Carbidopa in combination with levodopa is used in treating Parkinson's disease. This disease is associated with a deficit of dopamine, a neurotransmitter (a chemical messenger in the brain). By preventing the breakdown of levodopa in the general circulation, carbidopa enables more levodopa to enter the brain, where it is converted into dopamine.
The body uses the natural substance 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) to manufacture serotonin, and supplemental forms of 5-HTP have been used for treating depression and migraine headaches. Since it is converted by the body to serotonin, 5-HTP might have antidepressant properties. For this reason, some people with Parkinson's-related depression have tried it.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) in supplement form have been used to improve appetite in cancer patients and to slow the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease).
The herb kava (Piper methysticum) has a sedative effect and is used for anxiety and insomnia.
Based on these reports, it may be advisable to avoid kava during levodopa/carbidopa therapy.
S-adenosylmethionine is a naturally occurring compound derived from the amino acid methionine and the energy molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP). SAMe is widely used as a supplement for treatment of osteoarthritis and depression.
The bottom line: If you are taking levodopa/carbidopa, consult your physician about whether you should take SAMe as well.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 08/2013 -
- Update Date: 08/22/2013 -