Consumer Information About Chelation Therapy

What is Chelation Therapy?

Chelation therapy is a safe, effective and relatively inexpensive treatment to restore blood flow in victims of atherosclerosis without surgery. Chelation therapy involves the intravenous infusion of a prescription medicine called ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid (EDTA).

What is EDTA?

EDTA is a substance which removes undesirable metals from the body. Some metals, such as lead, mercury and cadmium are poisons. Lead and cadmium levels correlate with high blood pressure. All metals, even essential nutritional elements, are toxic in excess or when abnormally situated. EDTA normalizes the distribution of most metallic elements in the body. EDTA improves calcium and cholesterol metabolism by eliminating metallic elements in the body. EDTA improves calcium and cholesterol metabolism by eliminating metallic catalysts which cause damage to cell membranes by producing “oxygen free radicals.” Free radical pathology is now believed by many scientists to be an important contributing cause of atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes and other diseases of aging. EDTA helps to prevent the production of harmful free radicals.

What is it used for?

Chelation therapy is used to reverse symptoms of hardening of the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is caused by multiple complex factors, including abnormal accumulations of metallic elements. The end result is plaque formation within arteries which blocks the flow of blood. Plaques are composed of fibrous tissue, cholesterol and calcium. Atherosclerosis leads to heart attack, stroke, senility and may lead to amputation of extremities. Every single study of the use of chelation therapy for atherosclerosis which has ever been published, without exception, has described an improvement in blood flow and symptoms. Adverse editorial comment to the contrary lacks evidence and stems primarily from physicians with a vested interest in catheterization and surgery.

How Does Artery Disease Affect Health?

Blockage of blood vessels by plaque (atheroma) reduces the flow of blood, starving vital organs for oxygen and other nutrients. Cell walls then become leaky, allowing excessive calcium, sodium and other elements to enter. When calcium accumulates to a critical point, deposits form, like concrete. These calcifications can often be seen on xray. Disordered calcium metabolism can also cause coronaries and other arteries to go into spasm, further reducing blood to vital organs.

How Does Chelation Therapy Affect Health?

Chelation therapy promotes health by correcting the major underlying cause of arterial blockage. Damaging oxygen free radicals are increased by the presence of metallic elements and act as a chronic irritant to blood vessel walls and cell membranes. EDTA removes those metallic irritants, allowing leaky and damaged cell walls to heal. Plaques smooth over and shrink, allowing more blood to pass. Arterial walls become softer and more pliable, allowing easier expansion. Scientific studies have proven that blood flow increases after chelation therapy. A complete program of chelation therapy involves a broad-based health care program of regular exercise, proper nutrition, vitamin and mineral supplementation and avoidance of tobacco and other damaging habits.

What are the interactions between Chelation Therapy and other treatments for Artery Disease?

Chelation therapy can be utilized in conjunction with most other therapies for cardio-vascular disease. EDTA is compatible with blood thinners, blood vessel dilators, medicines for blood pressure and heart arrhythmias, calcium blockers and beta blockers. The need for drugs is often reduced or eliminated after a course of chelation therapy.

What is the cost comparison?

Bypass surgery is the mechanical repair of only a small portion of the arterial tree. Total costs average about $45,000 and can be as high as $60,000 or even more. Chelation therapy is an office treatment which improves blood flow throughout the entire vascular system at a fraction of the cost of bypass surgery. For example, if 20 to 40 four-hour chelation treatments in a physician’s office were required for a given patient, it would cost an estimated $2000-$4000.

What about safety and side effects?

Chelation therapy is among the safest of medical procedures. More than 400,000 patients have received over four million treatments during the past 30 years. Not one death has been directly caused by chelation therapy, when properly administered by a physician who was fully trained and competent in the use of this therapy. Side effects are possible, as with any drug therapy. Vein irritation, mild pain, headache and fatigue may occur. Occasionally a mild and transient fever occurs. These and other minor side effects, if they occur, are easily controlled by adjusting the duration and frequency of treatment, or with the use of other simple measures. Side effects tend to diminish after the first few treatments. Most patients experience few or no side effects.

How do I know if I need or can benefit from Chelation Therapy?

If you have chest pain or leg pain on walking; shortness of breath; painful, discolored feet; transient loss of vision; paralysis; or rapidly failing memory, see a physician! Any unexplained or persistent symptoms which affect your heart, head or limbs should be explored for circulatory blockage.

How will I be able to tell it Chelation Therapy has helped me?

Patients routinely report reduction or elimination of their symptoms with an increasing sense of well being after chelation therapy. Family and friends are often the first to notice and report improvement in appearance, behavior and performance. Comparison of pre- and post-therapy diagnostic tests can provide objective evidence of effectiveness.

Can my personal physician give this treatment?

Any licensed physician can legally administer this treatment. Courses to train physicians in the safe use of chelation therapy are offered twice yearly by the American College for Advancement in Medicine. Interested physicians should contact ACAM for information about training and certification in this important type of medical therapy.

Can Chelation Therapy be used after Bypass Surgery?

Yes! Although chelation therapy is best utilized to avoid bypass surgery, many patients who have previously undergone one or more bypass procedures, often with little or no benefit, have subsequently benefitted greatly from chelation therapy. Treatment for each patient must be individualized. If all else fails, including chelation therapy, bypass remains available as a last resort.

Is Chelation Therapy legal treatment?

Yes! Chelation therapy is completely legal. A licensed physician is free to utilize any therapy of acceptable risk which, in his or her professional judgement, is of potential benefit — even if advertising claims for treatment are not yet approved by the FDA. The FDA does not regulate the practice of medicine but only limits marketing and advertising claims for drugs. The FDA has approved marketing claims for the use of EDTA to treat lead poisoning and several other conditions. Treatment of atherosclerosis is not yet an allowable claim for inclusion in the marketing literature of EDTA.

Do medical insurance companies pay for Chelation Therapy?

Most medical insurance companies, including Medicare, have been financially depleted by paying for so many expensive surgeries. Segments of the health care industry which profit greatly from surgical procedures are politically powerful. Physicians who review claims for medical insurance companies often favor the extremely expensive and risky procedures, such as bypass surgery, while refusing payment for equally beneficial, far less expensive and immeasurably safer chelation therapy. While insurance policies do not specifically exclude chelation therapy in their policies, patients have often had to resort to the courts in order to collect their insurance benefits.

How do I find a physician who is trained and competent in Chelation Therapy?

The American College for Advancement in Medicine provides a free national listing of its member doctors, most of whom include chelation therapy in their practice. To receive this list, send a self-addressed, business-size (#10) envelope with .55 cents postage to:

American College for Advancement in Medicine
P. O. Box 3427
Laguna Hills, CA 92654

The reader is advised that varying and even conflicting views are held by other segments of the medical profession. The information presented here is educational in nature and is not intended as a basis for diagnosis or treatment.

This information represents the current opinion of independent physician consultants to ACAM at the time of publication.

ACAM publishes and distributes this information as a courtesy to the public.

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Written by American College for Advancement in Medicine

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