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The word chelation comes from the Greek word “chelos,” which means claw and refers to the ability of some chemicals to claw or grab metals and minerals to transport them out of the body through the kidneys. Physicians use a variety of chelating medicines to improve health. One of the most common chelating agents is EDTA (ethylene-diamino tetraacetic acid), a synthetic amino acid. In the 1940’s and 1950’s, EDTA was found to be a safe and effective treatment for lead toxicity and was approved for that purpose.

It was also observed that some patients who coincidentally had symptoms of heart disease such as angina improved while undergoing lead toxicity treatment. Since that time, chelation therapy has been used for vascular disease. This use has been controversial. To date, the FDA has not approved EDTA chelation therapy for vascular disease, but the status of EDTA as an approved drug for lead toxicity allows physicians to use it for other conditions.

How does chelation therapy work?

The exact mechanism of action by which EDTA improves vascular disease has not been determined. Several mechanisms have been proposed.

  • EDTA improves cell metabolism by removing toxic heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, aluminum, iron.
  • EDTA may reduce free radical cell damage by removing excess metals from circulation.
  • EDTA binds calcium in the blood and favorably alters the balance of calcium and magnesium in the cells.
  • EDTA reduces the tendency of blood to clot. 
For what conditions is chelation therapy used?

Physicians have used EDTA chelation therapy for more than forty years to treat a number of conditions, including the following.

  • Cardiovascular Disease (angina)
  • Diabetic Arterial Disease
  • Decreased Mental Function from Vascular Disease
  • Intermittent Claudication (leg pain on exercise from poor circulation)

Chelation may also be used as preventive medicine for part of a healthy aging program.

How is chelation therapy administered?

EDTA chelation therapy is administered both orally and intravenously at the Marcus Institute. The intravenous solution is composed of EDTA, Vitamin C, Magnesium, and certain B vitamins. Treatments are given over 2.5 to 3 hours generally on a weekly or biweekly basis. Most patients require between 30 to 40 treatments.

Since at the Marcus Institute we offer various types of intravenous therapies, we encourage prospective and current patients to ask questions if they do not understand the type of intravenous therapy being recommended.

What health care approaches complement chelation therapy?

Chelation therapy patients are advised to follow a comprehensive approach to their health, including diet, exercise, stress management, and dietary supplements.

Is chelation therapy generally accepted in the medical community?

Increasingly.  For many years, the conventional medical opinion has been that chelation therapy is unproven. The Tact Trial has begun to shed light on the role of chelation therapy. A new Tact Trial is underway. Nonetheless, millions of people worldwide have successfully taken a course of chelation to improve their health and circulation.

Who should consider chelation therapy?

Anyone with the following medical problems could consider chelation therapy.

  • Angina, heart attack or coronary artery disease
  • History of artery bypass surgery or angioplasty
  • Stroke, transient ischemic attack (ministroke)
  • Carotid artery disease
  • Diabetes
  • Poor circulation of the legs
  • Leg ulcers
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Scleroderma
  • Heavy metal poisoning including lead, cadmium and others
  • Digoxin toxicity

An initial medical evaluation is mandatory to discuss the appropriateness of chelation therapy for your medical issues.

More information about chelation therapy can be found through the American College for Advancement of Medicine.