Ammonia Toxicity – How to Resolve Brain Fog and Anxiety with L-Ornithine

One of the least known toxicity which causes a lot of problems is Ammonia toxicity. I believe that hyperammonemia is present in many people with psoriasis and places additional burden on liver performance as well as health of nervous system and adrenal glands.

Ammonia is a strong neurotoxin and even worse it is produced constantly in our intestines by bacteria decomposing protein in food. Ammonia is also produced in most cells in our bodies as metabolic waste so if there is some defect in detoxification of ammonia there may be a whole set of problems. Especially brain disorders since brain is very sensitive to ammonia toxicity.

Symptoms of ammonia toxicity

Nausea, loss of appetite, back pain, muscle cramps are common physical symptoms caused by higher amount of ammonia in our bodies.

Anxiety, insomnia, irritability, confusion and depression are just some of the mental symptoms of ammonia toxicity. Less recognized effects of ammonia toxicity are brain fog, low motivation, inability to focus,… all the symptoms people are complaining about nowadays but almost nobody talks about ammonia as cause of these problems.

Ammonia toxicity may cause serious physical changes in the brain which are long-term and even irreversible.[2]

The body has evolved while keeping this ammonia toxicity issues “in mind” so liver is supposed to detoxify the ammonia via the conversion of ammonia to Urea.

Urea levels are usually tested in basic blood test by most doctors so getting the test ordered by your doctor is not difficult.

The problem is the evaluation of the tests results. If Urea levels are normal the doctors usually do not suspect any problems with ammonia toxicity or detoxification pathways.

However, when creatinine levels which is a waste metabolite of muscle cells are high and urea levels are normal or low normal then there may be some problems with detoxification of ammonia, too.

High creatinine is present very often in kidney problems. But you can experience increased creatinine levels in blood if you have a lot of muscle tissue and/or take the creatine supplement. It is possible to calculate your own ratio of urea or blood-urea-nitrogen to creatinine levels.

There is also a specific test for blood ammonia levels but it is not a part of standard tests so there is a chance you have not had any tests done yet.

A lot of people with psoriasis have increased ammonia levels in their blood, low or normal urea and high creatinine. I believe that many of them might benefit from optimization of their urea cycles. Especially when they experience mental symptoms like anxiety, brain fog and insomnia.

L-Ornithine helps detoxify the ammonia

L-Ornithine may greatly help in detoxification of ammonia since L-Ornithine plays an important role in Urea cycle.

L-Ornithine may help anxiety, insomnia, inability to focus and psoriasis of course.

L-Ornithine may help anxiety, insomnia, inability to focus and psoriasis of course.

Another easy to buy amino acids which are significantly involved in Urea cycle are L-Arginine and L-Citrulline.

Always take amino acids on empty stomach in order to improve the absorption into the blood. Amino acids are usually not hard on stomach so most people won’t have any negative effects like nausea.

L-Ornithine is especially useful for detoxification of ammonia from the brain due to absence of  some ornithine related enzymes in brain compared to other parts of the body.

L-Ornithine effects on anxiety

People may feel the effects of L-Ornithine fairly quickly like in 1-2 hours after oral intake.

If ammonia toxicity is the problem and there is a culprit in

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2 Responses

  1. Lisa says:

    Need help… Going in for a TIPS procedure Thursday. Brain fog, can’t sleep, can’t sleep enough ?.. WTF? No one in my family “gets it”!

    • John says:

      I am not a doctor so I can not recommend you anything!

      If I were you I would ask my doctor for explanation of my health status.

      If you are scheduled for TIPS (Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt) you may have some serious symptoms as you already mentioned.

      Liver health and performance is ESSENTIAL for overall well-being and reduced liver performance = brain fog, anxiety, depression, anger, “autoimmune” diseases…

      About 1 in 3 patients experience post-operative hepatic encephalopathy which is basically which is basically general toxicity due to liver malfunction. In hepatic encephalopathy the liver does not function well which means that toxins including ammonia causes mental symptoms – brain toxicity.

      This means that after TIPS procedure some people experience temporary worsening of their symptoms. So I would strongly ask the doctor to monitor the post-operative time period and perhaps use some drugs/supplements to decrease the ammonia (nitrogen compounds) absorption or to improve ammonia detoxification.

      L-Ornithine and L-Citrulline is one of them. Yucca root is another natural supplement. Lactulose (not lactose – milk sugar!) is usually prescribed by doctors to treat hepathic encephalopathy.

      It is also recommended to decrease intake of high-protein foods in order to decrease the amount of ammonia produced in the gut by bacteria.

      But ASK your DOCTOR about all of these if you can take some of those supplements! I CAN NOT tell you, but your doctor knows your health history and risks so only the doctor can tell you.

      Best wishes!

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