Facts About Chelation Therapy: Overview, Uses, Benefits and Side Effects

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

Chelation therapy is a chemical process that eliminates heavy metals and minerals that accumulated in the body. The process involves getting a shot of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid or EDTA into the bloodstream to purify the system and remove heavy metals.

EDTA contains high levels of sodium and calcium salts. These compounds bind with the heavy metals and minerals including lead, mercury, copper, iron, arsenic, aluminum, and calcium. Then, the compounds are safely eliminated through the kidneys as waste. Usually, chelation therapy is conducted to treat lead poisoning. However, this treatment remains controversial because of its unproven therapeutic claims and side effects.

Uses for Chelation Therapy

Removal of Heavy Metal

As mentioned above, the primary use of chelation therapy is to eliminate heavy metals in the body. The US Food and Drug Administration have approved this treatment for lead poisoning.

Remove Calcium Deposits

Chelation therapy is also used to remove calcium plaques in the arteries. Calcium plaques could cause atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. However, there is no scientific evidence that could prove that this treatment is effective in reducing the risk of heart disease.

May Acts as Antioxidant

Some health experts believe that the EDTA in chelation therapy acts as an antioxidant by keeping the heart healthy while lowering cholesterol level. Combined with the solution’s ability to remove calcified blockages in the arteries, chelation therapy may reduce the risk of muscular and bone disease. It could also reduce the risk of arterial and heart diseases.

Reduces Inflammation

Some studies show that people who underwent chelation therapy experienced less pain from inflammatory diseases including arthritis, scleroderma, and gout. Scientists cannot determine how EDTA reduces the risk of inflammation, but one theory is that the antioxidant qualities of the acid protect the blood vessels from inflammation. But again, more research is needed to support this claim.

The Benefits of Chelation Therapy

May Reduce Blood Clotting

Chelation therapy may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by thinning out the blood. This minimizes the risk of blood clotting. EDTA helps keep the blood fluid so it can flow smoothly even in partially blocked arteries.

Regulates HDL Levels

Apart from lowering bad cholesterol, chelation therapy could also increase the level of good cholesterol in the body. Studies show that EDTA, when combined with certain nutrients, help raise the HDL cholesterol in the blood.

Side Effects of Chelation Therapy


Some patients reportedly experienced a pounding headache during or after chelation therapy. According to health experts, headaches from the treatment are likely caused by dehydrated cells due to high amounts of sodium.

Low Glucose Level

The treatment could offset the delicate balance of sugar and sodium in the blood, causing the glucose level to drop at a rapid rate. To keep the blood sugar stable, health experts recommend eating a banana after the treatment.


A small number of patients who underwent chelation therapy complain of suffering from diarrhea. To reduce the risk of stomach issues, drink plenty of fluids and eat a small meal before your treatment.

Kidney Failure

Although rare, some patients suffered kidney failure and convulsions after going through rounds of chelation therapy. According to health experts, EDTA can be potentially toxic and the effects are life threatening. To reduce the risk of kidney failure, the dose of EDTA should be very low.

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