate to be converted into GABA. So then once again, too much glutamate hanging around in those synapses. I'm not saying this IS what happens if you take extra GABA, but it is certainly plausible given how chemical reactions work. So if you take the GABA and your symptoms get no better or even get worse, quit taking it! (I know you already figured that part out... ;-)

I guess if you really reduce the glutamate you could maybe add GABA without that problem. But I don't know. The chemistry definitely wants to do it the other way.

Okay, finally, my opinionated opinion regarding the way the medical establishment treats people: if they can't explain it, you're crazy, because otherwise there would have to be something they don't know, and we can't have that. (No, that's not science. That's ego. Some people have trouble figuring out the difference.)

Until somebody stumbles across the explanation and publishes it in a journal. Then all of a sudden you're just fine.

Personally, I don't feel like I should have to wait for a scientific study to prove that my symptoms are valid; I think my symptoms are what they are, you can't invalidate them away, and it's up to THEM to come up with the study/studies to explain my symptoms. And THAT, my friends, IS science. Don't let them tell you otherwise.

Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 9:50 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Prg, I love reading your posts and remember the google madness very well.... and I still do it :0). I wish doctors would start treating the person and the symptoms rather than trying to fit us all in neat little boxes. Some do, but they're hard to find.

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