By Dr. Michael Miles
Special to the Crier
Chelation is a biochemical method of removing heavy metals. It means literally “claw-like” or “to grab onto.” It’s most popular use these days is in the treatment of hardening of the arteries. The theory is that the plaque that “hardens” the arteries has a lot of calcium in it. By exposing the plaque to the right chelating agent, calcium is pulled out and the plaque dissolves.
Chelation was developed over 50 years ago to treat lead poisoning. Since then several chelating agents have been discovered. EDTA (ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid) is the chelating agent of choice for hardening of the arteries. It pulls out many heavy metals including lead, copper, cadmium, aluminum, iron, and, of course, calcium. As mentioned last month, DMPS and DMSA are other chelating agents used primarily to pull out mercury.
In treating hardening of the arteries, EDTA must pass over the plaque in order to grab onto the calcium. Therefore, it must circulate through the blood vessels. The most straight forward way of doing this is to administer it intravenously. This is the preferred method. It requires an IV drip filled with a half a liter of fluid including vitamins and minerals and usually takes about three hours to administer. The average number of treatments to clean out clogged arteries is around 30. The advantage of this method is that it dissolves plaque throughout the entire 60,000 miles of blood vessels that transverse the body verses the one or two inches that are addressed with by-pass surgery and angioplasty. Cleared vessels allow nutrients and oxygen into cells and waste products out, relieving numerous problems associated with hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis).
There are various ways of determining plaque activity in a person. It all too often comes to our attention only when it is severe enough to cause problems by blocking the flow of blood to critical areas. The worst-case scenarios involve heart attacks and strokes. Some people get warning signs such as angina (heaviness or pain in the chest) or shortness of breath or transient numbness on one side of the body or the other. Blood tests that are available and can be requested at yearly checkups include homocysteine and C-reactive protein. The tread mill EKG is another way of evaluating your heart by pushing it to the limits of exertion and seeing if it gets enough blood flow to keep it functioning adequately. Angiograms are useful to view the blood vessels using dye and x-rays, though it is invasive and the dye itself can cause the blood vessels to contract giving a false impression of how clogged they really are. Recently, CAT scans of the heart have been used to calculate the amount of calcium in the arteries and, therefore, the amount of plaque.
Chelation is regulated through organizations such as the American College for the Advancement of Medicine (ACAM). And, though it has not won wide spread acceptance from cardiologists, many members of ACAM are cardiologists and cardiac surgeons looking for more permanent solutions to heart disease.
Dr. Miles has a clinic in Catalina. Location, hours and other information can be found online at www.catalinaclinic.com. He is planning an Open House on Saturday, July 12th from 2 to 6 so people can come by if they’d like and see the place and talk with Dr. Miles.