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Frequently Asked Questions
Chelation Therapy

1. Why haven't I heard of chelation before?

If EDTA chelation therapy is safe and effective as indicated by many published studies, and by the experience of hundreds of doctors, why haven’t you heard more about it? That is a good question! Until quite recently, relatively few patients have been informed that this therapy is available. Many heart specialists may not have even heard of the treatment and would be reluctant to prescribe it if they had. The American Medical Association has not yet approved chelation therapy for atherosclerosis, although it does endorse its use in the treatment of lead poisoning. Many insurance companies will not compensate policy holders for chelation therapy unless it is given for proven lead poisoning of a serious degree. If chelation therapy is given for atherosclerosis, it is often labeled "experimental" or "not necessary " or "not customary" by medical insurance companies and payment is denied. They deny payment to patients for chelation therapy even though they do pay for bypass surgery, and even though chelation might have saved them tens of thousands of rupees. Like many other aspects of our lives, a considerable amount of politics seems to be involved—in this case, medical politics. Politically powerful traditional medical groups and manufacturers of cardiovascular drugs have consistently suppressed knowledge of chelation therapy, perhaps because of a large vested interest in competing coronary related health care. The cost of all medical care for victims of heart disease in the United States, including coronary bypass surgery and prescription drugs, exceeds $50 billion per year. And in India this cost exceed INR 80billion per year.Obviously, many hospitals, physicians, and pharmaceutical companies would experience a decline in need for their services if chelation therapy were to become universally popular. Physicians who remain skeptical about chelation therapy are those who have never used it. They are either completely uninformed about the research that has been done to document the safety and effectiveness of chelation therapy, or they are committed by training or source of income to other therapeutic procedures, such as vascular surgery and related procedures. Many physicians have merely accepted criticisms of an editorial nature stemming from such sources, without digging into the true facts for themselves. Recent reports of clinical trails alleging to disprove chelation therapy are all so flawed in design that they offer no evidence at all. Doctors, however, are usually too busy to read every word, and often accept the misleading summaries and abstracts, without analyzing the data for themselves. The bypass and cardiovascular drug industries have been extremely well marketed—to the medical profession as well as to the public.

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2. What proof do you have that it works?

Practitioners with extensive experience in the use of chelation therapy observe dramatic improvement in the vast majority of their patients. They see angina routinely relieved; patients who suffered searing chest and leg pain when walking only a short distance are frequently able to return to normal, productive living after undergoing chelation therapy. Far more dramatic, but equally common, is seeing diabetic ulcers and gangrenous feet clear up in a matter of weeks. Individuals who have been told that their limbs would need to be amputated because of gangrene are thrilled to watch their feet heal with chelation therapy, although some areas of dead tissue may still have to be trimmed away surgically. The approximately 1,500 American practitioners practicing chelation therapy, plus hundreds of others in foreign countries, have countless case histories to prove they are able to reverse serious cases of arterial disease. Men and women often arrive at doctors’ offices near death with diseases caused by blocked arteries. Weeks or months later, they’re remarkably improved. There is a wealth of evidence from clinical experience that symptoms of reduced blood flow improve in up to 85 percent of patients treated. More than a million patients have thus far received chelation therapy, almost as many as have undergone bypass surgery.In India slowly and gradually physician of different speciality are learning chelation therapy and more n more patients are opting for simpler yet most potent way to treat cardiovascular and related disorders i.e chelation therapy. All clinical trials of chelation therapy have been positive. There are no negative data, although a few report had a deceptively negative spin on positive data. In addition, several research studies have been published with results of before-and-after diagnostic tests using radio-isotopes and ultra sound which prove statistically that blood flow increases following chelation therapy. Even without blood-flow studies, if leg pain on walking is relieved, if angina becomes less bothersome, and if physical endurance and mental acuity improve, such benefits would be quite enough to justify EDTA chelation therapy. Improved quality of life and relief of symptoms are the most important benefits of chelation therapy.

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3. Is it Legal?

Absolutely. There is no legal prohibition against a licensed medical doctor using chelation therapy for whatever conditions he or she deems it to be in the best interests of their patients, even though the drug involved, EDTA, does not yet have atherosclerosis listed as an indication on the FDA-approved package insert. Contrary to popular belief, the FDA does not regulate the practice of medicine, but merely approves marketing, labeling and advertising claims for drugs and devices sold in interstate commerce. It costs many millions of dollars to perform the required research and to provide the FDA with documentation for a new drug claim, or even to add a new use to marketing brochures of a long established medicine like EDTA. Physicians routinely prescribe medicines for conditions not included on FDA approved advertising and marketing literature. The American College for Advancement in Medicine conducts educational courses in the proper and safe use of intravenous EDTA chelation twice yearly. They also publish a Protocol which contains professionally recognized standards of medical practice for chelation therapy. On the question of legality, courts have expressed the opinion that a practitioner who withholds information about the availability of other treatment choices, such as chelation therapy, prior to performing vascular surgery (along with all other treatment modalities) is in violation of the doctrine of informed consent. Withholding information about a form of treatment may be tantamount to medical malpractice, if as a result, a patient is deprived of possible benefit. Thus, it is the doctors who refuse to recognize and inform their patients about chelation who are risking legal liability—not those chelating practitioners informed enough to resist peer pressure and provide an innovative treatment which they feel to be the safest, the most effective and the least expensive for many of their patients.

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4. Is chelation therapy new?

Not at all. Chelation's earliest application with humans was before World War II when the British used another chelating agent, British Anti-Lewesite (BAL), as a poison gas antidote. BAL is related to chelators still used today in medicine. EDTA was first introduced into medicine in the United States in 1948 as a treatment for industrial workers suffering from lead poisoning in a battery factory. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Navy advocated chelation therapy for sailors who had absorbed lead while painting government ships and dock facilities. In the years since, chelation therapy has remained the undisputed treatment-of-choice for lead poisoning, even in children with toxic accumulations of lead in their bodies as a result of eating leaded paint from toys, cribs or walls. In the early 1950’s it was speculated that EDTA chelation therapy might help the accumulations of calcium associated with hardening of the arteries. Experiments were performed and victims of atherosclerosis experienced health improvements following chelation—diminished angina, better memory, sight, hearing and increased vigor. A number of practitioners then began to routinely treat individuals suffering from occlusive vascular conditions with chelation therapy. Consistent improvements were reported for most patients. Published articles describing successful treatment of atherosclerosis with EDTA chelation therapy first appeared in medical journals in 1955. Dozens of favorable articles have been published since then. No unsuccessful results have ever been reported (with the exception of several recent studies with very flawed data deceptively presented by bypass surgeons, in a seeming attempt to discredit this competing therapy). There have also been a number of editorial comments of a critical nature made by physicians with vested interests in vascular surgery and related procedures. From 1964 on, despite continued documentation of its benefits and the development of safer treatment methods, the use of chelation for the treatment of arterial disease has been the subject of controversy.

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5. What types of examinations and testing must be done prior to beginning chelation therapy?

Prior to commencing a course of chelation therapy a complete medical history is obtained. Diet is analyzed for nutritional adequacy and balance. Copies of pertinent medical records and summaries of hospital admissions may be sent for. A thorough head-to-toe, hands-on physical examination will be performed. A complete list of current medications will be recorded, including the time and strength of each dose. Special note will be made of any allergies. Blood specimens will be obtained in a battery of tests to insure that no conditions exist which should be treated differently or might be worsened by chelation therapy. Kidney function will be carefully assessed. An electrocardiogram is usually obtained. Noninvasive tests will be performed, as medically indicated, to determine the status of arterial blood flow prior to therapy. A consultation with other medical specialists may be requested.

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6. Is chelation therapy for you?

Only you can make that decision! Chances are, your doctor won’t help you decide. Patients who choose chelation therapy often do so against the advice of their personal physicians or cardiologists. Many have already been advised to undergo vascular surgery. Occasionally, a patient never hears about chelation therapy until he or she is hospitalized and a friend or relative begs him or her to look into this non-invasive therapy before proceeding to surgery. In an impressively large number of instances, a new patient comes for chelation on the recommendation of someone who has been successfully chelated. Many patients have benefited even after one or more failed bypasses. You are encouraged to communicate with someone who’s shared your dilemma, someone who can tell you about his or her own experience with chelation therapy. Feel free to contact others with problems similar to yours who have chosen chelation therapy. Most patients who have been helped will be happy to give you their side of the story.

Prior to commencing a course of chelation therapy a complete medical history is obtained. Diet is analyzed for nutritional adequacy and balance. Copies of pertinent medical records and summaries of hospital admissions may be sent for. A thorough head-to-toe, hands-on physical examination will be performed. A complete list of current medications will be recorded, including the time and strength of each dose. Special note will be made of any allergies. Blood and urine specimens will be obtained in a battery of tests to insure that no conditions exist which should be treated differently or might be worsened by chelation therapy. Kidney function will be carefully assessed. An electrocardiogram is usually obtained. Noninvasive tests will be performed, as medically indicated, to determine the status of arterial blood flow prior to therapy. A consultation with other medical specialists may be requested.

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7. What other diseases might be benefited from chelation?

Because the very aging process itself correlates with ongoing free radical damage, it is no surprise that a large variety of symptoms have been reported to improve following chelation therapy, even symptoms not directly caused by circulatory disease. While there is no scientific evidence that chelation is a cure for these diseases, symptoms of arthritis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s , psoriasis, high blood pressure, and scleroderma have all been reported to improve with chelation therapy. In fact, there is no better treatment for scleroderma. Vision has been improved in macular degeneration. Patients generally feel younger and more energetic following therapy, even when taken for purely preventive reasons. In fact, chelation therapy is more desirable for prevention that it is for established disease. Preventive medicine is always preferable to late stage crisis intervention. A recently published article from the University of Zurich in Switzerland reported an 18-year follow-up of a group of 56 chelation therapy patients. When comparing the death rate from cancer with that of a control group of patients who did not receive chelation therapy, the authors found that patients who received EDTA chelation therapy had a 90% reduction of cancer deaths. Epidemiologists from the University of Zurich reviewed the data and found no fault with the reported facts or the conclusions. There is no evidence that chelation therapy is of benefit in the treatment of advanced cancer, once the diagnosis is made, but there is a large body of scientific research indicating that free radical damage to DNA is an important factor at the onset of most cancer. Chelation therapy blocks damaging free radicals.

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8. Is it true that chelation therapy combats atherosclerosis by acting like Liquid Plumber -- By leaching calcium out of atherosclerotic plaque?

No! Before recent medical breakthroughs in the area of free radical pathology, it was hypothesized that EDTA chelation therapy had its major beneficial effect on calcium metabolism—that it stripped away the excess calcium from the plaque, restoring arteries to their pliable precalcified state. This frequently offered explanation—the so-called "roto-rooter" concept—is not the real reason, as previously postulated, that chelation therapy produces its major health benefits. The fact that EDTA does reduce some calcium from plaque is felt to be only one of its benefits, an probably not the mos important. Nonetheless, calcium does play a role and is one reason why the use of calcium EDTA is not recommended. Calcium EDTA has no beneficial effect on calcium deposits in the body. Most importantly, EDTA has an affinity for the transition metal, iron, a free radical catalyst in excess, and for the toxic metals, lead, mercury, cadmium, nickel, and aluminum. Free radical pathology, it is now believed, is an important underlying process triggering the development of many age-related ailments, including cancer, senility and arthritis, as well as atherosclerosis. Thus, EDTA’s most important benefit seems to be that it greatly reduces the ongoing production of free radicals within the body by removing accumulations of metallic catalysts and toxins which accumulate at abnormal sites in the body as a person grows older and which speed the aging process. There are other theories of mechanism of action and we still do not know which is most important. Recent research even points to rebalancing toxic accumulations of essential elements such a zinc, chromium and cobalt.if kidney function is not normal. Patients with some types of severe kidney problems should not receive EDTA chelation therapy.

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9. Why can't chelation be taken by mouth, in pill form, instead of by IV infusion?

Chelation therapy is gaining recognition so rapidly that there is growing interest in developing an oral chelator that will produce benefits similar to intravenous EDTA chelation therapy. Many nutritional substances administered by mouth are known to have chelating properties but none have the spectrum of activity of intravenous EDTA. Many nutrients such as vitamin C and the amino acids cysteine and aspartic acid have the ability to weakly chelate metals. They also protect against free radical damage in other ways, as anti-oxidants. Claims are being increasingly made for the use of nutritional supplements containing weak chelators in patients with atherosclerosis. There is nothing new about these products which are mostly vitamins and minerals being aggressively marketed with glowing testimonials and deceptive marketing techniques. Benefit from products taken by mouth has never even come close to the much more dramatic results seen with intravenous EDTA. Recently some nutritional supplements which contain EDTA have been alleged to be effective as oral chelation therapy. The problem is that only 5 percent or less of EDTA is absorbed by mouth. The same tiny percentage applies to rectal suppositories. The remainder passes out in the stool. And, it must be taken every day by mouth to absorb even a small amount. When taken on a daily basis, oral EDTA binds essential nutrients in the digestive tract and blocks their absorption, causing deficiencies. When given intravenously, EDTA is 100 percent absorbed very rapidly and eliminated in the urine within a few hours. Intravenous EDTA is given on only 20 to 30 days in any one year and does not lead to deficiencies of nutritional minerals. Nutritional supplementation on a daily basis more than compensates for any loses caused by the intravenous EDTA chelation therapy.

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10. How much will chelation therapy cost me?

vessels used in the first graft become filled with new plaque; not uncommonly, the transplants malfunction or turn out to be too small for the job. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that by ten years after surgery, grafted vessels had closed in 40 percent of patients, and in the remaining 60 percent, half developed further coronary narrowing. Once you’ve had a bypass, your chances of being referred for another go up about five percent a year. After five years, some A course of chelation therapy for a patient with advanced hardening of the arteries generally requires from six weeks to six months and costs up to INR 60000/- for 30 treatments. This is considerable less than bypass surgery which is normally well over INR200000/-. A person can expect to pay approximately INR2000/- per treatment, excluding the lab tests. Each chelation treatment takes 3 to 4 hours to complete. Although some clinics give faster treatments, a faster dose of EDTA must be reduced for safety with resulting reduced benefit. Some use rapid infusions of calcium EDTA, which risks cause kidney damage and has never been shown in research studies to provide the same benefit as disodium EDTA.

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11. What else is involved in a complete program of chelation?

Your lifestyle counts. Chelation therapy is only part of the curative process. Improved nutrition and healthy lifestyle are absolutely imperative for lasting benefit from chelation treatments. Chelation is not in and of itself a "cure-all"—it reduces abnormal free radical activity and removes unwanted and toxic metals, allowing normal healing and control mechanisms to come in to play. It has many actions in the body and we do not yet know what is the most important. Healing is facilitated, allowing health to be restored with the help of applied clinical nutrition, antioxidant supplementation and improved lifestyle. A full program of chelation therapy involves all of these factors. Chelation therapy is also compatible with other forms of therapy, including bypass surgery if all else fails. If cardiovascular drugs are needed, they can be taken with chelation with no conflict. In addition to receiving the recommended number of chelation treatments, patients eager for long-term benefits should follow a healthy lifestyle, take a spectrum of nutritional supplements, be physically active and eliminate destructive lifestyle habits such as tobacco and excessive alcohol.

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12. What about bypass surgery?

atter. EDTA binds only dissolved and positively charged (oxidized) metal ions dissolved in solution. Stents and joint replacement are made from alloys such as highly refined stainless steel, vanadium alloys and titanium, that will not dissolve in body fluids.

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13. Is Heavy Metal Toxicity an Important Consideration?

It is a myth that heavy metal toxicity is an important cause of age-related diseases such as atherosclerosis and heart disease. Dr. Cranton has tested hundreds chelation patients for levels of toxic metal levels. Although small amounts are present in virtually everyone, levels have only very rarely been found to be in the toxic range. Although laboratories used by some chelation clinics tend to exaggerate the toxic potential of such low levels, we still do not know how EDTA chelation therapy brings its benefits

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14. Is EDTA FDA approved?

EDTA is used by the carload and FDA approved as a food and blood preservative. (You may have heard of it in the O J Simpson trial where it was used in Simpson’s blood sample for preservation). It is so safe it is used in baby food and every other kind of food and drink imaginable.

More than 200,000 children in the USA alone have been treated with EDTA for lead poisoning. And two million patients have received EDTA intravenous Chelation therapy from Doctors. It is very safe!!

EDTA, as an anti-clotting blood thinner, is three times safer than aspirin

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15. Is EDTA safe?

The safety aspect of the use of chelation treatment has been phenomenal, with hardly any serious reactions being recorded amongst the host of seriously ill people to whom chelation therapy has been correctly applied.

By 1980 it was estimated by Bruce Halstead, MD, (Halstead 1979) that there had been over 2 million applications of I.V. chelation treatment involving some 100 million infusions, with not a single fatality, in the USA alone.

EDTA chelation is one of the most effective, least expensive, and safest treatments for heart disease ever developed,

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16. Why Doesn't Everyone Know About EDTA?

Why would anyone opt for invasive, less lasting options, such as angioplasty or CABG, when a safe and effective alternative for restoring normal or near-normal circulatory functioning of the vasculature exists? It seems that EDTA should be the first line of treatment, with the invasive surgical procedures as the last-resort alternative, not the other way around.

Few, if any, would opt for surgical treatment if they were aware and informed about the value of EDTA chelation. However, there are organizations and institutions that see political gain in cloaking the truth about EDTA's benefits.

It is clear that most of the opposition to EDTA is due to the threat that this therapy represents, not to patients' health, but to the bank balances of orthodox physicians (those who specialize in CABG, for example), hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies. Conventional treatment of cardiovascular diseases is big business in the United States, bringing in tens of billions of dollars each year.

Each CABG might cost $100,000; each angioplasty costs about $25,000; drugs for reducing cholesterol, lowering high blood pressure, and normalizing heart rhythm bring the pharmaceutical industry billions of dollars each year. And these are only a few examples. By contrast, the cost of chelation therapy, cited above, is minimal. The patent for EDTA has long expired and the modern drug establishment is unwilling to pour in the millions of dollars required for extensive testing of a substance that they will not have exclusive rights to when they are done. You may be hearing more about chelation soon. The National Institutes of Health are currently doing a large clinical trial on EDTA chelation therapy for coronary heart disease. This $30 million IV Chelation study is scheduled to run through 2008.

The lack of acceptance by mainstream medicine should not prevent those interested in its claims from examining the objective evidence. It should not require “ double -blind” control studies to impress the observer with the possibility that people are actually getting better when severely ill people, with advanced circulatory problems, sometimes involving gangrene, show steady improvement in their functions, better muscular coordination, the disappearance of angina pain, increased ability to walk and work, restoration or improvement of brain function, better skin tone and more powerful arterial pulsations, along with the restoration of normal temperature in the extremities.

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