Sodium benzoate is usually combined with sodium phenylacetate to treat hyperammonemia, a condition characterized by too much ammonia in the blood, MayoClinic.com notes. Conditions such as cancer, kidney and liver disease increase your risk of developing adverse effects. Taking sodium benzoate usually requires a prescription in order to lower your risk. Sodium benzoate also has other benefits such as its potential use as a type of multiple sclerosis treatment, according to a study published in a 2009 issue of “The Journal of Immunology.”
Regulates Ammonia Levels and Protects the Brain and Nervous System
Sodium benzoate, a metabolite of cinnamon, helps regulate the levels of ammonia in your blood and prevents it from becoming too high, the University of Maryland Medical Center says. This is because high ammonia levels damage your brain and nervous system. Dosing is usually based on body weight so must be determined by your doctor. Medicine strength, number of doses per day and the duration of treatment are also factors that influence the amount of sodium benzoate used.
Increased Odds of Survival
The combined use of intravenous sodium benzoate and sodium phenylacetate increased the survival rate of patients suffering urea-cycle disorders, according to a study published in a 2007 issue of “The New England Journal of Medicine.” The results showed that the use of sodium benzoate actually helped about 81 percent of the comatose patients survive. However, the study also pointed out that survival rates were also affected by the use of other treatments such as hemodialysis. More research is needed to help determine the factors that influence the effectiveness of sodium benzoate treatment.
Slows the Progress of Multiple Sclerosis
Sodium benzoate shows potential use in helping treat multiple sclerosis, according to a study published in a 2009 issue of “The Journal of Immunology.” Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that attacks your brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. The disease is caused by damage to the fatty tissue that protects your nerves called the myeline sheath, EurekAlert.org, a service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, notes. Sodium benzoate helps inhibit the expression of inflammatory molecules in brain cells and generally blocks the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice. More research is required to evaluate the effectiveness of sodium benzoate use in treating humans with multiple sclerosis.
Despite its benefits, sodium benzoate has been associated with side effects such as confusion, decreased urination, headaches, arrhythmia, appetite loss, muscle pain or cramps and nausea, MayoClinic.com explains. Breathing difficulties, loss of consciousness, persistent bleeding, blood in stools and urine have also been associated with sodium benzoate use but are considered less common. Always consult your doctor before using sodium benzoate to lower you risk of experiencing adverse effects.
- EurekAlert.org; Potential Impact of Cinnamon on Multiple Sclerosis Studied; Deb Song; June 2011
- "The Journal of Immunology"; Sodium Benzoate, a Metabolite of Cinnamon and a Food Additive, Reduces Microglial and Astroglial Inflammatory Responses; Saurav Brahmachari, et al.; November 2009
- "The New England Journal of Medicine"; Survival After Treatment with Phenylacetate and Benzoate for Urea-Cycle Disorders; Enns GM, et al.; May 2007