Chelation Therapy: Good for More Than Lead Poisoning

The following article was written by Frances E. FitzGerald, and is an excerpt from Richard Russell’s Dow Theory Letters dated July 28, 1999. P.O. Box 1759, La Jollier, CA 92038

Chelation comes from the Greek word chele, meaning to claw or to bind. When administered properly, chelation therapy is a safe and effective way to pull heavy metals, toxins, and metabolic wastes from the bloodstream.

So far, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves chelation therapy only for heavy metal poisoning, such as lead poisoning, or for severe digitalis toxicity. However, nearly 50 years of research indicates that chelation therapy can help reverse chronic degenerative diseases such as atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and arthritis. It may even reduce the risk of cancer.

Heart Health

Elmer Cranton, M.D., co-author of Bypassing the Bypass, claims chelation therapy results in a 75 to 95 percent success rate in improving the blood flow in patient with clogged arteries. Another perspective comes form Ben Boucher, M.D., of Cape Breton, Canada. He asserts that the buildup of metals in our bodies causes free radical oxidation, which damages cells. He explained in a Medical Post report that when the cells of the artery walls are damaged, cholesterol accumulates, strangling circulation. Boucher believes that chelation therapy can reverse the effects of free-radical oxidation, allowing oxygen and nutrient rich blood to flow freely through the arteries. In addition, a Finnish study links heart disease to excessive amount of iron stored in the body. If these findings are confirmed, chelation therapy could well be the treatment of choice. Iron is one of the metals it pulls out of the human system.

Metal Poisoning

Chelation therapy is probably best known for treating heavy metal poisoning, such as lead. In fact, the FDA recognizes chelation therapy as the most effective — and possibly the only feasible — treatment for heavy metal toxicity. A recent study confirmed the efficacy of chelation therapy for lead poisoning. Carol A. Huseman of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha and her co-workers studied 12 children for up to one year, measuring growth rates at levels of the hormones that regulate growth. The researchers studied six children with toxic levels of lead, before and alter chelation therapy. According to Huseman, the other six children did not need chelation. Before chelation the children with high levels of lead grew far more slowly than normal. However, following chelation, each child experienced a significant growth spurt. In fact, one child’s bone growth rate almost tripled.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Chelation therapy also helps remove aluminum from the brain, a metal that may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, it acts as a gentle deblocking agent for clogged blood vessels in the brain and the rest of the body. According to Drs. H. Richard Casdorph and Morton Walker, authors of Toxic Metal Syndrome: How Toxic Metal Poisoning Can Affect Your Brain, chelation therapy has been shown to help at least 50 percent of elderly people who have tried it. They are documented as showing greater mental clarity, improved memory, and increased I.Q. It works best, the authors point out, in patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s. they also note that traditional medicine has little or nothing to offer most patients with brain disorders.


Chelation therapy helps control free radicals, which are linked to the cell destruction that can lead to cancer. Researchers are looking into the possibility that chelation therapy may lower the risk of cancer deaths. A lengthy study, started in 1958, investigated 231 adults who lived near a well traveled highway in Switzerland. They had a higher rate of cancer mortality than people in the same city who lived in areas with less traffic. The researchers speculated that the group’s high incidence of cancer deaths was caused by their exposure to lead from automobile exhaust.

In 1961, 59 individuals from this group underwent ten or more EDTA chelation treatments, and the other 172 were used as a control group. Walter Blumer, M.D., of Nestal, Switzerland, conducted an 18-year follow-up study of the group. He found that only one of the 59 treated patients died of cancer (I.7 percent), in contrast to the 30 deaths (17.6 percent) from the control group. That is a 90 percent decrease in cancer mortality. He based his findings on Swiss death certificates and statistical evidence showing that EDTA chelation therapy was the only significant difference between the control group and the treated patients. Garry F. Gordon, M.D., is quoted as saying,

“Anything that reduces your burden of toxic metals, which feeds the fire of free radicals, sufficiently safeguards your immune system so that you body can more efficiently handle early cancers.”

Other Conditions

As it removes toxic metal ions from the body, chelation therapy decreases the internal inflammation caused by free radical mischief. As a result, it can alleviate the disability and discomfort of degenerative illnesses such as arthritis, seleraderma (a hardening of the skin and certain organs), and lupus. Allergies and chemical sensitivities seem to improve after chelation therapy, because the individual’s immune system is working more efficiently. As early as the 1960’s, chelation therapy was shown to help diabetics, allowing some patients to reduce or even stop taking their medications. This result was attributed to the fact that diabetes damages blood vessels, and chelation therapy seems to reverse some of that damage.

Leave it to the Experts

As with most medical treatments, intravenous chelation therapy should only be entrusted to qualified professionals. Alternative medicine: The Definitive Guide, from the Burton Goldberg Group, urges prospective patients to find a healthcare professional who follows the protocol set by the American Board of Chelation Therapy (ABCT) or The American College of Advancement of Medicine (ACAM). The doctor who administers chelation therapy should have completed the training the ACAM provides. A nurse should not conduct the therapy unless a qualified physician is on the premises.

In addition, James Julian, M.D., of Los Angeles, recommends the following tests before, during, and after chelation:

  • Blood pressure and circulation
  • Cholesterol and other blood compounds
  • Blood sugar and nutritional
  • Kidney and organ function
  • Tissue minerals, if indicated

Why is the ABCT protocol so important? EDTA must be administered with caution. The more slowly this chelating substance is injected, the less chance a patient will experience side effects. EDTA infusions should not be given more often than once in a 24-hour period; the norm is two to three weekly treatments. It is also crucial to monitor kidney function. When EDTA is injected too fast or too often, consequences may include kidney failure, convulsion, shock, and death. However, with the proper protocols in place, chelation therapy is considered extremely safe.

For a list of doctors who are certified by the American Board Chelation Therapy, contact: The American College for the Advancement of Medicine (ACAM) 23121 Verdugo Drive, Suite 204 Laguna Hills, CA 92653 1-800-532-3688

Opponents of Chelation

Despite its long record of safety, chelation therapy is often dismissed by mainstream medicine. Both the American Medical Association and the American Heart Association assert that its efficacy and safety are unproven. And unfortunately, unless it is used for heavy metal poisoning, chelation therapy is not covered by most health insurance policies. In his newsletter, Turn Back the Clock, Dr. Keith E. Johnson suggests one possible reason the medical establishment rejects chelation therapy: It replaces more expensive treatments. Coronary artery bypass surgery is a multi-billion dollar industry. And bypass patients often need more than one operation, unlike chelation therapy patients.

Serafina CorseIlo, M.D., member of the National Institutes of Health Committee for the Office of Unconventional Medicine, and a member of the board of directors of the American Advancement of Medicine, concurs.

“There is no doubt… that if everyone utilized chelation therapy tomorrow, within 20 years the need for medications and crisis intervention would be reduced drastically. This encroaches upon the interests of special-interest groups,” she is quoted as saying.


Although it has been used effectively since World War II, chelation therapy is still considered “alternative” for most conditions. Fortunately, we are seeing a growing openness to medical alternatives and preventive measures. And with continued safe usage, therapeutic success, and scientific research, chelation therapy — like chiropractic — will likely enter the mainstream. Perhaps then we will see less incidences of chronic degenerative conditions, and a less toxic treatment option when they do occur.

(The following is from a front-page article in the June 22 Wall Street Journal.)

Says James Hilton, chief executive of Presbyterian Health Services, Albuquerque: ‘The money in medicine is in cardiac surgery. Cardiology is unquestionably profitable. That’s what (the hospitals) are going after. The tab for treating ailing hearts approaches $200 billion a year in the U.S., about 20% of the health-care economy. With roughly 15 million Americans suffering from heart disease and tens of millions more burdened by high blood pressure or high cholesterol, treating hearts has become an industry. More than 1,000 U.S. hospitals offer full-service heart programs. They typically account for more than 20% of hospital’s revenue and sometimes 50% of profits, supporting less lucrative endeavors’. ‘Heart is what keeps hospitals in business,’ says U.S. health consultant, Jacque Sokolov.

“After a heart attack, a quintuple bypass, a stent placed in one of the grafts that closed, and many months of sporadic angina attacks, I was becoming an ‘amateur expert’ on heart problems. And I was getting damned tired of surgery. I had read about something, so I decided to try it. I’m talking about a treatment called chelation (key-lation). Chelation involves intravenous infusions of a chemical called EDTA. (There’s no patent on EDTA, so there’s nothing in it for drug companies.) After 30 treatments, my angina lessened considerably. After 50 treatments my angina about disappeared. Furthermore, I haven’t had any heart trouble for years. On the basis of what I have personally learned and experienced, I suggest that all my subscribers learn about chelation The reason: I’m convinced that it works.

“If it works, then why the hell doesn’t the medical fraternity or the American Heart Association or federal government or the insurance companies get into it? Why do medical associations in various states try to prevent chelation treatments? Answer: Because you’re asking them to test chelation and maybe jeopardize all the money and profits. Happily, my subscribers don’t have to swallow the BS that the medical fraternity and the FDA puts out about chelation. My subscribers can read the literature, they can try chelation (but don’t tell your cardiologist). You can find out for yourself — something I urge you to do if you even suspect that you have or ever will have heart trouble.”

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