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How Effective is Chelation for Autism?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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The effectiveness of chelation for autism therapy has been heavily debated and tested, but there are still two very different views of this alternative treatment technique. Most conventional doctors claim that there is no clinical evidence to suggest that the use of chelation therapy is beneficial for autism patients, and is in fact harmful in some patients. Alternative medicine practitioners and many parents who have used such therapies disagree, and claim that chelation used for the removal of toxic metals from the blood is an effective cure for autism.

Chelation therapy refers to a procedure which injects a substance into the bloodstream in order to help speed up the removal of heavy or toxic metals like mercury and lead. While there is no official cause of autism, many people believe that mercury exposure from childhood vaccines are a major proponent in most autism cases. Mainstream studies thus far have disproved this theory, although some less conventional researchers claim that these studies may be biased.

In the majority of mainstream medical studies, the use of chelation for autism was proven ineffective and sometimes dangerous. Liver and kidney issues can sometimes result from these procedures, so only trained physicians should perform them. Most conventional doctors will not perform chelation for autism treatment.

The debate continues because some alternative medicine experts and researchers still maintain that chelation for autism is an effective means of curing the condition. Some parents also claim that the use of chelation cured their children or resulted in an extreme drop in symptoms. For this reason, parents are encouraged to research and develop their own opinions on this matter when making treatment decisions for their children.

Similar therapies have also been noted as being as effective as chelation for autism treatment, including some diet plans which also act to cleanse the body of toxins. These are also being heavily debated, and the word is still out on whether or not they are clinically beneficial. At this time, most doctors recommend therapy and sometimes medication for the treatment of autism. In order to undergo less traditional techniques, parents may have to find a holistic or naturalist practitioner to perform the treatments.

Chelation therapy should not be used in children with liver or kidney problems, and should not be performed except under the supervision of a doctor who specializes in such therapies. If severe side effects occur, treatment should be discontinued. There is no medically recognized cure for autism, but some parents maintain that alternative medicine has been beneficial. Parents should research various options for themselves to make the right choice for their families.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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