EDTA Chelation Therapy


EDTA Chelation Therapy is a medical treatment program administered by a properly trained physician and given in conjunction with lifestyle and dietary changes with specialized nutritional supplements. It is an alternative or complementary medical approach for persons suffering from coronary artery disease, cerebral vascular disease, brain disorders resulting from circulatory disturbances, generalized atherosclerosis and related ailments which lead to senility and accelerated physical decline.


Clinical benefits from Chelation Therapy vary with the total number of treatments received and with severity of the condition being treated. More than 75% of patients treated have shown significant improvement from Chelation Therapy. More than 90% of patients receiving 35 or more treatments have benefited when they have also corrected dietary, exercise and smoking habits, which are known to aggravate occlusive arterial disease.  Symptoms improve, blood flow to diseased organs increases, need for medication decreases and, most importantly, the quality of life becomes much more enjoyable.


When patients first hear about, or consider EDTA Chelation  Therapy, they normally have lots of questions. Undoubtedly you do, too. Here are the answers to those most commonly asked questions, explained in non-technical language.


What is “Chelation”?


  • Chelation, (pronounced KEY-LAY-SHUN), is the chemical process by which a metal or mineral (such as lead, mercury, copper, iron, arsenic, aluminum, calcium, etc.) is bonded to another substance. It is a natural process, basic to life itself. Chelation is  one mechanism by which such common substances as aspirin, antibiotics, vitamins, minerals and trace elements work in the body.  Hemoglobin, the red pigment in blood which carries oxygen, is a chelate of iron.


How is “Chelation Therapy” given?


  • Chelation is a treatment by which a man-made amino acid called ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (commonly abbreviated to EDTA) is administered to a patient intravenously. It is prescribed by, and administered, under the supervision of a fully licensed physician (possessing an M.D. or D.O. degree). The fluid containing EDTA is infused through a small needle placed in the vein of a patient’s arm. The EDTA in solution bonds with metals in the body and carries them away in the urine.


Is it done just once?


  • Chelation Therapy is a course of treatments which usually consists of anywhere from twenty to fifty separate infusions, depending on each patient’s individual status. Thirty treatments is the average number required for desired benefit in patients with symptoms of arterial blockage.  Some patients eventually receive more than one hundred infusions. Each treatment takes from three to four hours or longer and patients normally receive one or more treatments each week.


Do you have to go to a hospital to be chelated?


  • No. It is an outpatient treatment available in a physician’s office or clinic.


Does it hurt? What does it feel like to be chelated?


  • Being “chelated” is quite a different experience from other medical treatments. There is no pain, and in most cases, very little discomfort.  Patients are seated in reclining chairs and can read, nap, watch TV or chat with other patients while the fluid containing the EDTA flows into their veins. If necessary, patients can walk around. They can visit the restroom, eat and drink as they desire, or make telephone calls, being careful not to dislodge the needle attached to the intravenous infusion they carry with them.


Are there risks - or unpleasant side effects?


  • EDTA is relatively non-toxic and risk-free, especially when  compared with other treatments. The risk of serious side effects, when properly administered, is less than one in 10,000 patients treated. 

  • Occasionally, patients may suffer minor discomfort at the site where the needle enters the vein. Some temporarily experience mild nausea, dizziness, or       headache as an immediate aftermath of treatment, but in the vast majority of cases, these minor symptoms are easily relieved. When properly administered by a physician, expert in this type of therapy, chelation is as safe as taking aspirin. Patients routinely drive themselves home after treatment with no difficulty. 

  • If EDTA is given too rapidly or in too large a dose, it may cause harmful side effects, just as an overdose of any other medicine can be dangerous. Reports of serious and even rare fatal complications have stemmed from excessive doses of EDTA, improperly administered. If you choose a physician with proper training and experience who is an expert in the use of EDTA, the risk of Chelation Therapy will be kept to a very low level. The American Board of Chelation Therapy examines physicians for competence in the specialized field of Chelation Therapy. A physician who has successfully completed certified training courses, and becomes Board certified, is knowledgeable in the safe effective use of EDTA Chelation Therapy.

  • While it has often been stated by critics that EDTA Chelation Therapy is damaging to the kidneys, the newest research indicates the reverse is often true. This was demonstrated in one study consisting of kidney function tests done on 383 consecutive chelation patients, before and after treatment with EDTA, for chronic degenerative diseases. On the average, there is significant improvement in kidney function following chelation. However, an occasional patient may be unduly sensitive and physicians expert in chelation monitor kidney function very closely to avoid overloading the kidneys. Treatments must be given more slowly and less frequently if kidney function is not normal. Patients with some types of severe kidney problems should not receive EDTA.


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 must be obtained.  Copies of pertinent medical records and summaries of hospital admissions will be obtained. A thorough physical examination will be performed. A complete list of current medications will be recorded, including the time and strength of dose. Special note will be made of any allergies. Blood and urine specimens will be obtained for a battery of tests. An electrocardiogram will be performed.

  • As medically indicated, a hair specimen may be tested for tissue levels of various nutritional and toxic metals and non-invasive vascular tests may be performed to determine the status of arterial blood flow prior to therapy. A consultation with other medical specialists may be requested. Follow-up examinations and testing will be performed at regular intervals during and after therapy.


Is Chelation Therapy new?


  • Not at all. Its earliest application with humans was during World War II when the British used another chelating agent, British Anti-Lewesite (BAL), as a poison gas antidote. BAL is 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. Physicians then observed that adults receiving EDTA chelation treatments, who had atherosclerosis, also experienced health improvements — diminished angina, better memory, sight, hearing, sense of smell and increased vigor. A number of physicians then began to treat individuals suffering from occlusive vascular conditions with Chelation Therapy and reported consistent improvements.

  • Chelation Therapy remains a treatment-of-choice for lead poisoning, even in children with toxic accumulations of lead in theirbodies as a result of eating leaded paint from toys, cribs or walls. But from 1964 on, despite continued documentation of its benefits and the development of refined treatment methods, the use of chelation for the treatment of arterial disease has been the subject  of controversy.


Is it legal?


  • Absolutely. There is no legal prohibition against a licensed physician (M.D. or D.O.) using Chelation Therapy for whateverconditions he/she deems it to be correct, even though the drug involved, EDTA, does not yet have atherosclerosis listed as an indication on the FDA-approved package insert. The FDA does not regulate the practice of medicine, but merely approves marketing, labeling and advertising claims for drugs and devices in interstate commerce.

  • It costs 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 of a long established medicine like EDTA.  Physicians routinely prescribe medicines for conditions not yet included on FDA approved advertising and marketing literature (referred to as “off label” use).


What evidence do you have that it works?


  • Physicians with extensive experience in the use of Chelation Therapy have observed dramatic improvement in the vast majority of their patients. They see angina routinely relieved. Patients who suffer searing chest pains, when walking only a short distance, are frequently able to return to normal, productive living after undergoing chelation. Far more dramatic, but equally common, is seeing diabetic ulcers and gangrenous feet heal. Many individuals, who had been told that their limbs would have to be amputated because of gangrene, are thrilled to watch their feet heal with chelation, although some areas of dead tissue may have to be trimmed away surgically.  The approximately 1,000 American physicians practicing Chelation Therapy have countless files to prove they are able to reverse serious cases of arterial disease. Men and women often arrive at their offices near death with diseases caused by blocked arteries. Weeks or months later, they are remarkably improved. There is a wealth of evidence from clinical experience that symptoms of reduced blood flow improve in most  patients treated.

  • In addition, several research studies have been published with results of before-and-after diagnostic tests using radioisotopes which prove statistically that blood flow improves following chelation.