Chelation (key-lay-shun) actually comes from the Greek word “chele,” which means “to bind.” That’s exactly what it does. Chelators are substances that bind to heavy metals in the blood and carry them out through the urinary tract. Although sometimes chelation may be administered as a synthetic drug, its function is actually a reflection of your body’s natural process of carrying metals and minerals around and later disposing of them.
It’s been used for hundreds of years in its natural forms. One example is cilantro, used in Chinese cooking because it was believed to have great detoxifying abilities. The synthetic chelator, EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), was introduced by the U.S. Navy in war times as a treatment for lead poisoning. The drug was able to bind to the heavy metals (like lead) and carry them out of the body.
Generally, chelation is applied through an IV, composed of EDTA and other nutrients such as vitamin C and vitamin E. Often oral supplements are given as well. It takes more than one session of therapy to get results, and ranges, depending on the patient’s progress, from 20 to as many as 50 treatments.
As early as 1960, chelation was being explored as a way to help blocked arteries. Arguably the most influential of these studies was published in 1960. In this study, researchers used chelation therapy on 76 patients to study its effect on occlusive vascular disease, where arteries were blocked by plaque. Researchers found that 87% had either complete or almost complete symptom relief.
Chelation is being recommended by some doctors as an alternative therapy for atherosclerosis, heart conditions and gangrene. Chelation may also be useful in treating arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and autism, but it still hasn’t received FDA approval for use on anything more than heavy metal poisoning. In truth, chelation’s effectiveness is still not largely accepted and it is wise to try other alternative therapies before trying chelation.
If interested in chelation therapy, consult your physician. Many associations do not yet endorse chelation and it may be suggested that you try other alternative remedies first before diving into chelation.