EDTA chelation therapy has been used as an effective treatment for heavy metal burden (lead, arsenic or mercury) since World War I, as a result of gas poisoning. EDTA and DMSA are both FDA-approved chelating agents.
How We Test
Measuring the levels of toxic metals in our cells is difficult. These metals bind tightly to proteins in our cells, so the blood concentration of these heavy metals is not predictable of the real concentration at the cellular level. The best approach to heavy metal assessment is the provocative challenge. Here, a chelating agent is given, followed by an analysis of the levels of heavy metals present in a urine sample.
How Chelation Works
During chelation, a man-made amino acid is introduced into the bloodstream. The amino acid binds itself to heavy metals, such as iron, lead, arsenic or mercury. Normally, the body can’t get rid of these heavy metals, but the compound that the chelating agent forms when it binds with the metal can leave the body in the urine or feces. Over time, repeated chelation treatments reduce the level of poisonous metals in the body. Because a large percentage of heavy metals are eliminated by the liver into the intestine, the concomitant use of oral chelation is needed to prevent reabsorption of the heavy metals into the circulation.
Chelation eliminates also other metals as well as some vitamins, that’s why intravenous supplementation during the treatment is very important. It was initially thought that the chelating agents were also capable of extracting calcium of the atherosclerotic plaques opening up arteries and this is why circulation improved. This has since been proven to be a false assumption. The atherosclerotic plaques are not removed. It is currently thought that chelation has its effects on circulation by simply removing heavy metals from the arterial cells and this then allows the increased production of Nitric Oxide (NO). Nitric Oxide causes vasodilatation by relaxing the vessels.
1. For patient that intravenous + oral chelation is prescribed, each treatment takes between 30 and 45 min. One course of chelation therapy consists of anywhere from 5 to 12 treatments in a month, with most patients undergoing more, rather than fewer, treatments.
2. Patients who will benefit from oral chelation will be required to take the medication as prescribed. The length of treatment will depend on initial and follow-up test values.
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