Oral Chelation

Oral chelation simply means
trying to use foods or substances taken by mouth to chelate undesirable
substances out of the body. There are two basic approaches: the
first uses foods and nutrient supplements to achieve this effect
and the other uses oral EDTA supplements.

Does it work?

We will discuss the controversial
oral EDTA approach after first looking at the nutritional approach.

The current vogue for oat­based
foods as a means of reducing cholesterol levels is but one form
of chelation which we take for granted. In fact the different
forms of fibre found in food, soluble pectin in apples and other
fruits, guar in beans as well as the forms found in grains, all
produce multiple chelating effects as they pass through the system.
These act largely in the bowel where they speed up transit time
and in this way prevent cholesterol reabsorption from bile as
well as clearing putrefactive material from the system more rapidly.
Fats in the bloodstream are reduced by soluble fibre in the diet,
reducing the potential for free radical activity.

The advice given in Chapter
8 regarding the ideal pattern of eating can easily produce just
these effects if followed reasonably closely. In addition many
basic nutrients such as vitamins C and E are natural chelators
and when in abundant supply act in the bloodstream to damp down
free radical activity as well as chelating toxic substances.

Several formulae have been
developed for oral chelation using variable combinations of substances.
Some are extremely complex and others simple enough to put together,
given a little patience and effort.

Oral chelation: Formula

This is known as the Rinse
Formula, after Dr Jacobus Rinse of Vermont, who has popularized
this highly effective combination of substances, now advocated
by the Dutch National Health Board for the prevention of heart

    A daily intake of the following
    is suggested:

    4 grams of lecithin (try to
    ensure a form which is high in phosphatidyl choline)

    12 grams of coarsely chopped
    sunflower seeds (for their linoleic acid, potassium and fibre

    5 grams debittered Brewer’s
    yeast powder for its selenium, chromium and B vitamins (not suggested
    for anyone with active Candida albicans overgrowth)

    2 grams of bone­meal
    as a source of calcium and magnesium, or a nutritional supplement
    form of calcium and magnesium (in a ratio of 2:1)

    5 grams unpasteurized or untreated
    wheatgerm for its vitamin E and trace elements

    500 milligrams of vitamin
    C (as sodium ascorbate, in powder form if possible)

    1001U vitamin E (make sure
    this is D­Alpha tocopherol)

    40 milligrams vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

    20­30 milligrams zinc
    (picolinate or orotate)

Blend these ingredients
together in a food processor and keep refrigerated until use.

The amounts given are
for daily consumption (around 30 grams in total) and it is
probably wise to make up enough for a few weeks at a time and
to keep this well covered and chilled until it is consumed, as breakfast
or with any meal.

Research at the University
of Alabama by Drs C Butterworth and C Krumdieck (published
in 1974 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)
shown that the combination of linoleic acid and lecithin, as well
as the other nutrients such as vitamin C, act to form an enzyme Lecithin­Cholesterol­Acyl­Transferase (LCAT), which chelates cholesterol
deposits from arterial walls at normal body temperatures.
These foods are suggested by Dr Rinse as a means of ensuring
that the raw materials for formation of LCAT are readily

Oral chelation:
Formula 2

Dr Kurt Donsbach, the dynamic
and controversial author of dozens of health booklets and pamphlets,
and director of an ‘holistic’ medical clinic in California, has
provided a chelation formula for oral use (Chelation pamphlet
1985, published by the author). He states:

    Oral chelation is probably
    a misnomer, since the formulation does not attach itself to, or
    eliminate via the urine, the calcium in the bloodstream as does
    the EDTA form of intravenous chelation. The term is used because
    the end result is the same, with considerably less discomfort and
    cost (approximately 1500 percent less).

    The two chelation approaches,
    intravenous infusion of EDTA and the oral nutrient approach, both
    are lifesavers to countless individuals. Many physicians are now
    opting for a combination of the two methods since they work in
    different fashions and by doing so find that the intravenous infusions
    can be cut down from a series of 30 to only 10 treatments. Furthermore,
    by using a maintenance dose of the oral, the patient is protected
    for the future so that he does not need to be rechelated with

John Stirling, an Australian
research scientist working in the UK compares oral and intravenous
chelation (although he is discussing oral use of EDTA, not oral
nutritional chelation) with intravenous EDTA (Stirling, 1989):

    I would opt for intravenous
    over oral EDTA in extreme life threatening situations. Intravenous
    is more direct obviously, and results can be noticed sooner, and
    the cost variance is considerable.

So what does Dr Donsbach suggest
as oral chelation? A great deal, as the following shows:

    Vitamin A (fish liver oil
    and beta carotene) 25,000IU

    Vitamin D (fish liver oil)

    Vitamin E

    Vitamin C

    Vitamin Bl

    Vitamin B2

    Vitamin B6

    Niacin (B3)

    Pantothenic acid (B5)

    Vitamin B12

    Folic acid





    Calcium carbonate

    Magnesium oxide

    Iodine (kelp)

    Copper gluconate

    Zinc gluconate

    Potassium citrate and chloride 400mg

    Manganese gluconate


    Thymus extract

    Spleen extract

    Cod liver oil (EPA)

    Hawthorn berry


    Cysteine HCL


Quite clearly, it is beyond
the means of most people to compile a collection of nutrients
which would meet these precise requirements. The particular formula
given above is available in the USA from health stores. Anyone
trying to put together an approximation of this suggested pattern
could ask for assistance from a health store assistant who would
doubtless with a little effort, be able to combine a number of
standard formulations and individual items towards this end.

It must be said that the combination
put together by Dr Donsbach seems heroic in its complexity and
although he explains precisely why each item is included, there
remains a faint suggestion of ‘shot­gun’ supplementation
in which the more things thrown together the greater the chance
that something might do some good. The author provides this formulation
as a matter of accuracy rather than as a strongly recommended
course. My preference would be for something along the lines of
Dr Rinse’s formulation or the using of individual nutrient supplementation
as outlined in Chapter 8.

Before we examine the use
of oral EDTA, a reminder is in order at this point of the value
of exercise as a chelation generating method. It is clear from
Nathan Pritikin’s work (Pritikin, 1980) that a combination of
diet and exercise can do as much as chelation therapy in normalizing
circulatory dysfunction; and remember that without attention to
these areas chelation therapy will produce results which will
not be sustained.

Lactic acid from muscle
effort-a natural chelator

Dr Johan Bjorksten (1981)
states: ‘Lactic acid is not as effective as EDTA in speed, but
given enough time to act, it seems comparable in total removal
of chelatable metal’.

To achieve this effect, lactic
acid levels have to be raised regularly and for sustained periods
via endurance exercise patterns such as walking, swimming, cycling,
etc. This must not be confused with aerobic exercise in which
specific cardiovascular training is taking place only if a specific
degree of effort is sustained (see Chapter 8 on aerobic principles).
In order to achieve the lactic acid chelating effect it is more
important that duration (time spent exercising) is focused
on rather than degree of effort.

A combination of Dr Rinse’s
formula and regular exercise offers a means of self­chelation
of quite considerable sophistication.

However, when we speak of
oral chelation it is to oral EDTA that we should really be looking.

EDTA as an oral supplement

A leading British firm supplies
practitioners with their EDTA Complex supplement, which is based
on a formula originally used in the clinic of Dr Josef Issels
in West Germany and later used extensively in Australia by biologist
and naturopath John Stirling.

Stirling says:

    EDTA is usually degraded in
    the stomach and when given orally is of little value, with approximately
    only 5 per cent being absorbed. However, when granulated and enteric
    coated, then pressed into a tablet and coated again, the absorption
    factor is almost 100 per cent.

This company is presently
accumulating anecdotal evidence for the effectiveness of EDTA
Complex. The tablets contain 150 mg of ethylene diamine­tetra­acetic
acid with 100 mg of vitamin C and 100 IU of vitamin E. Suggested
dose is one tablet morning and night, with food.

Stirling recommends it as
a strong supportive agent along with diet and a correct organic
mineral replacement therapy:

    The major advantage of using
    low­dose EDTA orally is that it is non­invasive, does
    not require electrolyte monitoring as the IV form does, and can
    be used as a long­term method to slowly remove toxic metals
    and arterial plaque from the system.

Stirling is also in favour
of the oral form because he prefers to avoid any possibility of
toxic overload on the kidneys and liver, the main organs of elimination
that are used in taking chelated material out of the body.

Kidney function is not upset
by this approach any more than it is in intravenous applications,
and if there are concerns regarding kidney function this should
be monitored during any course of treatment. No electrolyte imbalances
have been observed with oral use of EDTA and diarrhoea is rarely
a side-effect.

EDTA was given orally to patients,
by the late Dr Issels at his cancer clinic in Germany, where it
proved ‘very useful’

It is now being used in the
UK by leading ‘holistic’ dentists such as Jack Levenson, who wish
to chelate mercury out of the system after it has entered via
the amalgam fillings of the patient. In such cases an antioxidant
formulation (vitamins A, C, E, etc.) as well as enzymes such as
Glutathione peroxidase are supplemented along with oral EDTA.
This form of EDTA should be seen as a form of maintenance rather
than having the potential for chelation held by intravenous infusion.
EDTA supplements for maintenance use are given morning and evening
with food ­ doses of 150 mg are usual.

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Written by Leon Chaitow ND DO MRO

Explore Wellness in 2021