Chelation therapy is mainly used in treatment of heavy metal poisoning. It is used for patients who have been exposed to lead, mercury and other heavy metals and it is probably the most effective course of treatment for those cases. However, chelation therapy is also used in alternative medicine as a form of prevention and treatment for heart disease, cancer and other serious and deadly diseases.
What is chelation therapy?
While chelation therapy is considered by most medical experts to be one of the most effective treatment options for heavy metal poisoning, there is little evidence that it helps with other medical issues, such as heart disease and cancer. In fact, chelation can be toxic and cause kidney damage and heart problems, such as irregular heartbeat.
Chelation therapy involves the injection of a substance called ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA). EDTA has the ability to bind, or chelate, heavy metals like lead, mercury, zinc and cadmium. The word “chelation” comes from the Greek word “chele”, which means “claw”.
The human body is not able to break down heavy metals. This means that they stay in the body and accumulate, causing serious health issues. EDTA binds to the molecules of heavy metals in the body and as the body eliminates the chelating substance through urination, it eliminates heavy metals too.
Some medical practitioners use chelation therapy for other health problems too. Alternative medicine uses chelation to treat gangrene, Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, psoriasis, thyroid disorders, arthritis and multiple sclerosis, as well as to improve sight, hearing and memory. However, as it is mentioned above, effectiveness of chelation used for these purposes has not been scientifically confirmed.
How is it done?
Chelating agent EDTA is usually introduced into the bloodstream through a vein. It can be a short injection or a two to four intravenous treatment. A treatment cycle of chelation for heavy metal poisoning can include twenty injections or infusions over the course of ten to twelve weeks. Chelation can also be administered orally.
An initial treatment usually includes twenty to forty treatments. However, depending on the extent of the exposure, the therapy may include up to a hundred chelation treatments over the course of several years.
One of the side effects of chelation therapy is the fact that it removes some of the important minerals in the body, especially calcium. For this reason the patients are advised to take high doses of vitamin and mineral supplements during their treatment for heavy metal poisoning.