In Canada, every 7 minutes, someone dies from heart disease or stroke. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death globally. By 2030, global deaths from heart disease will reach 23.3 million per year. These statistics highlight the importance of adopting new strategies that aim to prioritize the prevention and treatment of heart disease.
Prevention is defined as “the action of stopping something from happening or arising”.
Most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing risk factors such as unhealthy diet, obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes, tobacco use, high blood pressure, and raised cholesterol.
Most people focus on the last two – lowering high blood pressure and/or reducing cholesterol. In order to do so, most people rely on pharmaceutical drugs. In 2010, Canadian pharmacies dispensed roughly 77 million prescriptions for medications to treat cardiovascular disease, more than any other category of prescription drugs. Diuretics, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors are designed to reduce blood pressure, and statin drugs (such as Lipitor, Crestor, or Zocor) are designed to reduce cholesterol.
For those treated within this approach, many feel a sense of security that since they are reducing these markers (blood pressure, cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides, etc), they are, therefore, protected against the development of heart disease.
But are these measures actually helping to prevent heart disease?
Research published in October 2013 in the British Medical Journal found that 140 people must take cholesterol-lowering statin drugs for five years, in order to prevent one heart attack or stroke. In other words, out of 140 people taking statin drugs, 139 will not receive any heart attack prevention. Further, about 20 per cent of those taking statinssuffer significant side effects, which include increased risk of diabetes, decreased energy, muscle symptoms (and resulting decreased ability to exercise), liver inflammation, sexual dysfunction, and cataracts. Although many are satisfied with these conventional approaches, some are not, and seek integrative treatments. Once such treatment is chelation therapy.
Chelation therapy is a safe, effective and relatively inexpensive treatment to restore vascular health. It improves cardiovascular function and improves blood flow to all the organs of the body including the heart. Chelation targets atherosclerosis, which is the root cause of most heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral vascular disease. In fact, in more than 90% of cases, the cause of a heart attack is reduced blood flow due to obstructive atherosclerotic lesions in the heart arteries.
Atherosclerosis is the hardening and narrowing of the blood vessels by plaque formation. Autopsies of fallen soldiers from the Korean and Vietnam War found the starting signs of atherosclerosis in 78.3% of the coronary arteries (blood vessels leading to the heart). The average age of these soldiers was only 26 years old. Thus, the syndromes of cardiovascular disease are only the late manifestations of coronary atherosclerosis that may have started during childhood or adolescence. In most cases, there is a long period (up to decades) of silent, slow progression of coronary lesions before symptoms appear.
This silent and slow process of blocking arteries puts blood flow at risk. If blood flow gets blocked going to the heart, the result is a heart attack. If it gets blocked going to the brain, a stroke results. Chelation reverses the process of atherosclerosis by binding and safely removing these blockages.
The word chelate is derived from the Greek word ‘chele’, which refers to the claw of a crab or lobster, implying the firm, pincer-like binding action. Chelation therapy is a treatment in which a variety of specific compounds are administered orally or intravenously to bind or “chelate” unwanted substances.
It is currently believed that toxic metals such as arsenic, mercury, lead, aluminum, and cadmium and possibly excess amounts of iron or calcium, can accumulate in the arteries and other tissues of the body. This accumulation can lead to free radical damage of the blood vessel wall and surrounding LDL (bad cholesterol). This leads to micro-inflammation and creates a sticky glue-like environment for plaque formation and atherosclerosis. Since these abnormal metals cannot be excreted efficiently by normal detoxification functions, a chelating agent can be introduced into the body, which binds them and allows their removal. The ultimate effect of chelation therapy is to restore the health of the arteries and to improve the macro and micro-circulation to the extremities, heart, and other internal organs.
The largest study looking at the effectiveness of chelation was conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) called the TACT study (Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy). The results of this 10-year study were released in 2013 and involved 1,708 patients, all of who have previously suffered a heart attack. After the administration of 55,222 chelation infusions, the study concluded that chelation therapy is not only safe, but that it is also effective. They found that chelation (plus a multivitamin) reduced cardiovascular events by 26%.
To put this in perspective, when Aspirin is given to patients after a heart attack it helps reduce the risk of future events by 25%. Similarly, beta-blockers help reduce the risk by 23%, statins by 21%, and ACE-inhibitors by 19%. Each of these conventional treatments were assessed individually. A unique feature of the TACT chelation trial was that patients were already receiving conventional care, and chelation added an additional 26% reduction of risk. For example, 85% of the chelation group participants were already taking Aspirin (e.g. ASA), 73% were on a beta blocker (e.g. acebutolol, atenolol, metoprolol), 73% were on a statin (e.g. Lipitor, Crestor, simvastatin), and 63% on an ACE-inhibitor (e.g. lisinopril, ramipril). So to add an additional 26% reduction of risk when already on the standard of care is quite remarkable.
Even more importantly, the treatment effect persisted over the 5-year follow-up period without any depreciation of the benefits, suggesting that the chelation effects were not just evident during the treatment, but addressed a root cause and reversed it. [click here to listen to a 30-minute interview of cardiologist and lead researcher Dr. Gervasio Lamas regarding the TACT trial and Chelation].
Later in 2013, further research published in the American Heart Association’s Circulation journal showed that for patients with diabetes, the results were even more profound. In the diabetes group, chelation resulted in a 41% reduction in combined cardiovascular events, including a 43% reduction in all causes of death, and a 50% reduction in a second heart attack. [click here to watch to a 5-minute interview of Dr. Gervasio Lamas regarding the additional benefits of chelation to patients with diabetes.]
The investigators also found that optimizing the chelation protocol by adding in high dose multivitamins and multiminerals reduced cardiovascular events by an additional 10%. Dr. Elmer Cranton, M.D., co-author of "Bypassing Bypass", claims chelation therapy results in a 75 to 95 percent success rate in improving blood flow in patients with clogged arteries. Last year I travelled to Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon to receive advanced certification in these therapies. After completing the written and practical exams, I am now certified in both chelation and advanced intravenous therapy. Although chelation is relatively new to New Brunswick, more than 500,000 patients in North America have received over four million treatments during the past 30 years.
Chelation therapy is not a panacea, and in certain individuals, drug therapy and surgery are a necessity, and must be used in conjunction with or without chelation therapy. However, studies and clinical experience have shown that a majority of patients that undergo chelation show a definite improvement in circulation and arterial pulses. Other benefits include a return of normal temperature to the feet, regaining of ability to walk long distances comfortably, a decrease or elimination of chest pain, lowered blood pressure, improvement in brain function and muscle coordination. Many have no longer required certain drugs or bypass surgery.
Chelation therapy is even more valuable when applied to a whole person treatment approach, thereby recognizing the role diet, lifestyle, behaviour and the environment plays in heart disease. Naturopathic Doctors are trained at discovering and treating the root cause of your condition. The most important cause of cardiovascular diseases is the narrowing of the blood vessels called atherosclerosis. One of the most overlooked causes of atherosclerosis may be toxic metals, which can initiate and be stored in the atherosclerotic plaques. At the Moncton Naturopathic Medical Clinic we have access to specialized lab testing that allows us to investigate 20 different toxic metals. Once we determine which ones have accumulated in your body, we choose the appropriate solution to safely remove them from your system.
Dr. Nicholas Anhorn, BSc, ND is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor and is currently accepting new patients at the Moncton Naturopathic Medical Clinic located at 12 Fifth Street in Moncton (382-1329). Dr. Anhorn provides professional and personalized health care for the whole family. In addition to family medicine, he also has a special interest in helping patients with pain management, detoxification and cancer.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Chelation
What is the process? What can I expect? How much does it cost?
At the Moncton Naturopathic Medical Clinic we offer chelation therapy using intravenous EDTA, intravenous DMPS and/or oral DMSA. The choice of any chelation agent depends upon the particular needs of the patient, what toxic metals are to be removed, and what symptoms and disease process we are trying to improve.
The first step is to have an initial 60-minute visit with Dr. Nicholas Anhorn, ND who is trained in Chelation Therapy. He will take a full history, perform a physical exam and request specific tests needed to ensure this is a safe therapy for you. The cost of the initial visit is $150.
Once it is established that Chelation Therapy is safe for your body, the next step is to determine which heavy metals are in your system. Two urine collections are conducted, one before (baseline) and one after a chelating agent, and then both samples are sent to a lab for measurement of twenty different toxic elements. The testing costs around $200. When the results arrive from these tests, our doctors can then plan your Chelation Therapy, which includes IV or oral chelating agents, dietary recommendations, nutritional supplementation, and support for your liver, kidneys and bowels if needed. Please see below for a sample report of the toxic metal testing results.
A typical course of IV chelation is 10 treatments, with each treatment spaced 1 to 2 weeks apart. At the end of 10 chelation session we redo the toxic metal testing to determine if we have removed all of the toxic metals from your body. This testing costs around $100. Treatments are provided in our IV suite in a reclining La-Z-Boy chair, and we do all we can to make the treatment as relaxing and comfortable as possible. The costs of chelation therefore depends on multiple factors: what type of metals are found high in your system, the type of chelating agent that is required to remove those toxic metal (DMSA, EDTA, or DMPS), the quantity of toxins accumulated, & the number of treatments that will be required to remove those toxic metals. In general the costs are around $75-$125 per IV chelation session. In addition to the IV chelation treatments, it is recommended to receive two IV vitamin/mineral repletion infusions prior to starting IV chelation (around $75-$100 per IV repletion), and an IV repletion every 1 to 3 chelation treatments. IV glutathione can also be added to the end of the infusion solutions to further boost and support the body in removal of the toxins (around $10).
The time of IV treatment will also be assessed on an individualized basis, but in general is between 1-2 hours in duration. This is determined by kidney function, type of chelating agent, concentration of chelating agent required, and multiple other factors.
If cost is a limiting factor, there are also oral chelation protocols that may be considered as a standalone treatment, or in combination with intravenous chelation (reducing the amount of IV chelations needed). The oral chelation protocols can start as low as $20 per month.
If you are interested in Chelation Therapy but have more questions regarding this valuable therapy, please feel free to contact us at 506-382-1329 or email@example.com.
Sample report of the Urinary Toxic Metal Testing:
What Are The Results of Chelation?
The results are as varied as patients’ conditions, but improvement is usually achieved even before we see the results on the toxic metal retest. Chest pain may be lessened, blood pressure lowered, memory improved, transient is chemic attacks stopped, leg pain relieved, cold extremities warmed up, and increased work tolerance. Many have no longer required certain drugs or bypass surgery. The laboratory tests and office visits for evaluation will monitor the progress.
Is Chelation Therapy safe?
Chelation therapy is among the safest of medical procedures. More than 500,000 patients in North America have received over four million treatments during the past 30 years. Not one death has been directly caused by chelation therapy, when properly administered by a physician who was fully trained and competent in the use of this therapy. Side effects are possible, as with any drug therapy. Vein irritation, mild pain, headache, and fatigue may occur. Occasionally a mild and transient fever occurs. These and other minor side effects, if they occur, are easily controlled by adjusting the duration and frequency of treatment, or with the use of other simple measures. Side effects tend to diminish after the first few treatments. Most patients experience few or no side effects.
Can chelation be used in combination with other therapies and with drugs?
Each case is assessed individually, but in general, chelation therapy can be utilized in conjunction with most other therapies for cardiovascular disease. Chelation is compatible with blood thinners, blood vessel dilators, medicines for blood pressure and heart arrhythmias, calcium blockers, aspirin, and beta blockers. These drugs can be important for symptom management, while the chelation works at the root cause of the symptoms. Clinically, we tend to see the need for drugs is often reduced or eliminated after a course of chelation therapy.
Is chelation therapy beneficial for other conditions?
There are two main indications for chelation therapy - heavy metal toxicity (high body stores and/or acute exposure) and cardiovascular disease (atherosclerosis, angina, past heart attack, coronary artery disease). However, many other conditions have been shown to improve following chelation therapy.
As early as the 1960's, Chelation therapy was shown to help diabetics, allowing some patients to reduce or even stop taking their medications. This result was attributed to the fact that diabetes damages blood vessels, and Chelation therapy seems to reverse some of that damage. Many of the difficult complications of diabetes are due to vascular degeneration and may be improved with Chelation.
In 2013, further research published in the American Heart Association’s Circulation journal showed that for patients with diabetes, the heart protecting benefits results were even more profound than patients with heart disease but without diabetes. In the diabetes group, chelation resulted in a 41% reduction in combined cardiovascular events, including a 43% reduction in all causes of death, and a 50% reduction in a second heart attack. [click here to watch to a 5-minute interview of Dr. Gervasio Lamas (cardiologist & lead researcher) regarding the additional benefits of chelation to patients with diabetes.]
Alzheimer's Disease and Vascular Dementia
Chelation therapy also helps remove aluminum from the body, a metal that may contribute to Alzheimer's disease. Drs. H Richard Casdorph and Morton Walker, authors of Toxic Metal Syndrome: How Metal Poisoning Can Affect Your Brain, state that Chelation therapy has been shown to help at least 50% of elderly people who have tried it. They document greater mental clarity, improved memory, and increased IQ, working best in patients with early stage Alzheimer's, a condition for which conventional medicine has little to offer.
An 18-year follow up study was done in a small city in Switzerland. A group of 59 patients were given a series of Chelation treatments. Another group of 172 patients was observed as controls. Both groups of people were selected from a neighborhood adjacent to a busy highway. All persons were equally exposed to the same amount of lead from automobile exhaust, industrial pollution and other carcinogens. Exposure to carcinogens was no greater for the studied population than exists in most other metropolitan areas through out the world. After 18 years only one of the 59 Chelation patients died of cancer, while 30 of the 172 non-treated group died. Death from atherosclerosis was also reduced.
Garry Gordon M.D., is quoted as saying, "Anything that reduces your burden of toxic metals, which feeds the fire of free radicals, sufficiently safeguards your immune system so that your body can more effectively handle early cancers".
Chelation therapy is also known to be helpful in alleviating the disability and discomfort of degenerative and/or autoimmune illnesses such as arthritis, scleroderma, multiple sclerosis, parkinson's disease, and lupus. Allergies and chemical sensitivities also appear to be improved. There is some evidence that degenerative brain conditions may benefit from chelation therapy, improving memory and cognition. Other forms of chelation therapy are very useful in the detoxification of toxic heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminum etc. Specific tests can be performed to determine metal toxic load, and new patients are frequently screened for risk of heavy metals.
What others are saying about Chelation?
Two-time Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Linus Pauling had this to say about Chelation: "Chelation therapy is far safer and much less expensive than surgical treatment of atherosclerosis. Chelation therapy might eliminate the need for bypass surgery and is equally valid when used as a preventative treatment".
Dr. Dietrich Wittel, MD says that: "You are only as old as your blood vessels."
Dr. Gervasio Lamas, MD - click here to listen to a 30-minute interview of cardiologist and lead researcher Dr. Lamas regarding the TACT trial and Chelation.
[click here to watch to a 5-minute interview of Dr. Gervasio Lamas regarding the additional benefits of chelation to patients with diabetes.]
Quote from the book: 'The Chelation Way' by Dr. Morton Walker: "Even with our medical establishment's non-recognition of Chelation's best effect, the treatment's most important application is for preventing or reversing heart and artery pathology derived from diminished blood circulation. The chelating agent, called EDTA, removes toxic metals, improves circulation, enhances the immune system and inhibits the creation of "free radicals". Free Radicals are now believed by many scientists to be an important contributing cause of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), cancer, diabetes, alzheimer's and other diseases of aging. Chelation acts like a powerful magnet for toxic metals. Toxic metals act like festering slivers. Once they are pulled out with Chelation, the body then heals itself."
Quote from: Dr. Peter J. Van Der Schaar, Cardiac Surgeon, Director, International Biomedical Center, The Netherlands. "I now achieve more lasting results with less risk, enhancing the benefits of surgery, and often avoiding surgery, by providing chelation therapy for my patients."
Quoted benefits of chelation from the book 'Forty Something Forever' by: Arlene Brecher.
Reduction of liver-produced cholesterol
Lowered insulin requirements in diabetics
Lowered blood cholesterol levels
Reduced high blood pressure
Normalization of cardiac arrhythmias
Relief from leg muscle cramps
Reduction in allergic symptoms
Improved psychological and emotional status
Enhanced sensory input: better sight, hearing, taste
Fewer excessive heart contractions
Lessened varicose vein pigmentation
Lightened age spots
Fewer aches and pains, arthritic and otherwise
Less reliance on pain medication
Hair loss stopped and reversed
Reversal of impotence
Alzheimer's Disease symptoms reversed
Reduced need for duiretics
Cold extremities warmed
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome overcome
Memory, and mental concentration improved
Post-cataract surgery vision loss restored
Cosmetic changes, including more lustrous hair, added eye sparkle, stronger unsplit nails, better skin color, fewer visible wrinkles and a more youthful appearance.