The Analyst™

Comprehensive diagnosis of your symptoms

Healthy

  Chelation Therapy  
 
Search treatments and conditions

 

The use of a chemical called EDTA (ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid) has been used in this country for these diseases for decades. Despite what you might have heard about chelation therapy, administered by a properly-trained physician and given in conjunction with lifestyle and dietary changes with the use of specialized nutritional supplements, the procedure is an option to be seriously considered by persons suffering from coronary artery disease, cerebral vascular disease, brain disorders resulting from circulatory disturbances, generalized atherosclerosis and related ailments which lead to senility and accelerated physical decline. Chelation reduces the likelihood of complications from Type II plaque, the kind involved in most cardiovascular events, and improves circulation. Clinical benefits from chelation therapy vary with the total number of treatments received and with the severity of the condition being treated. Many chelation doctors claim that over 75% of patients treated have shown significant improvement from chelation therapy. More than 90% of patients receiving 35 or more treatments have benefited when they have also corrected dietary exercise and smoking habits, which are known to aggravate arterial disease. Symptoms improve, blood flow to diseased organs increases, need for medication decreases, and the quality of life improves.

However, another placebo controlled study did not support the use of chelation in ischemic heart disease with angina. A study of 41 subjects with documented ischemic heart disease who received weight adjusted EDTA chelation therapy at 40mg per kg intravenously and 43 subjects who received placebo for 3 hours, twice per week for 15 weeks and then once per month for 3 months, found no difference in ischemia, exercise capacity, or quality of life measurements. [JAMA, 2002;287: pp.481-486.]

Chelation (key-lay-shun) is a chemical process by which a metal or mineral (like lead, mercury , copper, arsenic, aluminum, calcium, etc.) is bonded to another substance. It is a process basic to life itself and goes on naturally in our body at all times. The chelation that we do artificially is similar, but using a chemical (EDTA) instead of the natural chemicals of the body. Chelation is one mechanism by which such common substances such as aspirin, antibiotics, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements work in the body. Hemoglobin, the red pigment in blood which carries oxygen, is a chelate of iron.

Chelation is a treatment by which a man-made amino acid called ethylene diamine tetraacetic (EDTA) is administered to a patient intravenously, prescribed by and under the supervision of a fully-licensed physician (M.D. or D.O.). The fluid containing EDTA is infused through a small needle placed in the vein of a patient's arm. The EDTA in solution bonds with metals in the body and carries them away in the urine. Abnormally-situated nutritional metals, which speed free radical damage , and toxic metals, such as lead, are most easily removed by EDTA.

Chelation therapy is a course of treatments which usually consists of anywhere from 20- 50 separate infusions, depending on each patient's individual status. Thirty treatments is the average number required for definite benefit in patients with symptoms of arterial blockage. Some patients eventually receive more than 100 infusions. Each treatment takes from 3-4 hours or longer and patients normally receive one or more treatments each week. Over a period of time, these injections halt the progress of the free radical disease, which is the underlying condition triggering the development of atherosclerosis and many other degenerative diseases of aging giving the body time to heal and time to restore blood flow through diseased blood vessels. After several months these injections bring profound improvement to many metabolic and physiologic processes in the body. The body's regulation of calcium and cholesterol is improved by normalizing the internal chemistry of cells.

Chelation benefits every blood vessel in the body, from the largest to the tiniest capillaries and arterioles, most of which are far too small for surgical treatment or are deep within the brain and other vital organs where they cannot be safely reached by surgery. In many patients, the smallest blood vessels are the most severely diseased. The benefits of chelation occur from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet, not just in short segments of a few large arteries which can be bypassed or opened by other invasive treatments.

Being "chelated" is quite a different experience from other medical treatments. There is no pain, and in most cases, very little discomfort. Patients are seated in reclining chairs and can read, nap, watch television, do needlework or chat with other patients while the fluid containing the EDTA flows into their veins. If necessary, patients can walk around. They can visit the restroom, eat and drink as they desire, or make telephone calls, being careful not to dislodge the needle attached to the intravenous infusion they carry with them.

EDTA is relatively non-toxic and risk-free, especially when compared with other treatments. The risk of serious side effects, when properly administered, is less than 1 in 10,000 patients treated. By comparison, the overall death rate as a direct result of bypass is approximately 3 out of every 100 patients undergoing surgery, varying with the hospital and the operating team. The incidence of other serious complications following surgery is much higher, including heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, permanent brain damage with personality changes and prolonged pain. Chelation is more than 300 times safer than bypass surgery.

Occasionally, patients may suffer minor discomfort at the site where the needle enters the vein. Some temporarily experience mild nausea, dizziness, or headache as an immediate aftermath of treatment, but in the vast majority of cases, these minor symptoms are easily relieved. When properly administered by a physician expert in this type of therapy, chelation is as safe as taking aspirin. Patients routinely drive themselves home after treatment with no difficulty.

If EDTA is given too rapidly or in too large a dose, it may cause harmful side effects, just as an overdose of any other medicine can be dangerous. Reports of serious and even rare fatal complications have stemmed from excessive doses of EDTA, improperly administered. If you choose a physician with proper training and experience, one who is an expert in the use of EDTA, the risk of chelation therapy will be kept to a very low level. The American College of Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) provides training and examines physicians for competence in the specialized field of chelation therapy. A physician who has successfully completed the ACAM courses is knowledgeable in the safe and effective use of EDTA chelation therapy.

While it has often been stated that EDTA chelation therapy is damaging to the kidneys, the newest research (in one study consisting of kidney function tests done on 383 consecutive chelation patients, before and after treatment with EDTA for chronic degenerative diseases) indicates the reverse is often true. On the average, there is significant improvement in kidney function following chelation. An occasional patient may be unduly sensitive, however, and physicians expert in chelation monitor kidney function very closely to avoid overloading the kidneys. Treatments must be given more slowly and less frequently if kidney function is not normal. Patients with some types of severe kidney problems should not receive EDTA.

There is no legal prohibition against licensed physicians using chelation therapy for whatever conditions they deem it to be correct, even though the drug involved, EDTA, does not yet have atherosclerosis listed as an indication on the FDA-approved package insert. The FDA does not regulate the practice of medicine, but merely approves marketing, labeling and advertising claims for drugs and devices in interstate commerce.

There is an excellent article on the administration of IV and oral EDTA with suggested doses here. This article should answer the many questions that arise when considering how best to take EDTA.
 

 
 

Chelation Therapy can help with the following:
 
 
Aging  Premature/Signs of Aging

Circulation

  Increased Risk of Stroke
  Intermittent Claudication
 The benefit of chelation therapy in cases of intermittent claudication is controversial. The controversy has been fueled by two studies showing no benefit. Proponents of chelation therapy have pointed out how these studies were flawed. You can read the details about these flawed studies at Dr. Cranton's web site.

  Atherosclerosis
 One product which contains EDTA and can be taken orally is calledMedFive.

  Arrhythmias/Dysrhythmias
 The claim is made by doctors administering EDTA chelation therapy that cardiac arrhythmias frequently disappear when a sufficient number of treatments have been given. This may be due to the magnesium content.

Environment / Toxicity

  Mercury Toxicity / Amalgam Illness
  Manganese toxicity

Infections

  Nanobacteria Infection
 Rectally administered EDTA, given with tetracycline, has exhibited definite signs of pathologic calcium removal from the coronary arteries. Nanobacter Laboratories is apparently accumulating data showing that rectally administered EDTA in the presence of an antibiotic is able to deliver an important benefit to patients whose primary concern is a high calcium score on the ultra high-speed CAT scan study of their coronary arteries.

The nanobacteria theory and EDTA treatment are controversial and have opponents. The truth remains to be seen.

Metabolic

  Acute, Intermittent Porphoria
 Porphyria has been shown to improve greatly with administration of EDTA. There is a great diuresis of zinc and copper with a normalization of excretion of these elements with continued treatment. The improvements seen are thought to be due to a normalization of several metallo-enzyme systems.

Organ Health

Not recommended for:
  Kidney Weakness / Disease
  Kidney Failure

Risks

  Increased Risk of Coronary Disease / Heart Attack
 In spite of testimonies to the contrary, several studies have indicated that chelation therapy may not be of any benefit in reducing the symptoms of heart disease. [JAMA, 2002;287: pp.481-486.]

Skin-Hair-Nails

  Cold Hands and Feet
 
 


KEY
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
May have adverse consequences
Reasonably likely to cause problems







GLOSSARY

Amino Acid:  An organic acid containing nitrogen chemical building blocks that aid in the production of protein in the body. Eight of the twenty-two known amino acids are considered "essential," and must be obtained from dietary sources because the body can not synthesize them.

Angina:  Angina pectoris. Severe, restricting chest pain with sensations of suffocation caused by temporary reduction of oxygen to the heart muscle through narrowed diseased coronary arteries.

Atherosclerosis:  Common form of arteriosclerosis associated with the formation of atheromas which are deposits of yellow plaques containing cholesterol, lipids, and lipophages within the intima and inner media of arteries. This results in a narrowing of the arteries, which reduces the blood and oxygen flow to the heart and brain as well as to other parts of the body and can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or loss of function or gangrene of other tissues.

Calcium:  The body's most abundant mineral. Its primary function is to help build and maintain bones and teeth. Calcium is also important to heart health, nerves, muscles and skin. Calcium helps control blood acid-alkaline balance, plays a role in cell division, muscle growth and iron utilization, activates certain enzymes, and helps transport nutrients through cell membranes. Calcium also forms a cellular cement called ground substance that helps hold cells and tissues together.

Cardiovascular:  Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels.

Chelation:  Chelation therapy uses EDTA or other supplements that carry heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic, as well as other foreign substances, from the body. In the process of chelation, a larger protein molecule surrounds or encloses a mineral atom. The purpose of chelation is to increase the flow of blood to the vital organs and tissues of the body by reducing calcium deposits in the arteries and blood vessels.

Cholesterol:  A waxy, fat-like substance manufactured in the liver and found in all tissues, it facilitates the transport and absorption of fatty acids. In foods, only animal products contain cholesterol. An excess of cholesterol in the bloodstream can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.

Chronic:  Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.

Copper:  An essential mineral that is a component of several important enzymes in the body and is essential to good health. Copper is found in all body tissues. Copper deficiency leads to a variety of abnormalities, including anemia, skeletal defects, degeneration of the nervous system, reproductive failure, pronounced cardiovascular lesions, elevated blood cholesterol, impaired immunity and defects in the pigmentation and structure of hair. Copper is involved in iron incorporation into hemoglobin. It is also involved with vitamin C in the formation of collagen and the proper functioning in central nervous system. More than a dozen enzymes have been found to contain copper. The best studied are superoxide dismutase (SOD), cytochrome C oxidase, catalase, dopamine hydroxylase, uricase, tryptophan dioxygenase, lecithinase and other monoamine and diamine oxidases.

EDTA:  (Ethylene Diamine Tetraacetic Acid): An organic molecule used in chelation therapy.

FDA:  The (American) Food and Drug Administration. It is the official government agency that is responsible for ensuring that what we put into our bodies - particularly food and drugs - is safe and effective.

Free Radical:  A free radical is an atom or group of atoms that has at least one unpaired electron. Because another element can easily pick up this free electron and cause a chemical reaction, these free radicals can effect dramatic and destructive changes in the body. Free radicals are activated in heated and rancid oils and by radiation in the atmosphere, among other things.

Hemoglobin:  The oxygen-carrying protein of the blood found in red blood cells.

Intravenous Infusion:  (IV): A small needle placed in the vein to assist in fluid replacement or the giving of medication.

Iron:  An essential mineral. Prevents anemia: as a constituent of hemoglobin, transports oxygen throughout the body. Virtually all of the oxygen used by cells in the life process are brought to the cells by the hemoglobin of red blood cells. Iron is a small but most vital, component of the hemoglobin in 20,000 billion red blood cells, of which 115 million are formed every minute. Heme iron (from meat) is absorbed 10 times more readily than the ferrous or ferric form.

Ischemia:  Localized tissue anemia due to obstruction of the inflow of arterial blood.

Kilogram:  1000 grams, 2.2lbs.

Metabolism:  The chemical processes of living cells in which energy is produced in order to replace and repair tissues and maintain a healthy body. Responsible for the production of energy, biosynthesis of important substances, and degradation of various compounds.

Milligram:  (mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.

Mineral:  Plays a vital role in regulating many body functions. They act as catalysts in nerve response, muscle contraction and the metabolism of nutrients in foods. They regulate electrolyte balance and hormonal production, and they strengthen skeletal structures.

Nausea:  Symptoms resulting from an inclination to vomit.

Placebo:  A pharmacologically inactive substance. Often used to compare clinical responses against the effects of pharmacologically active substances in experiments.

Trace Element:  Essential mineral that is essential to nutrition. Nutritionists prefer to call minerals either minerals or trace minerals depending on the amount needed by the body, while analytical chemists prefer to call minerals, trace elements.