EDTA is a synthetic amino acid compound administered intravenously. This
procedure, called chelation therapy, is a nonsurgical treatment for coronary
artery disease and a wide variety of vascular disorders. By binding to toxic and
excess metals in the bloodstream, EDTA allows for their elimination from the
body through urine. Their removal, in turn, reduces the activity of damaging
free radicals. It is these free radicals that create dangerous, artery-clogging
plaque. The end result of chelation therapy is an improved blood supply to the
legs, heart, and other organs.
More than 40 million Americans face coronary artery disease, and many of them
(more than 400,000 annually) undergo coronary artery bypass surgery. Many health
care professionals recognize EDTA as a preventive measure as well as an
effective alternative treatment for some of these patients. EDTA administration
occurs on an outpatient basis in a health care provider's office. Since
hospitalization is unnecessary, chelation therapy is more comfortable, less
invasive, and much less expensive than traditional bypass surgery. Administering
health care providers should make themselves aware of the protocol set by the
American College of Advancement of Medicine (ACAM) and the American Board of
Chelation Therapy (ABCT).
Researchers developed EDTA chelation therapy as a treatment for metal
toxicity, such as lead poisoning. It has also been used in response to digitalis
toxicity. Again, the process is one of binding to, and thus removing, injurious
metals from the body. Administration of EDTA also positively affects
cerebrovascular insufficiency, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's
disease, and Alzheimer's disease, and it may lower cancer mortality.
Making healthful dietary changes (e.g., eating fewer saturated fats and
increasing the consumption of plant foods and fiber) contributes to the success
of chelation therapy. Researchers also recommend the addition of nonprescription
nutritional supplements, such as an antioxidant formula and a multivitamin.
EDTA is not, at this time, approved by the FDA as an alternative to bypass
surgery. It is a controversial option among health care professionals due to
risk concerns. An overdose (administered too quickly or too often)of EDTA
chelation therapy could, in theory, lead to kidney failure or even death.
However, no such toxicity has occurred in the hundreds of thousands of cases of
properly performed therapy in the past 25 years. Currently,
government-authorized investigational trials are underway which are likely to
confirm the safety of EDTA and lead to FDA approval.
Health care professionals also express concerns about the lack of
demonstrated clinical proof of efficacy. Analysis of recent studies, however,
revealed a high correlation between treatment and patient improvement. Anecdotal
evidence also leans heavily in favor of EDTA.
EDTA chelation therapy is FDA-approved and available as treatment for heavy
metal and digitalis toxicity.
EDTA is a synthetic amino acid and has no natural
The chelating agent ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) is a synthetic
amino acid usually combined with vitamins and minerals (such as vitamin C and
magnesium), and delivered intravenously.
The patent on EDTA is long expired. This generic, synthetic amino acid may be
manufactured and sold by any drug company under the names
ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, edetic acid, tetracemic acid, and
Heart disease: By binding to heavy metals, toxins, and metabolic wastes, EDTA
counters free-radical damage, clears clogged arteries, and improves blood flow
to the heart. Chelation therapy, then, is offered as a preventive for
atherosclerosis, an alternative to heart bypass treatment, and/or a
post-surgical procedure for patients with (or at risk for) cardiovascular
Metal toxicity: Chelation therapy is one of the only recognized (and
FDA-approved) antidotes to lead, mercury, or arsenic poisoning. Research
confirms that children with lead poisoning experience healthy growth spurts
after undergoing EDTA chelation therapy. EDTA is also indicated as a chelating
solution to digitalis toxicity.
EDTA's metal cleansing mechanisms may have a positive effect on Alzheimer's
disease, which may be worsened by aluminum in the brain. Additionally, the
improved blood flow brought about by a course of intravenous EDTA can
significantly improve conditions as varied as multiple sclerosis, gangrene, and
macular degeneration. Chelation therapy also impedes the activity of damaging
free radicals that lead to or exacerbate cancer, lupus, and arthritis.
|Dosage Ranges and Duration of
EDTA is usually administered intravenously, with magnesium and vitamin C,
over a period of three to four hours. Doses of 2.5 g in 500 ml 1/2N
saline have achieved favorable results. Only one dose of EDTA should be
dispensed in a single 24-hour period; two to three weekly treatments are
typical. Most patients require 20 to 30 infusions in response to coronary artery
One gram intravenous EDTA delivered over one hour is the recommended adult
dosage as an antidote for heavy metal toxicity.
Administering physicians should consult with ACAM or ABCT regarding more
specific dosage protocol.
EDTA infusions must be given slowly and at least 24 hours apart in order to
avoid potentially dangerous side effects, such as kidney failure, other organ
damage, seizure, or death.
The American College of Advancement of Medicine (ACAM) provides training and
chelation therapy protocol.
Additionally, the administering physician should monitor or measure blood
pressure and circulation; cholesterol and other blood compounds; blood sugar and
nutritional levels; kidney and other organ function; pre- and postvascular
function; and tissue minerals before, during, and after EDTA
Cefmetazole (0.2 mL of 10 mM solution) was absorbed more rapidly in the rat
jejunum and colon when administered with EDTA (67 mM) (Suzuka et al. 1985). EDTA
may enhance the intestinal absorption of hydrophilic compounds by chelating
calcium ions in the tight junctional area. Another in vitro study in rats using
the colonic sac method demonstrated that the transport of cefmetazole (800
mg/mL) from the mucosal to serosal medium was increased in the presence of EDTA
(50 mM) (Suzuka et al. 1987).
Burns CB, Currie B. The efficacy of chelation therapy and factors influencing
mortality in lead intoxicated petrol sniffers. Aust N Z J Med.
Carey C, Lee H, and Woeltje K, eds. Washington Manual of Medical
Therapeutics. 29th ed. Philadelphia, Penn: Lippincott-Raven; 1998.
Chappell LT, Stahl JP. The correlation between EDTA chelation therapy and
improvement in cardiovascular function: a meta-analysis. J Adv Med.
Cranton E, Brecher A. Bypassing Bypass. Norfolk, Va: Donning Co;
Cranton E. A Textbook on EDTA Chelation. New York, NY: Humay Sciences
Guldager B, Brixen KT, Jorgensen SJ, Nielsen HK, Mosekilde L, Jelnes R.
Effects of intravenous EDTA treatment on serum parathyroid hormone (1-84) and
biochemical markers of bone turnover. Dan Med Bull. 1993;40:627-630.
Hancke C, Flytlie K. Benefits of EDTA chelation therapy on
arteriosclerosis. J Adv Med. 1993;6:161-172.
Lin JL, Ho HH, Yu CC. Chelation therapy for patients with elevated body lead
burden and progressive renal insufficiency: a randomized, controlled trial.
Ann Intern Med. 1999;130:7-13.
Murray M. Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements: The Essential Guide for
Improving Your Health Naturally. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing;
Olszewer E, Sabag FC, Carter JP. A pilot double-blind study of
sodium-magnesium EDTA in peripheral vascular disease. J Natl Med Assoc.
Olszewer E, Carter JP. EDTA chelation therapy in chronic degenerative
disease. Med Hypotheses. 1988;27:41-49.
Reynolds JEF, ed. Martindale: The Extra Pharmacopoeia. 31st ed.
London: Royal Pharmaceutical Society; 1996.
Sloth-Nielson J, Guldager B, Mouritzen C, et al. Arteriographic findings in
EDTA chelation therapy on peripheral arteriosclerosis. Am J Surg.
Suzuka T, Furuya A, Kamada A, Nishihata T. Effect of phenothiazines, disodium
ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid and diethyl maleate on the in vitro rat
colonic transport of cefmetazole and inulin. J.Pharmacobio-Dyn.
Suzuka T, Nishihata T, Yamazaki M, Kamada A. Effect of salicylate and
disodium EDTA on the rat intestinal absorption of cefmetazole. Chem
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