Chelation Therapy

Chelation therapy, more formally referred to as EDTA chelation therapy, is a procedure employing intravenous administration of EDTA (ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid), often along with nutrients, to help manage atherosclerotic vessel diseases and partially revitalize the circulation. EDTA was found to be a chelating agent in the early 1950s, and is excreted from the body intact, mostly in the urine. Modern chelation therapy for circulatory health grew out of the use of EDTA to remove toxic minerals, such as lead, from the body.

Chelation therapy is most effective when employed as part of a comprehensive, individualized program which also includes dietary and lifestyle revision, nutritional supplementation, exercise, stress reduction, and medications when necessary. This integrative chelation management strategy does not depend on surgical revascularization to be successful; rather, chelation might be a viable substitute. It is also likely to enhance outcome following surgery. Chelation has negligible risk, and the materials are affordable and readily available. Thus, both the benefit-risk profile and the cost-effectiveness of chelation are likely to be superior over bypass and angioplasty.

The word “chelation” comes from the Greek “chele,” referring to the claw of a crab or lobster. The chelation concept involves trapping the target ion in a “cage” stabilized by multiple sites of bonding with the chelating agent. EDTA is thought to partially surround, bind with, and tightly grip metal ions, then facilitate their excretion by way of the urine. The EDTA compound used for removal of lead from the body is the calcium-EDTA salt; that used for circulatory revitalization is the disodium-EDTA salt.

The peer-reviewed protocol from Rozema approved by the American Board of Chelation Therapy and the International Board of Chelation Therapy, involves intravenous infusion of an osmotically standardized EDTA solution over 1.5-3.0 hours. Frequency of treatment is usually once or twice a week; for symptomatic patients a series of 30 or more infusions may be indicated. As documented by Rozema, EDTA chelation therapy benefits all forms of atherosclerotic occlusive arterial disease.

Other disease processes have also been found to benefit from chelation. Scleroderma patients have experienced marked improvement, although lack of benefit was also reported. Rozema claims, “diabetics usually demonstrate great improvement...insulin or oral hypoglycemic medications for glucose control can be reduced or eliminated altogether.” Case histories indicate benefit in Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, porphyrias, hypertension, calcinosis universalis and other calcium deposition diseases. Visual function in macular degeneration cases is also often improved.

Rozema has thoroughly documented the pharmacology and safety of EDTA. Gordon and Vance and Halstead earlier reviewed possible mechanisms for its cardiovascular efficacy, yet no distinct mechanism has been established for the cardiotonic benefits from EDTA. Absolute contraindications for EDTA therapy are limited to rare patients exhibiting chemical intolerance to EDTA, patients with acute lead encephalopathy, or patients on renal dialysis. Renal damage is estimated to occur in less than 1 in 30,000 patients, and then only in those with pre-existing kidney hypofunction. EDTA chelation is not yet proven safe for women who are pregnant or might become pregnant.

Olwin and others suggested a rationale for the use of EDTA, magnesium, and heparin in combination to achieve lasting cardiac revitalization. The Rozema EDTA chelation protocol also commented on a number of other substances for suitable co-administration with EDTA, including magnesium (as chloride or sulfate), sodium bicarbonate, local anesthetics, heparin, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), B vitamins, and minerals. A number of chelating agents were reviewed and found to compare negatively with EDTA in respect to safety and benefit. Yet EDTA chelation therapy has yet to receive widespread acceptance by the clinical community.

Although it has not been subjected to vast numbers of clinical trials, two meta-analyses suggest EDTA chelation therapy benefits cardiovascular symptoms in more than four out of five patients. In 1993, Chappell and Stahl published an analysis of data on 22,765 patients, compiled from 19 published clinical studies. They found a correlation coefficient of 87 percent between EDTA therapy and improved cardiovascular symptomatology based on objective testing. Subsequently, they obtained unpublished “file drawer” data on 1,241 objectively-sorted patients from 32 clinicianns. From this approach they obtained a correlation coefficient of 88 percent futher building the case for cardiovascular benefit from EDTA chelation.

EDTA chelation therapy may eventually be proven a viable alternative to bypass or angioplasty. Danish physicians Hancke and Flytlie reported retrospectively on 470 patients with atherosclerosis. Of 65 patients awaiting bypass surgery and subjected to chelation, the vast majority showed clinical improvement; when chelation was completed only seven still required bypass. Of 27 patients previously scheduled for leg amputation, only three required surgery following courses of chelation therapy. These enticing results from EDTA chelation invite a well-controlled comparison of chelation and revascularization, with the hope of being able to replace surgical revascularization techniques or to use chelation as an adjunct to these interventions..

from an article by Parris M. Kidd, Ph.D.

Dr. Bruce A. Dickson is certified in chelation therapy by the America College for the Advancement of Medicine. (ACAM)