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Chelation Therapy

Chelation Therapy

Chelation therapy is a mainstream treatment used to treat poisoning from toxic levels of certain metals. Injections of ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) or other chemicals bind, or chelate, iron, lead, mercury, cadmium, zinc, and some other metals, which are then eliminated from the body. The term “chelation” comes from the Greek word chele, which means “claw,” referring to the way the chemical grabs onto metals. However, the term is also used to promote an alternative therapy that is claimed to treat heart disease, cancer, autism, and other conditions that are not caused by abnormal levels of metals.

Chelation therapy is one of several effective treatments for lead poisoning, poisoning by some other toxic metals, and iron overload due to blood disorders and/or multiple blood transfusions. It also shows some promise for treating heart disease, although further testing is needed.

Chelation Therapy
Chelation Therapy History

The chemical solution most often used in chelation therapy, EDTA, was first made in Germany in the 1930s. It is now widely accepted as an effective treatment for heavy metal poisoning.

In the 1950s, some scientists theorized that EDTA could remove calcium from the body. Calcium can build up on artery walls, eventually causing heart disease, and researchers wondered if using EDTA could unclog blocked arteries. In some early studies, researchers reported positive results among patients with heart disease who received EDTA. Some said that chelation therapy relieved chest pain caused by blocked arteries. These first observations have not been confirmed by larger, more rigorous studies, but they led some practitioners to begin using chelation therapy for heart and circulatory problems and, later, for several other illnesses. It is estimated that tens of thousands of Americans currently undergo chelation therapy for heart disease.

Chelation Therapy
Chelation Therapy Treatment

Chelation therapy using EDTA has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a treatment for lead poisoning for more than forty years. The human body cannot excrete some metals, which can build up to toxic levels and interfere with normal functioning. EDTA and other chelating drugs lower the blood levels of metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and zinc by attaching to them, which helps remove them through urination. Other prescription drugs used to treat poisonings due to specific heavy (high atomic mass) metals include dimercaprol, deferoxamine, and penicillamine.

Because EDTA can reduce the amount of calcium in the bloodstream, some practitioners suggest chelation therapy may help reopen arteries blocked by mineral deposits, a condition called atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. They claim it is an effective and less expensive alternative to coronary bypass surgery, angioplasty, and other techniques designed to unclog blocked arteries.

Chelation therapy has also been promoted as an alternative treatment for many unrelated conditions, such as gangrene, thyroid disorders, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, psoriasis, diabetes, arthritis, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and to improve memory, sight, hearing, and smell.

Chelation Therapy
Chelation Therapy Procedure

Chelation therapy is most often given into a vein, either as a short injection or over a period of 2 to 4 hours. A typical treatment cycle may include 20 injections or infusions spread over 10 to 12 weeks. Chelation therapy can also be given by mouth, and some dietary supplements advertise that they work in this way.

Practitioners usually recommend at least 20 to 40 treatments to start; however, some may recommend continued therapy for up to 100 treatments over a period of several years. Because the therapy removes some important minerals from the body, patients often receive high-dose vitamin and mineral supplements during treatmen

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