Chelation therapy was originally created to remove heavy metals from the body following acute heavy metal exposure. In natural medicine, chelation is used to treat other conditions such as heart disease and emphysema and therefore, is sometimes considered controversial. The first part of this series discusses what chelation is and how it was accidentally found to treat heart disease in the United States.
Chelation therapy is a medical procedure in which a chelating agent is administered intravenously ultimately resulting in the discharge of heavy metals from the body. A chelator is a substance that has a high affinity to bind to heavy metals. During chelation therapy, the chelator will latch onto heavy metals found in the body forming a compound that can be excreted from the body through urine. Lead and mercury are heavy metals that are commonly removed with chelation therapy.
Chelators have been used for water purification purposes as far back as the late 1800s. In the 1940s, the German armed forces used chelation to purify their drinking water as they fought WWII. Around this time, U.S. naval physicians began to see high numbers of soldiers who had been assigned to paint warships with lead poisoning. They used intravenous chelation to remove the lead with great results. In the 1950s, the physicians treating heavy metal toxicity with chelation noticed that the patients who also suffered from chest pain associated with heart disease stopped complaining of the pain after only a few chelation treatments. By the 1960’s, IV chelation had become a popular treatment for heart and blood vessel diseases.
As the medical community increasingly turned towards “evidence based medicine”, chelation therapy began to lose favor and was relegated to “alternative medicine”. Despite this, over 50 years of positive data and clinical results from the use of chelation in heart and vascular disease exists. Today, chelation therapy is beginning to make a comeback as more people choose to take charge of their own health decisions and medical treatments.
Stay tuned for the second part of this series featuring a discussion on how chelation actually works!
Hazel Gois ND, APH
Chelation Therapy available at Renaissance Health Centre in Las Vegas