In many cases of chronic illness, including eye disease, the underlying cause of the disorders is very simple – heavy metal poisoning. This one disease affects all of us on the planet to some degree and can be cured by getting the lead, mercury, and other toxins out of our bodies, bones, and brains.
The process of removing heavy metals is called Chelation Therapy, and was introduced in the US for removing lead in the 1950s. It has been officially limited to this application, although all doctors involved in this field have known for a long time that it has wider application, especially in the realm of cardiovascular diseases. Finally, in 2012, the results of the first federally funded large scale, longitudinal, double-blind, placebo-controlled study – the TACT (Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy) – demonstrated chelation’s remarkable effectiveness in reducing mortality in heart attack patients, especially in diabetic heart patients. While it is too soon to see how this information will affect treatment for circulatory disorders, the many pioneering practitioners of chelation – and their patients – are waiting for this development.
We are on the brink of a medical revolution on a par
with the discovery of penicillin.
Although you may not be familiar with chelation, doctors have been using it in this country since about 1950, following its development in Germany in 1938. This is a treatment normally used to treat lead poisoning and even venomous snakebites. It was found, in the early years of its use, that chelation improved the heart disease of those who underwent it for other purposes. This prompted a number of physicians to begin using it for this purpose since it is known to flush plaque and toxic metals from the bloodstream. For many, many individuals it has been an alternative to heart or vascular surgery.
Chelation has been used very successfully to treat cardiovascular disease, diabetes, diabetic arterial disease, decreased mental functioning, intermittent claudication (leg pain on exercise), and a number of other conditions.
Results of TACT Study
Effect of Disodium EDTA Chelation Regimen on Cardiovascular Events in Patients With Previous Myocardial Infarction The TACT Randomized Trial
Results demonstrated a significant positive result of chelation therapy in the treatment of cardiovascular disease and prevention of negative outcomes of this disease such as stroke, heart attack, amputation and death. TACT, which is the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy, called on the expertise of university cardiologists and experienced chelation physicians from around the United States. The objective of the study centered on comparisons between patients with significant cardiovascular disease, who were treated with medication and intravenous chelation therapy to those receiving medication but no chelation. The results indicated significant improvement in patients with previous heart attacks who were already under cardiology treatment- especially patients with diabetes. The group treated with chelation had fewer subsequent surgeries than those who received a placebo. In addition, findings show chelation reduced death from heart attacks by 18% and over 39% for diabetics. Although, some among conventional cardiologists have already attempted to discredit this large and well-controlled trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Heart, Lung & Blood Institute as well as the National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine, the results speak for themselves, especially in diabetics who are at extremely high risk for vascular diseases.
Chelation therapy and Macular Degeneration
Chelation has also been used to reverse macular degeneration since ARMD is caused, at least in part, by the blockage in the choroid capillaries, which deliver blood to the macula.
In 1994, the Journal of the Advancement of Medicine published a case where a 59-year old woman with ARMD used nutrition along with chelation for her condition. After undergoing the recommended series of chelation, her vision improved to 20/25 in one eye and 20/20 in the other. Her central vision was greatly enhanced. One year later, her vision improvement remained.
Dr. Merrill Lipton of Belton, Texas tells a compelling story of his experience with chelation and macular degeneration. “I was injured during World War II, at the age of twenty, by an explosion above my head. Large pieces of shrapnel lodged in my head, near my ear and behind my eye. This left me with increased pressure in my right eye, which resulted in glaucoma. Several years later, the same condition developed in my left eye. It was controlled with drops. In 1991, I thought I had cataracts. It turned out to be macular degeneration. I took forty chelation treatments and maintain follow-up treatments twice a month. My vision returned to 20/20 with correction, and my high blood pressure of twenty years’ standing was cured. A few years later, I had my cataract removed, and complications resulted in increased intra occular pressure again. Back on chelation, this problem resolved to the extent that, at seventy-five years of age, I read without glasses and drive.”
Chelation therapy and glaucoma
Glaucoma is a complex disease a combination of increase in eye pressure along with damage to the optic nerve. Pressure is just one side of the equation, the other side is damage to the delicate optic nerve. Chelation can help in all cases of glaucoma by 2 mechanisms. The first is to remove toxic metals which are contributing to damage of the optic nerve. As the optic nerve looses function it becomes more urgent to eliminate toxins that can acclerate the optic nerve damage. Heavy metals are a major toxic factor in this damage. The second effect of chelation is to improve blood flow to the optic nerve. The more blood flow and oxygenation the herve receives the healthier it will be. This is very urgent in cases of glaucoma where the circulation is already decreased
Chelation therapy and Cataracts
Several studies have linked cataracts to elevated lead. A Harvard study in 2004 suggested that reduction of lead exposure throughout a man’s lifetime should help reduce his chances of developing cataracts and of requiring cataract surgery. It is important that if you want to reduce the risk of cataracts or prevent the need for surgery you need to get tested for lead. In my experience everyone I see with cataracts has elevated lead
Urine Challenge Test
One of the ways we recommend that all patients improve their health status is to be tested for heavy metals and then, if they are found to have a significant load, to undergo Chelation therapy. The recommended way to be tested for heavy metals is through a urine challenge test. This type of test is necessary for several reasons. It is superior in determining your body’s toxic load. If you had severe heavy metal poisoning- in fact you could be on your death bed- and your your blood was tested for heavy metals, chances are it would be normal. How can that be? Heavy metals do not stay in your blood but are absorbed into bone, fat tissue, and neurological tissue—especially the eye. The key to measuring the heavy metals is to force them into the blood and urine and then measure the levels. This is done by a challenging agent which makes the metals that are stored in fat tissue and bone more soluble and then this solution moves into the blood and urine. This is the way it works: a chelating agent is given, and then urine samples are collected and analyzed to measure the amount of heavy metals. Common chelating agents used are EDTA and DMSA. A measured amount is given either orally or intravenously depending on the weight, age, health, and heavy metal to be studied. Urine is then collected over 6 to 24 hours. This specimen is then sent to the laboratory for analysis. This gives a much better indication of stored metals than does a blood test for the reasons explained above. A person who has significant levels of toxic metals should seriously consider undergoing Chelation therapy. Chelation therapy is the removal of heavy metals through the urine and feces, once they have been chelated out of the tissues and into the waste stream. The technique is done by introducing chelating agents, or chemical compounds that bind to the metals and help remove them. In the body, the chelating agent reacts with metal ions such as lead, mercury, calcium, iron and aluminum and combines (i.e. bonds) with the ions, forming a more chemically stable compound. The human body cannot break down this non-soluble compound easily, and it can be excreted, removing the metal along with it, through both the urinary and excretory systems.
Methods of Chelation
Chelation can be done orally, by taking the chelating agents found in food, or in pill form. Or it can be done through IV injection of the chelating agents. It can also be done topically through the use of creams that contain chelating agents, and it can even be done rectally. This therapy is also used for individuals with blocked blood vessels in order to clear them without surgery or stents or drugs.
Chelation, whether oral, topical, rectal or IV, should be done under the supervision of a trained medical professional who can determine the amount of chelating agent you need, the effectiveness of your treatment, and the duration of treatment necessary
How Chelation Works
The word “chelation” is taken from the Greek work chele, meaning claw. This describes the way the molecules of the chelating agent grab onto the molecules of heavy metal, such as lead, iron, and copper, in the body and moves them to the kidneys, via the bloodstream, for excretion. The process of chelation also binds calcium, which is known, when it is present in cells in excessive amounts, to interfere with arterial health. Calcium is responsible for the build-up of plaque that causes blockages in the blood vessels. None of the calcium chelated and released during chelation is the calcium from bones and teeth. Chelation lowers serum ionized calcium which decreases clotting, reduces spasm and softens “hardening” of the arteries. A further benefit to overall health is that EDTA reduces the LDL cholesterol (the so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol) content in the liver and the plaque formed in the arteries.
Despite its success, scientists do not know for certain how chelation works. One theory is that it reduces free radicals, which are the harmful by-products of metabolic processes. A related theory is that since heavy metals cause an increased production of free radicals, reducing them in the body reduces the numbers of free radicals. Yet another understanding of how chelation works focuses on the relationship between calcium and magnesium as intracellular and intercellular components. As excess calcium is bound in the bloodstream, the calcium/magnesium balance is favorably affected.
Foods as oral chelating agents
The first step to prevent the accumulation of heavy metals, and, for some, the way to eliminate them, is through diet. We have already discussed the importance of eating organic food that has not been exposed to toxic chemicals. But there is another step related to diet. There are many foods that are good chelating agents of heavy metals. “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food,” said Hippocrates, and deliberately including chelating foods into your diet is one way of making food your medicine.
One of these potent medicinal foods is cilantro(or Chinese Parsley) Dr David Williams published in his newsletter, Alternatives ((Vol. 7, No. 12) June, 1998), that using cilantro to detoxify the body is the most interesting item to come down the pike in years! Cilantro has been found to chelate (remove) heavy metals like mercury, aluminum, and lead from the body. In fact, it is believed to cross the blood-brain barrier and actually remove said metals from the brain. It may be one of the most effective agents in doing this.
Cilantro is a member of the carrot family and is botanically-known as Coriandrum sativum. The plant and leaves are called cilantro, while the seeds (used as a spice) are called coriander. The plant is often referred to as Mexican parsley, or Chinese parsley. The leaves, which resemble flat-leaf parsley, are used for seasoning in Mexican and Asian dishes. Some people have a very strong aversion to the flavor and will object to even the smallest amount in a dish.Those who enjoy this herb agree that the flavor is definitely strong and pungent. Cilantro is sold fresh, by the bunch, in the produce section of most markets. Dried cilantro is pretty much worthless since the flavor and aroma are lost in the drying process. Some people have a very strong aversion to the cilantro flavor, but this can be overcome. One way to overcome it is by making pesto from the herb and using it on pasta, bread, or with eggs.
Dr. Yoshiaki Omura, Director of Medical Research of the Heart Disease Research Foundation, observed that subjects had higher than normal levels of mercury in their urine after consuming Vietnamese soup, which has large amounts of cilantro This is a good sign; for if you have higher levels in your urine that means mercury is being removed from your body. He followed up on this accidental finding and discovered that giving cilantro to patients with mercury poisoning for several weeks successfully eliminated the toxin from the body.
I am lucky to have a beautiful Vietnamese wife who frequently makes a delicious soup with a lot of cilantro. In fact a large section of our garden is dedicated to cilantro which we pick daily for soup, eggs, and salads. If you want to make this soup.
Another way to enjoy cilantro is to put it on salads or make a cilantro pesto using olive oil and either walnuts or Brazilian nuts in the pesto because both are a good source of magnesium and zinc. Consider having a few pots of cilantro on your windowsill so you will always have a fresh supply!
Pectin is another food component that is good medicine. Phyllis Balch, in her book, Prescription for Natural Healing, reports that pectin is good for diabetics, removes toxins and heavy metals, lowers cholesterol, and reduces the risk of gallstones. Pectin is found in apples, bananas, the rinds of citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, and grapefruit), carrots, beets, cabbage, and okra. If you juice these foods, then you will probably get some of the pectin in the pulp, and then the pulp can be made into muffins. Otherwise there are several pectin supplements available.
Chlorella is a mild chelator. You can find it in green algae. Chlorella has a 3-layered cell wall that contains cellulose microfibrils, which aids in heavy metal detoxification. You can obtain this all important nutrient in the form of supplements and in drinks from juice bars or simply make one yourself using widely available chlorella powder.
Methionine is a natural occurring chelating agent that supplies sulfur in the body. It helps in heavy metal detoxification by increasing the production of cysteine and lecithin for the liver and protecting your kidney. It is found in sesame seeds and other plant seeds in abundance. Fresh garlic is a good source of N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC) which increases the production of cysteine and glutathaione which are both powerful antioxidants that lessen the effects of heavy metals. If you find it hard to eat garlic because of the pungent smell, you can use garlic supplements in capsules.
Milk Thistle is a plant whose botanical name is silymarin. It helps your liver detoxify and, in the process, eliminate heavy metals. Milk thistle also protects the membranes of red blood cells.
I used to think that oral chelation had little value. Studies have shown that less than 10% of oral agents are absorbed into the body to help remove heavy metals. This is in comparison to a 100% absorption in IV therapy and 20% via rectal administration. The oral agents will combine the heavy metals found in most food and prevent them form entering the body. They are probably the best way to prevent additional toxins from entering the body. Remember the rain barrel analogy. When you have disease, your rain barrel is filled with toxins. You need to do everything you can to prevent more toxins from entering your body. There are many oral chelating agents on the market but you should take them under a doctor’s supervision. Be aware that all chelating agents will remove both toxic and essential minerals. So if you are taking oral agents, it is essential to take supplemental minerals. The good thing is that the chelating agents have a much higher affinity or attraction to the larger more toxic minerals than the smaller essential minerals. But is still important to monitor your minerals while undergoing chelation treatment. This is one reason why I highly suggest patients receiving chelation continue receiving the Myers Cocktail, a fortified IV vitamin mixture. You can also consume Brazil Nuts which contain one the highest amount of zinc, selenium, and magnesium fouond in a food. This seems like a perfect food for helping the body recover minerals during the chelation process.
The application of a skin lotion can reverse years of aging changes in the eyes caused by heavy metal exposure! Dr. Robert Rowen, in his newsletter Second Opinion, has recently reported on skin lotion called TD-DMPS that is able to remove heavy metals from the body. Your skin is rich in nerves, which transport the DMPS backward into the central nervous system and into your brain and eyes. This treatment was developed by Dr Detrich Klinghard, a well known alternative doctor, who treats autistic children who have heavy metal poisoning. He researched a technique of administering chelating agents without the invasive intravenous route. This method combines a chelating agent DMPS and glutathione which acts a s carrier to transport the DMPS through the skin into the neurological tissues.
During my trip with Dr. Rowen into the Grand Canyon I had 5 days to discuss with him new treatments to help improve the vision of folks suffering from ARMD. One of these treatments is a new way to do chelation therapy. Chelation therapy can be time consuming and expensive. The average IV therapy takes 2 to 3 hours and costs around $100. Now there is a better way. I have always been a big advocate of chelation therapy to help detoxify the body, remove heavy metals and to improve circulation. It is something that I recommend to all patients with macular degeneration especially if they have cardiovascular disease or have been exposed to heavy metals. Detoxamin suppositories offer nearly the same benefits as IV chelation. The Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association published a study indicating that suppositories of EDTA chelation have a 36.3 % absorption in the body compared to 100% of IV therapy. JANA Article One suppository 3 times a week appears to have the same level of therapy as one IV therapy. Each suppository costs under $8 which is a considerable savings compared to the IV therapy. Rectal chelation is another option for the removal of heavy metals. About 20% of EDTA is absorbed into the highly permeable rectal mucosa tissue when using this technique. It can be a very effective option when IV therapy is not available or when patients are looking for a more economical method of chelation delivery. The drawback is that many patients will develop loose stools using this method, and, just like oral or topical methods, a consistent replacement of essential minerals must be undertaken. All these methods can also remove essential minerals. This is why it is important that you take a good mineral supplement while undergoing chelation. One advantage of IV chelation is that most chelators doctors end the IV treatment with a mineral boost to help you keep a healthy level of minerals.
A chelation treatment requires a visit to a doctor’s office where 3 grams of a synthetic amino acid EDTA (ethyl diamine tetra acetic acid) is infused into your veins through an IV. Chelation requires a course of treatment of several sessions per week for several weeks or months. ACAM (American College of Alternative Medicine) recommends that patients undergo 30 chelation treatments in order to obtain the optimum effect, and follow these with a maintenance dose once a month. Each session lasts two to three hours. The frequency of the treatments depends on the severity of the condition and the way that the body is handling the excretion of the minerals. During the course of treatment, the doctor will monitor the health of kidneys as well as other organs to ensure that no undue stress is placed on the body. There is almost no discomfort with chelation and the side effects, which are rare, are very minimal. Patients are instructed during this time in proper diet, stress management, and exercise regimens to support their overall recovery.
IV Chelation is superior to oral, topical and rectal chelation in its effectiveness. When you perform IV chelation, 100% of the chelating agent will enter your body and supply you with the maximum dose to target the heavy metals that are locked into your bone, fat and neurological tissues. I also like IV chelation since most chelating doctors will give trace minerals at the end of the IV chelating treatment. This will greatly lesson the chance of developing mineral deficiencies. You can find a practitioner of Chelation through the American College for the Advancement of Medicine (www.acam.org) This organization of MDs and other professionals is committed to the use of Chelation therapy, and one of their members can assist you with the proper testing and treatment.
More on Chelation. Oral, Rectal and IV.
Last week I had a very interesting dinner with two of the leading authorities on chelation therapy. Dr. Garry Gordon and Dr. Bruce Shelton. Our conversation centered on the advantages and disadvantages of the different forms of chelation therapy. I was surprised at the outcome of our discussions. I had always assumed that oral chelation was the most ineffective because of its low absorption (5 to 18%) compared to rectal (36%) and IV (100%). But there is something else to consider!
A naturopathic once told disease is like a rain barrel. We are born with an empty rain barrel and as we live our life toxins accumulate in this barrel. Once it starts to overflow we develop disease. To any disease we must empty the rain barrel of toxins and prevent the introduction if toxins. This is why oral chelation can be so beneficial. The majority of the EDTA stays in the reservoir of the gut binding heavy metals from our foods preventing absorption of these toxins. The conclusion of our supper conversation was that oral chelation can be the best preventative measure. Dr. Gary Gordon ordered fish and my comment to him was, “Dr. Gordon aren’t you worried about the mercury in this fish”. He smiled at me and said, “This is why I am taking this chelation pill!” It all made sense to me. In our toxic world it is almost impossible to eliminate the heavy metals in our diet, but oral chelation with meals is a very inexpensive and safe way to reduce the risks.