Updated 16 August 2016

Can chelation therapy cure heart disease?

Move over heart surgery? There are persistent claims that EDTA chelation therapy can effectively treat heart disease by removing the calcium from cholesterol plaques.

Modern humans are chronically exposed to a large number of toxins and pathogens.

We accumulate heavy metals in our bodies, as well as oestrogens from plastics, industrial chemicals, pesticides, yeasts, viruses, microbes and bacteria.

Our toxic load is so high that few people would argue with the notion that most of us can do with a thorough "detox". Some people go on a fruit fast, some do a liver cleanse and others choose colonic irrigation – to name but a few.

Chelation therapy with the synthetic amino acid EDTA (ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid) is a proven method to remove toxic heavy metals like mercury, lead and cadmium from the body.

Read: Detox: fact or fiction?

Chelation therapy for heart disease   

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), CVDs (cardiovascular diseases) are the number one cause of death globally, and more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause.

Conventional treatments for heart disease are invasive procedures like bypass surgery and lifestyle changes like a healthier diet and giving up smoking. 

A large number of people suffering from CVDs have also attempted chelation therapy, mainly with EDTA. The theory is that hardened arteries can be made softer by removing the calcium in their walls.

According to the US National Institutes of Health use of this therapy to treat heart disease and other diseases grew from 2002 to 2007 by nearly 68 percent, to an estimated 111,000 people annually.

Read: New subjects for chelation study

The FDA has approved the use of chelation and EDTA for the treatment of lead poisoning and heavy metal toxicity, but not for the treatment of conditions like cardiovascular disease.

The reluctance of the FDA to approve the use of chelation therapy for occlusive arterial disease has raised questions, and the body has been accused of protecting the interests of powerful traditional medical organisations who favour (lucrative) arterial bypass surgery. 

How does chelation work? 

The word “chelate” comes from the Greek word for claw and means “to grab”, which is what happens when EDTA binds with minerals and metals like calcium, aluminium, iron, copper, lead and mercury, allowing them to be removed from the body via the urinary pathway.

Cholesterol combines in the body with fat, calcium and other substances to form plaques in the arteries. The plaque builds up over time and hardens and narrows the arteries. This buildup is called atherosclerosis and can lead to cardiovascular disease and stroke. 

In simple terms, chelation therapy for heart disease claims to work by binding to the calcium contained in the plaques (fatty deposits) in the arteries, and once this happens the plaques are swept away and excreted from the body. Removing plaque restores elasticity to the arteries and can for example increase blood flow to the brain, resulting in improved cognitive processes.  

According to the website of the South African Society of Integrative Medicine (SASIM), EDTA also has a positive effect on conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, peripheral neuropathy, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease, thyroid disorders, porphyria and auto-immune disorders.

Prevalence of EDTA therapy

Even though EDTA therapy is used in Europe and the USA to a certain extent for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, it is still overshadowed by surgical procedures and lifestyle changes. Dr Edwin Boegman from Pretoria is a health practitioner who offers EDTA therapy.  

Health24 asked Dr Boegman the following questions about EDTA therapy:

Q: What exactly is EDTA?

A: EDTA is a synthetic amino-acid, originally made in Germany to remove toxic chemicals containing heavy metals from poisoned people.

Q: How is it administered?

A: It is administered intravenously. (EDTA administered orally is useless and can have detrimental effects.)

EDTA can  cause  anaphylactic reactions, similar to penicillin and can be fatal, and thus cannot be administered by untrained doctors.

Q: What metals and substances can it remove?

A: It removes all metals/minerals in a certain sequence: calcium, manganese, lead, mercury, chrome, cobalt etc. EDTA incorporates the metals into its molecules and carries them out in the urine.

Q: What diseases or conditions can chelation therapy treat or cure?

A: Chelation can treat atherosclerosis (calcified arteries).

Manganese is as toxic as lead on the brain (neuro-toxic) and is present in “lead free” petrol to prevent pre-ignition in car engines. The toxicity of mercury, lead, cadmium, chromium, cobalt etc. is well known and all these metals can be removed from the body with EDTA.

Q: Is EDTA really effective against heart disease?

A: US studies have indicated that EDTA has a definite beneficial effect on coronary disease, especially on the left side of the heart.


Questions and Answers: The NIH Trial of EDTA Chelation Therapy for Coronary Heart Disease

Results of trial to assess chelation therapy (TACT) study

Q: What can be done to promote the use of EDTA?

A: Medical Aids in South Africa should be forced to pay for chelation. Medical Aids in Europe pay for chelation therapy. Some Medical Aids in the USA will pay for chelation instead of paying for bypass surgery.

The public should also be aware of the severe heavy metal toxic overload that we are exposed to, and that chelation can  remove the metals.

The medical fraternity should also be more aware of the importance of chelation.  

Q: How do you see the future of EDTA/chelation therapy?

A: EDTA chelation will become more and more important when its beneficial effects are realised, especially in our modern environment with mercury, lead, manganese, chromium and cobalt overload.

It is very important to realise that “modern medical science” has no means of removing toxic metals from the human body other than by EDTA chelation.

Quacks recommend all sorts of cleansing therapies (colon cleanses etc.), but these are useless and often dangerous.

South African doctors who use chelation therapy

Use this link at to contact SA doctors who practice chelation therapy.

If you have questions about chelation therapy, feel free to ask our Natural Health expert Dr Erika Coertzen.

Read more:

New subjects for chelation study

A look at bypass surgery

Detox diets – healthy or harmful?


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