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September 2020 (Vol. 5 Issue 6)

Brain supplement helps to treat schizophrenia
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Brain supplement helps to treat schizophrenia image

A 'brain supplement' could help schizophrenics. Sarcosine has been described as a "logical treatment" because it helps restore brain functioning often damaged in schizophrenia.

It could become part of standard treatment for schizophrenia, a leading psychiatrist says. Prof David Curtis at the Queen Mary University of London's psychiatry center says the supplement is "a very logical treatment and the small number of clinical trials do seem to show that it can be helpful."

Sarcosine can help rebuild receptors for glutamate, a neurotransmitter that helps the brain function healthily. Without glutamate, people can suffer psychosis, a common symptom of schizophrenia.

Although some schizophrenics drop all conventional treatment and take only sarcosine, Prof Curtis feels this is unwise, and it should be part of a holistic approach. The one concern is that sarcosine doesn't mix well with antidepressants, and the cocktail can trigger hypomania, or feelings of euphoria and uninhibitedness.

Despite this concern, Prof Curtis encourages psychiatrists to consider recommending sarcosine alongside regular treatment. "It's defensible and evidence-based," he said.

Sarcosine is in egg yolks, turkey and legumes as well as being available as a supplement.


References

(Source: British Journal of Psychiatry, 2019; 1: doi: 10.1192/bjp.2019.194)

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