an Alternative to Natural Health
Nature's Sunshine Products
THE MIRACLE OF CHELATION
BACK IN CIRCULATION
- from Lets Live March 1996
A 45 year old engineer can bike in his beloved mountains again free of searing leg pains, a 85-year old woman with diabetes she won't lose her gangrenous foot because the circulation is returning, a 61 year old physician is back to seeing his full schedule of patients, free of suffocating pains in his chest and able to play 18 holes of golf when he gets a day off, a 75 year old grandmother wheelchair-bound gets up and walks after her third treatment and a cardiac patient is taken off the waiting list for a transplant he no longer needs.
Miracles of modern surgery? The latest wizardry from genetic engineers? A breakthrough in drug research? Hardly. It's a 40 year old treatment called chelation therapy.
Chelation therapy starts with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), a synthetic amino acid developed for industrial processes in the days before World War II. EDTA showed promise as an antidote to toxic chemicals in the human body. EDTA bonds with certain mineral elements in the body carrying them thought the kidneys and out of the body via the urine.
In the early 1950s, Detroit cardiologist Norman E. Clark, Sr., M.D., was using EDTA to treat the lead poisoning of some battery plant workers. He made a serendipitous observation. The men's lead intoxication was cured and their chest pains were relieved.
Clarke published several papers on EDTA and atherosclerosis. He was soon joined by other physicians who reported favorable results with the new treatment. More than a score of major articles and a host of lesser reports appeared in the decade following Clarke's initial findings. Most were enthusiastic though lacking modern standards of scientific rigor.
By 1960 with the publication of Metal Binding in Medicine, the proceedings of a symposium sponsored by Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital, chelation therapy was on the brink of widespread medical acceptance. But events conspired to keep this break-through therapy from the public for decades to come.
The first event was the death of Dr. Marvin J. Seven, a key figure in EDTA chelation research and co-editor of the Hahnemann symposium volume. A second event was the rise of coronary bypass surgery in the late 1960s, which unleashed powerful economic forces that suppressed medical interest in chelation for many years.
The road blocks to chelation acceptance began with a 1963 paper in an influential medical journal in which two chelation researchers reappraised the subject. They concluded that EDTA chelation "is not a useful clinical tool in the treatment of coronary disease at the present time." Later another prominent researcher recanted.
There are few independent-mined doctors who don't take orders from the American Medical Association and who want to use the safest and best treatments for their patients. Chelation therapy works and when properly administered, it's non-toxic, so they're continued using it.
Compared to the alternatives, chelation therapy is easy and inexpensive. It doesn't carry the risk of bypass surgery and angioplasty and cost far less. It doesn't clear the atherosclerotic plaques from just one or two vessels, like vascular surgery, it treats all the arteries.
EDTA, the chelating agent, is mixed with approximately a half quart of distilled water containing various vitamin and mineral nutrients and administered intravenously, according to a standard protocol established by the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM). The intravenous drip runs slowly for about three hours and is repeated one or more times a week for a total of 20 to 30 treatments.
The patient usually sits in a comfortable recliner chair in a room with congenial people who have had similar medical problems. A nurse checks the infusion rate and monitors vital signs, alert for the occasional hypoglycemic reaction. The patient brings a nutritious snack o\to eat during the chelation session.
The benefits are considerable and are often manifested after just a few treatments: reversal of angina chest pain, ability to walk several blocks without crippling calf pains, restoration of circulation to extremities, enhanced energy and mental clarity. There are long-term benefits such as lowered risk of early death from atherosclerosis and even cancer.
HOW DOES CHELATION WORK?
Surprisingly, nobody really knows. Originally, doctors thought EDTA acted mainly by removing calcium from the plaques in artery walls. Recently, the technique of ultra fast CAT scanning has supported this old view: Calcium in coronary arteries correlates with coronary artery disease, and its level is significantly reduced after chelation therapy.
Other explanations are possible. EDTA may act to forestall free-radical damage, which is linked to the toxic metals that EDTA removes form the body. Certainly, excess iron is a risk factor, being a pro-oxidant; EDTA effectively gets rid of iron.
EDTA inhibits platelet aggregation, a step in the formation of clots in blood vessels and elsewhere. (In coronary arteries, it's called coronary thrombosis.) EDTA helps prevent arterial spasm, which can cause a heart attack. EDTA likely heals the vascular system by doing several different things at the same time.
To maintain the benefits, the patient needs to make changes in diet and lifestyle; no excessively fatty foods; a lot of fiber, oil fish, cruciferous vegetables, etc; a lot of exercise; and absolutely no tobacco. Mineral supplements are a must, because chelation can remove nutritional elements from the body along with the unwanted ones.
A healthier diet and lifestyle tends to forestall the reappearance of narrowed arteries, but many chelation doctors recommend playing it even safer. They continue their patients on a monthly EDTA infusion, or administer a booster series of a few treatments annually.
PROPER ADMINISTRATION REDUCES
RISK OF KIDNEY TOXICITY
The potential downside of chelation therapy is kidney toxicity. Nearly all reported instances occurred in the 1950s and 1960s, before protocols were developed for safe administration of EDTA. The cases have in common the factors of excessive dosage and a too-rapid rate of administration. The exposure of kidney cells to high levels of toxic metals, carried through the kidneys by EDTA, is the probable reason.
All properly trained chelation specialists are well aware of the remote risk of kidney damage and monitor kidney function periodically with appropriate test. (It often improves with chelation.) All properly trained doctors observe the protocols for safe dosage and administration rate of EDTA as developed by their professional organizations.
The first professional organization for chelation was the American Academy of Medical Preventics (AAMP), formed in the mid-1970s by a small, but determined band of medical pioneers. Under attack from their colleagues, these doctors recognized the need to set professional standards for quality control, establish uniform protocols for the new therapy and support their patients' freedom to choose the chelation alternative.
AAMP was succeeded by ACAM, the doctors' organization that currently sets the standards, educates neophyte doctors and watches out for patients' rights. ACAM is vitally concerned with other issues, too.
One of ACAM's priorities is promoting research, ACAM doctors had high hopes for an FDA approved, double-blind study in 1985, but the study never got off the ground. It received some 11th-hour support from a major pharmaceutical company, but finally fizzled in 1992.
Several of ACAM's members regularly publish new findings. Terry Chappell, M.D., ACAM president, speaks of a recent meta-analysis he preformed with the assistance of a statistician-patient: "We found 19 articles in the literature that looked at objective evidence before and after treatment, and found that 87 percent of those patients showed measurable improvement. There was a high correlation between improvement in vascular disease and treatment with EDTA."
Chappell and his statistician looked at unpublished reports as well. "In all, we've had 51 reports with over 24,000 patients and the statistics were consistent in showing a benefit," he says.
Obtaining insurance reimbursement for chelation patients is another interest of ACAM members. Most patients have paid the $2,000 to $4,000 cost out of pocket. Some insurance plans pay on a case by case basis and there have been encouraging signs that more may follow.
In 1988, an Ohio judge ordered Aetna to pay for chelation. In England, the National Health Service has approved coverage for some individual cases. CIGNA in Arizona has begun a pilot program that includes coverage for complementary medicine. This program makes sense, since complementary medical therapies in general and chelation therapy are cost effective.
In these days of managed care and health maintenance organizations, costly therapies like angioplasty and coronary bypass are becoming luxuries the system can't afford. It seems plausible that mainstream medicine may take a second look at chelation therapy more for economic reasons than the science behind it. Chelation was suppressed because of medical economics for so many years; such an occurrence would indeed be ironic.
NSP has "MEGA CHEL" a formula in tablet form that does the same as EDTA and not as expensive.
Go here to find more information about Mega Chel and how to use.