How do you treat heavy metal toxicity?
Chelation therapy is a chemical process in which a chemical solution made of a synthetic amino acid EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) is instilled into the body either intravenously or orally. EDTA is actually made from four vinegar molecules, it works by chelating or grabbing onto toxins such as heavy metals and minerals and binding them so they can be eliminated from the body by the kidneys.
It is only approved by the FDA for treatment of lead toxicity, however it also removes arsenic, mercury, aluminum, copper, iron and calcium, and has been utilized for this and many other uses by the alternative medicine community. It is often used quite effectively for treating atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease with very good results. Originally it was thought to clean out arteries by reducing the size of arterial plaques, thus its beneficial effects on angina pectoris (chest pain of cardiac origin). That has been disproven, however it does benefit patients with arterial disease by increasing the diameter of their arteries by increasing the release of nitric oxide which relaxes and expands the arteries. It also probably removes toxic chemicals from the plaque itself. It does this primarily by the nature of its electrical charges. It has six negative charges and thus attracts the positive charges that these heavy metals and toxins carry, since opposites attract.
What exactly are heavy metals?
Heavy metals are natural components of the Earth’s crust, and they cannot be further degraded or destroyed in any way. The primary heavy metals are lead, aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, nickel and mercury. They are called heavy metals because of their density and resulting heavy weight, they are toxic or poisonous at very low concentrations and thus they are harmful to our health. The dilemma for modern man is that prior to the 1800’s there was very little amounts of heavy metals in the environment, industry has mined them and moved them from the Earth’s crust into our air, water and food, thus severely contaminating all life on Earth including we humans.
Humans require trace amounts of some of the heavy metals such as cobalt, copper, manganese and zinc, but when present in excess they are poisons and negatively impact human health primarily because they bind with enzymes and inhibit their function, rendering them inactive. Lead for example is so toxic because chemically it is very closely related to zinc. Zinc is involved in over two hundred different enzymes in our body and lead replaces it in those enzymes inactivating them or adversely effecting their function. Historians think that lead very likely contributed to the decline and collapse of the Roman empire, because of their lead pipes, and the habits of the Roman elite to use lead goblets, cosmetics, coins, dishes etc.
In our bodies, they accumulate over time because of our constant exposure that overwhelms our body’s ability to remove them. Pregnant women also pass on these heavy metals to their developing babies making heavy metal toxicity a multigenerational problem that only grows with each passing year. Unfortunately the amount of heavy metals in our environment is growing every day, and the resulting consequences of this on our health is becoming catastrophic. Yet, nobody is addressing these problems. It is not as if we can just stay indoors and avoid exposure to these toxins, the average American home contains about a hundred pounds of hazardous chemicals and waste. Our clothes and furniture are coated with fire retardant chemicals, our dry cleaning uses very harsh chemicals, our foods are grown in soils soaked in pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and chemical fertilizers. Agricultural workers are wearing hazmat suits as they spray these toxins on our food and we are eating this stuff! Have we gone completely insane? DDT and PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls) are currently banned but are still concentrated in our bodies as toxic time bombs. The plastics that we use day in and day out are made rigid by a compound called bisphenol A which is a synthetic estrogen that exerts similar effects on the body once it is ingested, and we are continually exposed to these artificial estrogens which are called endocrine disruptors by scientists. Bisphenol A is found in baby bottles and also drinking water bottles. You don’t have to be a scientist to understand the effect continual exposure to female hormones would have on a developing fetus, both male and female, but especially the males. Phthalates are another class of toxins that are widely used in skin lotions, deodorants, hair spray, shower curtains and in vinyl and extension cords, these two are known to interfere with normal male sexual development.
It is conservatively estimated that there are over 100,000 toxic chemicals in our environment and over twenty five percent of which are known carcinogens (cancer causing agents). It should be noted that most of them have never been tested to determine their effects on humans! The typical American diet includes between 60-80 different pesticides. Monsanto’s Roundup (glyphosate) is being used everywhere and consequently is showing up all over the place, recently it was discovered contaminating vaccines! I have never been an activist, but it is hard to ignore how Monsanto’s Roundup is poisoning the planet, we are quickly running out of time and need to reverse this ASAP. The European Union is way ahead of us on banning certain pesticides such as Atrazine, GMO foods and others, we sadly have a very long way to go.
Look around at the current crop of young males that have unprecedented rates of homosexuality and bisexuality, cross dressers and transgender members. When in history did we have just sexual confusion and variety? The current generation of males is experiencing sky rocketing levels of testicular cancer, their sperm counts are dropping approximately two percent per year, their penises are smaller and there are other developmental abnormalities that were never previously seen. Many are these metrosexual looking girlie-men who have small frail bodies, effeminate traits and no sexual drive, they are derisively referred to as “snowflakes” because they are so fragile and emotionally unstable. Young males are not doing well at all, young females are beating them in every category of achievement. Graduate schools are now filled with disproportionate number of women for the first time ever, many of whom marry uneducated blue collar males due to the lack of males as their peers. Our young men are in serious trouble. Do not misunderstand me, I could care less if you are homosexual or gender confused in any way, I am speaking purely as a scientist and as such this type of behavior is not good for the species, because it adversely affects reproduction rates and thus the survival of the species. We are currently conducting a very perverse experiment on our species, by poisoning them with all types of chemicals and endocrine disruptors (often referred to as gender benders), what do we expect will happen to us as a species if this continues?
Fifty percent of the water supply in the United States is contaminated with an entire toxic soup of pharmaceuticals such as Prozac and other chemicals and heavy metals. Over six hundred thousand babies are born annually in the United States with mercury toxicity. If you test the blood of the average American you will find over forty carcinogens and about fifty types of neurotoxins (nerve toxins)! Present day humans have a thousand times more lead in their bones than ancient man. Lead is extremely toxic to humans causing neurologic problems, severely lowering IQ’s, causing infertility, hyperactivity, lethargy, insomnia, headaches, anemia and kidney problems to name a few. Recent reports even link what were previously thought of as harmless low levels of lead to cataract formation and cardiovascular disease and even strokes. It is very difficult to escape the conclusion that we are all suffering from various degrees of lead poisoning. Unfortunately the easiest way for a woman to lower her lead levels is to give birth, since a pregnant woman passes lead to her offspring, thus making it exceedingly difficult to break this cycle of lead poisoning without aggressive chelation.
By this point it should be readily evident that the body is being overwhelmed by our toxic environment, toxic GMO foods and even microbial toxins released by many of the microbes which chronically infect us and routinely release toxins when they are exposed to heavy metals! Another source of continuous toxin exposure is from mercury amalgam fillings which are currently in the mouths of over 225 million American’s and constantly emit mercury vapors that damage our health.
HOW DOES THE BODY NORMALLY DEFEND ITSELF AGAINST TOXINS?
The body does have mechanisms for coping with heavy metal toxicity, it does so by neutralizing them and transforming them (primarily in the liver) into a water-soluble form that can be excreted by the kidneys. Sweating also helps to remove toxins from our body, hence the usefulness of exercise and also of sauna’s (with the far infrared type being the best). Many of the enzyme systems used for detoxification require minerals such as selenium. Vitamin C is also a natural chelator and helps eliminate toxins from the body, most people unfortunately are deficient in both vitamin C and selenium. Scientists have known for a long time that people who live in areas with selenium depleted soils have much higher cancer rates probably for that reason.
Clearly our bodies were not designed for this unprecedented level of toxin exposure and hence its enzyme and other detoxification systems are completely overwhelmed and incapable of handling these chemicals. As a physician I am left with the inescapable conclusion that we desperately need to help our body by every means possible, the most effective of which is chelation in its various forms, with EDTA being the superstar molecule.
EDTA was first patented in Germany in 1935 and then subsequently in the United States in 1941. It was developed as a treatment for lead poisoning and was found to be quite effective. EDTA has a very strong affinity for lead and readily binds it , and was approved by the FDA in the 1940’s for lead and other heavy metal poisoning. At the time, there was significant lead exposure to workers in battery factories and also painting using lead based paints especially in shipyards.By the mid 1950’s anecdotal reports from patients were accumulating by the thousands reporting reversal of angina and other cardiovascular problems. Astute physicians began to sit up and take notice. Treatment of patients with IV EDTA began to spread and physicians were having an over eighty percent success rate in reversing the symptoms of cardiovascular disease in many patients who had failed many of the current treatments. In medicine as with all branches of science it seems to take an entire generation or more for new concepts or paradigm shifts to take hold. Medical history is replete with examples of this resistance to new ideas and EDTA is no exception. Some studies were done essentially with the goal of demonizing EDTA as ineffective, and they ignored their own results and reported that it was ineffective. This resistance to EDTA was exacerbated by the expiration of its patent in 1969 and thus its lack of profitability for pharmaceutical companies. Many physicians lost their licenses until 1978 when Dr. Ray Evers won an important court battle over the right to use EDTA for chelation. The very courageous Dr. Evers won his court battle on the grounds that any physician is allowed to use any approved substance in any way in which he or she believes is appropriate. That was a landmark decision which opened the way for other forward thinking physicians to use EDTA in their practices without the fear of losing their medical licenses. This of course has not changed the mind of insurance companies who will usually not pay for EDTA therapy unless there is a documented diagnosis of heavy metal poisoning.
There are two forms of EDTA currently in use, calcium EDTA and sodium EDTA. EDTA is also delivered via two methods, orally or intravenously. Historically, sodium EDTA use intravenously was by far the most common type, but in recent years that is changing with the emergence of calcium EDTA, the reason being that IV infusion of the sodium EDTA requires 3-4 hours, compared to several minutes for the calcium EDTA. The reason for the time difference is that sodium EDTA stings when instilled, thus needs to be done slowly, that is not an issue with calcium EDTA infusions. Originally there was reluctance to use calcium EDTA, for fear that it would increase the calcium in the blood vessels, but this has not proven to be the case.
IV chelation has benefits such as 100 percent absorption of the EDTA as compared to five to ten percent via the oral route. Consequently, what can be achieved in a few hours of IV chelation will take several months orally. However, some people are needle phobic and IV chelation is much more expensive and requires a visit to a doctors office to get the IV treatment. Oral chelation is usually done with 1,000 or 2,000 mg (1 or 2 grams) twice a day between meals on an empty stomach, followed by a good multimineral supplement about two hours later. One of the other benefits or oral EDTA is that it may prevent colon cancer. The presumption is that oral EDTA binds up bile, heavy metals in the colon preventing its reuptake and causing the excretion of these toxins and irritants to the mucosa (lining) of the colon.
HOW DOES EDTA WORK?
Chelation is a naturally occurring process in the body that is continually going on aided by substances like albumin, vitamin C which are natural chelators. The iron in the center of the hemoglobin molecule is chelated, all the minerals we absorb from plants are converted in the soil from inorganic (unusable) forms to organic forms by chelating them with various amino acids.
EDTA enters and exits the body quite rapidly and is never metabolized into another molecule, thus its safety and lack of side effects other than mineral depletion. EDTA has six electrons (which carry negative charges) which readily combine with positively charged minerals and toxins binding them to the EDTA and allowing the body to urinate them out since they now are water soluble (soluble means what they dissolve in). If the oral chelation route is used then there will also be heavy metals and toxins chelated to EDTA in the feces. The heavy metals and toxins are now bonded quite strongly to the EDTA and cannot escape its grip thus neutralizing their toxic properties rendering them inert and harmless. EDTA is used regularly in emergency rooms for acute cases of lead toxicity and works amazingly well to neutralize the lead. In the human body, there is a fine line between physiological levels and toxicity involving many of the heavy metals and trace elements. Researchers in Italy noted that diseased tissues seem to attract minerals and trace elements and concentrate them into toxic levels. Cardiac tissue for example when examined in patients with known heart disease was found to contain four hundred percent more iron, two hundred and eighty percent more zinc and over five hundred percent more chromium than normal heart tissue. It should be noted that there is a very narrow window between normal and toxic levels of these heavy metals and trace elements. This I think makes readily evident the necessity for chelation in most patients, especially those already exhibiting diseased organs.
For many years, it was thought that EDTA helped cardiac patients by shrinking or eliminating their arterial plaques, that has been proven not to be the case. The current theory is that EDTA works by removing toxins from the plaque and the arterial wall. Those toxins interfere with cellular function, one of which is the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide causes the wall of the artery to relax, which results in it increasing the size of the inside of the artery and increasing blood flow. That is how EDTA functions to help angina (chest pain from your heart muscle not getting adequate blood flow) and helps increase the delivery of oxygen and hence energy levels and feelings of well-being in patients.
Since EDTA is so good at binding minerals and heavy metals it also has the potential to lower “good minerals” that your body needs to function properly, that is the only real adverse effect of EDTA. For that reason, patients receiving EDTA treatments must supplement several hours after the treatment with a good multimineral supplement. At first it was thought that EDTA while binding up all these minerals including calcium would result in lowering bone mineral density levels, but ironically just the opposite seems to be the case, it actually improves bone density. The presumed mechanism is that EDTA lowers the level of calcium in the blood, fooling the brain into thinking that there is a calcium shortage and the brain then increases the release of parathyroid hormone which raises calcium levels and helps build strong bones. If you take vitamin K2 along with your minerals it will help mobilize calcium in your arteries and facilitate its movement to your bones, helping both your atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and bone density, a rare win win. Orally take one gram twice a day on an empty stomach and don’t forget to take a strong mineral supplement several hours later.
There are other natural chelators that can be taken along with EDTA to broaden and amplify its activity. As I mentioned earlier vitamin C works very well for chelation, is inexpensive and has never been shown to be toxic at any dosage, it is even less toxic than water which could kill you if you ingest too much. Let’s take a look at some other natural chelators.
Malic acid : Also sometimes called apple acid, is found in many fruits and other plants. It gives many fruits their slightly tart taste. Green apples have high amounts of malic acid and as the fruit ripens and sweetens the malic acid levels decreases. Oddly enough it is also present in Sweet Tarts and Jolly Ranchers, although I am not advocating eating this garbage. Malic acid is a very strong chelator and is especially good at chelating aluminum , strontium and other toxic heavy metals. The best dose is at about 2,000 mg or two grams a day.
Alpha-lipoic acid (sometimes called Lipoic acid): This is a very important organic acid that has the unique property of being both water and fat soluble, thus it is able to move anywhere it is needed in the body. It helps regenerate vitamin C, glutathione as well as vitamin E and CoQ10. It is via its regeneration of vitamin C and glutathione whereby it works as a chelator. It also is a potent antioxidant and is useful in both toxin and radiation exposure, it is also crucial in the production of ATP for energy by the cells mitochondria. It is especially potent at chelating heavy metals such as copper, lead and mercury. It is very good at eliminating mercury because it is able to enter every cell as well as cross the blood brain barrier and remove mercury from the brain. The best dose is 600-1000 mg a day
Curcumin: Curcumin is derived from the Indian spice turmeric and is commonly used in curry as a spice. Curcumin is a very effective heavy metal chelator and helps remove lead, iron and other toxic heavy metals from the body. It has even been showed to reverse neurotoxicity from lead and also to have a protective effect on the brain, thus its use also in dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease (it also prevents the deposition of amyloid in the brain which is presumed to be the mechanism or part of the mechanism leading to Alzheimer’s disease). Recommendations on the dose varies but 1000 mg twice a day should function for this purpose.
Garlic: Garlic has been long known for its myriad of health benefits. It is known to boost the immune system but it’s lesser known property is that of chelating lead , mercury and other heavy metals. The dose varies but 4-6 cloves daily is a good start. For some people the odor is a problem, I am Italian and I love the stinky rose.
This disclaimer provides that such medical information is merely information – not advice. If users need medical advice, they should consult a doctor or other appropriate medical professional.
***Copyright © 2017 by Dr. Ralph LaGuardia, MD
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