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Chelation is a treatment commonly using EDTA (ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid) given through the patient’s vein (intravenous) that is used in cases of toxic exposures for removing heavy metals from the blood. EDTA binds to the heavy metals so they can be excreted in the urine. There is a form of oral EDTA that was approved by the FDA for treatment of lead toxicity in adults and children.

Our program has proven results for reversing heart disease without drugs, whether EDTA or other drugs.

Many integrative practitioners have advocated using EDTA not just for removing heavy metals, but as a treatment for heart disease.  Our program has proven results for reversing heart disease without drugs, whether EDTA or other drugs.   EDTA is not our prescription and is a drug with significant costs and potentially toxic side effects, so I would not recommend that someone consider doing chelation instead of the Ornish program.

Is there evidence that chelation can help heart disease? The largest study to look at this question was the TACT study. In this study, 1708 people over 50 years old who had had a previous heart attack were randomized to either get chelation or to get a fake chelation. In this study there was only a mild to modest benefit in most people, but more benefit in the patients with diabetes.

Because this is an expensive and time-consuming process that involves 40 intravenous treatments over many months, many have thought that even in diabetics the benefit is not large enough to justify the cost. It is important to say that scientific paradigms shift only after the weight of evidence builds up sufficiently to move from hypothesis to proven fact.What this means is that you need to prove to skeptics beyond the shadow of a doubt that this therapy really works.  This has not yet been done for chelation and many are still arguing the methodology of the study, so chelation remains a controversial unproven therapy. 

That being said, the oral form of EDTA is listed as safe and is currently approved by the FDA for treating lead poisoning.  Although they are much less readily absorbed, they are also much less expensive and can be taken daily. It is not yet known, if the oral agents will perform better, worse or the same as its intravenous counterpart on cardiovascular disease.

 If someone had a history of heavy metal exposure and tests that showed high levels of heavy metals, then this could be something they could consider adding, but it is definitely not a substitute for our program for reversing heart disease.



Contributed by

Ben Brown, MD
Medical Director, Ornish Lifestyle Medicine

To your best health!

in collaboration with...

Dean Ornish, MD.
Program Founder

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