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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.
5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan)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. However, the combination of 5-HTP and carbidopa might cause a scleroderma-like condition, in which the skin becomes hard and tight. 1,2,3 Because of the risk of this side effect, if you take levodopa/carbidopa for Parkinson's disease, avoid supplemental 5-HTP.
BCAAsBranched-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). Dietary protein can decrease the effectiveness of levodopa in Parkinson's disease. 4 Because it is the amino acids in proteins that affect levodopa, BCAAs might cause the same problem. Therefore, if you take levodopa/carbidopa for Parkinson's, it may be advisable to avoid BCAAs and other amino acid supplements.