Blum K1, Oscar-Berman M, Stuller E, Miller D, Giordano J, Morse S, McCormick L, Downs WB, Waite RL, Barh D, Neal D, Braverman ER, Lohmann R, Borsten J, Hauser M, Han D, Liu Y, Helman M, Simpatico T.
In accord with the new definition of addiction published by American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) it is well-known that individuals who present to a treatment center involved in chemical dependency or other documented reward dependence behaviors have impaired brain reward circuitry. They have hypodopaminergic function due to genetic and/or environmental negative pressures upon the reward neuro-circuitry. This impairment leads to aberrant craving behavior and other behaviors such as Substance Use Disorder (SUD). Neurogenetic research in both animal and humans revealed that there is a well-defined cascade in the reward site of the brain that leads to normal dopamine release. This cascade has been termed the “Brain Reward Cascade” (BRC). Any impairment due to either genetics or environmental influences on this cascade will result in a reduced amount of dopamine release in the brain reward site. Manipulation of the BRC has been successfully achieved with neuro-nutrient therapy utilizing nutrigenomic principles. After over four decades of development, neuro-nutrient therapy has provided important clinical benefits when appropriately utilized. This is a review, with some illustrative case histories from a number of addiction professionals, of certain molecular neurobiological mechanisms which if ignored may lead to clinical complications.