Alpha Lipoic Acid in the Treatment and Prevention of Heavy Metal Related Syndromes in the Children of Hong Kong
Published in DRUG MONITORING & CLINICAL TOXICOLOGY IN PERINATAL MEDICINE titled Functional Abnoramalities and Drug Implications
by Dr.Paul K.L.Lam M.B.B.S(H.K.) F.R.C.P.(Edin), Croucher Institute of Environmental Sciences, Hong Kong Baptist University, China.
Functional abnormalities in newborn infants have become more prevalent in recent years. At a private pediatric clinic in Hong Kong, there has been a rising incidence of infants with unexplained hyperirritability, restless sleep, anorexia, lactose intolerance, early onset allergies and developmental delay. No medical causes were identified with standard treatment. These symptoms usually persisted, and the afflicted babies grew poorly, developed frequent infection and suffered from chronic allergies. The restless sleep pattern was often accompanied with hyperactivity, tics, bruxism and attention deficit. The worse cases became autistic spectrum disorders. There was also a dramatic increase in the incidence of severe generalized eczema.
In the quest to diagnose the causes of these conditions, a novel approach was tried in the last five years by analyzing the hair of the mother or the infant for toxic heavy metals and mineral status. Toxic metals including lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, antimony and tin were frequently recorded at elevated level. Essential minerals such as magnesium, zinc and cobalt were frequently recorded at depressed levels. This could be a result of the increasing environmental pollution and the routine high consumption of contaminated seafood in Hong Kong.
With parental consent, a novel therapeutic regime was tried with the administration of Alpha Lipoic Acid 25mg to 50mg per day.
The functional disorders alleviated within a few days. Complete remission of all symptoms required a period of two to three months of supplementation. The catch up growth of the head circumference and of the body of these infants observed during the treatment period has been phenomenal.
The deleterious effects of mercury on fetal brain and cardiac function have been documented in asymptomatic mothers with consumption of polluted fish during pregnancy. While these health effects are thought to be permanent, the plasticity of the fetal and newborn’s brain would suggest that a safe and timely intervention with this novel approach deserves consideration and research.
This study underscores the impact of environmental pollution on prenatal health, and seeks to raise the awareness of medical professionals that advances in nutrition and anti-oxidant research can be utilized to optimize health.
Safe intervention with the use of anti-oxidants, minerals, dietary discretion during pregnancy can foster a promising healthy future for the millions of infants who may otherwise suffer early functional disturbances.