High levels of quinolinic acid may be an indicator of inflammation and nerve cell damage. It is a neurotoxin derived from the amino acid tryptophan and can cause nerve cell death by overstimulating certain brain cells with NMDA receptors. High quinolinic acid can also lead to decreased heart contractions, brain lipid damage, and increased cell death in astrocytes. The degree of arthritis can also be linked to high quinolinic acid levels. While quinolinic acid is needed to create the essential cofactor NAD, overproduction can result from excessive immune stimulation and cytokine production.
Treatment options include reducing tryptophan intake, preventing infections and immune overstimulation with supplements, avoiding immune modulators, and adjusting vaccine schedules. Supplements like B6 and magnesium may help reduce quinolinic acid-induced brain damage. A high quinolinic acid/5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid ratio may suggest immune overstimulation or phthalate toxicity.
Lowering quinolinic acid levels can be achieved through substances like sulforaphane, selenium, melatonin, theanine, green tea polyphenols, and curcumin piperine.