Sodium benzoate may potentiate ammonia toxicity. - GreenMedInfo Summary
The potentiation of ammonia toxicity by sodium benzoate is prevented by L-carnitine.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1987 Jun 15;145(2):817-24. PMID: 3593373
Sodium benzoate has been recommended and even been used for the treatment of hyperammonemia in humans. More recently, a note of caution was raised since it has been shown that in experimental animals, sodium benzoate potentiates ammonia toxicity and inhibits urea synthesis in vitro. This has been further confirmed in the work presented here and the mechanism by which benzoate increases mortality and the levels of blood ammonia in mice given ammonium acetate have also been studied. In hyperammonemia, urea production and N-acetylglutamate levels were decreased by sodium benzoate. Pretreatment of mice with L-carnitine suppressed mortality following ammonium acetate plus sodium benzoate administration. Under these conditions L-carnitine lowered blood ammonia and increased urea production and N-acetylglutamate levels.