Sodium benzoate improves symptoms in schizophrenic patients. Credit: bigstockphoto
New hope for schizophrenia: symptoms improved by a common food preservative

Sodium benzoate is a common food preservative, but it seems that this dull chemical may have some previously unknown applications. A new study shows that sodium benzoate improves symptoms in clozapine-resistant schizophrenia. The food preservative was added to the standard clozapine-based treatment and this strategy worked better compared with other treatments. Sodium benzoate works by preventing the breakdown of D-serine, a brain chemical involved in a signaling pathway that is disrupted in the brains of people with schizophrenia. “If the finding can be confirmed, this approach may bring hope for treating patients with the most refractory schizophrenia,” said Dr. Lane, one of the authors of the study.

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Scientific publication: Biological Psychiatry