Chelation Therapy & Heart Disease
What is Chelation?
The word chelation is derived from the Greek word for “claw”. Chelating agents function like a claw by surrounding, grabbing and mobilizing certain metals which otherwise would remain stuck within tissues of the body. Once mobilized these metals can be safely excreted. The chelation agent used in the treatment of cardiovascular disease is ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid (EDTA). Intravenous EDTA has been used for over 40 years in North America to treat cardiovascular disease1. When administered by properly trained practitioners, the safety and effectiveness of EDTA in the treatment of cardiovascular disease has been excellent2.
Heart Disease Progression
The classic mechanism of heart disease involves fat, cholesterol, immune cells and calcium depositing within the walls of coronary arteries, forming plaque. These plaques cause narrowing of the coronary arteries, which can lead to angina (chest pain), shortness of breath and even a heart attack. While diet and lifestyle factors drive this process on the large scale, inflammation and free-radical formation are what cause these detrimental changes on the microscopic level3.
Recent research has shown that, like calcium, other non-toxic metals, such as zinc, cobalt, iron and chromium accumulate within “sick” (oxygen-poor) tissues4 in the cardiovascular system. When these metals build-up beyond their usual physiologic concentration they contribute to free radical formation, which is an integral component of arterial plaque formation and the progression of heart disease. Free-radicals are best thought of as the proverbial loose cannon. They don’t work well with others and tend to hurt those (cells and tissues) around them.
How Does Chelation Help Heart Disease?
The classic mechanism of EDTA in treating cardiovascular disease is that it removes calcium ions from arterial plaques and as a result, slowly dissolves and shrinks these plaques. Recent research has elaborated on this mechanism to include removal of other non-toxic metals, which have accumulated excessively in blood vessels and heart cells5,6. When certain metals build to high concentrations, including iron7 and chromium8, they support the formation of free radicals. Minimizing free radical formation is an important goal in treating heart disease, as it is a driving force in the formation of arterial plaque.
What To Expect During Chelation
The average person undergoing chelation treatment for cardiovascular health will require 15-25 treatments to receive optimal benefit. Typical improvements during chelation treatment include chest pain reduction, increased circulation to limbs, reduction of arterial plaque and improved energy.
Although EDTA chelation is very safe when administered by a well-trained professional, there are a few precautions that patients need to take before, during and after chelation treatments.
- Hydration: It is essential to drink water before and during treatment to stay hydrated during chelation therapy. Most side effects of chelation are actually due to dehydration.
- Blood sugar changes: In some cases, chelation treatments can temporarily lower blood sugar and make people feel lethargic or sleepy as a result. Eating a meal before treatment and having a snack during treatment can prevent this lowering of blood sugar. Ideally these meals and snacks should contain protein.
- Nutrient depletion: Although chelation removes toxic metals and excess metal accumulation in arterial plaque deposits, it also depletes some healthy minerals, such as calcium, zinc, and cobalt. For this reason taking a good quality multi-vitamin supplement is required when undergoing chelation therapy.
- Contraindications: Chelation treatment should not be done in pregnancy, acute liver disease, advanced kidney disease and advanced congestive heart failure.
If you are interested in receiving chelation treatments and are located in the Halifax area, please contact MacLeod Naturopathic to book an initial naturopathic visit to discuss your options.
- Clarke N. EDTA Chelation Therapy, Am J Cardiology. 1960; 6-233-236.
- Lamas GA, Goertz C, Boineau R, Mark DB, Rozema T, Nahin RL, Lindblad L, Lewis EF, Drisko J, Lee KL; TACT Investigators. Effect of disodium EDTA chelation regimen on cardiovascular events in patients with previous myocardial infarction: the TACT randomized trial. JAMA. 2013 Mar 27;309(12):1241-50.
- McGorisk GM, Treasure CB. Endothelial dysfunction in coronary heart disease. Curr Opin Cardiol. 1996 Jul;11(4):341-50.
- Frustaci A, Magnavita N, Chimenti C, Caldarulo M, Sabbioni E, Pietra R, Cellini C, Possati GF, Maseri A. Marked elevation of myocardial trace elements in idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy compared with secondary cardiac dysfunction. J Am Coll Cardiol. 1999 May;33(6):1578-83.
- Cranton, E. (2013, June 28). Scientific Rationale for EDTA Chelation Therapy. Retrieved October 29, 2013, from http://drcranton.com/chelation/freeradical.htm.
- Cranton, E. (2012, September 12). EDTA Chelation Therapy: A NEW THEORETICAL MECHANISM OF ACTION. Retrieved October 29, 2013, from http://drcranton.com/chelation/theoreticalmech.htm.
- Schafer FQ, Qian SY, Buettner GR. Iron and free radical oxidations in cell membranes. Cell Mol Biol. 2000 May;46(3):657-62.
- Shainkin-Kestenbaum R, Caruso C, Berlyne GM. Effect of chromium on oxygen free radical metabolism, inhibition of superoxide dismutase and enhancement of 6-hydroxydopamine oxidation. J Trace Elem Electrolytes Health Dis. 1991 Sep;5(3):197-201.