Life Clinic

Getting to The Heart of the Matter: EDTA Chelation as a means to Combating Heart Disease

By Dr Stephen Chan, Medical Director in Life Clinic

EDTA ChelationEDTA Chelation treats the root cause of coronary artery disease instead of just addressing symptoms.

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the number one cause of death for men and women around the world, with one person dying every 2 seconds somewhere in the world from it.  More people die from blocked arteries, of one sort or another, each year than all the other causes put together.

As we age, our blood vessels tend to harden, restricting the blood supply to that vital organ.  If it is a blood vessel in the brain, it can cause a stroke.  If it is in the heart, it can cause chest pain (known as “angina”) or a heart attack.  Indeed, 50% of people who suffer a massive heart attack never make it to hospital or die shortly afterwards.

So why does it happen?

It all starts with injury to the delicate lining of the blood vessels, explains Dr Stephen Chan, Director of the Life Clinic.  This may be due to any of a number of factors, including diabetes, hypertension or cigarette smoke which produces a lot of damaging free radicals.  Cholesterol then becomes oxidized and moves in to the damaged blood lining, probably like putty to try to fix the injury.  As cholesterol is not supposed to be in the blood vessel wall, it starts off an inflammatory response that can turn in to a soft “plaque”.  If this inflammation continues for a long time, it can become calcified and hardened, causing a permanent narrowing of the artery and angina.  If the soft plaque bursts before it can harden, it sprays its contents in to the blood vessel lumen, causing a sudden blockage of that artery and a heart attack.

Conventional approaches focus on unblocking the arteries with balloon treatment (“angioplasty”) and stenting.  Whereas this is crucial for unblocking a suddenly blocked artery (ideally in the “golden hour” before the heart muscle dies) or for improving angina symptoms in more chronic narrowing, it does not address the root of the problem.  Not infrequently, the wonderful results initially achieved, are superseded by a return of symptoms as the blood vessel gradually blocks up again.  When that happens, the options are either to reattempt balloon treatment, or if the vessel is completely blocked, to look at bypass surgery. 

Is there an alternative to this seemingly glum spiral of events?

In 2012, a Cardiologist from the Mayo clinic presented the findings of a $30 million multi-centered trial to the American Heart Association of the benefits of a long-forgotten treatment for coronary artery disease.  That treatment was EDTA chelation.

EDTA is an FDA-approved substance used for the removal of lead and other heavy metals.  It has been used since the 1950’s for a fortuitous and lesser-known “side-effect” – it seems to improve blood circulation in those being chelated.  Patients with poor circulation to the legs could walk further.  Those with blocked coronary arteries had less chest pain.  And those with arthritis, noticed for the first time, an improvement in their joint pains.  Indeed a myriad of chronic conditions usually associated with aging, were frequently seen to improve with EDTA chelation.

What are the benefits of EDTA Chelation?

The list of benefits seems nothing short of remarkable, until we understand how chelation works, Dr Chan says.  EDTA chelation has many different modes of action, some of them known, some of them unknown, and include removing heavy metals from cellular enzymes to allow them to function better (like changing the oil in a car), improving the elasticity of arterial walls, and most importantly, reducing free radicals in the body.  Free radicals are volatile molecules produced in the body from various metabolic processes.  Heavy metals, built up in the body over years, appear to be a huge catalyst of these reactions.  Indeed, left uncontrolled, free radicals can damage our blood vessels (leading to heart attacks and strokes) our brain cells (causing memory loss and dementia) and our DNA (creating cancer cells).

It is no wonder, Dr Chan shares, that patients, who engage in chelation treatment, often report improved energy, mental clarity and joint pains after just 5-10 sessions, as the free radicals are reduced.  

What does the treatment involve?

A full treatment course, he explains, is 30 sessions, each 3 hours long, and involves little more than sitting in a comfortable armchair with a drip in the arm.  There is usually no, or minimal, discomfort, and patients spend their time reading, watching TV or catching up with work on their laptops.

Most patients will receive a treatment once to twice a week, but the frequency is not as important as the number of sessions.  For those who live overseas, it is possible to treat every day for a week, so long as it is not too quick, and kidney tests are monitored with a simple blood test to ensure the kidney is coping fine with the extra load of heavy metals being excreted.

Indeed, there are very few side effects, and those than can occur, like initial tiredness and light headedness, can be minimized by building up slowly, and tailoring the treatment to each client.

After 15-20 sessions, many clients see an improvement in their bio-parameters, like blood pressure (if they are hypertensive), blood cholesterol (if they have high cholesterol) and blood sugar (if they are diabetic).

By 30 sessions, some patients may even see an improvement in their CT scans with improved narrowing and this is the most satisfying result of all, explains Dr Chan, to see objective change in something they previous thought was irreversible.

So remarkable is this treatment, that over a million people have received this treatment to date, and there has been a surge in interest in patients looking for other options to surgery or balloon treatment in recent years.  It is for this reason, that cardiologists from such prestigious medical schools as Mayo Clinic and John Hopkins joined the 134 centers in the USA and Canada that participated in this trial.

The result showed that patients who received EDTA chelation therapy suffered significantly less heart attacks, strokes and deaths than those who didn’t, and that this was especially greatest for those who also had diabetes.

EDTA chelation is no substitute for a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise, Dr Chan reminds, but it can be a powerful tool in tackling heart disease at its very root.

If you have any further queries about EDTA Chelation, please contact us by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call reception on 2881 8131.