Oxidative stress, MAOIs and OCD.
By JOHN STEWART
Cure of severe obsessional thinking by monoamine oxidase inhibitor* gave rise to “side” effects, meriting investigation as repeatedly linked to cure-points. Phenol-rich foods, particularly robusta coffees, release serotonin from gut enterochromaffin cells by phenol-generated free radicals. (Phenols don’t enter the CNS). Releasing effects appeared just before the first cure-point, and all subsequent improvements, suggesting restraints on gut free radical action are removed by MAOI treatment. As MAOI reduction of oxidative stress has been shown to diminish antioxidant activity, and excessive antioxidant activity repeatedly shown in research on human OCD, the hypothesis is that it is by reducing intracellular antioxidant activity over time that MAOIs enable the extracellular release of serotonin required for the OCD cure. In one waking cure-point pharyngospasm (found with peripheral serotonin injections) was followed by vagal lesion-like effects, and I found I had regained the ability to “drown” constant compulsive violent thoughts. Vagal activity, although peripheral, has been found to influence CNS memory storage, and to be essential for the maintenance of some CNS-originated stereotypies. This peripheral cure trigger involving further serotonin release is enabled by the prior radical gut release of serotonin. Testing of this hypothesis would be practical.
*Refs.“Neurology,Psychiatry and Brain Research” 5(4):181, 8(4):185, 10(4):149