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Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid (EDTA)

Supplements

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The Basics

EDTA is a synthetic solution used in chelation therapy (pronounced key-lay-shun) for disorders including heart disease, circulatory problems, and lead/metal poisoning. Although EDTA chelation therapy has not been approved by the FDA for heart disease, it has been in the treatment of lead (and other metal) poisoning.

In heart disease, chelation uses EDTA to bind with calcium (the glue that holds atherosclerotic plaque to artery walls), which breaks up plaque and carries the deposits out of the body. In many cases, EDTA chelation therapy is used as an alternative to heart bypass surgery.

This therapy is also used to promote healthy circulation, which may prevent gangrene and amputation. Since EDTA chelation therapy binds to and removes metals, it has been used to treat diseases such as Alzheimer's, cancer, macular degeneration (a progressive disease affecting vision), and lupus. It promotes a strong immune system, which aids in prevention and recovery from many illnesses.

Sources

EDTA is synthetic and is delivered slowly intravenously (directly into the bloodstream) over a three to four hour period of time. This procedure is performed in a health care provider's facility. Several treatments are usually recommended (20 to 30 for people with heart disease). During the procedure vital statistics including blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, and organ function will be evaluated.


Guidelines and Cautions

If EDTA is administered too quickly, or too often (treatments should be at least 24 hours apart) serious side effects may result. An overdose may cause seizures, organ damage or failure, even death.

To derive the most benefit from this therapy, add more fiber to the diet, eat foods low in fat, and add a variety of fresh food (unrefined). The health care provider who oversees this treatment may also suggest an antioxidant supplement and multivitamin.

Updated on: 02/06/10
Mark R. McLaughlin, MD
While I have had some patients that describe improvement of their symptoms from various dietary supplements, there is little scientific evidence that they work. In small amounts, I do not believe they are harmful, but I am not convinced they are any more effective than adhering to a healthy, well-balanced diet. On the contrary, there is strong scientific evidence showing that patients with a poor overall nutritional status have higher complication rates from surgery.
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