Lorenzo's Oil

Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

13-Docosenoic Acid, cis-9-Octadecenoic Acid, Aceite de Lorenzo, Acide Érucique, Acide Oléique, Erucic Acid, Glycerol Trierucate Oil, Glycerol Trioleate Oil, Huile de Lorenzo, Huile de Trioléate de Glycérol, Oleic Acid.


Lorenzo’s oil is a combination of two chemicals called erucic acid and oleic acid. People use Lorenzo’s oil as a medicine.

Lorenzo’s oil is used as a treatment for two related inherited conditions that affect the nervous system. These very rare conditions are called adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), which occurs in children; and adrenomyeloneuropathy, which occurs in adults.

Lorenzo’s oil is named after a child, Lorenzo Odone, who developed ALD. His parents discovered a mixture of fatty acids that seemed to slow progression of the disease. The mixture became known as “Lorenzo’s oil.”

In the US, Lorenzo’s oil is only available to patients participating in a clinical trial. For more information, contact the Kennedy Krieger Institute at 1-800-873-3377.

There is currently an effort to obtain Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of Lorenzo’s oil as a prescription drug.

How does it work?

Adrenoleukodystrophy and adrenomyeloneuropathy are two rare genetic disorders that cause a large build-up of certain chemicals called very long-chain fatty acids. Lorenzo’s oil might help prevent some of this build-up. The build-up of these fatty acids is thought to cause many serious problems throughout the brain and body.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Possibly Effective for...

  • Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD). Lorenzo’s oil might help prevent nervous system problems in children who have ALD, but haven’t yet shown any symptoms. Lorenzo’s oil probably does not help children who already have symptoms of ALD.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Adrenomyeloneuropathy. Taking Lorenzo’s oil does not seem to improve symptoms or slow the progression of disease in patients with adrenomyeloneuropathy.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Lorenzo’s oil seems to be safe when used under the care of health professionals. Side effects of Lorenzo’s oil can include bruising and bleeding.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of Lorenzo’s oil during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Blood disorders that cause a decrease in blood platelets needed for clotting (thrombocytopenia) or a decrease in white cells needed to fight infections (neutropenia): Lorenzo’s oil might make these conditions worse.


The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD): a dose of Lorenzo’s oil that provides about 20% of daily calories has been used. In another study, 300 mg/kg/day of erucic acid and 1.7 grams/kg/day of oleic acid (both contained in Lorenzo’s oil) were used.

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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Aubourg P, Adamsbaum C, Lavallard-Rousseau MC, et al. A two-year trial of oleic and erucic acids (Lorenzo's oil) as treatment for adrenomyeloneuropathy. N Engl J Med 1993;329:745-52. View abstract.

Chai BC, Etches WS, Stewart MW, Siminoski K. Bleeding in a patient taking Lorenzo's oil: evidence for a vascular defect. Postgrad Med J 1996;72:113-4. View abstract.

DiGregorio VY, Schroeder DJ. Lorenzo's oil therapy of adrenoleukodystrophy. Ann Pharmacother 1995;29:312-3.

Duchesne N, Dufour M, Bouchard G, et al. Adrenoleukodystrophy: magnetic resonance follow-up after Lorenzo's oil therapy. Can Assoc Radiol J 1995;46:386-91. View abstract.

Kaplan PW, Tusa RJ, Shankroff J, et al. Visual evoked potentials in adrenoleukodystrophy: a trial with glycerol trioleate and Lorenzo oil. Ann Neurol 1993;34:169-74. View abstract.

Kickler TS, Zinkham WH, Moser A, et al. Effect of erucic acid on platelets in patients with adrenoleukodystrophy. Biochem Mol Med 1996;57:125-33. View abstract.

Maeda K, Suzuki Y, Yajima S, et al. Improvement of clinical and MRI findings in a boy with adrenoleukodystrophy by dietary erucic acid therapy. Brain Dev 1992;14:409-12. View abstract.

Moser HW, Raymond GV, Lu SE, et al. Follow-up of 89 asymptomatic patients with adrenoleukodystrophy treated with Lorenzo's Oil. Arch Neurol 2005;62:1073-80. View abstract.

Moser HW. Clinical and therapeutic aspects of adrenoleukodystrophy and adrenomyeloneuropathy. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 1995;54:740-5. View abstract.

Poulos A, Gibson R, Sharp P, et al. Very long chain fatty acids in X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy brain after treatment with Lorenzo's oil. Ann Neurol 1994;36:741-6. View abstract.

Rasmussen M, Moser AB, Borel J, et al. Brain, liver, and adipose tissue erucic and very long chain fatty acid levels in adrenoleukodystrophy patients treated with glyceryl trierucate and trioleate oils (Lorenzo's oil). Neurochem Res 1994;19:1073-82. View abstract.

Revell P, Green A, Green S. Platelets in treated adrenoleukodystrophy: a brief report. J Inherit Metab Dis 1995;18:635-7. View abstract.

Wong V. Adrenoleukodystrophy in a Chinese boy. Brain Dev 1992;14:276-7. View abstract.

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