Great Smokies Medical Center of Asheville

What is Chelation Therapy?

What Is Chelation?
History
The word Chelation is derived from the Greek work “chelos” which translates as “claw” and refers to the ability of Ethylenediamine Tetraacetic Acid (EDTA) to grab unto heavy metals and toxic chemicals for transportation out of the body.
A half-century of research in structural chemistry focusing on the ability of some amino acids to form constant stable bonds with metal ions preceded the rapid development in the 1930’s and 1940’s of a new range of compounds initially applied to industrial and then to medical uses. One of the industrial uses was preventing calcium in hard water from causing staining or other problems in textile printing. EDTA was developed and patented for this purpose.
In the early 1940’s it was discovered through research that EDTA was a highly effective antidote to heavy metal toxicity, especially lead poisoning. Further studies at Georgetown University by Dr. Martin Rubin revealed that EDTA had an effect of lowering of serum calcium levels in humans.
In the 1950’s, the use of EDTA for lead toxicity in clinical trials had surprisingly effective results. To this day, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still recommends EDTA as the ideal treatment for lead toxicity and for hypercalcemia (excess calcium). It was a coincidental finding in the 1950’s when it was observed that persons who had lead toxicity and blockages in their arteries often not only experienced marked improvement in their symptoms of lead poisoning, but also in their circulation.
Since these pioneering days, the protocols for the use of EDTA for both hardening of the arteries and heavy metal toxicity have improved. In the clinical experience of GSMC physicians, benefits including improved functioning have been observed for angina, stroke, high blood pressure, arthritis, intermittent claudication, diabetes, gangrene, digitalis (Lanoxin) toxicity, abnormal clotting tendencies, and scleroderma.

Modern Day Use of EDTA
EDTA Chelation Therapy today consists of the intravenous infusion of EDTA with other nutritional additives including Vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium etc., administered under the supervision of a trained physician over a three-hour period of time.
A course of Chelation Therapy could range from twenty treatments for prevention to in excess of forty treatments for severe and complex disease. Your physician will recommend a course of treatment customized for one’s individual circumstances. Remember it takes years to develop artery disease, and it is a serious medical condition. To reverse, stop or even slow down this disease process within the span of 30-40 Chelation Therapy treatments is an remarkable goal.

EDTA Chelation Therapy is considered by informed physicians who utilize it to be an effective first step alternative to surgical treatment for atherosclerotic vascular disease in individuals who have been deemed to be appropriate candidates. The physicians at GSMC readily refer patients for Coronary Artery Bypass, stent placement, and angioplasty if indicated, always weighing respective risks and benefits and the appropriateness of each potential therapy for each particular situation.

BENEFITS
One of the benefits of EDTA Chelation Therapy is its ability to simultaneously treat all the arteries in the body, unlike surgical bypass that may remedy just a few inches of blockage that exists in a circulatory system that contains 40,000 miles of blood vessels. Vascular disease is a systemic illness, and as all physicians recognize, a complex illness with varied contributors and causes.
Virtually everyone in our post-industrial society carries some toxic metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic and aluminum. The important causative roles these toxins have in human health have become better understood in recent years. Some of those best-known roles are: lead toxicity in neurological disorders and learning disabilities of children, excess iron (known as hemachromatosis) and vascular disease, and the suspected relationship between Alzheimer’s and aluminum.
In our experience, Chelation Therapy lowers heart disease risk by addressing the toxic effects of iron stores in the body, and helps prevent excessive clotting tendencies, thereby increasing longevity through prevention of heart attacks and strokes.
In our experience, when Chelation Therapy is used as part of a comprehensive program including nutritional supplementation, diet, exercise, stress reduction, lifestyle modification and smoking cessation, most of our patients experience a significant return of function and an overall improved sense of well-being. One should not expect to simply sit for a three hour IV each week and not change any risk factors that contributed to their health problems in the first place and still experience benefits. The person being treated has an active role to play in determining outcome of treatment.

Safety
Since its inception in 1979, the physicians at Great Smokies Medical Center (GSMC) have administered over 100,000 Chelation Therapy treatments. All GSMC physicians follow the American Board of Chelation Therapy (ABCT) protocol for the safe administration of EDTA. All GSMC physicians either are Board Certified in Chelation Therapy by the ABCT or are pursuing Board Certification, and are members of the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM), a not-for-profit organization of physicians who explore scientifically based innovative therapies.
There has never been a fatality reported from the use of EDTA when the prescribing physician follows the ABCT protocol. By comparison, for every 10,000 cardiac bypass patients, approximately 300 will die from the operation and approximately 1,000 other patients will suffer serious consequences such as a heart attack or stroke.
Our extensive experience with EDTA Chelation Therapy has made it routine for GSMC physicians to identify two health problems that need to be addressed prior to the start of treatment.
* Kidney disease: EDTA is excreted from the body via the kidneys, so your GSMC physician will assess your kidney function both before and periodically during your course of chelation therapy. In our experience, patients with mild to moderately impaired kidney function often experience improved kidney function resulting from improved circulation to the kidneys.
* Congestive Heart Failure: If you have congestive heart failure, your GSMC physician will adjust your program accordingly, by simply using less IV fluid to deliver your dose of EDTA. Most people with congestive heart failure can take chelation therapy without any difficulty.
While the beauty of EDTA is its relative safety and simple chemistry, it does have some side effects that our trained staff can prevent or identify early:
* While usually a comfortable therapy to receive, occasionally mild to moderate discomfort at the site of infusion in the arm may occur and be remedied by minor adjustments including using a heating pad or repositioning the IV.
* Since it is possible for anyone to have an adverse reaction to any substance, it may happen that one or more of the additives in the Chelation IV bottle may cause an adverse reaction. Omitting suspect additives from subsequent IV’s remedies this situation.
* Lowering of blood sugar (a benefit for diabetics) is a side effect of Chelation Therapy that is easily remedied by eating before and during a chelation treatment.
Who can benefit from chelation therapy:
In our experience, the following medical problems have been shown to benefit from Chelation Therapy
* Angina, history of a heart attack, or coronary artery disease
* A history of bypass surgery or angioplasty
* Stroke, TIAs, carotid artery disease
* Diabetes and its circulatory complications of ulcers and gangrene
* Intermittent claudication
* Scleroderma
* Lead toxicity
* High blood pressure
* Arthritis
Recommended reading:
Bypassing Bypass:
The New Technique of Chelation Therapy, Elmer Cranton, M.D., Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc., April 1994.
Forty Something Forever:
A Consumer’s Guide to Chelation Therapy, Harold and Arline Brecher, Virginia, Health Savers Press, Herndon, 1992.
Professional Organizations:
American College for the Advancement of Medicine
23121 Verdugo Drive, Suite 204
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Phone: 800-532-3688
www.acam.org

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