Chelation therapy represents a method of detoxification of the body, particularly of unwanted metals such as lead, iron, copper, zinc, aluminum, and manganese, derived from the Greek word chele, which means "to bind" or "to claw."
Chelation therapy is recorded to improve blood circulation and thus counteract gangrene, leg cramps, and other vascular disorders through a process that includes the removal of calcium in plaque that occludes arteries; treat Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, asthma, macular degeneration, chronic fatigue syndrome, ulcerative colitis, emphysema, thyroid disorders, scleroderma, influenza, lupus, and Parkinson's and other diseases; and eliminate the adverse effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy and the need for bypass surgery. The three- to four-hour treatment involves an injection of intravenous (IV) ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) into the hand of a finger. Chelation may be required 20 to 50 times, to as many as 100 EDTA infusions as a treatment for occluded arteries; as a preventive measure, the average number of infusions is 10, administered one to three times a week. Also, the IV solution can include nutrients such as vitamins and minerals and ginkgo biloba and phosphatidylserine, all of which may be taken orally as chelators. The Food and Drug Administration has so far approved EDTA only for lead and other heavy metal poisoning and the treatment of hypercalcemia (an abnormal amount of calcium in the blood). However, it is considered safer than aspirin.
Chelation therapy appears uncertain as an alternative treatment for other conditions. However, doctors prescribe it for people with cardiovascular problems and say it significantly improves breathing and alleviates arteriosclerosis symptoms that can lead to more severe health difficulties. Besides, others suggest iron chelation increases the body's free radicals, compound substances that cause oxidation and damage to body tissues.
EDTA, a drug initially common to plumbers to clear calcium deposits from pipes, was first used by the United States Navy in 1948 for the treatment of lead poisoning.
Oral chelation is somewhat less effective than intravenous administration and requires mixing EDTA with other chelators, including garlic, vitamin C, carrageenan, rutin, bromelain, and some enzymes.
For example, the enzyme cysteine may be recommended for poisoning nickel and the presence of excessive free radicals. Furthermore, the drug penicillamine, which is used as a conventional treatment for several conditions, including metal poisoning and rheumatoid arthritis, is similar to that of EDTA.
A research study to assess the efficacy of EDTA chelation therapy as a preventive measure against cancer was performed in 1958 in Switzerland. The study on 231 adults that lived near a highway who could have been exposed to lead from vehicle exhaust, to which exposure was attributed to high cancer mortality rates and symptoms including headaches, drug and alcohol abuse, digestive problems, depression, fatigue, and anxiety.
Encyclopedia of Complementary and Alternative Medicine
- Tova Navarra, B.A., R.N.
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