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Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in Canada and the United States. A number of lifestyle factors have been associated with the development of deposits in blood vessels, which is thought to be the main cause of illness. In addition to known interventions, including quitting smoking, adopting a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress, there is promising research examining the role of heavy metal accumulation in atherosclerotic processes. 

Heavy metals are among the many environmental pollutants affecting our health. They can accumulate in human tissues, contributing to the plaques that lead to occlusion of blood flow in cardiovascular disease. Epidemiologic data show the accumulation of metals such as lead and cadmium to be significant factors in disease development (Lamas, et al. 2016). These toxins can be difficult to remove from the body. 

What Does Chelation Do?

Chelation means “to grab” or “to bind”. Chelation therapy utilizes substances such as ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid (EDTA) to bind heavy metals and facilitate their elimination from the body. Chelation treatments are given orally and/or through IV therapy, after consultation with your doctor, and testing to determine which toxins need to be removed.  

How Does Chelation Therapy Work?

Some Chelation can be done by mouth. IV therapy is often more effective, as it bypasses the digestive system to work directly with vascular tissues. A combination of oral and IV treatments may also be used to maximize the potential benefits when patients are at home. The number of treatments varies between patients, but it is typical to undergo 20-40 treatments in a course of therapy.  

Has Research Been Carried Out For Chelation?

A number of studies have evaluated the efficacy of Chelation for the treatment of heart disease. A recent systematic review of research revealed 17 studies showing improvement in outcomes, 5 showing no significant effects, and 2 showing no qualitative benefit (Ravalli et al. 2022). A large-scale study, Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT) indicated that a 10-component disodium EDTA chelation and ascorbate regimen was superior to placebo in post-MI patients who were also on a good medical regimen. The majority of this benefit was by reduction in the need for coronary revascularizations, with the largest effect in patients with diabetes.There is ongoing research to further evaluate these effects in a Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy 2 (TACT2) (NIH, 2022). 

Chelation In Integrative Medicine:

Every patient is unique. There are many factors influencing cardiovascular disease, and a vast array of potential treatments. Integrative medicine examines the many contributors to disease, evaluates possible interventions, and creates treatment plans inclusive of conventional medicine and the best available evidence based, complementary therapies.
Heart disease doesn’t just work in one way, so neither do we. 


Chelation for coronary heart disease: What you need to know. National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health.

Lamas, Gervasio A. et al (2016). Heavy metals, cardiovascular disease, and the unexpected benefits of chelation therapy. Journal of the American Association of Cardiology, 16; 20. Elsevier.

Ravalli, F. et al (2022). Chelation therapy in patients with cardiovascular disease: a systematic review. Journal of the American Heart Association, 11; 6.