What is Lorenzo Oil?
Lorenzo oil is a mixture of glycerol trioleate and glycerol trierucate in a proportion of 4:1.(1) It was named after the name of the boy Lorenzo Odone, who had ALD (Adrenoleukodystrophy) and his parents discovered that a mixture of these fatty acids could improve this disease condition.
Glyceryl trierucate derived from erucic acid is another type of monounsaturated fatty acid, which is found in rapeseed and mustard oil and also in fatty fishes like mackerel and salmon.(3)
How Does Lorenzo Oil Work?
Lorenzo oil works by blocking enzymes involved in the production of very long-chain fatty acids that can normalize its high levels. Very long-chain fatty acids play a role in the skin barrier, health, vision, and nerve functions. But the build-up of these fatty acids can lead to severe health problems and even death.
How is Lorenzo Oil Beneficial?
Lorenzo oil prevents the build-up of fatty acids that can lead to the genetic condition called ALD or adrenoleukodystrophy and ANM or adrenomyeloneuropathy. It thereby plays a role in improving the quality of life.
Lorenzo oil is useful in the treatment of ALD (Adrenoleukodystrophy).(4)
ALD is a neurodegenerative disorder occurring in children due to genetic mutations that prevent the normal metabolism of very long-chain fatty acids. It leads to the build-up of these fatty acids in the skin, eyes, and brain and causes inflammation and oxidative stress.
Researchers in 1989 treated 12 newly diagnosed cases of ALD (Adrenoleukodystrophy) in children with erucic and oleic acid. It lowered the hexasanoic acid levels to normal and halted the disease progression.(4)
However, these researches also suggest that Lorenzo oil may not improve symptoms in people with advanced ALD i.e. those already experiencing neurological symptoms.
A condition, similar to ALD (Adrenoleukodystrophy), known as Adrenomyeloneuropathy (AMN), occurs in adults. AMN is also an inherited condition and affects the spinal cord. Lorenzo oil can be effective against this condition as well.
Downsides of Lorenzo Oil
If Lorenzo oil is taken by mouth, by children under the care of a healthcare professional, it is considered completely safe.
Earlier there were concerns about using Lorenzo oil, as erucic acid was found to be a cause of heart disease in rodents.(7) However, it was found that humans did not show any adverse heart effects with its usage.
It has been observed that Lorenzo oil leads to reductions in platelet counts, which can lead to internal bleeding.(7)
It can also weaken the immune system as it decreases the white blood cells that help fight any kind of infection. If Lorenzo oil is consumed by some with low white blood cells, it can worsen the condition.
Dosage and Prescription of Lorenzo Oil
It is studied that Lorenzo oil can be given in a daily dose of 0.9-1.4 mL per pound of body weight for 3-10 years of age, which is approximately 20 percent of the daily calories.(8)
Therefore, if using Lorenzo oil for the treatment of Adrenoleukodystrophy or (ALD), the intake of other dietary fats should be limited. This is because consuming 35% percent of daily calories from fats can reduce the very-low-chain fatty acid, reducing effect of Lorenzo oil.
A doctor should be consulted to work out the dosage according to the weight and age of the child.
Lorenzo oil is not approved by the Food and Drug Association to be used as a prescription drug. It is still being used alone or in combination with other therapies for Adrenoleukodystrophy or (ALD).
Lorenzo oil, according to the evidence slows the Adrenoleukodystrophy or (ALD), progression and symptom onset. For those interested in knowing whether or not it can be a suitable treatment if someone they know has Adrenoleukodystrophy or (ALD),, speaking to a doctor can give a better idea for it.