Boosting amino acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Higher levels of some amino acids such as D-Serine and D-Alanine have been shown to reduce symptoms of psychosis.
These amino acids are broken down by enzymes in the body, so it is not always feasible or safe to give people high doses of amino acids as treatments.
Sodium benzoate, a commonly used food preservative, slows down (inhibits) the action of the enzyme that breaks down the amino acids in the brain. We believe that when people are on higher doses of sodium benzoate, they may be able to build up higher levels of helpful amino acids in the brain.
One clinical trial has already demonstrated that sodium benzoate, in addition to usual treatment, is more effective than placebo for people who have had psychosis for many years.
We want to replicate this study in young people with early psychosis.
In this video Associate Professor James Scott provides a more detailed overview of the Cadence BZ trial.