Heavy Metal Toxicity
Heavy metals are some of the environmental pollutants to which we are exposed at an unprecedented level. Metals such as aluminium, cadmium, nickel, lead and others are increasingly present in our food, water and air.
Metals such as mercury are found in the dental “silver” fillings which were so popular for many years.
These metals get absorbed into our tissues and can cause a variety of chronic illnesses. Unfortunately, conventional medical doctors are largely unaware of their presence and the damage they may be causing. This is compounded by the fact that their presence is not easily detected with conventional testing.
The presence of metals in the body can be tested by means of a urine challenge test, hair mineral analysis or a spectro-photometric scanning device.
Chelation therapy is a method for removing heavy metals, such as mercury or lead, from blood. It’s one of the standard treatments for many types of metal poisoning.
Chelation therapy with NaEDTA can also help to treat many other conditions, including heart disease, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes.
HOW IT WORKS
Chelation therapy involves administering a chelating agent to patients who have heavy metal overload. The chelating substance can be given intra-venously by infusion, or orally as part of an individualized program over months or years as needed.
Some conventional chelators include ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA), and DMPS. Newer oral preparations now available are made from algae and kelp (laminaria and phycocyanin).
Some chelators are better at removing certain metals than others, and thus need to be prescribed after considering the results of the tests described above. Be sure to consult a practitioner that is well versed in chelation therapy and analyzing heavy metal and mineral results, as this can be a potentially dangerous therapy if not done in the correct manner.
The word “chelation” is derived from the Greek word chele which means “claw” [like that of a crab]. When a chelating agent comes into contact with certain positively charged metals, it surrounds and binds to them forming a complex which can then be transported safely.
Examples of chelating agents in nature are haemoglobin, which chelates an iron molecule in blood, chlorophyll which chelates a magnesium molecule in plants and vitamin C which chelates an iron molecule to facilitate its absorption from the gut.
Chelation is the process whereby certain chelating agents are administered over a period of time, to draw toxic metals out of the body to restore health. See Heavy Metal Toxicity.
EDTA is a synthetic amino acid, which has been used since the 1940’s for chelating heavy metals, and is still widely used today in chelation treatments. Some agents such as EDTA, DMPS, Ascorbic acid and DTPA are given intravenously, while others such as DMSA, Cilantro and Chorella are given orally.
WHO NEEDS CHELATION?
Almost invariably, everyone has toxins in their bodies. In order to ascertain whether the toxin load is high and whether this may be having an impact on one’s health, one needs to undergo testing. Hair analysis is easy to perform, but the results may be difficult to interpret. A urine challenge test is an accurate way of assessing levels of toxic metals in the body. The chelating agents are administered [orally or intravenously or both] and urine is collected for several hours. This is then analysed by a specialist laboratory to measure amounts of metals excreted. With this information the practitioner can determine which metals may be problematic.
HOW IS CHELATION ADMINISTERED?
A comprehensive history is taken and a full physical examination is performed. A series of blood tests are required to assess the functioning of the kidneys, liver and pancreas, and the level of minerals and lipids in the blood. Cardiovascular and respiratory fitness testing may also be done. Different chelating agents work best on different metals, so a protocol needs to be worked out depending on the results of the testing.
Some chelating agents such as DMSA, Cilantro and Chorella, can be administered by mouth over a prolonged period of time. More often chelating agents are used in combinations to get the maximum effect for excreting a wide range of metals. Agents such as DMPS and CaEDTA are usually given by slow intravenous injection once or twice a week for a course of 6-10 treatments before retesting is performed. One may need several courses of treatment, depending on the initial level of the toxic metals.
EDTA is given by slow infusion, mixed with vitamins and minerals, over 3 hours, once or twice weekly over an extended period of time, Adherence to a healthy diet, avoidance of smoking and exercise are mandatory as is the supplementation of multivitamins, anti-oxidants and minerals.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Chelation therapy halts the bad effects of heavy metal toxicity on the organs and systems of the body, thereby removing obstructions to the restoration of health. See Obstacles to Cure. This stimulates the body’s healing process, activating enzyme pathways and other metabolic reactions, and often damage can be reversed. One may start to feel more alert, with improved concentration and memory, less depressed and more energised.
Chelation therapy with EDTA is widely used in the USA and Europe for the treatment of cardiovascular disorders, rather than for removal of toxic metals. In South Africa it is offered by selected Doctors practising Integrative Medicine. EDTA improves function and exercise tolerance in conditions associated with atherosclerosis, such as angina, peripheral vascular disease and cerebrovascular disease. By chelating and removing calcium, along with a variety of other metals, it has a direct effect on reducing platelet aggregation, which prevents clotting of the blood which may otherwise have had fatal consequences. It stimulates the functioning of the heart, and by stimulating the parathyroid glands it dilates the coronary arteries. The stimulation of the parathyroids also has a positive effect on building bone. EDTA stimulates enzyme activity and improves the ratio of HDL [good] to LDL [bad] cholesterol.
Thus for anyone with one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease, EDTA has been shown to reduce these risks greatly while improving overall health.
EDTA also has a positive effect on the aging process and many other conditions such as Diabetes Mellitus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, fibromyalgia, peripheral neuropathy, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, thyroid disorders, porphyria and auto-immune disorders.
Hundreds of thousands of chelation treatments have been performed with few side effects and no deaths.
If practised according to established protocols, chelation therapy is very safe:
- Critics claim that EDTA is dangerous to the kidneys, but if given slowly and in the correct quantity, it does not harm the kidneys and in fact will improve kidney function with time.
- If given too quickly, calcium levels may drop too far causing cramps, but this can be rectified easily.
- Blood sugar levels may also drop, especially in diabetics, but this is carefully monitored during treatment.
- Blood pressure is also monitored during treatment as it may drop causing dizziness. This could be caused by the needle becoming dislodged from the vein.
- Fatigue in the early stages may be due to mineral or vitamin deficiencies, which can be corrected.
- EDTA may be combined with most cardiovascular medication without the risk of serious interaction.
- DMPS, given intravenously, is widely condemned by many websites for causing side effects. This may have arisen due to poorly manufactured material being used. If well manufactured DMPS is administered according to internationally accepted protocols, it is unlikely to cause side effects.
Although it may seem expensive at first, a course of 25 treatments of EDTA costs a fraction of the cost of bypass surgery, and the benefits are life-long.
WHY IS IT NOT MORE WIDELY USED?
EDTA chelation therapy is approved in the USA only for very limited usage: lead toxicity, treatment of hyper-calcaemia, and digitalis toxicity. Over the years there has been enormous opposition to the use of EDTA for cardiovascular disease. Cardiologists, cardio-vascular surgeons and pharmaceutical manufacturers are threatened by the use of a substance, which is effective, relatively cheap and safe. Bypass surgery benefits surgeons and hospitals alike. Pharmaceutical drugs needed by sufferers over many years garner enormous profits. In spite of the cries of “unscientific” and “unproven” by the orthodox medical community, there are many studies highlighting the effective use of EDTA. The thousands of patients worldwide who have benefited from chelation support the evidence that it is safe, effective and beneficial.
- Information provided by Dr D M Nye www.greenhousehealth.com