Home > Health Library > Chelation Therapy
Chelation therapy is a
chemical process in which a synthetic solution—EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic
acid)—is injected into the bloodstream to remove heavy metals and/or minerals
from the body. Chelation means "to grab" or "to bind." When EDTA is injected
into the veins, it "grabs" heavy metals and minerals such as lead, mercury,
copper, iron, arsenic, aluminum, and calcium and removes them from the body.
Except as a treatment for lead poisoning, chelation therapy is controversial
Chelation therapy is performed on an outpatient
Chelation is a
very effective way to treat heavy-metal poisoning. The U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) has approved prescription chelation therapy for the treatment of lead
poisoning. Injected EDTA binds with the harmful metal and both are then
eliminated from the body through the kidneys.
professionals have also used chelation therapy to treat
coronary artery disease, although there is not enough
scientific evidence to prove that this treatment is effective. Some people
believe that EDTA binds with calcium deposits (the part of plaque that
obstructs the flow of blood to the heart) in the arteries, and then EDTA
"cleans out" the calcium deposits from the arteries, reducing the risk of heart
problems. Research results have been inconsistent. Chelation therapy should not replace lifestyle changes or standard treatments for coronary artery disease.
professionals also suspect that EDTA may act as an
antioxidant by removing metals that combine with
LDL cholesterol, which can damage arteries. The theory
is that when you remove metals that flow freely through arteries (such as
copper or calcium), you may slow down diseases such as atherosclerosis.
Research has not proved this theory. Some experts believe that EDTA could
remove calcium from healthy bones, muscles, and other tissues, as well as from
Many people report less pain from chronic
inflammatory diseases such as
scleroderma after chelation therapy. The theory is
that EDTA acts as an antioxidant, which protects the body from inflammation and
protects blood vessels. Again, this idea has not been proved by scientific
women, and people who have heart or kidney failure should not have chelation
therapy at any dose.
Many years ago, chelation therapy was given
in high doses and may have been linked to kidney damage, irregular heartbeats,
and other serious consequences. Even when this treatment is given in low doses,
some negative effects may occur, including
high blood pressure, headache, rash, low blood sugar,
EDTA may remove vital
minerals from the body along with the toxic metals. Vitamins and minerals are
added to the EDTA solution to help keep them at an optimal level in the body to
Always tell your doctor if you are using an
alternative therapy or if you are thinking about combining an alternative
therapy with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo
your conventional medical treatment and rely only on an alternative therapy.
Other Works Consulted
Fihn SD, et al. (2014). 2014 ACC/AHA/AATS/PCNA/SCAI/STS focused update of the guideline for the diagnosis and management of patients with stable ischemic heart disease. Circulation. DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000095. Accessed October 13, 2014.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Current as ofJune 9, 2016
Current as of:
June 9, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
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