Important scientific discoveries often occur coincidentally. The history behind the development of chelation therapy certainly confirms this fact. In the thirties, EDTA, the active component in chelation therapy, was discovered by a German, Munz. He had been searching for a substance, which could soften hard water, and it appeared EDTA was highly effective in doing so. But EDTA had the capacity to do much more. The substance happened to have a strong affinity for (toxic) heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, and actually binds with them.
For this reason, EDTA was initially used in treating acute lead intoxication. Lead, an extremely toxic substance to human body, was bound to EDTA injected into the blood stream and thus simply removed from the body during urination. With EDTA, however, fate became the mother of invention.
Patients suffering from cardiovascular disease, who where being treated with EDTA for acute lead intoxication, noticed improved stress tolerance and less chest pain upon exertion. They were also able to walk longer distances. Surprisingly, chelation therapy appeared to have produced an unexpected healing effect for their cardiovascular problems.
This finding led to further investigation. It was Norman Clarke, who, in 1956, published an article in The American Journal of Medical Science, claiming the successful treatment of patients with severe angina pectoris (chest pain caused by narrowing of the coronary arteries) through the use of EDTA. In 1960, well-known cardiologists Kitchell and Meltzer reported that chelation therapy caused both objective and subjective improvement in 9 out of 10 patients suffering from angina.
Soon hereafter, numerous publications on the successful treatment of patients with narrowed leg or brain arteries started appearing.
In 1988, Olszewer and Carter published their findings after treating 2,870 patients with EDTA chelation therapy. More than 93% of the patients suffering from narrowed coronary arteries, showed good to excellent improvement. Patients suffering from narrowing of leg arteries improved in 97% of all cases. And patients suffering from narrowed brain arteries also profited, although less dramatically (60%).
All in all, these results have led to in increased interest in the effectiveness of chelation therapy. There are more than 10 million treatments administered to date are proof of this effectiveness.
EDTA Influences Blood Coagulation
EDTA has a positive effect on blood platelets (thrombocytes). These play an important role in cardiovascular and other arterial disease. Generally, brain a myocardialinfarctions occur because clots (which are largely made up of platelets) close off a vessel.
Moreover, blood coagulation tendency in arteriosclerotic disease appears to be greater than normal, thus facilitating the formation of clots. EDTA, however, reduces platelet stickiness, thereby considerably reducing the change of clot formation.
EDTA Influences Red Blood Cells
Red blood cells (erythrocytes) contain oxygen, the essential component every cell needs. Through chelation, red blood cells become increasingly flexible, making them better capable of reaching smaller blood vessels and thus increasing circulation and oxygen delivery.
Does EDTA Have Side Effects?
- If EDTA is applied in too high a dosage, over too short period of time, kidney function can (temporarily) diminish. Proper use of EDTA (based on protocol as set by the American Board of Chelation Therapy) reduces side effects to practically zero. Moreover, in many cases, diminished kidney function prior to commencing chelation therapy will improve under chelation treatment.
- Some patients experience discomfort of the arm in which the infusion is given. This complaint can be prevented through simple measures.
- EDTA has a blood sugar (glucose) lowering effect and for this reason a positive influence on diabetes mellitus. A normal, healthy blood glucose level can also be lowered by EDTA (only temporarily, during the actual infusion). This can bring on sleepiness, hunger pangs, and shakiness. Complaints like these can be prevented by eating shortly before and during the infusion (bread, fruit, ‘tic.) and by drinking fruit juice.
- Rarely, blood calcium levels drop during treatment.
- Complaints that may arise are: tingling around the mouth;, in fingers and toes, as well as, cramping of hands and feet. A calcium injection (calcium gluconate) makes these complaints disappear rapidly.
- Some patients experience fatigue during the first (ten or so) number of infusions. This is a normal phenomenon, which soon disappears on its own. The vast majority of patients will soon start to feel more fit and energetic because of chelation therapy.
High blood pressure (hypertension)
Chelation therapy will generally lower raised blood pressure. Blood pressure lowering medication can frequently be diminished or even discontinued.
Prevention. “life extension” – striving for optimum health
Because of the favorable effects of chelation therapy on free radicals, heavy metals and calcium deposits, degenerative processes (arthritis, general “wear-and-tear) of the body will be slowed down. Not only will the body’s blood vessels be kept in good condition, but also the entire body benefits from regular EDTA infusions. Research in laboratory animals show a clear increase in life expectancy through EDTA. In humans, increase in life expectancy is estimated at 8 – 17 years in men and 6 – 16 years in women (an average of 12 years). Life extension in an by itself would not make sense if the quality of life were not equally affected in a positive fashion. Chelation therapy clearly has this effect as well.
What About the Scientific Proof?
The argument many conventional doctors use in their criticism of chelation therapy is that the effects have never been properly proven. Here follows a summary of some trials on the effects of chelation therapy. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the amount of available trials:
- One trial with 2,870 patients showed considerable to excellent improvement after chelation therapy (both objective and subjectively) in 93% of patients with heart disease, 97% of patients with narrowing of the leg arteries and 60% of patients suffering from cerebral vascular problems.
- In another trial, 17 out of 18 patients showed considerable improvement of cardiac pump function after 20 drips. Fifteen patients with impaired brain circulation, all reported a lessening of complaints. In 14 of these a brain scan clearly demonstrated improved circulation.
- In 57 patients with narrowed cerebral vessels, narrowing dropped back from an average of 28% to 10%
- In yet another trial, with 30 patients suffering from narrowing of the cerebral vessels, a sonogram of the neck arteries (carotids) was performed after 10 months. It showed a decrease in vessel narrowing from 49% to 28%. The group with the most severe stages of narrowing improved even more dramatically, from 77% to 42%.
When Is Chelation Therapy Needed?
Chest pain as a consequence of lack of oxygen of the heart muscle. This pain generally occurs upon exertion, in cold weather, emotional states or upon eating copious meals, but sometimes also when in a resting state and at night.
Heat attack (myocardial infarction):
Here, part of the heart muscle has actually died off, generally as a consequence of an acute blockage of a coronary artery. Chelation therapy helps prevent new heart attacks, as well as angina pectoris after a heart attack. Moreover, chelation improves cardiac pump function.
Prevention of bypass surgery or balloon angioplasty:
Large American and European studies show that only a small percentage of patients undergoing such procedures will experience long term effects, as compared to patients treated with medication only.
Narrowing of cerebral blood vessels These can manifest themselves in the following ways:
Die-off of brain tissue as a consequence of blockage of a blood vessel by clot build-up onto an already narrowed segment (thrombosis), or blockage caused by a loosely circulating clot which became lodged (embolism).
TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attaque)
Temporary lack of oxygen of the brain, which caused completely reserves itself within 24 hours (such as transient speech difficulties, transient paralysis, transient blindness in one eye, etc.).
- Memory and concentration difficulties
- Impaired vision and
- Hearing fatigue, decreased vitality
The majority of patients experience an increase in energy and vitality as a consequence of chelation therapy.
Chelation therapy is also frequently effective. However, additional measurers are almost always necessary.
Chelation therapy improves sugar metabolism. Diabetics undergoing chelation therapy often need less insulin or oral blood glucose lowering medication during the course of treatment. Moreover, chelation therapy helps prevent complications of diabetes, such as eye, nerve, and kidney damage, as well as accelerated arteriosclerosis.