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What is chelation therapy?

What is EDTA Chelation?

The theory that heavy metals can be related to CARDIOVASCULAR disease, NEUROLOGICAL deterioration and CANCER is undisputed in the scientific literature (Valko, Morris, & Cronin, 2005; Wolf & Baynes, 2007).

Chelation is the chemical process by which certain medications/nutrients bind to these toxic metals and allow them to be excreted from the body via urination or bowel movements. Chelation is a medically-validated treatment for removing calcium from the walls of arteries. Hardening of the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, may be clinically reversed by such chelation therapy.

Certain heavy metals, particularly mercury and lead, can accumulate in various parts of the body and contribute to blood vessel disease (Landmark & Aursnes, 2004.) Since blood vessels feed oxygen and nutrients to ALL organs in the body, heavy metals can have detrimental effects throughout the entirety of the human body. The toxicity of these metals stems from their ability to induce inflammation, plaque accumulation, endothelial cell dysfunction, dyslipidemia, immune dysfunction, and mitochondrial dysfunction (Houston, 2007).

Chelation therapy is used to remove toxic metals from the body (eg. lead, mercury, arsenic). It also can be utilized to remove excessive minerals from the body, such as iron and calcium. Chelation can be administered either orally or intravenously.

Chelation has many beneficial effects on the body. The net effect is a reversal of many age-related/disease-inducing changes. Since toxic metals accelerate aging, chelation can be viewed as one of the most effective anti-aging treatments available.

In conventional medicine, chelation may be used to rid the body of an excess of toxic metals. One potent chelating agent is EDTA. EDTA is FDA approved for heavy metal poisoning, digitalis toxicity and elevated blood calcium levels. A person who has signs of lead poisoning may be given EDTA chelation therapy in order to remove excess lead from the body before it can cause permanent damage. Oral chelating agents, such as DMSA, may also be utilized to remove toxic metals however they are typically not as potent or effective as the intravenous forms.

Does IV EDTA chelation therapy have side effects?

When used the for treatment of heavy metal poisoning, EDTA has a very low occurrence of side effects. The most commonly noted side effect maybe a stinging sensation at the site where the EDTA is delivered into the veins. Rare side effects can include fever, hypotension (a sudden drop in blood pressure), hypocalcemia (abnormally low calcium levels in the blood), headache, nausea and vomiting. Other side effects might occur if EDTA is not administered by a trained physician.

Can EDTA chelation therapy reverse atherosclerosis ("hardening of the arteries”)?

EDTA chelation may reverse atherosclerosis. This is dependent on numerous factors. The effectiveness and mechanism of action of chelation is still being studied. It has been observed that chelation therapy is most effective when an elevated “body burden" of heavy metals is present. Therefore the level of toxic metals in a patient should be assessed prior to treatment.

Several theories have been proposed for the mechanism of action of chelating agents. The most accepted theory relating to cardiovascular disease suggests that EDTA works by directly removing calcium from the walls of plaque-laden arteries. In addition, intravenous treatments often include high magnesium , vitamins and nutrient minerals which can have their own beneficial effects. [Magnesium, in and of itself, is an effective treatment for high blood pressure, vasospasm (sudden contraction of blood vessels) and heart failure. It is found to be lacking in many patients. reduces inflammation and can reverse the effects of excessive amounts of calcium]

Can EDTA Chelation Therapy Help or Reverse Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)?

Many patients who have undergone chelation therapy have improvement in CAD symptoms such as chest pain. Chelation may be able to lower plaque throughout the body’s arteries, as measured by Calcium scoring/CT scans. A recent study in a prominent US medical journal showed a significant improvement in coronary artery blockage, in patients who were giving a course of IV EDTA over 40 weeks.

Another large study of IV EDTA was recently completed. This retrospective study followed 220 patients with known blood vessel disease treated from 1992-2001. It was demonstrated that in those patients who received chelation, fewer cardiac events occurred and less invasive procedures were needed than in the untreated group. Of the patients who received chelation only 4% needed repeat angioplasties and none required coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG). In the untreated group 22.3 % needed repeat angioplasties, and 11.8 % needed CABG.

What is the cost of chelation therapy?

A single EDTA treatment costs between $125-150. A typical complete course of treatment may take up to one year and may cost between $1250-$5000 depending on the reason for treatment, the effectiveness of treatment and the dose of EDTA utilized. Chelation therapy is a very inexpensive and non-invasive treatment compared to surgical interventions such as heart bypass surgery and coronary stent placement. It can also be utilized in conjunction with medical/surgical treatments.

Why is chelation therapy not talked about by my family MD/Cardiologist?

As of the present time, chelation therapy is not taught in hospitals or medical schools. The patent ran out on EDTA many years ago so there is no financial incentive for drug companies to do studies on its effectiveness. A current study, being paid for by the National Institutes of Health (US government funded) is called the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy TACT Trial Update 20

 

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