Chelation Good for More Than Lead Poisoning
With Denise Foley and Eileen Nechas
If you were to undergo chelation (key-LAY-shun) therapy, you would recline comfortably in a lounge chair for three-and –a-half hours or more while an intravenous solution slowly trickled into your bloodstream. In the meantime, you could nap, talk, read, or watch television. Any discomfort or pain would be unlikely.
The intravenous solution would include a chelating agent-usually a synthetic amino acid called ethyl-enediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)-along with various vitamins and minerals. The EDTA would seek out toxic metals within your body, such as lead, cadmium, aluminum, and mercury. It would also find certain minerals such as calcium, the “glue” in artery plaque. EDTA would then wrap itself around these substances and pull them out of your body via your kidneys.
Chelation comes from the Greek word chele, meaning to claw or to bind. When administered properly, chelation therapy is an effective and safe way to pull heavy metals, toxins, and metabolic wastes from the bloodstream.
So far, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves chelation therapy only for heavy metal poisoning, such as lead poisoning, or for severe digitalis toxicity. However, nearly 50 years of research indicates that chelation therapy can help reverse chronic degenerative diseases such as atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and arthritis. It may even reduce the risk of cancer.
The plaque on artery walls is comprised of fats, collagen, fibrin, mucopolysaccharides, cholesterol, foreign proteins, and other mysterious entities included in the typical Western diet. Calcium is the substance that holds all these clogging substances together.
When chelation agents such as EDTA pluck the calcium from artery plaque, the clogging material falls apart and flows out of the body through the bloodstream. In this way, chelation therapy helps widen the arteries and improve blood flow. Elmer Cranton, M.D., co-author of Bypassing the Bypass, claims chelation therapy results in a 75 to 95 percent success rate in improving blood flow in patients with clogged arteries.
Another perspective comes from Ben Boucher M.D., of Cape Breton, Canada. He asserts that the buildup of metals in our bodies causes free-radical oxidation, which damages cells. He explained in a Medical Post report that when the cells of the artery walls are damaged, cholesterol accumulates, strangling circulation. Boucher believes that chelation therapy can reverse the effects of free-radical oxidation, allowing oxygen and nutrient rich blood to flow freely through the arteries.
In addition, a Finish study links heart disease to excessive amounts of iron stored in the body. If these findings are confirmed, chelation therapy could well be the treatment of choice. Iron is one of the metals it pulls out of the human system.
Chelation therapy is probably best known for treating heavy metal poisoning, such as lead. In fact, the FDA recognizes chelation therapy as the most effective-and possibly the only feasible-treatment for heavy metal toxicity.
A recent study confirmed the efficacy of chelation therapy for lead poisoning. Carol A, Huseman of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha and her co-workers studied 12 children for up to one year, measuring growth rates and levels of the hormones that regulate growth.
The researchers studied six children with toxic levels of lead, before and after chelation therapy. According to Huseman, the other six children did not need chelation.
Before chelation, the children with high levels of lead grew far more slowly than normal. However, following chelation, each child experienced a significant growth spurt. In fact, one child’s bone growth rate almost tripled.
Chelation therapy also helps remove aluminum from the brain, a metal that may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, it acts as a gentle de-locking agent for clogged blood vessels in the brain and the rest of the body. According to Drs. H. Richard Casdorph and Morton Walker, authors of Toxic Metal Syndrome: How Metal Poisoning Can Affect Your Brain, chelation therapy has been shown to help at least 50 percent of elderly people who have tried it. They are documented as showing greater mental clarity. improved memory, and increased I.Q. It works best, the authors point out, in patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s. They also note that conventional medicine has little or nothing to offer most patients with brain disorders.
Chelation therapy helps control free radicals, which are linked to the cell destruction that can lead to cancer. Researchers are looking into the possibility that chelation therapy may lower the risk of cancer deaths. A lengthy study, started in 1958, investigated 231 adults who lived near a well-traveled highway in Switzerland. They had a higher rate of cancer mortality than people in the same city that lived in areas with less traffic. The researchers speculated that the group’s high incidence of cancer deaths was caused by their exposure to lead from automobile exhaust.
In 1961, 59 individuals from this group underwent ten or more EDTA chelation treatments, and the other 172 were used as a control group. Walter Blumer, M.D., of Nestal, Switzerland, conducted an 18-year follow-up study of the group. He found that only one of the 59 treated patients died of cancer (1.7 percent), in contrast to 30 deaths (17.6 percent) from the control group. That is a 90 percent decrease in cancer mortality. He based his findings on Swiss death certificates and statistical evidence showing that EDTA chelation therapy was the only significant difference between the control group and the treated patients.
Garry F. Gordon, M.D., is quoted as saying, “Anything that reduces your burden of toxic metals, which feeds the fire of free radicals, sufficiently safeguards your immune system so that your body can more efficiently handle early cancers.”
As it removes toxic metal ions from the body, chelation therapy decreases the internal inflammation caused by free radical mischief. As a result, it can alleviate the disability and discomfort of degenerative illnesses such as arthritis, scleroderma (a hardening of the skin and certain organs), and lupus.
Allergies and chemical sensitivities seem to improve after chelation therapy because the individual’s immune system is working more efficiently.
As early as the 1960s, chelation therapy was shown to help diabetics, allowing some patients to reduce or even stop taking their medications. This result was attributed to the fact that diabetes damages blood vessels, and chelation therapy seems to reverse some of that damage.
Leave it to the experts
As with most medical treatments, intravenous chelation therapy should only be entrusted to qualified professionals. Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide, from the Burton Goldberge Group, urges prospective patients to find a healthcare professional who follows the protocol set by the American Board of Chelation Therapy (ABCT) or the American College of Advancement of Medicine (ADAM). The doctor who administers chelation therapy should have completed the training the ACAM provides. A nurse or other non-physician should not conduct the therapy unless a qualified physician is on the premises.
In addition, James Julian, M.D., of Los angles, recommends the following testes before, during, and after chelation:
Blood pressure and circulation
Cholesterol and other blood compounds
Blood sugar and nutritional
Kidney and organ function
Tissue minerals, if indicated
Why is the ABCT protocol so important? EDTA must be administered with caution. The more slowly this chelating substance is injected, the less chance a patient will experience side effects. EDTA infusions should not be given more often than once in a 24-hour period; the norm is two to three weekly treatments. It is also crucial to monitor kidney function. When EDTA is injected too quickly or too often, consequences may include kidney failure, convulsion, shock, and death.
However, with the proper protocols in place, chelation therapy is considered extremely safe.
For a list of doctors who are certified by the American Board of Chelation Therapy, contact:
The American College for the Advancement of Medicine (ACAM)
23121 Verdugo Dr., Suite 204
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Opponents of chelation
Although it has been used effectively since World War II, chelation therapy is still considered “alternative” for most conditions. Fortunately, we are seeing a growing openness to medical alternatives and preventive measures. And with continued safe usage, therapeutic success, and scientific research, chelation therapy-like chiropractic-will likely enter the mainstream. Perhaps then we will see fewer incidences of chronic degenerative conditions, and a less toxic treatment option when they do occur.
“There is no doubt… that if everyone utilized chelation therapy tomorrow, within 20 years the need for medications and crisis intervention would be reduced drastically. This encroaches upon the interests of special-interest groups.”
*Frances E. FitzGerald is a free-lance writer who specializes in health topics. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Grand Valley State Colleges in Allendale, Michigan, and a master’s degree in English from the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Bypassing the bypass:
There’s a better way.
Heart disease is the number one k8ller in the United States. And the usual treatments may be fatal, too. Each year, almost 300,000 bypass surgeries are performed. And approximately five percent – or 15,000-of those surgeries end in death.
Is bypass surgery always justified? Nortin Hadler, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina Scholl of Medicine, doesn’t think so. In 1992, he wrote that only three to five percent of the 3000,000 bypasses were actually necessary. And at a symposium of the American Heart Association, Henry McIntosh, M.D., said bypass surgery should be limited to patients with crippling angina, for whom more conservative therapies were ineffective.
And yet, a great deal of money is spent on bypass surgery. A cost comparison study prepared for the Great Lakes Association of Clinical Medicine in 1993 reported that approximately $10 billion was spent in the United States in 1991 on bypasses. Here are a few more drawbacks to consider:
* Average, there is a ten percent higher mortality risk for every year over 70.
* Deaths from bypass surgery are on the rise, perhaps because there are more
repeat surgeries. Second and third bypass procedures pose additional risk.
* Women are 77 percent more likely to die as a result of bypass surgery than men,
according to a UCLA school of Medicine study of 2,297 male and female bypass patients.
* Five to ten percent of patients experience a heart attack immediately after a
bypass, according to the New York Heart Association. During a bypass, the
aorta is clamped, depriving the heart of oxygen. As a result, heart tissue is often
damaged during surgery.
* Bypass can also cause neurological disturbances. Bypass patients may
experience memory loss, reduced mental function, and mood swings. As many
as 20 percent of bypass patients are seriously depressed for a year or longer after surgery.
EDTA chelation therapy appears to pose less risk. In fact, according to drug safety standards, aspirin is almost three-and-a-half times more toxic than EDTA.
The American College for the Advancement of Medicine estimates that around 500,000 patients have received EDTA chelation therapy under proper protocol. Not one fatality has been attributed to EDTA. This record makes EDTA chelation therapy one of the safest medical procedures in medicine today.
Cardiovascular disease kills almost 1 million Americans a year. As a former bypass surgeon, I’ve experienced firsthand the pain and frustration that too many bypass patients go through, but the success stories of my own chelation patients-and thousands of others – give me hope that there is a better way.
Chelation (Pronounced “Key-lay-shun”) therapy is controversial, no doubt. Alternative therapies usually are. But success stories of real people prove that chelation helps in preventing – and can even completely reverse – symptoms of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, metal poisoning, and a host of other serious health problems.
The public has been kept in the dark about chelation for too long. The remarkable turnarounds that these patients have experienced, along with years of intensive study on the subject, make me aware of how useful chelation can be. And that’s why I decided to sit down and cover all the facts…outline all the pros and cons…report all evidence, conflicting opinions, and case histories…and explain exactly what chelation therapy is in this comprehensive report. It’s written in language anyone can understand-not just doctors-and is meant to help you make the best decision possible.
The straight story about chelation therapy
The more you’ve heard and read about chelation therapy, the more confused you must be. This treatment for vascular diseases is so controversial that it has become confrontational, creating what amounts to a war between allopathic physicians and those of us who practice alternative medicine.
We say: They say:
* Chelation therapy works. * It doesn’t work.
* We have scientific proof * There is no scientific proof
* It’s perfectly safe * There are dangerous side effects
* It’s reasonably priced. * It’s outrageously expensive
* It’s a godsend. * It’s pure quackery.
Indeed, one of my oldest friends, a doctor, was so irrational on the subject that he threatened to end our close relationship if what he heard about me was true-that I perform chelation therapy at my clinic.
How can this be? How can two well-trained, intelligent, and caring groups of medical people have such completely and totally opposite points of view? Chelation either works or it doesn’t. It’s safe or it isn’t. We either have scientific proof of its effectiveness or we don’t. The pros and the cons can’t both be right, Right?
Well, you may be confused, But I’m not. I don’t much care what the scientific community has to say- I Know that chelation works. And I know that it’s safe. The only real question is whether or not it’s right for you, and it’s my job to give you all the information you need in order to make that decision. That’s why I decided to write this special report.
What, exactly, is chelation therapy?
Chelation therapy has long been approved of and used by most physicians as a treatment for heavy metal poisoning, especially lead and mercury poisoning. A man-made amino acid called EDTA is administered into the veins. (EDTA is the abbreviation commonly used for the longwinded full name of this substance-ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid.) The EDTA chelates, or seeks out and binds to, the heavy metal ) chelate means clawlike), creating a new compound that can be flushed out of the body through the kidneys and urine.
Unlike bypass surgery, which is limited to aiding only heart functioning, chelation therapy has the potential of enhancing the entire circulatory system by cleansing all of the vessels and organs in your body.
There’s no controversy here. It’s only when chelation is used as at treatment for atherosclerosis that the bareknuckled attacks begin.
A modern discovery in the tradition of the best old-time folk cures
The idea that chelation might do more than cure lead poisoning surfaced back in the 1950’s. Additional benefits of EDTA were discovered the same way the remarkable healing powers of certain herbs and plants were discovered by folk healers throughtout history-by observation.
According to Elmer Cranton, M.D., a longtime chelation advocated and author of Bypassing Bypass: The New Technique of Chelatoin Therapy, patients chelated for lead poisoning noticed that they felt better after their treatments. Those who also had atherosclerosis reported that they were now able to walk longer distances and had less chest and leg pain. Even those with angina said they could exert themselves more without discomfort.
A handful of researchers took notice. They theorized that because EDTA also binds to calcium-a component of atherosclerotic plaque-it might be able to break down and shrink the buildup inside arteries. This would improve circulation and reduce heart-disease symptoms and leg pain.
This makes perfect sense when you consider that the body’s own cleansing system is often already weakened before the heart shows symptoms, due to artherosclerotic plaque in the kidney vessels. According to Serafina Corsello, a chelation practitioner in Huntington, New York, “by regulating the amount of EDTA and adding vitamin C to repair tissues, we can clean out the little vessels of the kidneys. Then we can increase the amount of EDTA and ultimately clean the whole vascular system: the heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and brain.” While bypass surgery treats the symptoms of the disease, chelation therapy goes straight to the heart of the matter.
Members of the medical community were not impressed. Without sound, objective, scientific proof-and lots of it-they want nothing to do with alternative therapies. Anecdotal reports, no matter how compelling, are useless to them. And they claim they have yet to see any reports on chelation that would convince them to use it.
But, Frankly, I don’t care if they’re impressed! Chelation works. Period. That’s good enough for me right now. Sure, I’d like to see unconditional scientific proof of its effectiveness. But that can (and will) come later.
A skeptic’s introduction to this new idea
I must admit that I wasn’t always so positive about chelation therapy. My first experience with it was back in 1975 when was still practicing coronary bypass surgery and thought that was the be-all and end-all. I hadn’t even gotten to the point where I understood how important lifestyle changes are to prevent and treat heart disease. As far as was concerned, surgery was the only option for my patients.
One of my patients absolutely refused to have surgery, even though I told him that in my professional opinion he had to have a bypass for his coronary artery disease. His arteries were so full of plaque that I feared he could suffer a heart attack at any moment. But he was adamantly opposed to “going under the knife,” as he referred to it. Instead, he ignored my recommendation and went to a chelation clinic located somewhere in Missouri. To say I was skeptical is an understatement. I figured he had about as good a chance there as he would with a voodoo doctor.
But, much to my surprise the next time I saw him, he was a different man. His symptoms were gone, and he said he felt great. “It must be the placebo effect,” I told myself. “This guy thinks it worked, so it worked.” I followed his progress over the next few years, thinking that, sooner or later, he’d have to undergo surgery. His disease eventually progressed, but he never did have bypass surgery. Instead, he went for regular chelation treatments, perhaps a couple of times a year, and continued to tell me he felt quite well.
The more I saw, the less I doubted
Over the next few years, chelation started to get some press, and occasionally I would have a patient ask me about it. Usually these were people who, for one reason or another, refused to have bypass surgery-or were too sick to undergo the procedure. And at that time, there really was no other treatment that I could offer. So, if they were determined to try chelation, I recommended the clinic in Missouri where my patient had gone in 1975.
It didn’t take long for me to start accepting the idea of chelation therapy as an alternative treatment for some of my patient s with coronary artery disease. Patient after patient told me how much better he felt as result of chelation. They had much more energy and much less angina (chest pain due to narrowing of the coronary arteries). Most important, I witnessed how much more productive and satisfying their lives became as their symptoms subsided.