Sodium benzoate is the sodium salt of benzoic acid, and it is also commonly called Benzoate of Soda. It is not naturally occurring but is found as benzoic acid in various plants like tomatoes, cloves and cranberries. Other sources include seafood, basically prawns and dairy products.
Sodium Benzoate is extensively used as a preservative in foods and as a pickling agent. It acts as a bacteriostatic preservative, inhibiting the growth of microbes.
Potential Role in Medicine
Sodium Benzoate has a variety of potential applications in medicine:
In the medical field, it is used to treat elevated ammonia levels in the blood, as it breaks down the ammonia quickly. It is found effective against hyperammonemia when administered along with phenylbutyrate. (1)
- Sodium Benzoate can be used to treat urea cycle disorders. The action is the excretion of amino acids in the urine and a decrease in ammonia levels.
- Medical Research and Development says that Sodium Benzoate is used to treat various mental disorders, such as panic attacks, though not conclusive.
- Recent research indicates the use of Sodium Benzoate as an addition to therapy in treating schizophrenia.
- Along with caffeine, Sodium Benzoate finds use in the treatment of post-dural puncture headache, respiratory depression linked to narcotics overdose, and ergotamine to treat vascular headaches.
- There is ongoing research demonstrating sodium benzoate’s ability to break down into benzene – a known carcinogen. The therapy for this condition is yet under contemplation.
- Sodium Benzoate is used as a preservative in some over the counter and prescription medicines as in liquid cough syrups.
- It can be used as a lubricant in pill manufacture, making the tablets transparent and smooth and helping them break down and dissolve when swallowed.
- Sodium benzoate stops the growth of potentially harmful mould, bacteria and other microbes in food, thus preventing spoilage. It is, therefore, most effective when used in acidic environments.
Applications Beyond Medicine
Due to its inherent nature as a preservative, Sodium Benzoate uses cosmetics, personal care products, hair products, baby wipes, mouthwash, and toothpaste. In industry, its most prominent application is to remove corrosion, as in coolants used in car engines. It can also be used as a stabilizer in photo processing. (2)
Sodium Benzoate is used as a preservative in many products such as packaged food, beverages, medicines, cosmetics, personal care products, and industrial products. However, its application in the medical industry holds tremendous opportunities.
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Shubham Pharmachem’s blog posts have been written with the information gathered from approved medical journals and websites online. Our research and technical teams strive to provide relevant information through such articles. We strongly advise readers to not consume or administer any medication without prior consultation with their doctor.