Although oral chelation is promoted as “safe, fast and cost effective” by its manufacturers, it cannot produce the results of intravenous treatments given under the supervision of trained doctors who carefully monitor your progress with sophisticated diagnostics. And you may not want to guess when it comes to preventing or treating the main reason people have circulatory and heart disease, or other degenerative problems.
Conventional medicine has been using various intravenous chelation approaches since deployed troops were poisoned with the heavy metal arsenic during the First World War. Coined from the Greek chelè, meaning claw — to reflect their capacity to bind metals within a “claw-like” molecular structure, which is then excreted without further interaction with the body — the first medically-used chelating agent was developed at the start of WWII as an antidote to anticipated use of arsenic gas by the Germans. Today, chelation therapy is the recognized, U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved, medical treatment for heavy metal intoxication by lead, cadmium, aluminum, mercury, arsenic, and even iron.
Despite decades of medical use in response to large-scale heavy metal exposures along with overwhelming scientific rationale and evidence, chelation therapy is often overlooked as a solution to the adverse health effects caused by more gradual build-up of toxic metals. Why? you ask. There are a number of reasons:
1. The controversy between newer oral chelation supplements and the intravenous treatments used for decades is confusing. Because oral chelation is regulated as a supplement, it does not come under the same scrutiny as physicians offering intravenous chelation therapy in their clinics.
2. Well-done scientific research that supports use of intravenous chelation treatment is used to justify claims made by manufacturers of untested oral supplements.
3. Because most exposures are not large-scale, occuring gradually at low levels from living in industrialized nations, for most of us the exact cause of our symptoms is hard to pin-point, or our symptoms are subtle, or we may not have symptoms but are trying to prevent disease from occurring.
4. Subtle symptoms, or worse, diseases one is trying to prevent, are very, very difficult to study. This makes FDA approval for use with chronic degenerative diseases difficult (and very costly) as supporting research must show cause and effect. Keep in mind that chelation therapy is approved for use when someone has a known heavy metal exposure.
The fatigue, discomfort, and moodiness of low-level exposures
Ever-increasing use and accumulation of pollutants in general, and persistent organic pollutants in particular, have received recent attention for their long-lasting adverse health effects. Gradual exposure to hazardous toxins is becoming more prevalent especially in overpopulated and industrialized parts of the world. Such exposure contributes to increased health risks . Unfortunately, there is no easy fix to protect or intervene against diseases associated with exposure to these insidious environmental pollutants.
Many pollutants, including heavy metals and persistent organics, bioaccumulate (pass up the food chain to humans) and build up in our bodies where they cause damage both locally to the tissues where they accumulate, including contributing to the formation of cancer, vascular disease, accelerated aging as well as altering the normal patterns of hormones — patterns that effect everything from energy level to fertility to mood.
Exposure to heavy metals can occur via many common sources: house paint (lead), dental fillings (mercury), vaccines (mercury), cigarettes (cadmium), food, drinking water and hazardous waste sites. Over 4000 articles in the medical literature connect small amounts of lead in the body and high blood pressure. Elevated mercury and antimony have been found in hearts of heart disease patients at autopsy .
Unlike many chemicals that can now be detected in the human body, the toxic effects of heavy metal exposures are well understood and many sources of exposure are regulated. Despite this, millions of Americans suffer from chronic, low-level, exposures to heavy metals, including lead, mercury, arsenic, antimony and cadmium.
A Center for Disease Control report states that 10% of American women of childbearing age (7 million women each year) have mercury in their blood at levels that are potentially unsafe for the developing fetus . Clear evidence now links exposure to toxins such as mercury, lead, pesticides, and in utero smoking exposure to higher levels of autism and/or ADHD . Despite the clear benefit to health of eating fish as a source fatty acids, many of us avoid fish because of its high mercury content — knowing that mercury is linked with cardiac disease [5;6].
Getting rid of unwanted contaminants
Many doctors argue — have argued for decades — that chelation therapy can address low level metal exposures and consequent degenerative diseases. Recent understanding of how pollution contributes to the formation of blocked heart arteries, by contributing contaminants — inflammation-causing molecules known as “free radicals” — many of which are heavy metals, has lead to investment in large-scale clinical trials to gather more data on the effectiveness of chelation therapy to treat our number one killer, heart disease.
The National Institutes of Health's alternative medicine center recently funded a large experiment — 2,372 heart-attack survivors. Led by Dr. Gervasio Lamas of the Mount Sinai Medical Center-Miami Heart Institute, the five-year study began enrolling participants at about 100 sites around the country in 2003.
Lamas said he decided to design the study when one of his own patients asked about chelation. "While my answer, as a very conventional cardiologist, was initially, 'No, that's silly,' as I looked into it I realized I didn't really have the evidence base to say that," Lamas said. With hundreds of thousands of people seeking chelation therapy annually, "now we'll see what the real truth is."
The efficacy of chelation therapy has been clinically demonstrated with positive results in hundreds of thousands of cases where this treatment was utilized . In one smaller study, the results with intravenous chelation were so pronounced that the control group was taken off placebo and given chelation therapy so as to not withhold beneficial care .
The safety of this therapy, when properly administered, is also well known. It is estimated that over 500,000 patients nationally have been safely treated with this therapy by physicians utilizing the protocol developed by the American College for Advancement in Medicine without a single fatality attributed to I.V. EDTA. Surgical procedures or even taking aspirin have a much greater fatality rate.
Effective chelation therapy is administered in I.V. form over the course of several hours. Although thousands of websites promote oral chelation agents — it is important to understand why this approach does not work:
1. Effective chelation therapy depends on whether the chelating agents are able to remove heavy metals that are circulating in the blood or deposited in cells in the body — the chelator must get into the blood and cells.
2. Only about 5% of the oral chelation agent, EDTA, gets into the bloodstream.
3. Further, oral chelation may prevent absorption of certain nutrient metals that are required at low levels for proper nutritional health.
4. Oral chelation agents do not effect the build-up of calcium, iron, or copper within the cells – a build-up that can lead to stiffening and hardening of tissues and other degenerative diseases.
The ABC’s of Chelation Therapy
Maulfair Medical Center gets you started on your chelation program with a thorough medical examination and a series of key tests. The necessary laboratory tests vary from patient to patient, but there are a few tests everyone will need. These tests include: toxic metal and mineral status, comprehensive metabolic panel and a complete blood count.
Other tests may include a pre and post-provocative challenge for heavy metals. Some tests will be repeated periodically, to monitor your kidneys efficiency in removing metals.
Dr. Maulfair relies on thirty years experience utilizing chelation therapy to treat chronic, degenerative diseases including hardening of the arteries, coronary heart disease, carotid artery disease, peripheral artery disease, diabetes, arthritis. Clients of Maulfair Medical Center’s comprehensive chelation program have gained back their quality of life with improved circulation, restored energy, motivation and overall sense of well being.
Dr. Conrad Maulfair
Maulfair Medical Center, Topton PA
1. Environmental Working Group. EWG || Human Toxome Project [Web Page]. Accessed 2008 Feb 12. Available at: http://www.bodyburden.org
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