Diet and Exercise During (and After) Chelation Therapy

There is very little point
in having a series of chelation treatments if the person thus
improved is not going to take advantage of the improved circulatory
capacity which it provides. This should be seen as a second chance,
an opportunity to keep things right and to prevent the inevitable
deterioration which would take place if the same old habits of
eating, life­style and exercise were followed.

The tragedy of much of the
heroic effort which goes into surgical intervention for cardiovascular
disease is that it touches on just a part of a severely compromised
system. What is the long­term point or value of bypassing
a blocked region with an unclogged vein or artery if the rest
of the channels are already somewhat damaged and if little is
done to alter those habits and patterns which led to the clogging
in the first place? What value a new heart if the system it is
pumping blood through is silted up?

When chelation unclogs circulatory
obstructions this affects almost the entire system, and a host
of factors which could rapidly set the degenerative ball rolling
again if they remained behind, such as heavy metals and low density
lipoproteins, are removed from the body along with the metastatic
calcium. Even then it would be but a short­term improvement
if the underlying habits which led to the degenerative changes
were not addressed, whether these involve lack of exercise, poor
stress coping abilities, smoking and alcohol abuse, dietary imbalances,
toxic encumbrances or any combination of these and other causes.

The changes needed to keep
the new­found circulatory improvement (after EDTA or surgery)
are the very ones which would have prevented the circulatory
decline in the first place and can be broadly divided into the
eating pattern followed and the many factors in the person’s
life which lead so inevitably to arterial damage and all that

Those elements which need
to be seriously considered include:

  • Changing dietary

  • Providing specific
    nutrient aids.

  • Increasing aerobic

  • Decreasing exposure
    to smoke, alcohol and toxins.

  • Learning stress­proofing

A prescription for a healthy
heart is a prescription for good health generally. All the same
features are present and these are now so well established that
it almost seems not worth repeating the same ‘rules’, However,
cardiovascular health is in such an appalling state that those
who know, and hopefully follow, most of the healthy­heart
guidelines will hopefully forgive a brief repetition of the most
important points.



A great deal of agreement
exists (a rare thing in science and even rarer in medicine) as
to what needs to be done in dietary terms to meet the needs of
the cardiovascular system in a modern world. Expert committees
have deliberated and come to clear decisions on matters such
as the need for a reduction overall in the amount of fat that
is eaten.

The average West European
and American eats anything up to (and sometimes beyond) 40 per
cent of their total energy intake from fats, much of which is
of the undesirable saturated type. Various health authorities
such as the Senate Committee and NACNE in the UK advise reducing
this to between 30 and 35 per cent.

Nathan Pritikin, the revolutionary
health expert who developed a diet and exercise programme for
cardiovascular dysfunction (Pritikin, 1980), advised reducing
this to a miniscule 10 per cent.

Elmer Cranton suggests that
a more easily attainable (although still difficult) target is
20 per cent, virtually cutting fat and oil intake in half with
the majority of this in the form of polyunsaturated and mono­unsaturated
(olive oil) forms.

In practical terms this means
avoiding fat on meat and avoiding most meat derived from pigs,
cows or sheep as well as skin of poultry. This leaves game, poultry
apart from skin, and fish as sources of animal protein for those
who do not wish to adopt a vegetarian mode of eating. Game has
a fat level of less than 4 per cent as a rule (some beef contains
up to 30 per cent fat) and this is usually high in polyunsaturated
or monounsaturated fats compared with the less desirable saturated
form found in dairy produce and domesticated animal meat.

This highlights an important
message: not all oils and fats are bad for cardiovascular health,
indeed some are vital. We need essential fatty acids in our diet
(hence the word essential in their title) and we can learn a
good deal by looking at the dietary habits of people who live
in regions (such as the Mediterranean basin) where heart disease
is a rarity. Among the important differences in their diet is
a very high intake of monounsaturated oil (olive), which has
been shown to have a cholesterol lowering effect. They also eat
abundant fish, a major source of eicosapentenoic acid, a protective
factor for the cardiovascular system (and of course garlic which
reduces the adhesiveness ­ stickiness ­ of blood platelets).
Another Mediterranean bonus is the eating of the herb purslane,
a rich source of gamma linoleic acid (also found abundantly in
linseed) and an important source of essential fatty acids. Inclusion
of these factors ­ garlic, fish (especially cold water varieties),
linseed and olive oil instead of other salad oils ­ all act
to protect the heart and its functions.

No frying or roasting of food
should be done and dairy produce ­ apart from skimmed milk
and very low­fat yogurt or cottage cheese ­ should
be avoided.


Approximately one person in
five is affected by a rise in blood levels of cholesterol after
eating eggs. The other four show little or no change in their
cholesterol levels after eating normal quantities of egg. It
should be realized that most cholesterol (which is an essential
part of every cell of the body) is made in the body, unrelated
to dietary intake of the substance but influenced by such factors
as overall fat intake, sugar intake, smoking and, in some instances,
coffee intake. The moderate eating of eggs (three or four per
week) seems therefore to be without danger for most people.

Carbohydrates and sugars

Cardiovascular health is improved
when refined carbohydrates play only a very limited part in the
diet. This means substituting wholegrain for white flour products
and white rice. Wholegrain products, brown pasta, bread and rice
are readily available and contain high levels of fibre which
helps clear excess cholesterol from the intestines (especially
oats), as well as providing essential vitamins, minerals and
trace elements, which are largely or entirely removed in any
refining process.

At present we in the West
eat around 45 per cent of our food as carbohydrate, with an average
of half of this as refined sugars and flour products. The expert
guidelines suggest that we should increase carbohydrates to around
58 per cent of our diet but with the simple sugars, etc., declining
to no more than 15 per cent of our dietary intake.

‘Complex carbohydrates’ are
the major nutrients contained in vegetables and fruits,
nuts, seeds and beans, and of course whole grains (milled but
not refined). So a diet which emphasizes vegetables at both main
meals with brown rice, pasta and/or bread, as well as abundant
use of fresh nuts and seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, linseed,
etc.) and the members of the bean family (lentils, chickpeas,
etc.), as well as fresh fruit to the extent that these foods
account for just under two thirds of the total food eaten ­
is the target we are set.

No wonder vegetarians have
such fine cardiovascular health.


As described under the heading
Fats, the
types of animal protein most likely to assist in achieving the
aims being set are game, poultry (minus its skin) and fish. In
the USA and UK an average intake of around 12 per cent of total
energy consists of protein, and this is thought to be a reasonable

A useful strategy to enhance
heart health would be if this 12 per cent were made up of more
vegetable sources of protein (pulses, for example) and less from
animal sources. Again, the example can be given of the vegetarian
who combines nuts and grains, or pulses (bean family) and grains,
for their protein content, and who have an infinitely better
degree of cardiovascular function than do meat eaters.


Eating a diet rich in complex
carbohydrates ensures adequate fibre, which is necessary for cholesterol
clearance from the digestive tract. Not all fibres are the same,
however: oat bran acts quite differently (in cholesterol mopping
terms, that is) from wheat bran (see Chapter 12). Authorities
in the West urge that we eat up to 30 grams of fibre daily, with
half of this from cereals and the rest from fruits and vegetables.
In rural Africa (where cardiovascular disease is rare) the intake
of fibre is anything up to 150 grams daily. Interestingly, when
people from the African countryside migrate to cities and adopt
a diet low in fibre their cardiovascular health declines rapidly.

The best cholesterol­lowering
fibres are found in oats, fruits and vegetables and the leading
providers are: blackberries, bananas, apricots, apples, raspberries,
prunes, passion fruit, damsons, haricot beans, bean sprouts,
broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, lentils, mushrooms, peas
and potatoes.


This is an area of some debate,
with a very small amount of alcohol (1 1/2 glasses of wine or
1 pint of beer daily) being shown to enhance cardiovascular function
(but with some negative effect on liver function) and anything
more than that amount having negative effects. Overall health
experts agree that alcohol is undesirable but that these limits
are fairly safe.


The drinking of boiled coffee
in any quantity has been shown to increase levels of cholesterol
in the blood.


Because of its known association
with increased blood pressure (a major factor in cardiovascular
degeneration), salt intake should be reduced dramatically from
its current level of around 12 grams daily to no more than 3
grams per day per person, none of which should be added at table.
It is now known that damage from salt starts when we are very
young and if children can be taught to enjoy unsalted food they
could be saved a good deal of distress later in life.

Dietary pattern

So what would a typical day’s
diet on such a pattern look like?


Nut/seed and dried­fruit
mixture, plus live low­fat yogurt, or Wholegrain cereal
plus (live) low­fat yogurt, or

Oatmeal porridge, or

Wholemeal toast with vegetarian
margarine and sugarless jam

Fresh fruit

Egg (alternate days)

Drink of herbal tea (unsweetened)

Mid ­morning/afternoon

Herbal tea or fresh fruit
or handful of seeds and fresh nuts


One of these meals could comprise
game, poultry or fish, plus a variety of fresh vegetables and
a side salad, plus wholemeal bread and fresh fruit.

The other meal could include
pasta (wholemeal) or rice with homemade tomato sauce, or

A rice and pulse (lentil,
etc.) dish, plus stir­fried vegetables, or

A mixed salad with jacket
potato and low­fat cheese, etc. For dessert, fresh fruit
or low­fat yogurt.

Imagination and some effort
are all that limit the application of this type of eating pattern
with its attendant benefits to cardiovascular health.


There are a number of areas
which we should consider if we wish to improve cardiovascular
status via supplementation. One involves antioxidant (anti­free
radical) activity and another the balancing and normalizing of
any imbalances in mineral status (potassium/sodium or calcium/magnesium,
for example). There is also the way in which some supplemented
substances (such as the enzyme derived from the pineapple plant
­ bromelaine) can specifically reduce platelet adhesiveness,
as well as very important protective effects from certain of
the individual amino acids (building blocks of protein) which
have recently been researched.

  • The anti­oxidant
    vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids are all capable of
    being supplemented in order to improve the deactivation of free
    radical activity and the detoxification of heavy metals and other
    toxins. Research evidence abounds as to the relative protection
    of cardiovascular function (and general health) achieved when
    these factors are in good supply in the diet, whether through
    food or as added extras in the form of nutritional supplements.

    Without analysing the particular
    ways in which these act (see Chapter 4 on free radicals) these
    can best be taken in combinations such as vitamins A, C, E and
    the mineral selenium. If taken individually, daily doses which
    can give antioxidant protection are:

    Beta carotene (which the body
    turns into vitamin A) 50,000 IU

    Vitamin C 1­3 grams

    Vitamin E 200­400 IU

    Selenium 200 micrograms

    Cysteine (amino acid) 1.5

    As an additional background
    aid the taking of a modest level of the B­complex group
    of vitamins is suggested. Find a formulation which provides not
    less than 25 milligrams each of the major B vitamins (thiamine,
    pyridoxine, etc.) and if you are a big meat eater take in addition
    (at a separate time of day to the B­complex) 100 milligrams
    of pyridoxine (B6) to help protect the arteries from damage from
    breakdown products of the high­protein intake.

  • Balancing minerals status
    is an individual matter, depending very much on what imbalances
    are present. A general ‘insurance’ supplement of calcium/magnesium
    containing twice as much calcium as magnesium is usually suggested
    (1 gram calcium/0.5 gram magnesium)

    In addition a general mineral
    supplement which contains zinc (around 20 milligrams), manganese
    (20 milligrams), potassium (100 milligrams), chromium (200 micrograms)
    and molybdenum (100 micrograms), but no iron or copper
    is suggested.

    Many authorities advocate
    magnesium supplementation on its own (i.e., without additional
    calcium) at doses of up to 800 milligrams daily, especially for
    those with ischaemic heart disease (angina symptoms). Magnesium
    is frequently given intraveneously for people severely compromised
    by angina­type symptoms during the course of chelation therapy.

  • Oil of evening primrose
    (500­1000 milligrams daily) supplies essential fatty acids
    and becomes increasingly important as we get older. Of course
    if enough linseed (ideal addition to breakfast cereal) or purslane
    (delicious on salad) is eaten, supplementation is unnecessary.
    The all­important eicosapentenoic acid derived from cold­water
    fish is a useful aid to cardiovascular health (3­6 EPA capsules)
    and should be taken unless the individual is a vegetarian or eats
    a good deal (twice weekly) of appropriate fish.

    The pineapple plant extract
    bromelaine is also useful for similar purposes in doses of up
    to 1000 milligrams daily.

    For those who do not enjoy
    eating garlic, the oil of this amazing bulb can be taken in capsule
    form ad lib.

    Even more powerful at reducing
    platelet aggregation is ginger (Zingebar officinale) and if it is
    difficult to incorporate this into the diet in any quantity,
    it too can be found in capsule form (dried powdered ginger).

  • Two amino acids
    have been shown to have remarkable abilities to assist cardiovascular

    1. Carnitine: needed more
    by men than women, this has been shown to assist enormously in
    conditions such as intermittent claudication and as a protector
    against myocardial infarction. It also has the ability to mobilize
    and remove fat deposits. People who have had an infarction have
    been shown to have a gross deficiency of this amino acid in the
    muscles of the heart itself.

    For best absorption supplementation
    of individual amino acids is always taken away from meal times,
    with water only and perhaps a small quantity of carbohydrate
    (e.g., a bite of bread). Doses are usually between 1 and 1.5
    grams daily, in two or three divided doses.

    2. Taurine: this too is usually
    deficient in cardiac tissue when a crisis occurs. It has the
    ability to ‘spare’ potassium which is absolutely vital to normal
    cardiovascular function. Another feature of taurine’s function
    is its ability to keep cholesterol soluble in the bile, thus
    aiding in its elimination. It can usefully be supplemented in
    cases of intermittent claudication and cardiovascular distress
    in doses of between 0.5 and 1 gram daily (away from meal times
    and any other amino acids).

  • Methionine is used
    to help detoxify heavy metals and is a powerful antioxidant.
    The body can make either taurine or carnitine out of methionine
    and this makes it a useful general supplement. People who develop
    atherosclerosis are commonly found to have low levels of methionine
    in the bloodstream. Doses of .5 to I gram daily are suggested
    for general protection (away from meal times and other amino


There can be few people in
our society who are not at least slightly aware of aerobic exercise,
although it is clear that not too many actually understand what
it is all about.

Dr Kenneth Cooper, the American
physician who developed the system, conceived of being able to
teach anyone, starting from a point of any degree of fitness
or unfitness, to exercise safely in such a way as to be able
to achieve a steadily increasing degree of enhanced cardiovascular
and respiratory function.

Obviously no one who has cardiovascular
disease should start aerobic activity without an all­clear
from their medical adviser, but the work of both Cooper (1980)
and Nathan Pritikin (1980) has demonstrated beyond doubt that
almost no matter how advanced the damage there remains something
that can be done via exercise to improve matters. The beginner
may well need to be under supervision and guidance, since it
is essential to learn to monitor the effects on the heart rate
of whatever form of exercise is being performed. True aerobic
exercise demands that a basic level of increased heart (pulse)
rate be achieved and that this be maintained for not less than
20 (ideally 30) minutes three times weekly with no more than
a day between such efforts. It is equally essential that an upper
‘safe’ limit be established beyond which there would be danger
of straining the heart.

As Colin Goodliffe (1987)

    The heart has a maximum level
    of activity and output which it would be dangerous to exceed.
    This is the upper limit of the range which must be achieved
    in cardiovascular exercise. There is also a level of heart
    effort which it is necessary to reach, if any good at all is
    to be achieved and this is the lower level of the heart rate
    which must be aimed for during exercise.

We will explain how to discover
what these two figures are for you later in this chapter. First,
however, it is important that we establish the aerobic/chelation

Excercise helps chelation

In Chapter 2 we saw that chelation
processes are continuous throughout life and are an essential
part of most body processes. When the muscles work they produce
lactic acid as a breakdown product and lactic acid is almost
as powerful a chelating agent as acetic acid. As long as strong
and rapid muscular activity is continuing, so will lactic acid
continue to circulate in high quantities, chelating undesirable
substances all the while.

Dr Johan Bjorksten (1974)

    Lactic acid is not as effective
    as EDTA in its speed but given enough time to act it seems comparable
    in total removal of chelatable metals. It [lactic acid] is a
    fair to good chelating agent which is present in almost double
    quantities during the time of moderate muscular exertion, and
    which declines to normal levels abruptly in a few minutes upon
    cessation of the muscular action.

Sustained exercise patterns
(walking, jogging, running, skiing, swimming, etc.) are therefore
seen to offer this natural chelation benefit. Bjorksten sees
this as providing a basis for increased longevity, while Walker
and Gordon (1982) make the important point that: ‘the duration
of muscular exertion is more important than its intensity in
order to achieve a chelating effect from exercise’

Chelation quenches free

Cranton and Frackelton (1982)
point out another remarkable function of enhanced oxygenation
brought on by aerobic activity:

    Proper oxygenation enhances
    defences against free radicals. Aerobic exercise stimulates blood
    flow and improves oxygen utilization resulting in adequate oxygenation
    to remote capillary beds. When conditions of health exist oxygen
    acts as a free radical scavenger during exercise and reduces
    free radical pathology.

Working out your ‘aerobic
fitness index’

It is considered that the
fastest the human heart can beat without extreme danger is 220
beats per minute.

In order to establish your
particular fitness index (the low and high rates needed for safe
and effective aerobic exercise) we start with this number 220
from which we deduct your present age, which we can state hypothetically
to be 50:

220 ­ 50= 170

From this number we also deduct
your resting morning pulse rate. For three successive mornings,
check your pulse on waking ­ before getting out of bed or
eating or drinking anything, even water.

Let us say this rate is 70:

170 ­ 70 =100

We now need to establish what
60 per cent and 80 per cent of this final figure are:

60 per cent of 100 =60

80 per cent of 100 = 80

To these two figures we add
back your morning pulse rate, giving us:

60 + 70 = 130

80 + 70= 150

These are the figures of your
current aerobic fitness index
you are 50 years old and if your morning resting pulse is 70.

In order to achieve benefit
to your cardiovascular system you need to get your pulse rate
above 130 and maintain it there for not less than 20, and ideally
30, minutes three times per week with no more than a day between
each aerobic effort.

If, however, your pulse rate
were to exceed 150 during these efforts you would be in danger
of stressing the heart.

It is best to check the pulse
rate for 15 seconds every 5 to 7 minutes during exercise (and
to multiply by 4 for the rate per minute) and thereafter, if
necessary, to increase the amount of effort or speed of effort
(if the rate was below the lower figure) or to slow down if it was
above the higher figure.

When you have been performing
aerobic exercises for some weeks it is a good idea to recheck
the morning pulse rate, for as you get fitter this will slow
down, giving you a new set of aerobic index figures (obviously
this also alters as you get older).


Dr Cooper (1980) gives examples
of general exercise such as walking (undoubtedly the safest after
swimming), in which a moderate level of fitness would be achieved
progressively over a 16­week period. This is based on walking
a specific distance in a particular time, which gradually gets
shorter, requiring more effort. Each of the times/distances listed
is meant to be walked not less than five times in any given week.

In week 1, a mile (1.6 km)
is walked in 15 minutes (5 times in the week).

In week 2, a mile is walked
in 14 minutes.

In week 3, a mile is walked
in 13 mins 45 seconds.

In weeks 4, 5 and 6, 1 1/2
miles (2.4 km) is walked
in 21 mins 30 seconds.

In week 7, two miles (3.2
km) is walked in 28 minutes.

In week 8, two miles is walked
in 27 mins 45 seconds.

In weeks 9 and 10, two miles
is walked in 27 mins 30 seconds.

In week 11, 2 1/2 miles (4
km) is walked in 35 minutes.

In week 12, 2 1/2 miles is
walked in 34 mins 30 seconds.

In weeks 13, 14 and 15, 3
miles (4.8 km) is walked in 42 minutes.

In week 16, 4 miles (6.4 km)
is walked in 56 minutes.

Thereafter this last timing
and distance, using the pulse rate to monitor whether enough
effort is being used to maintain fitness.

If anyone were starting this
16­week programme from a position of relatively poor fitness
the times given for each distance would be used as a guide only
and the pulse would be taken several times during the walk to
see whether speed of walking was enough to achieve the lower
figure on the aerobic fitness index (if not, walking faster is
called for), or if it was above the higher figure, in which case
slowing down would be the obvious move.

Aerobic exercise, ideally
accompanied by gentle stretching exercises to warm up and with
a degree of gentle movement to ‘warm down’ is safe and effective
in enhancing chelation therapy or for enhancing cardiovascular
function on its own.

Always check with your physician/health
adviser before starting new forms of exercise.

And what of the mind?

Cardiovascular ill­health
has long been linked with the effects of stress and anxiety.
It should go without saying that the mind and body are a unit
and that unless those negative factors arising out of poor stress­coping
strategies or negative emotions are dealt with, a complete degree
of recovery of cardiovascular (or any other area of)
health is unlikely. Exercise itself has powerful beneficial effects on the mind and
emotions. Along with nutritional and aerobic efforts, it is suggested
that efforts be directed towards stress reduction using the extensive
knowledge now available as to the value of regularly employed
relaxation and meditation methods.


Smoking of any sort imposes
unbearable strain on cardiovascular function. It increases the
body level of cadmium (a highly toxic heavy metal) appreciably
and is a major cause of free radical activity. It reduces necessary
oxygen intake and is probably the single greatest underlying
life­style habit which contributes to and/or aggravates
disease of the heart and circulatory system. It is plainly an
indefensible habit and those physicians who simply refuse to
treat patients with such health problems until they stop smoking
are a growing band. Anyone having chelation therapy and who continues
to smoke is plainly afflicted by a death wish.

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Written by Leon Chaitow ND DO MRO

Explore Wellness in 2021