Chelation therapy

Alternate Title

EDTA therapy

Synonyms

Edetic acid, ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) therapy.

Note: The term "chelation" may be used in general to refer to the use of any chemical in the blood to remove specific contaminants or toxins (for example, deferoxamine is used as a chelating agent to treat high levels of iron in the body). This type of chelation should not be confused with the use of EDTA therapy.

Background

EDTA chelation became well known during the 1950s when it was proposed as a method to cleanse the blood and blood vessel walls of toxins and minerals. The technique involves infusing a chemical called ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) into the blood. The therapy is sometimes given by mouth and occasionally, other chemicals may be used.

Initially, chelation was used to treat heavy metal poisoning. Some observers felt that other benefits occurred in patients receiving this therapy. Currently, chelation practitioners may recommended this treatment for diabetes, for clogged arteries in the heart or legs (called peripheral vascular disease), and for many other conditions. Twenty or more sessions may be recommended and can cost several thousand dollars.

EDTA chelation became well known during the 1950s when it was proposed as a method to cleanse the blood and blood vessel walls of toxins and minerals. The technique involves infusing a chemical called ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) into the blood. The therapy is sometimes given by mouth and occasionally, other chemicals may be used.

Initially, chelation was used to treat heavy metal poisoning. Some observers felt that other benefits occurred in patients receiving this therapy. Currently, chelation practitioners may recommended this treatment for diabetes, for clogged arteries in the heart or legs (called peripheral vascular disease), and for many other conditions. Twenty or more sessions may be recommended and can cost several thousand dollars.

Theory

It has been proposed that treatment with chelation may break down cholesterol plaques in the arteries. Other mechanisms, such as the removal of calcium from these plaques and antioxidant properties, have also been suggested. However, there is little scientific evidence to support these theories.

500-1,000mL of a solution containing 50mg of disodium EDTA per kilogram of body weight is commonly injected into the vein. However, there is no standardized dosage. A single infusion may be used, or multiple infusions may be used daily, over several days or over several weeks.

The American College for the Advancement of Medicine (ACAM) recommends adding heparin, magnesium chloride, a local anesthetic, several B-vitamins, and 4-20g of vitamin C to the chelation solution. This solution is infused slowly over 3.5-4 hours, one to three times a week. The ACAM recommends about 30 treatments for heart disease.

Lifestyle modification, including, stress reduction, caffeine avoidance, alcohol limitation, quitting smoking, exercise and nutritional counseling, is encouraged.

Chelation therapy is rarely administered through the mouth.


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