Chelation Therapy

Over time, as a result of what we ingest and breathe, the walls of our blood vessels can begin to accumulate plaque (atheroma), composed of cholesterol, fibrous tissue and calcium. This is called by different terms: atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. As the arteries become narrower, the heart has to work harder and vital organs can become starved of oxygen and nutrients. `The result of reduced blood flow to organs are heart disease, gangrene to the feet, stroke, memory loss and death.

The cells of the blood vessels are damaged by “free radicals.” These are particles that come from metals like iron, mercury, lead and many others. Instead of having a neutral charge, where there are as many positive charges as negative charges, they have lost or gained a negative charge. In order to once again become neutral they take a negative charge from another molecule, thus starting a cascade of unpaired ions. Free radicals are like microscopic bullets constantly hitting the cells. This damage causes the cell walls to become leaky, allowing sodium and calcium to enter and accumulate, resulting in blockage and spasms of the arteries. In other words, free radicals can give rise to plaque or/and cause the arteries to go into spasm, either way diminishing the blood supply—and therefore nutrition—to the tissue.

Surgical intervention—by-pass surgery and stents—is invasive and can have deleterious side effects. The cure rate is often brief, because these interventions treat only a few vessels, whereas the blood vessel damage is likely to be widespread throughout the body. Recovery is usually lengthy and supported by numerous medications.

Chelation uses a synthetic amino acid (EDTA: Etheylene Diamine Tetra Acidic Acid). Introduced into the vein, it flows throughout the blood stream and bonds at the molecular level with the metals and minerals that are a major cause of arteriosclerosis. The EDTA, together with the heavy metals and minerals with which it has bonded, is eliminated through the kidneys within twenty-four hours. Passing through all the vessels of the body it removes toxic oxidative metals (lead, mercury, cadmium), and normalizes essential metals if they are in excess (since even excess of the necessary elements can be toxic). As EDTA removes metal irritants, the leaky and damaged cell walls are able to heal. This leads to reduction of plaque, more pliable arterial walls and therefore better blood flow.

More than 400,000 patients have received more than 4 million chelation treatments over the past thirty years. Not one death has been directly attributed to chelation therapy, which allows patients to avoid the trauma of surgical intervention for cardiovascular disease, diabetic arterial disease, and leg pain (intermittent claudication).

Unlike surgical interventions, the office procedure of chelation therapy improves the entire vascular system’s blood flow. Chelation is also a non-invasive process that can intermittently be done to prevent recurrence. Chelation can also be used in conjunction with other cardiovascular therapies and medications. Accredited chelation physicians stress the importance of exercise and nutrition to get the best results from chelation treatment.

Unfortunately, although chelation therapy is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in treating lead poisoning and toxicity from other heavy metals, it has not yet received FDA approval for the treatment of coronary artery disease. In the conservative environment of conventional medicine chelation therapy is still considered to be experimental and the cost is not covered by insurance. The National Institute of Health has recently allotted $30,000,000 to explore the benefits of this relatively low cost but highly beneficial procedure. Also, the New England Journal of Medicine had some positive articles on chelation in the January 2003 issue.

Chelation therapy is an office procedure for a fraction of the cost and trauma of bypass surgery or stents. A usual course of treatment is between twenty to forty sessions, with a total cost of $2000-$4000. This can be compared with $45,000-$65,000 for a surgical intervention.

For those thinking of participating in chelation there are a number of books that will shed light on this treatment:

* Forty Something Forever by Harold and Arline Brecher
* Chelation Therapy by Dr. Morton Walker and Dr. Hitendra Shah
* Bypassing Bypass by Elmer Cranton MD

Or for both sides of the debate search for chelation therapy on the web.