Chelation Therapy & Cardiovascular Disease
The Facts About Chelation Therapy and Cardiovascular Disease
by Ron Manzanero, M.D.
The purpose of this article is to present some little-known facts about chelation therapy and its benefits. Many people who ask their physicians about chelation are told this is a dangerous therapy at worst, or at best that it is a harmless, but worthless, therapy. Unfortunately, most people do not ask their doctors what kind of education they have received regarding chelation therapy. If they did ask, it would be clear that many physicians have little or no understanding about this therapy, and that much of their opinion is based on biased hearsay. Because of this, I am presenting some of the more significant published articles in support of chelation therapy, as well as rebuttals to the supposed negative “studies” done.
“Chelation” refers to a type of medical therapy where a medicine (EDTA) is infused into the body intravenously, along with vitamins, for the purpose of eliminating toxic metals like lead, aluminum, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium. EDTA and other chelating agents, including DMPS, DMSA, D-penicilliamine, and alpha lipoic acid, have the ability to bind to toxic metals and take them out of the body. Once bound to the toxin, the chelator/metal is excreted through the kidneys and passed out in the urine. EDTA also has an affinity for certain minerals like calcium and other metals like iron.
EDTA therapy was used to treat people with lead toxicity in the early 1950’s, and is still indicated for this purpose. It was soon noted that treated individuals also began to feel better in ways not necessarily related to lead poisoning. Because many patients experienced improvements in cardiovascular symptoms, EDTA continued to be emphasized as an anti-anginal therapy while it was under patent with Abbot Laboratories. It was believed that the EDTA was pulling calcium out of calcified plaque in the arteries, thereby increasing the blood flow that had previously been blocked. An article published in the journal Surgery (52:793-795) in 1962 by L.W. Wilder showed that arterial calcium was released by EDTA from plaque proportional to the degree of atherosclerosis present.
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This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
The following is a partial list of publications that support the use of chelation:
Free radical biochemistry as underlying cause of aging, chronic disease and atherosclerosis:
1955 Denham Harman first proposed the theory of free radical damage as a key factor in aging and illness (U.S. Atomic Energy Commission)
1957 Journal of Gerontology, Denham Harman explained atherosclerosis as:
1) Oxidation of blood fats and cholesterol
2) Anchoring of this oxidized material to the arterial wall
3) Inflammation of the arterial wall
1956 American Journal of Medical Science, Clarke published a study of 20 patients showing uniform improvements of severe angina and EKG abnormalities.
1960 American Journal of Cardiology, Clarke and Mosher reported on 283 cardiac patients treated with EDTA for coronary artery disease over 4 years with 87% improvement, i.e., 90 – 100% relief of angina!
1961 Prog. Cardio. Diseases 3:338-349, Kitchell and Meltzer report on treating cardiovascular diseases with EDTA.
1962 Surgery journal, Wilder and colleagues demonstrated arterial calcium released by EDTA from coronary artery plaque
1963 American Journal of Cardiology, Kitchell and Meltzer showed EDTA chelation therapy improved exercise capacity without EKG changes in 16 out of 28 cardiac patients (23 had previous heart attacks)
1966 Angiology journal and Journal of American Geriatric Soc., Carlos Lamar wrote of EDTA chelation being like a chemical rotorooter and its usefulness in improving vascular disease in diabetics
1977 Journal of Molecular and Chemical Cardiology, Peng and colleagues showed EDTA improves mitochondrial energy production in oxygen deprived heart muscle.
1988 Medical Hypothesis, Carter at Tulane School of Medicine published on 2,870 patients showing 77% improvement in coronary artery disease, 91% improvement with peripheral vascular disease.
1989 Walter Reed Army Hospital EDTA Chelation study was discontinued due to the Gulf War. Analysis showed benefits in the group receiving EDTA.
1990 Journal of the National Medical Association, Olszewer and Carter write of a study on 10 patients who had poor blood flow in their legs who all showed significant improvement in ability to walk.
1991 Journal of Advancement in Medicine, Rudolph, McDonagh, and Barber published Doppler results in 30 patients with carotid artery stenosis, 30 treatments each with 21% plaque reduction.
1993 Journal of Advancement in Medicine, Hancke and Flytlie publish Danish study on patients waiting to receive either coronary bypass surgery or leg amputation due to artery disease. 56 of 65 (89%) cancel bypass, 24 of 27 (89%) cancel amputation surgery.
1993 Journal of Advancement in Medicine, Chappell and Stahl published an analysis of 19 EDTA studies (22,765 patients) with vascular disease: 87% improved.
1994 American Chemical Society, Rubin and colleagues presented heart CT scans in 2 patients showing EDTA decreased coronary artery calcification.
1995 Surgery and Surgeons, Escobar and colleagues noted marked improvements in 76 of 80 patients treated with EDTA for peripheral atherosclerotic artery disease.
2003 – 2008 National Institute of Health is currently conducting a double blind study on patients with a history of one heart attack, to see if EDTA chelation therapy prevents further heart disease.
Other benefits of EDTA:
1980 Environmental International, Blumer and Reich showed EDTA reduced cancer incidence by 90% in 59 patients over 10 years.
2003 New England Journal of Medicine, (Jan 23, 03) 348: 345-347, Ja-Liang Lin, MD, et. al. Showed that repeated EDTA chelation therapy improves renal failure due to lead exposure (upper limit of “normal” lead range) and retards progression of disease at least 2 years.
Pertinent publications not directly about EDTA:
1992 Circulation, Salonen and colleagues demonstrated that ferritin (stored iron) is the second strongest risk factor for heart attacks following cigarette use. (EDTA is a potent chelator of oxidized iron!)
1995 Drug: Zinecard got accelerated FDA approval as a “cardio-protective” agent.
Physicians Desk Reference from 1997 states: “…interferes with iron mediated free radical generation thought to be responsible for cardiomyopathy.” “Potent intracellular chelating agent.” It is a derivative of EDTA!
1999 Journal of American College of Cardiology, Vol. 33, No 6, increased levels of trace elements in idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart due to heart muscle disease) adversely affected heart metabolism and worsened cellular function. Toxic trace elements included mercury, antimony, cobalt, etc. (EDTA binds to toxic metals)
2001 The Journal of Immunology, 167, 2396-2400, Kono and colleagues write that heavy metals are potent causes of immune dysfunction capable of producing overt systemic autoimmune disease. (EDTA is a chelator of toxic heavy metals!)
Publications Against EDTA Chelation:
1991 American Journal of Surgery, 162: 122-125, Sloth-Nielsen and Guldager, a Danish study is the first ever-published paper reporting no benefit from EDTA. Greater than 50% of treated patients showed improvements with EDTA, however the “placebo” patients did too, thus nullifying the results.
1992 Journal of Internal Medicine, Sloth-Nielsen and Guldager, write a second
published paper claiming to show no long-term benefits from EDTA. Proper protocol for chelation was not performed in their study.
1994 Circulation, Van Rij in New Zealand study claimed no changes in 15 patients treated in double-blind placebo controlled study of patients with peripheral vascular disease. (This was a questionable study and the data analysis actually showed improvement versus the control placebo group.)
2002 PATCH Trial, Univ. of Calgary. (Yet to be published) EDTA group did not show significant benefit versus the control group. Zero patients in the EDTA group went on to have angioplasty. Five out of the 40 patients in the placebo group went on to have angioplasty. Overall, this was a poorly designed study with an insignificant sample size and poorly designed controls with inappropriate statistical analysis.
Aside from the above-demonstrated benefits of chelation for coronary heart disease, consider that there are studies showing that bypass surgery and angioplasty have not improved life span when compared to people who only got treated with medication for their cardiac symptoms (Piegas, et al, American Journal of Cardiology, 1999). Could it be that Americans are over-utilizing these invasive procedures with associated risks including death from the procedure, and under-utilizing a proven, safe therapy like chelation therapy? The death rate from bypass and angioplasty after 30 days, as reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 1994, ranged from 2.1 % to 10.6%, depending on the age group and procedure, while those who received medication therapy only had a mortality rate of 2%. At a one-year projection, the combined mortality rate was 5.2 % to 19.5%, depending on the age group and the surgical procedure received.
When patients who refused the surgical interventions, Heub and colleagues reported in the American Journal of Cardiology (1989, 63: 155-159) that at a 2-8-year follow-up, the mean annual mortality with 2-vessel coronary artery disease (CAD) was 0.0%, and for 3-vessel CAD, 1.3%! Compare that to the mortality of those reported with the surgical interventions.
What can we conclude from the data? Mainstream medicine would have us believe that a bypass procedure or angioplasty/stenting is the only option. Surgeries are being performed more commonly on people over the age of 80 in spite of the high rate of post-operative mortality. And some other significant risks to bypass include cognitive loss and recurrent atherosclerosis of the bypass grafts and/or stented arteries, requiring yet another procedure. EDTA chelation therapy has been shown over four decades of use to relieve angina, improve blood flow, and prevent recurring disease — as long as one continues periodic maintenance chelation– as well as to provide such other potential benefits as detoxification from the heavy metals that have been proven, as evidenced in medical literature, to be linked to autoimmune diseases and neurological problems.
Perhaps bypass surgery and angioplasties should be confined to patients with unstable angina, and a trial of chelation provided for all the rest, along with appropriate medication therapy. EDTA chelation therapy could also be used to try to prevent recurrent plaque development in those who have undergone the surgical procedures.
Chelation therapy has been a proven and safe alternative to treat a variety of conditions. I hope this article has helped to dispel some of the misinformation about EDTA chelation, and that seeing the “other side of the story” will help you to make informed decisions about your health care .