Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common cause of death in the United States . It is the most common cause of cardiac related disability and is the leading cause of death within the United States with over 500,000 deaths annually attributed to CAD. Of the estimated seven million Americans with symptomatic CAD, 1.5 million will experience a myocardial infarction (MI) every year. In the 1960s, 20% of all patients hospitalized with an MI died. Despite advances in diagnosis and treatments, there is still a 10% risk of death following an MI. New techniques include coronary angiography, coronary angioplasty and coronary artery bypass grafting. However these procedures are highly invasive, carry a significant risk of complications or death, are very expensive, and have questionable clinical value in the eyes of some. The final outcome in patients with CAD in the United States and Canada are almost identical even though the patients in the US were 7.8 times more likely to receive either angioplasty or bypass than their Canadian counterparts. 42% of all angioplasties block again within six months and 25,035 of all angioplasty patients eventually require additional procedures. Physician re- evaluators in the US and UK deemed 13-35% of all bypasses inappropriate. Bypasses also have an average death rate of 4-10% and cost between $30,000 and 50,000.
Recent publications implicate lead and cadmium in the development of peripheral vascular disease and hypertension (Circulation, 2004). EDTA removes these metals from the vascular tissue. The New England Journal of Medicine published a major article in January 2003 proving a 95% reduction in cost of care for patients with low levels of lead that were treated with 30+ treatments of EDTA chelation. The Journal of the American Medical Association(March 2003) published an article showing hypertension that develops in patients between age 40 and 60 is due to lead from their bones.
The exact cause of CAD is unknown and the mechanism of action of EDTA for its treatment is unclear. Proponents of chelation therapy feel that the most important agent in the formation of artherosclerotic plaques is free radicals or unbound circulating charged particles. CAD arises due to an increase of free radicals, leading to an increase in damage to cells due to oxidation. Normally, the body is able to manage or control the amount of damage caused by free radicals, but when this system gets out of balance and more free radicals are generated than the body can handle, damage is done. EDTA may act as a major anti-inflammatory or anti-oxidant agent. Heavy metals also replace selenium and inactivate enzymes needed for day to day cellular processes. Removal of heavy metals may explain why eight months after the last treatment, blood flow through the kidney continues to increase in patients treated with EDTA. Remodeling and repair of tissues takes months and years even after the offending agent is removed. Heavy metals can bind up the nitric oxide system and cause spasm of the blood vessels (angina) in addition to the damage described above by the free radical system. Improvement of 19% of the diameter of a vessel doubles the amount of flow in that vessel.
There are many ways EDTA may reduce plaque formation, alleviate existing plaques, and positively affect cell membrane function. It was originally proposed that EDTA chelates or binds calcium from within the arterial plaques thereby reducing their overall physical dimensions. This view has been replaced with more scientific theories concerning oxidative stress (free radical damage). Dietary fats, especially polyunsaturated fats and trans fats, are the leading sources of dangerous free radicals. Polyunsaturated fatty acids can combine spontaneously with oxygen to create lipid peroxides. Lipid peroxides, which are free radicals, react aggressively with other cells in the body. Free radicals do this by binding to the cell's wall, altering the cell wall functions. Damage to the cell wall can lead to the cell being unable to distinguish properly what to let into the cell and what to keep out. Damage can also cause problems with the flexibility of the cell wall. Excessive amounts of free radicals can alter the pump in the cell wall that controls the amount of calcium and magnesium allowed inside the cell. An excessive amount of calcium inside the cell can result in coronary artery spasm leading to lack of blood flow, angina and even MI.
Diets high in fats (especially trans fats), genetics, and poor lifestyle choices can lead to high levels of free radicals. EDTA can reduce the production of free radicals by an estimated million-fold. EDTA chelation removes heavy metals from the blood stream and body. Heavy metals, when present, can initiate and support the uncontrolled proliferation of free radicals. Iron and copper are the most potent catalysts of lipid peroxidation and therefore free radical production. Extracellular iron and copper ions have been shown to cause free radical tissue damage.
The debate over chelation continues. Some ascribe almost mythical healing powers to anti-oxidant treatments such as EDTA and vitamin therapies. Others equate alternative medicine with the snake oil salesman of the nineteenth century. They claim that the quackery of alternative medicine does nothing more than expose a population of patients with serious medical conditions to potentially harmful substances while delaying needed conservative treatments and depleting them financially. Perhaps a middle of the road position is needed. Alternative therapies are not cure-all's and do not replace more conventional modalities. In the case of EDTA, it looks like this once "alternative" treatment is going to become part of the mainstream treatment of chronic diseases and a wonderful preventative for certain populations. The longer we live, the more toxins and heavy metals we have in our tissue and the more they affect our health. Genetics point the gun, environment pulls the trigger. It is the removal of these environmental toxins that prevents the genes from having to act and cause disease.
The ideas and advice contained on these pages based upon an extensive review of the scientific literature. However, this is definitely not intended to be a substitute for careful medical evaluation and treatment by a competent, licensed personal health care professional. Oaktree Wellness Center does not recommend changing any current medications or adding any new therapies without personally consulting a fully qualified physician. Oaktree Wellness Center and its staff specifically disclaim any liability arising directly or indirectly from information contained on these pages. Varying and even conflicting views are held by other segments of the medical profession. The information presented on these pages is intended to be educational in nature and is not intended as a bias for diagnosis or treatment. This information is current at the time and is published and distributed as a courtesy to the public.