Beware of lead poisoning hazard: ‘Balguti Kesaria Ayurvedic Medicine’ - Beaumont physicians speak up to support children’s health

Monday, August 14, 2017

Caution Lead Hazard

As reported by the Michigan Department of Community Health, two children in Southeast Michigan have been found with elevated blood lead levels after consuming Balguti Kesaria/Kesaria Balguti Ayurvedic Medicine. This substance is marketed to parents for use with infants and children for a variety of conditions, including rickets, cough and cold, worms and teething. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns parents and caregivers not to use this substance due to the risk of lead poisoning.

A child's body absorbs lead faster than an adult's. Lead exposure can cause serious damage to a child’s central nervous system, kidneys and immune system. Even low-level chronic exposure to lead in children is associated with impaired cognitive function, including reduced IQ, behavioral difficulties and other problems.

“I see a number of children of Indian descent, so I am raising this issue with their parents and caregivers who might be unaware of this product’s lead content and how it could harm their kids,” said Dilli Ramesh, M.D., a pediatrician on staff at Beaumont hospitals in Farmington Hills and Royal Oak. “Lead poisoning wreaks havoc, especially with young children. Blood lead levels of 5 micrograms per deciliter is a threshold level that should alert physicians and caretakers to act quickly to reduce further exposure. Higher lead levels are associated with cognitive delay, lower IQ and hyperactivity. Yet by the time symptoms appear, the damage may have already been done. It is essential that pediatricians are proactive in preventing brain damage of kids early in their life.”

This product is sold online and manufactured by several companies. Individuals have also mailed or brought the product into the United States. Samples of Balguti Kesaria collected from the homes of the children with elevated blood lead levels were found to contain very high amounts of lead. The FDA has not reviewed this product for safety or effectiveness.

“Brand and source are very important when it comes to dietary supplements as some do contain contaminants, including chemicals or metals,” said Hallie Armstrong, ND, senior naturopath lead, Integrative Medicine Program Beaumont, Troy. “Parents and caregivers should not replace conventional care or prescribed medications with any health product that hasn’t been proven safe and effective and should tell their child’s health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches your child uses. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your child’s health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.”

If you or your family has been using Balguti Kesaria, discontinue immediately. All persons who have consumed or come in contact with this product should receive a blood lead test through their primary care provider.