Neuropsychological Responses from Sublingual Neurotransmitters


J. J. McGovern, Jr., M.D., R. W. Gardner, Ph.D.
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah


A growing body of neurochemical evidence suggests that the ingestion of large doses of phenyl food constituents which serve as neurotransmitter precursors, affect the rate at which neurons synthesize and release specific neurotransmitters in normal subjects, thereby affecting behavior and other processes controlled by the brain (1)

We showed in short term controlled clinical studies that the neurotransmitter molecule itself (dopamine, norepinephrine) administered in nanogram doses abolished purposeless behavior in children with Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.).(2)

In the present study we assessed the behavioral and neuromuscular effect of the administration of the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin and histamine administered sublingually in nanogram amounts in 28 patients with clinical disorders thought to be related to alterations in either neurotransmitter synthesis, transport, release or receptor-site responsiveness. These include four patients each with schizophrenia, mild Parkinson’s disease, myasthenia gravis, narcolepsy, multiple sclerosis and eight patients with catalepsy. These patients also demonstrated cutaneous hypersensitivity (reaginic) to pollens, dust, molds and food allergenic extracts; in addition they demonstrated abnormal reduction in the levels of T suppressor lymphocytes suggesting the presence of an impairment in immune regulation. We found in this study using scores for the Profile of Mood State (P.O.M.S.) That the administration of serotonin, compared to placebos, significantly increased subjective fatigue and objective sleepiness; histamine consistently provoked anger, hostility and confusion whereas norepinephrine administration was repeatedly associated with elevated levels of tension-anxiety or depression-despair.

Using neurological measures we found that the sublingual administration of histamine, compared to placebos, consistently reversed the narcoleptic state and increased muscle strength in patients with myasthenia gravis. Dopamine administration, compared to placebos, reliably reduced the tremor in mild Parkinson’s disease; decreased cutaneous anesthesia and increased deep tendon reflexes and muscle strength in catalepsy; norepinephrine and dopamine were significantly superior to placebos but indistinguishable from each other in modifying distorted ideation in patients with schizophrenia. The neurochemical rationale underlying the potential therapeutic use of these agents will be discussed.

(1)Wurtman, R. J., Behavioral Effects on Nutrients, Lancet, May 21, 1983, pp. 1145-1147
(2) McGovern, Jr., J.J., Gardner, R. W., Painter, B. S. Rapp, D. J., Natural Food borne Aromatics Induce Behavioral Disturbances in Children with Hyperkinesis, International Journal Biosocial Research, Vol. 4, pp. 40-42, 1983. 

Gary H. Campbell, DO, Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine