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What is Chelation?

Chelation is most commonly referred to as the activity of a synthetic amino acid encapsulating heavy metals and minerals and making it possible for the body to excrete them. Chele is latin for claw. A chelator (EDTA, DMSA, DMPS, and others) binds to a heavy metal in a pincer like grasp, pulling them out of the tissues and into the blood for removal through the urine.

Is Chelation a New Therapy for Heart Disease and Hypertension?

Physicians administering chelation for lead toxicity observed that patients who also had atherosclerosis (fatty-plaque buildup on arterial walls) or arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) experienced reductions in both conditions after chelation. Since 1952, IV EDTA chelation has been used to treat cardiovascular disease.

How does it Work?

Chelation therapy involves the injection or oral administration of chelating agents into the bloodstream for the purpose of eliminating undesirable substances from the body. These include heavy metals, chemical toxins, mineral deposits, and fatty plaques (as in the arteries; the agent binds to the calcium in the plaques). EDTA, DMPS and DMSA are widely studied effective chelating agents.

What is the purpose of EDTA?

  • Chelation is similar to ice dissolving in a glass of water (slowly one molecule at a time so you cannot even see it happen) rather than being broken off like a jack hammer breaking up concrete. (John Parks Towbridge, MD, FACAM, Manual of the Intl. Society of Chelation Technicians)
  • Toxic metals are the greatest source of oxidative damage in the body. Antioxidants are used to combat this damage. If the biggest source of oxidative damage in the body is removed then less antioxidants are needed.
  • Chelates or removes toxic metals, including aluminum and lead.
  • Removes lead which destroys endothelial cells (cells on the inner most lining of blood vessels). These cells release nitric oxide which dilates the blood vessel to increase blood flow.
  • Lowers serum ionized calcium, which decreases clotting and reduces spasm.
  • Reduces LDL cholesterol content in the liver and arterial plaque.
  • Chelation therapy is given in a physician’s office as an intravenous infusion over 30 minutes-3 hours, depending on the chelator.
  • Can be given by injection

What is the purpose of DMPS?

  • Very specific chelator of mercury (body)

What is the purpose of DMSA?

  • Given orally
  • Chelates arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury (brain), nickel, tin and uranium
  • Safe for adults and children
  • Stephanie Cave, M.D.–reported safety and efficacy from over 2700 patients: “DMSA treatment has been a pivotal point in the treatment for many children in the autism spectrum”

Benefits of Chelation and Resulted Improvement in Function of:

  • Kidneys
  • Immune System
  • Lungs -90.5% improvement in pulmonary function
  • Vision
  • Energy
  • Digestion
  • Improved circulation all over the body. Intra-arterial obstruction decreased by 20.9% (± 2.3%)

Reduced Risk of:

  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • Cancer-after 18 years, 1.7% of EDTA treated patients died of cancer while 17.6% of untreated patients died of cancer
  • Arthritis

No deaths have been reported in the medical literature attributed to chelation therapy using the ACAM (American College for Advancement in Medicine) protocol.

Cost Effectiveness:

  • According to Hancke’s data EDTA treatments might have prevented 363,000 of the 407,000 bypass procedures done in the US in 1991, saving more than $8 billion dollars.
  • Arteries become softer and more flexible, allowing increased blood flow throughout the body.
  • Increasing the diameter of an artery by 15% will double the blood flow through the artery.
  • The goal of therapy is to restore normal function.

Interesting Statistics:

  • 58 out of 65 patients on the waiting list for bypass surgery were able to cancel it after chelation therapy
  • 2,870 patients were studied, using objective non-invasive measurements. There was marked and good improvement in:
  • Heart Patients-93.5%
  • Arteriosclerotic Vascular Disease of the Leg-98.5%
  • Brain Disorders-54.0%

Carotid Artery:

  • EDTA chelation therapy was used to treat 30 patients with carotid artery blockage as measured objectively by Doppler imaging before and after 30 EDTA infusions over a 10-month period.
  • Overall 30% reduction in plaque
  • Severe stenosis had even greater reduction
  • Clear evidence of reversal of atherosclerosis-improvements in 80-90% of patients with only 10 requiring surgical intervention

Vascular Disease:

EDTA chelation therapy related to improvement in vascular disease by objective testing before and after treatment.

  • 19 articles met the criteria
  • 22,765 patients
  • 87%  improved
  • Correlation coefficient 0.88% (high)

EDTA and chelation work by removing heavy metals, please refer to Heavy Metals for more information.

Please Note: Abbott Labs Patent for EDTA expired in 1969. Manufacturers were directed to remove claims of chelation benefit in cardiovascular disease.


  1. Rudolph, C., McDonagh, E. & Barber, R. 1989. Effect of EDTA chelation and supportive multivitamin/trace mineral supplementation on chronic lung disorders: a study of FVC and FEV1. Journal of Advancement in Medicine. 2(4):553-561.
  2. Blumer, W. & Cranton, W. 1989. Report on EDTA and Cancer.
  3. Rudolph, C.J., McDonagh, E.W. & Barber, R.K. A nonsurgical approach to obstructive carotid stenosis using EDTA chelation. Journal of Advancement in Medicine. 1991;4(3):157-168.
  4. Chappell, L. & Stahl, J. The correlation between EDTA chelation therapy and improvement in cardiovascular function: a meta-analysis. Journal of Advancement in Medicine. 1993;6(3):139-160.
  5. Hancke, C. & Flytie K. Benefits of EDTA chelation therapy in arteriosclerosis: a retrospective study of 470 patients. Journal of Advancement in Medicine. 1993;6(3):161-171.