L-Ornithine is a nonprotein amino acid, that is an important intermediate of the urea cycle,. Ornithine binds with a molecule known as carbamoyl phosphate which requires ammonia to be produced and then is converted into L-Citrulline giving off urea as a byproduct. this has the beneficial effect of reducing ammonia concentrations in the blood and concomitantly increases urea.
Ammonia is a byproduct of the body metabolising protien's. Biochemical reactions in your body rapidly convert ammonia into less harmful molecules under normal conditions. Liver disease can cause ammonia levels to build up in your body. Liver disfunction can cause ammonia levels to build up in your brain causing permanent brain damage, a condition known as hepatic encephalopathy.
Ammonia and Brain Damage
Ammonia is a highly reactive and caustic molecule. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, high levels of ammonia in the brain can impair the function of, and eventually kill, two types of cells, neurons and astrocytes. Neurons are responsible for the electrical and chemical communication that underlies brain function. Astrocytes are support cells, removing chemicals such as ammonia from the brain. Ammonia disrupts energy production in the brain and interferes with communication between neurons. This damage leads to a condition, hepatic encephalopathy, that manifests as sleep disturbances, mood disorders, poor cognition, anxiety, depression and movement disorders.
Causes of High Brain Ammonia
Liver disease is the primary cause of high ammonia in the brain. Alcohol-related liver disease, such as hepatitis and cirrhosis, commonly lead to ammonia-induced brain damage. Genetic deficiencies, called urea cycle disorders, in the enzymes that process ammonia into urea can cause high ammonia. High-protein diets can contribute to high ammonia levels. In general, continue to eat protein, but avoid eating large amounts in a single meal. Discuss your diet and what foods to avoid with your doctor.
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