Header image alt text

Dr. Fred Hui

Helping People Achieve Balance in Life

Chelation Good for More Than Lead Poisoning

By Frances E. FitzGerald 

If you were to undergo chelation (key-LAY-shun) therapy, you would recline comfortably in a lounge chair for three-and –a-half hours or more while an intravenous solution slowly trickled into your bloodstream. In the meantime, you could nap, talk, read, or watch television. Any discomfort or pain would be unlikely. 

The intravenous solution would include a chelating agent-usually a synthetic amino acid called ethyl-enediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)-along with various vitamins and minerals. The EDTA would seek out toxic metals within your body, such as lead, cadmium, aluminum, and mercury. It would also find certain minerals such as calcium, the “glue” in artery plaque. EDTA would then wrap itself around these substances and pull them out of your body via your kidneys. 

Chelation comes from the Greek word chele, meaning to claw or to bind. When administered properly, chelation therapy is an effective and safe 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 

The plaque on artery walls is comprised of fats, collagen, fibrin, mucopolysaccharides, cholesterol, foreign proteins, and other mysterious entities included in the typical Western diet. Calcium is the substance that holds all these clogging substances together. 

When chelation agents such as EDTA pluck the calcium from artery plaque, the clogging material falls apart and flows out of the body through the bloodstream. In this way, chelation therapy helps widen the arteries and improve blood flow. Elmer Cranton, M.D., co-author of Bypassing the Bypass, claims chelation therapy results in a 75 to 95 percent success rate in improving blood flow in patients with clogged arteries. 

Another perspective comes from 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 Finish study links heart disease to excessive amounts 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 and levels of the hormones that regulate growth. 

The researchers studied six children with toxic levels of lead, before and after 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 de-locking 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 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 conventional 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 that 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 (1.7 percent), in contrast to 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 your 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, scleroderma (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 1960s, 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 Goldberge 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 (ADAM). The doctor who administers chelation therapy should have completed the training the ACAM provides. A nurse or other non-physician should not conduct the therapy unless a qualified physician is on the premises. 

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

  • Blood pressure and circulation
  • Cholesterol and other blood compounds
  • Pre-and post-vascular
  • 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 quickly 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 of Chelation Therapy, contact:

The American College for the Advancement of Medicine (ACAM)

23121 Verdugo Dr., Suite 204

Laguna Hills, CA 92653


Opponents of chelation 

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 fewer incidences of chronic degenerative conditions, and a less toxic treatment option when they do occur. 

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.” 

*Frances E. FitzGerald is a free-lance writer who specializes in health topics. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Grand Valley State Colleges in Allendale, Michigan, and a master’s degree in English from the University of Illinois, Chicago. 

Bypassing the bypass:

There’s a better way. 

Heart disease is the number one k8ller in the United States. And the usual treatments may be fatal, too. Each year, almost 300,000 bypass surgeries are performed. And approximately five percent – or 15,000-of those surgeries end in death. 

Is bypass surgery always justified? Nortin Hadler, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina Scholl of Medicine, doesn’t think so. In 1992, he wrote that only three to five percent of the 3000,000 bypasses were actually necessary. And at a symposium of the American Heart Association, Henry McIntosh, M.D., said bypass surgery should be limited to patients with crippling angina, for whom more conservative therapies were ineffective. 

And yet, a great deal of money is spent on bypass surgery. A cost comparison study prepared for the Great Lakes Association of Clinical Medicine in 1993 reported that approximately $10 billion was spent in the United States in 1991 on bypasses. Here are a few more drawbacks to consider:

* Average, there is a ten percent higher mortality risk for every year over 70.

* Deaths from bypass surgery are on the rise, perhaps because there are more

    repeat surgeries. Second and third bypass procedures pose additional risk.

* Women are 77 percent more likely to die as a result of bypass surgery than men,

    according to a UCLA school of Medicine study of 2,297 male and female bypass patients.

*  Five to ten percent of patients experience a heart attack immediately after a

    bypass, according to the New York Heart Association. During a bypass, the

    aorta is clamped, depriving the heart of oxygen. As a result, heart tissue is often

    damaged during surgery.

*  Bypass can also cause neurological disturbances. Bypass patients may

    experience memory loss, reduced mental function, and mood swings. As many

    as 20 percent of bypass patients are seriously depressed for a year or longer after surgery. 

EDTA chelation therapy appears to pose less risk. In fact, according to drug safety standards, aspirin is almost three-and-a-half times more toxic than EDTA. 

The American College for the Advancement of Medicine estimates that around 500,000 patients have received EDTA chelation therapy under proper protocol. Not one fatality has been attributed to EDTA. This record makes EDTA chelation therapy one of the safest medical procedures in medicine today.