Alcohol Cravings Linked To Glutamate Levels

A new study, published by the Research Society on Alcoholism, has discovered that there may be an association between alcohol cravings and glutamate levels in some areas of the brain.

Researchers recruited 14 participants as part of an investigation into the physiological characteristics of alcohol cravings. Researchers used the Penn Alcohol Craving Scale (PACS) and a 30-day time line follow-back (TLFB 30), in order to measure alcohol cravings and drinking frequency. They also tests cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) for glutamate levels.

Results showed a correlation between CSF- glutamate levels and the PACS scores. These findings suggest that high glutamate levels were found in moments where the craving for alcohol was high, when compared to moment of lesser cravings.

These new findings may help to better tailor treatments, and assist with the management of alcohol cravings in individuals with alcohol use disorders.


Dr. Allison Galan is a licensed ND practicing in Calgary. She has a passion for empowering her patients to be their own catalyst for change, while supporting them in their health and wellness goals. She believes whole-heartedly in the mind-body connection, which is an integral component of her practice.

Allison graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, and also holds a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. This strong background in sport science, has allowed her to incorporate sports medicine into her integrated naturopathic practice.


Mark A. Frye, David J. Hinton, Victor M. Karpyak, Joanna M. Biernacka, Lee J. Gunderson, Jennifer Geske, Scott E. Feeder, Doo-Sup Choi, John D. Port. Elevated Glutamate Levels in the Left Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Are Associated with Higher Cravings for Alcohol. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2016; DOI: 10.1111/acer.13131

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