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Chelation Therapy - A New Look at an Old Treatment for Heart Disease, Particularly in Diabetics

Wednesday, May 27, 2015  
Posted by: Administration
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- Gervasio A. Lamas, MD

Don’t cringe when you hear the term chelation (key-LAY-shun) therapy. If you have heard about it at all, you may have heard that it is alternative medicine, quackery, expensive, and even dangerous. New research funded by the National Institutes of Health is suggesting that this old treatment has some real life in it and that it may particularly benefit patients with diabetes mellitus and prior heart attacks.

What Is Chelation Therapy?
Chelation therapy was first used in the early 20th century to treat metal poisoning. The treatment involves administering a drug called a chelator, which has a magnetically charged pocket that can “grab” a metal and hang onto it, kind of like a baseball mitt with a magnet in its pocket, allowing the metal to be excreted in the urine. One chelator,
calcium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat lead poisoning. Alternative medicine practitioners have been using a similar chelator, disodium EDTA, to treat heart disease, claiming to see benefits, since
the 1950s.

Disodium EDTA chelation therapy is usually administered intravenously each week for 20 to 40 sessions. Each intravenous infusion may last hours. In spite of the expense and tedium, the 2008 National Health Statistics Report stated that 111000 people used chelation in 2007.

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