Chelation Therapy

By Annette Chlumsky, RN

Chelation therapy using the synthetic amino acid known as EDTA (ethylene diamine tetracetic acid) intravenously has been a standard treatment for lead and heavy metal poisoning since World War II. In the 1940’s and 1950’s, patients taking EDTA for lead poisoning  reported improved memory, vision, hearing and smell, and diminished leg and heart pain. From this discovery, the modern era of chelation began and since then nearly 1,000,000,000 patients with cardiovascular disease have been treated successfully.  Chelation therapy is now being used to relieve symptoms of calcified disorders such as impaired circulation in the heart, leg arteries, carotid (neck) arteries, renal (kidney) arteries, hypertension, macular degeneration, osteoporosis, arthritis, fatigue and Secondary Article - anywhereemphysema.

The term chelation comes from the Greek word chele which means claw. Chemically, the chelating agent is claw shaped and attacks a positively charged metal and surrounds it, making it inactive and eventually removes it from the body. There are several theories as to how the calcification and circulation is improved.  Thirty-two scientific research articles have been written that provide solid evidence for benefit, but the specific mechanisms that make it work are still not entirely clear. Of course chelation removes heavy metals such as lead and cadmium and reduces free iron and copper, all of which can contribute to degenerative diseases. Clinical results are consistently impressive showing improvements in blood flow throughout the body, reducing platelet “stickiness”, improving liver and kidney function, improving blood fat ratios, reducing blood pressure, improving vision, healing of vascular ulcers, relieving arthritic symptoms and reducing the incidence of cancer.

The only real criticism that has persisted about the therapy from traditional practitioners not familiar with the procedure is that the therapy affects the kidneys negatively. Two scientific papers authored by Dr. McDonagh at McDonagh Medical Center in Kansas City, seem to put that rumor to rest. Actually kidney function, on the average, improves with chelation as long as it is prescribed properly.  During the course of chelation therapy, the heavy metals are removed largely through the kidneys. The EDTA dosage is based on age, weight, and kidney function test results, so it calculated specifically for each individual. A blood test is used to assess kidney function with every 5 to 10 chelation treatments.  These two safeguards prevent potential complications.

Riordan Clinic offers both the DiSodium EDTA and the Calcium EDTA for chelation. There is research to show that DiSodium EDTA has a slight edge in effectiveness for cardiovascular symptoms. Both are excellent for removal of heavy metals. DiSodium EDTA is given over several hours as a slow IV drip. Calcium EDTA has the added advantages of FDA approval for heavy metal removal and can be administered as a slow intravenous push that takes minutes, not hours. If you wish to pursue treatment, often the initial testing is a provocative test which means giving a chelating agent either intravenously or orally, then collecting all urine for 6 hours. The urine is sent to a lab for heavy metal analysis, checking for 20 different metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, and aluminum.

The chelating process and treatment schedule is highly individualized. If you start chelation preventatively, prior to onset of symptoms, fewer treatments will be needed. In cases where you have an established history of cardiovascular disease and/or heavy metal toxicity, anywhere from 10 to 30 treatments will be needed, with additional follow-up treatments intermittently to maintain improvement.

The actual intravenous chelation therapy is only a part of the disease reversal process. Improved nutrition and lifestyle are absolutely essential for lasting benefits of the chelation treatments. By improving your food choices and physical activity and following an oral supplement program, you are protecting your money and time invested in your chelation treatments. After all, you wouldn’t think of putting dirty oil in your new car’s engine!

Secondary Article - calcified arteryWe highly recommend anyone interested in chelation read Forty Something Forever by Harold and Arlene Brecher. This is a very easy read, consumer-oriented book which will help answer many more questions.  You are also invited to attend the Food as Medicine Class offered through the Riordan Clinic. This will help you understand how our diet impacts our health and contributes to the progression of chronic disease. The nursing staff at the Riordan Clinic is always available to help answer your questions. The more you know, the better your opportunity to make health-promoting lifestyle choices!

Chelation therapy offers a greatly improved quality of life for millions of people with many different age-related disease processes. In recent years almost as many patients are being chelated as bypassed, with a 40 year record of safety. The effects of the treatments can be dramatic, restorative, and life-prolonging.