Bypassing the Bypass

Chronic degenerative diseases continue to be North America’s primary killers with heart disease and cancer leading the way. These conditions are no longer an affliction of the aged, but are reaching into younger and younger age groups. A majority of chronic illnesses are usually not the result of a single cause but a complex of interacting factors.

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians take high blood pressure and anti-cholesterol medicine, undergo angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery and require long-term management of their circulatory systems. Although many are satisfied with this approach, some are not and seek alternate treatment. Once such treatment is chelation therapy.

The word chelate is derived from the Greek word chele, which refers to the claw of a crab or lobster, implying the firm, pincer-like binding action. Chelation therapy is a treatment in which a variety of specific compounds are administered orally or by injection so as to bind or chelate unwanted substances.

It was initially thought that chelation therapy somehow leached calcium out of atherosclerotic plaque, thereby opening up arteries and improving circulation. This recently has been proven to be a false assumption.

It is currently believed that toxic metals such as arsenic, mercury, lead, and cadmium and possibly excess amounts of iron or calcium, can accumulate in the arteries and other tissues of the body. This accumulation can lead to free radical damage, micro-inflammation and increased vulnerability to infection of the blood vessels, which in turn, initiates the process of atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries). Since these abnormal metals cannot be excreted efficiently by normal detoxification functions, a chelating agent can be introduced into the body, which binds them and allows removal.

EDTA (ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid) is a synthetic amino acid and is the primary chelating agent used in chelation therapy. Several different forms of EDTA exist which can be used in a variety of ways within a chelation protocol. When administered intravenously and possibly orally or by suppository, EDTA circulates via the bloodstream, claws on to any toxic minerals deposited in the artery wall and excretes them through the kidneys and bile.

A host of other chelating agents are available if EDTA is not the preferred choice. DMPS, DMSA, peptide clathrating agent, sodium alginate, cilantro, chlorella, certain amino acids and high dose vitamin C are other options. Each have pros and cons on their use and have variable rates of effectiveness. Of course, a chelation physician will ultimately determine which of these agents are most appropriate for the individual case.

The ultimate effect of chelation therapy is to restore the health of the arteries. This is not only obtained by the removal of the pathological heavy metals, but also by what current research has shown, the increased production of a naturally formed substance called nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide, also called endothelial-relaxing factor, relaxes the blood vessels, decreases the resistance to blood flow and subsequently, improves the delivery of oxygen and other vital nutrients to the tissue that the vessel supplies. Such effects are desirable in a majority of cardiovascular diseases.

Chelation is often administered one to three times per week for a minimum of 20 to 30 treatments. Some individuals may however, require more therapy for sustained clinical improvement. Traditionally, treatments are administered over three hours and many doctors still prefer this method. Newer forms of EDTA have now allowed treatment times to be safely lowered to 5-30 minutes if desired. Potential chelation therapy candidates are screened for pre-existing conditions that may make them unsuitable for this therapy and are rigorously monitored throughout the treatment.

This therapy has existed since the 1940s, when it was first introduced specifically for the treatment of lead poisoning, and has been fraught with controversy ever since. Some doctors believe that this modality is extremely effective whereas others refuse to even look at it.

Most opponents of chelation therapy have never treated a single patient with this method let alone, know much of the science behind it. If fact, throughout the last several decades, mainstream medical journals have refused to publish positive research studies on EDTA chelation therapy. However, they have been quick to print editorial criticism that is biased against this treatment. They also uncritically print highly flawed studies that erroneously allege to disprove chelation. These studies always seem to make news headlines or the nightly news broadcasts. Research supportive of EDTA chelation has consistently been refused inclusion in the MEDLINE computer database by the National Library of Medicine. Also, academically positioned researchers have been chastised repeatedly by their colleagues, should they be intellectually honest enough to express an interest in this modality. They are told behind closed doors that this is not a “politically correct” topic and that such research would be “career suicide”. Ironically, few or no double blind studies supporting angioplasty or coronary bypass grafting have ever been produced and yet allopathic medicine has determined these therapies to be scientific and the standard of practice. Is the call for good science a double standard?

Chelation therapy is not a panacea and in certain individuals drug therapy and surgery are a necessity and must be used with or without chelation therapy. However, studies and clinical experience have shown that a majority of patients that undergo chelation show a definite improvement in circulation and arterial pulses. Other benefits include a return of normal temperature to the feet, regaining of ability to walk long distances comfortably, a decrease or elimination of chest pain, lowered blood pressure, improvement in brain function and muscle coordination. Many have no longer required certain drugs or bypass surgery.


Copyright © 2003 by Dr. Garrett G. Swetlikoff