The first two paragraphs will be a bit technical, than we’ll get down to the nitty gritty, so have some patience or skip the beginning if you feel the need. There are some who want more of the scientific details.
Chelation is the use of a chemical substance to bind molecules, such as metals or minerals, and hold them tightly so they can be removed from the body. Chelation has been scientifically proven to remove excess or toxic metals before they can cause damage to the body. In simple words, by taking a chelation agent, you can rid the body of toxic heavy metals.
Chelating agents were introduced into medicine as a result of the use of poison gas in WW 1. The first widely used chelating agent, the organic dithiol compound dimercaprol (also named British anti-lewisite or BAL), was used as an antidote to the arsenic-based poison gas, lewisite. After World War II, a large number of navy personnel suffered from lead poisoning as a result of their jobs repainting the hulls of ships. The medical use of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) as a lead chelating agent was introduced.
Chelation therapy is used as a treatment for acute mercury, iron , arsenic, lead, uranium, plutonium and other forms of toxic metal poisoning. The chelating agent may be administered orally, by injection or by IV drip.
Our body’s digestive system is one example of natural chelation. digestion and absorption of foods involves chelation of protein substances (amino acids) and transport of these substances to their destinations in the body or in which white blood cells latch on to and thus acquire iron. Hemoglobin is a chelate of iron. when you eat meat or green vegetables which contain iron, after digestion has released the iron from the food in which it was contained, it has to be combined (chelated with amino acids so that it can be carried through the digestive membranes and into the blood and out the body.
Chelation therapy is widely used for the treatment of atherosclerosis and other chronic diseases involving the circulatory system and blood. It has other benefits. Many scientists suggest that the beneficial effect of chelation therapy is from the removal of metals, that cause excessive free radical proliferation. Chelation halts these bad effects and initiates the bodies healing process and often reverses the damage.
The other side of the coin is that many scientists do not believe in chelation, calling it worthless and potentially dangerous. The American Heart Association states that there is “no scientific evidence to demonstrate any benefit from this form of therapy” and that the “United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), all agree with the American Heart Association” that “there have been no adequate, controlled, published scientific studies using currently approved scientific methodology to support this therapy for cardiovascular disease.” On the other hand, and not to be cynical, chelation is a fraction of the cost of a heart bypass operation. As is so commonly done, Doctors claim that the great effects seen by chelation among many heart patients are only “the placebo effect”.
My own opinion is that chelation certainly works because over my 27 years of practicing, I’ve seen countless people and patients who avoided heart surgeries (among others), using chelation therapy. We also know that Doctors can be very resistant to anything that goes against their paradigm of drugs and surgery (this is not to be a criticism, just a fact due to their training).
Two-time Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Linus Pauling had this to say about Chelation: “Chelation therapy is far safer and much less expensive than surgical treatment of atherosclerosis. Chelation therapy may eliminate the need for bypass surgery and is equally valid when used as a preventative treatment”
These are some of the proposed benefits from chelation therapy:
- Reduction of liver-produced cholesterol
- Lowered insulin requirements in diabetics
- Lowered blood cholesterol levels
- Reduced high blood pressure
- Normalization of cardiac arrhythmias (Irregular heart beats)
- Relief from leg muscle cramps
- Reduction in allergic symptoms
- Normalized weight
- Improved psychological and emotional status
- Enhanced sensory input: better sight, hearing, taste
- Fewer excessive heart contractions
- Lessened varicose vein pigmentation
- Lightened age spots
- Fewer aches and pains, arthritic and otherwise
- Less reliance on pain medication
- Hair loss stopped and reversed
- Reversal of impotence
- Alzheimer’s Disease symptoms reversed
- Reduced need for diuretics
- Cold extremities warmed
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome overcome
- Memory, and mental concentration improved
- Post-cataract surgery vision loss restored
- Cosmetic changes, including more lustrous hair, added eye sparkle, stronger unsplit nails, better skin color, fewer visible wrinkles and a more youthful appearance.
Aetna (the insurance company) considers the use of chelation therapy medically necessary in the treatment of any of the following diseases/disorders:
- Aluminum overload in persons with end-stage renal failure; or
- Biliary cirrhosis; or
- Cooley’s anemia (thalassemia major); or
- Cystinuria; or
- Heavy metal poisoning (e.g., arsenic, cadmium, copper, gold, iron, lead, mercury)*; or
- Secondary hemochromatosis (i.e., due to iron overload from multiple transfusions); or
- Sickle cell anemia; or
- Wilson’s disease.
As they are in the business of saving money, this lends credence to chelation therapy.
Study of Chelation Therapy Should Not Be Abandoned
Beth Clay’s article in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons is an exciting look at all of the players and exposes the intrigue behind the politics of chelation therapy. “An important clinical trial has been hindered by publication of an agenda-driven 51-page article in MedScape, despite the lack of expert qualifications and known bias of the authors, and the fact that most authors derive income from legal compensation for testifying against medical professionals who use chelation or other alternative or complementary therapies in their practices. Investigation of off-label uses of FDA-approved drugs is essential for progress in medicine.”
Are there side Effects for Chelation therapy?
There have not been serious side effects reported since chelation has been used for medical purposes in the 1940s, and it should be considered safe when administered by a ABCMT (American Board of Clinical Metal Toxicology) board certified physician. Chelation therapy is used by CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) practitioners along with other medical therapies for coronary artery disease.
What began as a treatment for the treatment of heavy metal poisoning is emerging as a potentially effective treatment for coronary artery disease. Physicians are administering it to their patients before heart bypass surgery and if they get good results may not have to resort to the surgery.