Balanced diet could help fight side-effects of quinine

Updated: Sep 13, 2012, 16:23 PM IST

Washington: Adverse side-effects caused by the anti-parasitic drug quinine in the treatment of malaria could be controlled by what we eat, a new study has suggested.

The research by scientists at The University of Nottingham indicates that natural variation in our levels of the amino acid, tryptophan, has a marked bearing on how we respond to quinine treatment.

It appears that the lower our levels of tryptophan the more likely it is that we would suffer side-effects. And because tryptophan is an essential amino acid the body cannot produce it — we get it from the food we eat.

Discovered back in the 1600s, quinine is still used for anti-malaria treatment. However, it is associated with a long list of side effects ranging from sickness and headaches to blindness, deafness and in rare cases death.

The study has been published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.