Chelation Therapy is an alternative medical treatment used in resolving problems of lead poisoning. Chelators, which are chemical compounds, bind with the metals in the body to flush them out through the urine or feces. These chelating agents are either administered orally (oral chelation) or given as an injection (intravenous chelation).
The concept of chelation therapy is that when EDTA (ethylene-diamine-tetra-acetic acid), a form of amino complex, encounters positively charged metals and substances such as lead, iron, mercury, copper, calcium, magnesium, zinc and manganese, the EDTA latches on to them and excretes them from the body.
It's quite difficult to assess the effectiveness of this therapy. In fact, it has been a subject of controversies and debates ever since it was introduced a few years ago. Proponents are steadfast in their positive claims for this treatment. Skeptics meanwhile find loopholes in chelation therapy that strengthen their argument about it.
Some of the controversies died down when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved this therapy as treatment for lead poisoning. People however continue to question its effectiveness in ordinary setting when people take in oral chelators the same way they question with vitamin and mineral supplements.
A few health professionals make use of this treatment to treat atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. That is due to the fact that there is substantive evidence that can prove the effectiveness of this therapy for these particular health problems. Some medical practitioners believe that EDTA binds with the calcium deposits in the arteries. These calcium deposits are part of the plaque that hinders the flow of blood to the heart.
Others favor this therapy in their belief that it removes metals that combine with the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, otherwise known as the bad cholesterol. They theorize that when chelators can effectively remove the LDL cholesterol in the arteries and thereby reduce the risks of heart diseases. Again, research has not yet proven this belief.
Some people who make use of oral or injected chelation therapy attest that they experience less pain from their chronic inflammatory diseases. These include lupus, arthritis and scleroderma. This works when the EDTA acts an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and protects the blood vessels. Like the other theories, this is also yet to be proven by scientific research.
When it comes to safety, it has been found that chelation therapy in high doses may contribute to kidney damage, irregular heartbeats, and other negative effects on the health. Low doses can cause high blood pressure, low blood sugar, headache and rashes. Children, pregnant women, and people suffering from any heart or kidney disease should not engage in chelation therapy at any dose.
It's also important to remember that it's possible that the EDTA doesn't only remove the toxic chemicals but also the vital minerals that you need for your body. It is a must to consult your doctor first before using chelation therapy or any other alternative form of medical treatment.