Eating a balanced diet that increases the levels of an amino acid in the body could reduce the adverse side effects caused due to anti-parasitic drug quinine that is used in treatment of malaria, 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.