Cardiology Terminology: Chelation

Filed Under: Heart Health

Dr. Sinatra and I are often asked by our cardiac patients whether or not chelation therapy has any merit in treating cardiovascular problems.

The word “chelate” is derived from the Greek word chele, which means “to claw,” and refers to the chemical structure of the agent used in the process.

In the traditional sense, chelation typically involves the intravenous (“IV”) administration of a man-made amino acid called EDTA (ethylene diamene tetracidic acid), an agent valued for its “clawing out” or drawing out properties.

EDTA was first employed in an IV solution to treat lead poisoning back in 1948, and was given to U.S. naval sailors sickened after applying lead-based paints to ships. As the story goes, some of those sailors reported that their cardiovascular health also improved after the chelation treatments.

Intravenous chelation affects the body almost immediately, because 100 percent of the chelation dose is absorbed. Eventually, proponents for chelation developed oral forms of administration.

With oral dosing, only about three percent of the chelating agent is actually absorbed, and benefits comparable to the IV treatments may take several weeks or months to achieve.

So many of his patients were asking him about chelation, that Dr. Sinatra decided to undergo five IV chelation sessions himself so he could speak to them from first-hand experience. Even he had no heart disease on CT scan, he was hoping it might improve his high mercury level.

While we won’t know if his body received any benefits other than some possible chelating and detoxification of heavy metals, Dr. Sinatra did notice that he was very fatigued the night of and day after his sessions.

Whether or not chelation is an appropriate treatment intervention for cardiovascular problems remains controversial. For more on the debate and Dr. Sinatra’s take on the subject, stay tuned to upcoming blogs.

And for more information on natural ways to treat cardiovascular problems, visit Dr. Sinatra’s Web site.

DISCLAIMER: The content of is offered on an informational basis only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health provider before making any adjustment to a medication or treatment you are currently using, and/or starting any new medication or treatment. All recommendations are "generally informational" and not specifically applicable to any individual's medical problems, concerns and/or needs.

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