I just wanted to share a few thoughts about supplements and PANS/PANDAS because of what I have learned through our own families’ experiences and from consultations I’ve done with moms caring for children with these conditions.
Years ago, when I began researching PANS/PANDAS and Autoimmune Encephalitis, I ran across a few medical articles that mentioned the use of Lemon Balm and CBD to calm the brain. I also read several posts from fellow clinical herbalists that discussed using California Poppy Seed, Lemon Balm, and Passionflower tincture to aid with sleep disturbances. Although these articles contained great information, the advice given was lacking.
Under different circumstances, herbs and supplements that increase dopamine can be very helpful for many people, but caution should be used when administering to children with PANS and PANDAS as they can worsen symptoms during a flare. The same caution should be observed with adults who have Autoimmune Encephalitis and other autoimmune conditions that cause brain inflammation.
A dopaminergic supplement is a type of medication or natural substance that is believed to increase levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is important in several brain functions, including mood, motivation, motor control, and reward-seeking behavior, but increasing levels can be problematic for children and teens with PANS.
Some Dopaminergic Herbs & Supplements include but are not limited to:
Curcumin, the active ingredient in Turmeric
As with all things, just because an herb or supplement is helpful for someone else doesn’t mean it will be helpful for your child or vice versa. That said, some supplements like CBD can be helpful in between PANS/PANDAS flares instead of during a flare. CBD can also help stabilize mast cells during MCAS flares.
If your medical practitioner asks you to try out a prescription drug or a supplement that is dopaminergic for your PANS/PANDAS kiddo, please pay attention and note in a journal if it worsens a flare, causes one, or brings relief.
Often, parents of kids with these conditions have to be researchers, detectives, and guardians of their kids. There is still so much we don’t understand about these conditions, so keeping a notebook with observations regarding medications, supplements, interactions, reactions, etc., can be a valuable resource when trying to find a protocol that works for your child.
Articles/Podcasts of interest:
Increased dopamine and glutamate in the basal ganglia may be responsible for the overstimulation and the many psychiatric symptoms associated with PANDAS. Source
Both Sydenham chorea and PANDAS are considered dopamine receptor and /or basal ganglia autoimmune encephalitis, which occurs after streptococcal infection. Source
Functional Medicine Pediatrician Dr. Elisa Song on PANS/PANDAS DX and Treatment. Podcast
Chemical Free Gal
Disclosure: The content on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Any views or opinions written in this blog should not be taken as fact or professional advice.