What is Chelation Therapy?

Chelation Therapy is an intravenous treatment using a solution containing minerals, vitamins and a special (man made) amino acid (EDTA) This solution, through complex biochemical action at the molecular level, has the effect of removing toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic.  It also causes the mobilization of abnormal calcium some of which is excreted via urine and bile and some of which is re-circulated with the possibility of being deposited in bone.  EDTA also removes excess iron, which has been shown to increase the risk of hardening of the arteries.


What is it used for?

It is a form of treatment used to reverse the effects of hardening of the arteries caused by complex factors, including calcium deposition.  Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) leads to heart attack, stroke or gangrene.  In the scientific literature, reports suggest that the chelation benefits other conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, scleroderma and more.


What is EDTA?

EDTA is the acronym for ethylene diamine tetracetic acid, an amino acid similar to those forming protein foods.  It has a strong attraction for calcium, iron and heavy metals like lead, which it escorts out of the body through the urine.


What are arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis?

The former is a general term meaning hardening of the arteries.  There are several different types classified according to location and (b) biochemical nature of hardening.  The latter is the most common form of arteriosclerosis.  The atheroma is the basic lesion (abnormality).  It is a plaque located on the intima (lining) of the artery wall.  The core is made of fat (mostly cholesterol) along with complexes of proteins, starches, fibers and calcium.


How does artery disease affect health?

Chelation therapy promotes health by reducing the burden of abnormal calcium and heavy metals and increasing the level of beneficial minerals such as magnesium and potassium.  It improves the function of individual cells and enzyme systems which are the basis for health and vitality.  It improves tissue perfusion (increased oxygen and nutrition to cells).  Chelation works best in the context of a broad based health care program of regular exercise, proper nutrition including vitamin and mineral supplementation, and healthy life style.


What is the relationship if chelation therapy to other treatments for artery disease?

Chelation therapy can be utilized along with other forms of therapy for artery disease.  It is compatible with “blood thinners”, blood vessel dilators, medicine for hypertension, heart arrhythmia, etc.  The need for drugs is usually diminished and sometimes can be gradually eliminated during and following successful treatment with chelation therapy.


What is the cost comparison?

While evaluation of the benefits and cost of any treatment should be based on its merits alone, comparisons are natural and inevitable.  The most common comparison is made with bypass surgery.  Bypass surgery is a mechanical repair of small sections of the artery tree.  The total cost for bypass surgery varies between thirty and fifty thousand dollars or more for ten to fifteen days of hospital care.

Chelation therapy is a biochemical treatment affecting the entire arterial tree.  Total cost varies from 2 to 4 thousand dollars.  This includes twenty to fifty, 3 hour, medically supervised outpatient treatments and the appropriate testing and evaluation.  Most insurance companies will pay for bypass surgery but will not pay for chelation therapy.


What about safety and side effects?

Chelation therapy is among the safest of medical treatments.  Over 300,000 patients have received over three million treatments.  In the past 10 years of record keeping not one death has occurred specifically to chelation therapy when administered by physicians using the standard protocol of ACAM.


How do I know if I need or can benefit from chelation therapy?

If you have chest pain, leg pain on walking, discoloration of the feet or rapidly failing memory, see a physician!  If you are past 40 years of age with strong family history of heart disease, or are over 50, find out the status of your circulatory system before a “vascular accident” causing a heart attack, stroke or gangrene occurs.  Any unexplained persistent symptom regarding your heart, head or limbs should be explored.


How will I be able to tell if chelation therapy has helped me?

Patients frequently report reduction or elimination of symptoms and increased sense of well being.  Family and friends may be the first to notice and report changes in appearance, behavior tests provide objective evidence of treatment effectiveness.

Can my physician give this treatment?

Any licensed physician may legally administer chelation therapy.  Only trained and experienced physicians should administer this treatment.  Interested physicians can train and qualify by contacting ACAM for information regarding training and certification.


Can chelation therapy be used after bypass surgery?

Yes.  Chelation therapy can be used before bypass, instead of bypass or after bypass following post operative recovery.  Every case must be decided using the criterion, “What treatment, combination of treatments, or series of treatments is best for specific conditions present in this individual.”  Use of second opinions from informed physicians is encouraged.


Is Chelation Therapy legal?

Yes. While  Chelation Therapy is not considered the conventional medical ‘standard of care’ for cardiovascular disease, it is legal.  A FDA approved drug is used.  Any drug having FDA approval can be used by a physician as his / her education and experience dictate.  The EDTA package insert states approved, advertised (on label) use for EDTA: lead and heavy metal toxicity, emergency treatment of hypercalcemia, and control of ventricular arrhythmia (secondary to digitalis intoxication).


Do insurance companies pay for Chelation Therapy?

While insurance companies may pay for intravenous therapies, the “off label” use of any drug may be challenged as a means to deny payment connected with its use.  Medicare does not pay for Chelation Therapy.


How do I locate a physician trained in this modality?

For further information contact:

The International College for Integrative Medicine: www.icimed.com

American Board of Clinical Metal Toxicology: www.abcmt.org

American College for Advancement in Medicine: www.acam.org