As a result of living in the Post Industrial Age, everyone on earth is being exposed daily to heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury.
Even though lead is no longer in paint or gasoline, the after-effects of those previously leaded products continue to be in the atmosphere. Lead and cadmium are found in cigarette smoke, even second hand. Arsenic has been found in brown rice products, including rice milk. Mercury is in tuna and is also the majority metal found in amalgam dental fillings. Unlike necessary minerals, there is no useful role that heavy metals play in normal physiology.
After acute exposure, heavy metals only remain in the blood circulation for less than 40 days.
After that they settle in bones and soft tissues. Out of 50,000 different enzyme systems in the body, up to 1/3 are dependent on the presence of minerals such as zinc, selenium, and magnesium. However, when heavy metals start to accumulate, they push the normal healthy minerals out of the way and interpose themselves into the same space. Whenever this happens, that enzyme system becomes partially or fully compromised and unable to do its task.
One example is the effect that lead has on the endothelium.
The endothelium is the innermost one-cell-layer thick lining of our arteries, arterioles and capillaries. The endothelium produces nitric oxide which exquisitely controls the dilation/contraction of the blood vessels in response to demand and supply. If lead becomes embedded in the endothelium, it partly cripples the NO-producing system which can contribute to conditions like high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction.
The problem with heavy metals is that once they enter the body, they are very difficult to excrete.
They tend to latch on and remain inside the body instead of being eliminated through the normal systems of elimination.
Chelation therapy is designed to pull heavy metals out of the body.
Chelation therapy in our office is an IV composed of vitamins, healthy minerals, and a chelating substance.
The best chelating agent used by virtually all chelation practices is EDTA. It is given intravenously because only approximately five percent of an oral dose is absorbed by the gut. Thus IV administration ensures much higher blood levels and efficacy. EDTA is very effective for lead, cadmium, excess iron, and excess calcium, and to a lesser degree, mercury. Since mercury doesn’t come out as readily with EDTA, we also use an oral mercury chelator, DMSA. It is taken as one dose on the day of the IV chelation with EDTA.
In order to have Chelation, you first must have Chelation testing done.
This testing consists of blood testing, urine testing, and sometimes stool testing depending on the toxicity levels. The results of these tests will determine whether or not you are eligible for Chelation. If it is determined that Chelation is right for you, the Chelation is administered via a slow IV drip. Chelation is usually recommended in increments of 10. Between 10 and 40 is the average range of the number of treatments the providers will recommend. Each session usually lasts an hour, and between sessions you will be required to take a specific multivitamin that will be provided. Chelation treatments can be scheduled once or twice a week. Keep in mind that if two a week are scheduled there must be a day between the treatments.
The primary goal of Chelation is to help reduce the total body burden of heavy metals.
It’s also been shown in an NIH-sponsored clinical trial, the TACT trial, to be effective in preventing second heart attacks. This was especially effective in diabetics. In fact, it was found to be the most effective intervention in diabetics in terms of reducing the chance of a second heart attack. It is even more effective than beta blockers, statin drugs, and aspirin. Anecdotally, many people have shown benefit with circulatory disorders, neurologic disorders, auto-immune problems, and heart disease. However, chelation therapy is not approved by the FDA except in the case of acute lead poisoning or iron overload.
People vary widely in both their accumulation of heavy metals and in their clinical symptoms, therefore, the length of treatment varies.
Generally speaking, most people won’t notice a difference until they’ve had at least 15-20 IV treatments. The standard protocol, also used in the TACT trial, is 40 treatments. Then the recommendation is that once the 40 treatments are completed, that an individual continue to have monthly or bi-monthly chelation so that the metals do not re-accumulate.
The most common side effect of chelation therapy is a burning sensation at the site of the infusion.
Slowing the rate normally takes care of this immediately. Very rarely, patients have experienced headaches, nausea and lower blood pressure. Sometimes a day or two after IV chelation, a person can experience mild muscle cramping. This is usually prevented or alleviated by taking the recommended vitamin/mineral