In addition to vitamin and nutritional therapy, homeopathy and microcurrent therapy there is another treatment in the battle against macular degneration-chelation therapy. Although you may not be familiar with chelation, doctors have been using it in this country since about 1950, following its development in Germany in 1938. This is a treatment normally used to treat lead poisoning and even venomous snakebites. It was found, in the early years of its use, that chelation improved the heart disease of those who underwent it for other purposes. This prompted a number of physicians to begin using it for this purpose since it is known to flush plaque and toxic metals from the bloodstream. For many, many individuals it has been an alternative to heart or vascular surgery.
How is Chelation Administered?
A chelation treatment requires a visit to a doctor’s office where 3 grams of a synthetic amino acid EDTA (ethyl diamine tetra acetic acid) is infused into your veins through an IV. Chelation requires a course of treatment of several sessions per week for several weeks or months. ACAM (American College of Alternative Medicine) recommends that patients undergo 30 chelation treatments in order to obtain the optimum effect, and follow these with a maintenance dose once a month. Each session lasts two to three hours. The frequency of the treatments depends on the severity of the condition and the way that the body is handling the excretion of the minerals. During the course of treatment, the doctor will monitor the health of kidneys as well as other organs to ensure that no undue stress is placed on the body. There is almost no discomfort with chelation and the side effects, which are rare, are very minimal. Patients are instructed during this time in proper diet, stress management, and exercise regimens to support their overall recovery.
Chelation has been used very successfully to treat cardiovascular disease, diabetes, diabetic arterial disease, decreased mental functioning, intermittent claudication (leg pain on exercise), and a number of other conditions.
Chelation therapy and Macular Degeneration
Chelation has also been used to reverse macular degeneration since ARMD is caused, at least in part, by the blockage in the choroid capillaries, which deliver blood to the macula.
In 1994, the Journal of the Advancement of Medicine published a case where a 59-year old woman with ARMD used nutrition along with chelation for her condition. After undergoing the recommended series of chelation, her vision improved to 20/25 in one eye and 20/20 in the other. Her central vision was greatly enhanced. One year later, her vision improvement remained.
Dr. Merrill Lipton of Belton, Texas tells a compelling story of his experience with chelation and macular degeneration. “I was injured during World War II, at the age of twenty, by an explosion above my head. Large pieces of shrapnel lodged in my head, near my ear and behind my eye. This left me with increased pressure in my right eye, which resulted in glaucoma. Several years later, the same condition developed in my left eye. It was controlled with drops. In 1991, I thought I had cataracts. It turned out to be macular degeneration. I took forty chelation treatments and maintain follow-up treatments twice a month. My vision returned to 20/20 with correction, and my high blood pressure of twenty years’ standing was cured. A few years later, I had my cataract removed, and complications resulted in increased intra occular pressure again. Back on chelation, this problem resolved to the extent that, at seventy-five years of age, I read without glasses and drive.”
How Chelation Works
The word “chelation” is taken from the Greek work chele, meaning claw. This describes the way the molecules of the chelating agent grab onto the molecules of heavy metal, such as lead, iron, and copper, in the body and moves them to the kidneys, via the bloodstream, for excretion. The process of chelation also binds calcium, which is known, when it is present in cells in excessive amounts, to interfere with arterial health. Calcium is responsible for the build-up of plaque that causes blockages in the blood vessels. None of the calcium chelated and released during chelation is the calcium from bones and teeth. Chelation lowers serum ionized calcium which decreases clotting, reduces spasm and softens “hardening” of the arteries. A further benefit to overall health is that EDTA reduces the LDL cholesterol (the so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol) content in the liver and the plaque formed in the arteries.
Despite its success, scientists do not know for certain how chelation works. One theory is that it reduces free radicals, which are the harmful by-products of metabolic processes. A related theory is that since heavy metals cause an increased production of free radicals, reducing them in the body reduces the numbers of free radicals. Yet another understanding of how chelation works focuses on the relationship between calcium and magnesium as intracellular and intercellular components. As excess calcium is bound in the bloodstream, the calcium/magnesium balance is favorably affected.
A new way to do Chelation Therapy.
During my trip with Dr. Rowen into the Grand Canyon I had 5 days to discuss with him new treatments to help improve the vision of folks suffering from ARMD. One of these treatments is a new way to do chelation therapy. Chelation therapy can be time consuming and expensive. The average IV therapy takes 2 to 3 hours and costs around $100. Now there is a better way. I have always been a big advocate of chelation therapy to help detoxify the body, remove heavy metals and to improve circulation. It is something that I recommend to all patients with macular degeneration especially if they have cardiovascular disease or have been exposed to heavy metals. Detoxamin suppositories offer nearly the same benefits as IV chelation. The Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association published a study indicating that suppositories of EDTA chelation have a 36.3 % absorption in the body compared to 100% of IV therapy. JANA Article One suppository 3 times a week appears to have the same level of therapy as one IV therapy. Each suppository costs under $8 which is a considerable savings compared to the IV therapy.
More on Chelation. Oral, Rectal and IV.
Last week I had a very interesting dinner with two of the leading authorities on chelation therapy. Dr. Garry Gordon and Dr. Bruce Shelton. Our conversation centered on the advantages and disadvantages of the different forms of chelation therapy. I was surprised at the outcome of our discussions. I had always assumed that oral chelation was the most ineffective because of its low absorption (5 to 18%) compared to rectal (36%) and IV (100%). But there is something else to consider!
A naturopathic once told disease is like a rain barrel. We are born with an empty rain barrel and as we live our life toxins accumulate in this barrel. Once it starts to overflow we develop disease. To any disease we must empty the rain barrel of toxins and prevent the introduction if toxins. This is why oral chelation can be so beneficial. The majority of the EDTA stays in the reservoir of the gut binding heavy metals from our foods preventing absorption of these toxins. The conclusion of our supper conversation was that oral chelation can be the best preventative measure. Dr. Gary Gordon ordered fish and my comment to him was, “Dr. Gordon aren’t you worried about the mercury in this fish”. He smiled at me and said, “This is why I am taking this chelation pill!” It all made sense to me. In our toxic world it is almost impossible to eliminate the heavy metals in our diet, but oral chelation with meals is a very inexpensive and safe way to reduce the risks. An excellent oral chelation product is one that Dr. Gordon developed called BEYOND CHELATION. This product along with the rectal suppository is available through our office. What is the conclusion from this discussion? If you are interested in prevention I would suggest oral chelation. If you are suffering from a chronic disease (like Macular degeneration) I would suggest a combination of oral/ rectal or oral/ IV.