May 30, 2024

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How Ayurvedic Medicine Led to Lead Poisoning?

Hidden Dangers of Herbal Remedies: How Ayurvedic Medicine Led to Lead Poisoning?



 

Hidden Dangers of Herbal Remedies: How Ayurvedic Medicine Led to Lead Poisoning?

A recent paper published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) sheds light on a case of lead poisoning in a young woman caused by Ayurvedic herbal medications, highlighting the complexity of diagnosing this rare condition.

Dr. Julian Gitelman and co-authors from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto wrote, “Given that lead poisoning is not common, and its presentation is non-specific, patients often see many healthcare providers before a diagnosis is made. A thorough history of exposure is crucial for making the diagnosis.”

 

Hidden Dangers of Herbal Remedies: How Ayurvedic Medicine Led to Lead Poisoning?

 

 

The patient, a 39-year-old female, had visited the emergency department three times in six weeks complaining of abdominal pain, constipation, nausea, and vomiting.

During her third visit, she was admitted to the hospital due to anemia and the possibility of gastrointestinal bleeding. Extensive invasive investigations failed to uncover the cause of her symptoms.

During a follow-up several weeks later, she revealed that she had been taking Ayurvedic herbal medications daily for over a year to treat infertility.

Her blood lead level was found to be as high as 55 µg/dL, significantly exceeding the normal level of less than 2 µg/dL. The patient discontinued Ayurvedic treatment and initiated chelation therapy, which led to a reduction in her blood lead levels and symptom relief.

 

Once the diagnosis of lead poisoning was established, the medical team contacted the Ontario Public Health Unit (PHO), which tested 17 different herbal pill samples provided by the patient.

After finding high levels of lead in most of the pills, PHO reached out to local public health departments, the Toronto Public Health Department, and Health Canada, as it is responsible for regulating natural health products.

A joint investigation of the Ayurvedic clinic revealed the seizure of hundreds of pills due to non-compliance with natural health product regulations.

Health Canada and the Toronto Public Health Department issued public advisories warning of the health risks associated with products from this particular company.

 

The authors emphasize the importance of communication and collaboration between clinical physicians and public health departments to minimize health risks associated with lead exposure in consumer products. “A recent systematic review of reported cases of lead poisoning found traditional or herbal remedies to be a common cause,” the authors wrote. “At times, heavy metals are intentionally added because they are believed to have therapeutic effects.”

They conclude, “When consumer products may be tainted with lead or when lead exposure is linked to community sources, public health involvement can promote broader actions to reduce and prevent lead exposure in others at risk.”

 

 

 

Hidden Dangers of Herbal Remedies: How Ayurvedic Medicine Led to Lead Poisoning?

(source:internet, reference only)


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