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Excitotoxicity is when nerve cells are over stimulated by nerve impulses, causing them to be damaged or killed. It is a pathological process that happens when receptors for the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate is over activated.

Glutamate, an amino acid created by every cell in the body and present in protein foods such as meat and dairy, serves as the most common neurotransmitter for neurons within the brain to communicate. In the case of excitotoxicity, there is an excessive amount of glutamate, causing glutamate-based neurotoxicity, that over activates and kills cells in the spinal cord and brain.

Excitotoxicity is present during Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as the progressive neuromuscular disease, Lou Gehrig's disease.

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