What is Chelation Therapy?

By Javier Manrique NMD

Chelation is the only recognized medical treatment that safely and effectively removes toxic metals from the human body.  The chelating agent, ethylenediaminetetraaceticacid (EDTA) has been used intravenously since the early 1950’s as an antidote for acute heavy metal poisoning.

Acute heavy metal poisoning is much less commonplace today than it was in the days of leaded gasoline and lead paint.  Unfortunately, we are all still exposed to low levels of heavy metals on a daily basis.  Modern sources of mercury exposure are: coal burning power plants, seafood, dental amalgams, and vaccinations.  Lead comes from dust in older homes, ammunition, plumbing solder, and cosmetics such as red lipstick.  Modern science has shown us that there is no safe level of lead or mercury exposure.  The harmful effects of chronic, low level exposure to heavy metals on all body systems are cumulative and real.  Blood lead levels of as low as 0.10 umol/L have been associated with an increased likelihood of stroke, heart attack, and all cause mortality.

Increased body burden of toxic metals can be a significant factor in the development of many chronic diseases.  At the Good Life Health Center, we have found a correlation between low level heavy metal exposure and a wide range of seemingly unrelated health conditions:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • cardiovascular disease
  • autoimmunity
  • decreased kidney function
  • chronic pain
  • allergies
  • hormonal imbalances
  • neurologic deficits
  • toxic encephalopathy (brain fog)

Can essential nutrients cause harm?

All metals are potentially harmful depending on their concentration in the body.  Metals are divided into two broad categories: essential and non-essential

Essential metals such as iron, zinc, copper, and calcium have specific functions in the human body and are necessary for life.  Their levels are tightly regulated and they are bound to special proteins for transport in the blood.  However, if these essential metals overwhelm the body’s transport protein binding capacity they can exist “free” (unbound) in the blood stream or may become deposited in diseased tissues.   Even relatively small amounts of unbound essential metals can be harmful since they are a major catalyst in the production of oxygen free radicals.  Oxygen free radicals are extremely reactive substances that damage all tissues and are one of the main causes of systemic inflammation.

Slightly elevated iron stores as measured by ferritin levels of only 200ug/L have been associated with a 220% increased likelihood of heart attack and stroke! Intravenous chelation is a preventative, minimally invasive therapy that safely and effectively removes free iron, zinc, copper and calcium from the bloodstream and from their deposits in diseased tissue.

Is chelation therapy right for you?

Toxic burden can be evaluated through blood, urine, or hair testing.  Each testing method has its own advantages and limitations.  Objective evaluation of an individual’s heavy metals stores is essential before beginning any chelation program.  Testing shows whether or not chelation therapy is likely to be helpful for a particular patient’s situation, it allows me to choose the appropriate chelating agent, and it is important because it is used as a measure objective improvement.

In my practice, I have found chelation therapy to be extremely helpful in treating patients with a wide variety of health concerns.  Sub acute heavy metal exposure is often the common link between many vague and seemingly difficult to treat conditions such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and idiopathic cardiovascular disease.

Body burden of heavy metals should be evaluated more often in patients with chronic disease.  Modern science continues to show that there is truly no safe level of heavy metal exposure. The harm caused by chronic, lead and mercury exposure is measurable and real, as are the benefits that patients experience when these toxic metals are removed with appropriately administered chelation therapy.

Chelation therapy resources:

American College for Advancement in Medicine

1-800-532-3688 acamnet.org

ACAM is a medical association that trains and certifies physicians in the safe use of chelation therapy and other integrative medical techniques.

Bypassing Bypass Surgery by Elmer M Cranton MD

Everything You Should Know About Chelation Therapy by Morton Walker DPM and Hitendra Shaw MD.

More about Chelation from Dr. Manrique


Dr. Javier Manrique received his medical education from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona.  He is a naturopathic physician and board certified chelation therapist.  He has a special interest in educating his patients and promoting self-healing.