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  Chelation Chelation therapy, which clears a variety of heavy metals from the body,leads a double life. In mainstream medicine, it's considered a standardtreatment for poisoning with lead, iron, copper, zinc, aluminum,manganese, and other metals. Alternative medicine, however, credits itwith far more sweeping medicinal powers. Thanks to its ability to remove calciuman ingredient in arterial pla!ueitis seen as a cure for hardening of the arteries, and hence for heart diseaseand a variety of problems resulting from poor circulation, including legcramps and gangrene. Advocates have also promoted it as a treatment forAlzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, thyroidproblems, arkinson's disease, arthritis, psoriasis, and cancer, and oftenrecommend it to boost energy, improve mental alertness, and preventstrokes.Although these claims are enticingparticularly if you are facing openheart surgery or an angioplasty to clear the coronary arteriesthey su#erfrom a fatal $aw. %hen submitted to the kind of &doubleblind,& &placebocontrolled& testing re!uired of any new drug trials in which neither thedoctors nor the patients know who's receiving the treatment and who'sreceiving a fake( chelation treatments for anything other than poisoningsimply haven't proved out. How the Treatment is done Chelation clears minerals from the body with a chemical calledethylenediaminetetraacetic acid )*TA(. This substance is administered through an I+ needle inserted in a vein inyour nger or the back of your hand. The solution usually containsvitamins and minerals as well.( The treatments are relatively painless, andare usually given in the doctor's o-ce or clinic. *uring the treatments youcan lie back in a comfortable reclining chair, sleep, read, watch television,drink, eat, walk around, or even go to the restroom, if necessary.efore starting chelation, you'll be given a thorough physical e/am. %hen!uestioned about your health and that of family members, be sure tomention any allergies and list all the medications you are taking. If you areundergoing the treatments as a remedy for heart problems, you'llprobably be given a stress test, electrocardiogram, and chest /ray. If heavy metal poisoning is suspected, the doctor will probably send asample of your hair to a laboratory for analysis of its metal levels. 0ou mayalso have other tests to determine how well your kidneys are working andhow well your blood is circulating.  *uring and after the treatments, your doctor will continue to take yourblood pressure, check your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and testyour heart and kidneys to see how well they're doing. What does it accomplish? 1ntil the late 2345s )*TA was more familiar to plumbers than tophysicians. It was rst used to remove calcium from pipes and boilers. In2346, it was found e#ective for treating workers who had developed leadpoisoning while working in a battery factory. The 1.7. 8avy began using itfor sailors who had absorbed lead from the paint they used on ships anddocks. Then, in the early 2395s, *r. 8orman Clark and other physicians noticedthat patients treated with )*TA for lead poisoning reported less pain fromangina: improved memory: better sight, hearing, and smell: and anincrease in energy. The doctors speculated that )*TA might grab onto andremove calciumladen pla!ue from the arteries in the same way as itremoved harmful metals from the blood. Convinced from tests with rabbitsthat )*TA could clear out clogged arteries, some doctors began to usechelation on humans.;ater, as the popularity of the treatments grew, advocates developedanother rationale for its e#ects. 8oting that free radicalscompounds thatcause o/idation and tissue damage in the bodyhad been implicated inthe development of heart disease, they suggested that chelation couldreverse this damage by removing the e/cess metals that foster freeradicals. %ith the free radicals in check, the arteries could heal, sheddingtheir pla!ue and relieving the symptoms of heart disease and poorcirculation.<ainstream physicians dismiss these theories. They point out that )*TAcannot pass through the membranes of the cells in the arteries to reachcalcium deposits, and that even if it could, the amount of calcium it could&bind& is negligible. In addition, they say, merely removing the calciumfrom pla!ue is not su-cient to make it disintegrate. As for free radicals,they note that the chelation of iron actually increases  production of thesedamaging compounds. And to top it o#, the vitamin C often added to thechelating solution can further increase the damage.%hy, then, are there so many case reports of successful chelationtreatments= erhaps, say mainstream doctors, because chelation isaccompanied by an array of other therapeutic measures. The )*TAsolution usually contains additional ingredients, such as vitamins andminerals. atients are also advised to take vitamin and mineralsupplements, follow a lowfat diet, stop smoking, limit alcohol and ca#eineconsumption, reduce stress, and e/ercise regularly. These nutritional andlifestyle changes, alone, can improve health.  Chelation advocates respond by citing the thousands of papers submittedto the American Academy for the Advancement of <edicine, a group of prochelation physicians. They say that over 955,555 patients have beensuccessfully treated in the 1.7. alone, and insist that the treatments are asafe, e#ective, ine/pensive alternative to coronary bypass surgery orballoon angioplasty to clear the arteries. Indeed, they charge that theseprocedures fail to e/tend life, and hint darkly that the operations aree/tremely protable for the surgeons who perform them.*espite these arguments, every ma>or institution in the medicalestablishment has dismissed the evidence for chelation as biased andinade!uate. 8one of themfrom the ?ood and *rug Administration andthe 8ational Institutes of @ealth to the American <edical Association,American College of hysicians, American College of Cardiology, andAmerican steopathic Associationhave endorsed the therapy. Who Should Avoid This Therapy? ?or anything other than metal poisoning which is a dangerousemergency(, chelation treatments are not recommended if you havekidney damage, liver disease, or a brain tumor. 0ou should also avoidchelation if you are pregnant or are trying to conceive. What Side Efects May Occur? ;ike the e#ectiveness of chelation therapy, its side e#ects are a source of controversy. <ainstream physicians warn that )*TA can produce seriouseven fatalkidney damage. According to the American @eart Association,other reported side e#ects include anemia, blood clots, bone marrowdamage, fever, headache, insulin shock, irregular heartbeat, >oint pain,low blood pressure, painful and di-cult urination, severe in$ammation of the area where the needle is inserted, and stroke. hysicians and other professionals who favor chelation strongly disputethese ndings. They argue that while some of these side e#ects werereported in the therapy's infancy, the picture is entirely di#erent today. Inthe 2395s and early 23B5s, patients received B grams of )*TA over aperiod of 5 minutes. The current dosage is 95 milligrams for every D.Dpounds of body weight roughly 4 grams for a 265 pound individual( givenover  to 4 hours.Although patients with severe kidney problems may be super sensitive to)*TA, proponents say that in the vast ma>ority of cases, when thetreatments are performed correctly, no serious side e#ects occur. Indeed,some advocates say that chelation is safer than aspirinand hundreds of times safer than bypass surgery.
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