Chelation and Heart Disease

My introduction to EDTA chelation began many years ago with a desperate phone call from a very dear friend. His six-year old child had just been admitted to the hospital in coma with a diagnosis of probable lead encephalopathy.

Since the family had visited me for a cook-out only a few weeks before and I had helped the bright and extremely likeable youngster harvest one of my monster trout from my pond, I was nearly as distraught as the father to hear this terrible news.

Certainly their old house was a setup for lead exposure with layer upon layer of old paint holding the interior wood together. By the time I arrived the neurologist, a friend of mine already had applied the usual decompression procedures to the rapidly swelling brain and was thinking of using the new EDTA chelation treatment but the diagnosis was not yet definite. The situation was grave.

Although test results ruled out an infectious etiology, tests for mercury and lead were still "cooking". Although chelation finally was started it was the old problem of too little and too late. The death of this boy still haunts me when the subject of chelation comes up.

Even then, as consultant to my state health department, when I explored trying to develop a lead screening and treatment program for children, the politics and philosophies were insurmountable and finally dissuaded me. Even for treatment of heavy metal toxicity, acceptance of this relatively innocuous treatment modality was slow in coming but finally the FDA granted its legal use.

The use of EDTA chelation to reduce the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease has resulted in a 30- year battle between proponents and opponents. The opponents are organized medicine and the pharmaceutical industry. The firm stand of organized medicine is no doubt largely derived from the alternative medicine "flavor" of chelation combined with the extraordinary economic gain from such orthodox treatment options as by-pass surgery and angioplasties, whereas the pharmaceutical stand is basically an economic one of "no money to be made" on such a bio-chemically simple and therapeutically safe procedure.

We are talking here of a minor "twist" of acetic acid - household vinegar. Imagine, of an estimated 20 million intravenous infusions of EDTA, no ill effects when properly done. This is an extraordinary safety record, far surpassing the other 'safe' household favorites, aspirin and acetaminophen ( paracetamol.)  

"Chelation doesn't work" choruses the medical establishment yet Kauffman's tabulation of some 50 clinical trials document an extra-ordinary 87% success rate based upon very reasonably objective indicators of benefit. His documentation of under-handed and deliberate manipulation of clinical data in support of medically orthodox views for journal presentation makes one cringe.

As to mechanism of action of this super-vinegar, the possibilities range from depriving nano-bacteria of their calcium underpinnings to the reduction of LDL and cholesterol oxidation via iron store reduction or perhaps some as yet unproven combination of the two. We all should feel deeply indebted to Doctor Kauffman for the immense effort he has expended in reviewing this difficult subject.

Duane Graveline MD MPH
Former USAF Flight Surgeon
Former NASA Astronaut
Retired Family Doctor

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