The word chelate comes from a Greek word that means to grab onto something with a claw. Chelation therapy is a widely accepted and effective method of removing toxic metals such as lead from the bloodstream. It has also become an alternative treatment for attempting to cure other conditions such as cancer, thyroid disorders, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and atherosclerosis. Chelation therapy uses the man-made amino acid ethylenediaminetetraacetic (EDTA) to attract and remove unwanted metals and substances from the bloodstream.
During an intravenous chelation therapy treatment the patient usually will have an intravenous (IV) drip of EDTA placed into their bloodstream. As it slowly moves through the bloodstream, EDTA has the ability to bind itself to lead, mercury, cadmium, zinc, calcium, copper, iron, and many other minerals and metals. The intravenous chelation treatment typically will last between three and four hours. When the patient has completed his treatment, he typically will urinate the toxic substances that are attached to the EDTA out of his system over the next few days.
Proponents of chelation therapy agree that EDTA can clear blocked arteries that are narrowed by mineral deposits such as calcium. Calcium usually is the main component in blocked arteries. This condition is called hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart disease.
Intravenous chelation therapy typically is not completed in just one session. During the first month of chelation therapy, a patient usually will undergo 30 of the three- to four-hour treatments. Each treatment can cost approximately $100 US Dollars (USD), or about $3,000 USD per month. Chelation therapy for anything other than lead or mercury poisoning generally is not covered by insurance.
During chelation therapy, a patient most likely will lose other important minerals and nutrients from his body as well as the toxic substance. It can be important that a doctor prescribe a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement to combat this side effect. The amount of supplements that may be necessary typically will vary, based on the needs of each individual patient. If a person elects to do intravenous chelation therapy, it usually is important to continue taking any prescription medications and to continue seeing a regular physician.
Chelation therapy has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to remove lead from the bloodstream. Studies are exploring how effective chelation therapy is in curing the many other ailments that proponents are confident it does. Most of the major medical governing bodies such as the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Heart Association (AHA), and the FDA are not convinced that EDTA is effective in curing anything except removing toxic metals from the bloodstream.