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 Chelation Therapy: Case Histories (by Simon Martin)  
Heart disease

Harvard University asked more than 22,000 doctors, all at least 40 years old, to take aspirin every day for four years. By then, 104 had heart attacks; five were fatal. In contrast, of those who took an inactive dummy pill, 189 had heart attacks and 18 died.

Doctors have got excited about these results because, while 500 people a day die of heart disease in the UK, the drugs used to prevent this happening have some unwanted effects and have not been proved to be totally effective. Aspirin, on the other hand, is universally regarded as safe, cheap and convenient.

But even as the Americans stampeded to their medicine cabinets (helped by a massive publicity campaign mounted by aspirin manufacturers), warnings were sounded by British experts. Sir Richard Doll points out that if aspirin helps people who have already had heart attacks, then it does so at the expense of causing more strokes. The benefits to healthy people are even less obvious.

This sounds familiar. International authorities have recommended that anyone with higher than average levels of cholesterol circulating in the blood should start corrective treatment with drugs. Yet the Helsinki Heart Study (on 19,000 men aged 40­55), the World Health Organization study (on 10,000 men), and the Lipid Research Clinics Coronary Primary Prevention trial (3,800 'at risk' men), have all shown that any reduction in the number of expected deaths from heart disease is balanced by an increase in deaths from other causes.

The implication is that these may be caused by the 'preventive' drugs themselves; an idea supported by the many non­fatal effects reported in the drug users. These include more gastrointestinal complications (and surgery to put them right), more gallstones and more cataracts.

Because of this predilection to use drugs as preventive medicine, many people are becoming wary of health screening. Having regular check­ups, particularly if they involve an enthusiastic, interventionist doctor who monitors blood pressure and goes in for cardiograms and stress tests, may actually be dangerous to health.

Aspirin, too, is not the innocuous substance it is made out to be. Children's aspirin was withdrawn from over­the­counter sale after many years of assumed safe use. It causes gastrointestinal bleeding and pain. Drugs, it seems, are a very poor form of preventive medicine.

The irony is that we have all the information we need to stop heart disease without drugs. Evidence is that these alternatives are not only safe and effective ways of staying alive, but that they can actually reverse the process of conditions like atherosclerosis, even at the emergency stage when a man is scheduled for bypass surgery.

That was the experience of Richard B, a 42­year­old businessman and amateur athletics coach, who remembers running a fast track 200 metres in the middle of the pack, floating easily across the finish line ­ and waking up in intensive care.

He knew about diet and exercise and it hadn't saved him from a heart attack. It turned out that he was genetically unable to produce a cholesterol­controlling enzyme. Unable to walk after his spectacular collapse, he was whisked to the front of the waiting list and booked in for double bypass surgery. The operation was due to take place the day after his wedding.

He was too doubtful to go in for it. Bypass surgery is not a permanent solution and is frequently ineffective. A 1,000­man study by the American Veterans Administration found that bypass surgery was of no benefit for anyone but those with the rare left­main artery disease. Bypassing clogged arteries is one thing; but what about the ones that are left? These too will become clogged, and more surgery will be needed, until the unfortunate patient runs out of replacement tissue. It makes much more sense to do something about root causes.

Richard opted instead for chelation. This treatment, combined with a low­fat, high­fibre, low­sugar diet, and supplements of vitamins and minerals, enabled Richard to report to his disbelieving consultant three months later that he was back in athletics training and did not need any operation.

The consultant wanted to conduct an angiogram, in which a dye is injected into the arteries and examined under X­rays. Richard refused, because during a previous angiogram his heart had stopped while he was on the table.

There was no real need. Here was a man who couldn't walk because of the pains in his chest, now back to an hour's running ­ not jogging ­ a day, plus circuit training, and all without drugs.

Besides, American scientists had already established a precedent, with a paper published in 1977 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Their patients, average age 48, all had angiograms to diagnose extensive blockage due to atherosclerosis. After 13 months on a low­fat diet they were angiogrammed again: in nearly half, the existing deposits of arterial plaque had begun to disappear. With the known benefits of chelation, and the technology to check on how the arteries are functioning without invasive measures, Richard felt confident to refuse more surgery.

His case is typical of those gathered in the files of chelation centres throughout the world. And from those supplied by the Chelation Centre, London, for this book, it is clear that even though their cases are supervised by a consultant physician and endocrinologist and have full test data available, many doctors and surgeons find it very difficult to believe that their patients have been able to recover so well.

One professor of cardiology at a leading American university school of medicine confirmed the excellent physical status of a patient who had used chelation therapy, but felt moved to add a handwritten postscript: 'As you know I really don't believe chelation is effective!'

All good closing­of­the­ranks stuff. Unfortunately, this dubious sort of behaviour is resulting in a safe and effective treatment being denied patients ­ not on the basis of serious scientific analysis, but as a result of sniggering humour.

The patient who made this correspondence available was a man aged over 60 who had received a triple bypass operation at this same American university. Six weeks later he began to experience severe recurrent angina. At first he responded to calcium channel blocking drugs, but after a few more months is angina got so bad that he was unable to walk.

On his own initiative, and still suffering despite the best that high­tech medicine could offer, he began chelation therapy. He had 20 treatments in all. Eight months after his first chelation session he reported back to the university: he was totally without symptoms. Not only was he able to walk, but was walking up hills and was working a full day. No shortness of breath, no side­effects from the chelation.

His physical examination proved his blood pressure to be 150/90. His pulse was 77. His chest was clear. His heart not enlarged, and with a murmur and a '4th heart sound'. He had stopped all his drugs two weeks before the examination, because he was feeling and functioning so well. 'As you know I really don't believe chelation is effective!. The only comment.

If this was an isolated case of benefit, where calcium blockers and operations and/or surgical operations had brought no relief, then perhaps it would be understandable. But the evidence has been accumulating for years; and patients who have tried, or who want to try, chelation must by now be very familiar to American heart surgeons.

The attitude in Britain is little better, although perhaps slightly less aggressively and blindly 'anti'. In fact, a patient who wrote to the British Heart Foundation, the heart research charity, for their opinion on chelation was told, quite reasonably, that there were two sides to the argument and there was no reason at all why he should not explore the matter for himself.

But the BHF also passed on another example of deeply entrenched dogma. They told him:

    You may or may not be aware that chelation therapy has been around for some 30 years and opinions regarding its value vary enormously . . . One of our professors who is an expert on atheromatous coronary artery disease and has done a lot of research on it recently summed up the situation by saying that the evidence of benefit is almost non­existent and the experimental basis for supposed advantage is very weak. The general consensus of opinion seems to be that there is no advantage over calcium antagonists such as Adalat.

The BHF has made no secret of the fact that it has funded a lot of research into this group of drugs over the years.

Mr SC, another 60­year­old, was also a victim of this dogma when, following angioplasty ­ surgery to repair the blood vessels in his chest ­ in the heart unit of the prestigious Stanford University School of Medicine in California, he experienced considerable pain from 'residual' angina. This side­effect of surgery had been predicted, but not the degree.

He was placed on calcium blockers, a high dose of six 10 mg tablets three times a day. Even so, the angina did not stop. After only two chelation infusions, the angina disappeared.

This story had a happy ending. Mr SC's regular doctor (he does not live in America) is a cardiac surgeon. And when Mr SC returned home after chelation, this doctor was so impressed he proposed to use angioplasty and chelation as complementary treatments in future. The patient reports this surgeon's more open­minded view of the process:

    His opinion is that EDTA removes only a microscopic layer of plaque (as well as smoothing the artery wall due to healing of the cells that line the arteries). He feels, however, that the removal of even a microscopic layer of plaque in arterioles supplying blood to artery muscles could improve blood flow to the artery muscles substantially and would likely prevent artery spasm, thereby preventing much angina pain in an extraordinarily short space of time.

What can chelation achieve in a patient with heart problems? Let's follow the history of one man in more detail. (As with all case histories, I am grateful to the late James Kavanagh of the Chelation Centre of London and Pagham, West Sussex, for providing full data. Names of patients have been changed and, unless their specific permission was given, have only been identified to me by initials.)

The case we'll follow is of a 62­year­old man whose chief complaint was angina. This had come on after surgery to his prostate and was so severe that it used to wake him up, on average, three times a night. Luckily for us, this gentleman is scientifically trained and kept precise notes of his progress before, during and after the chelation programme.

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 About The Author
Leon Chaitow ND, DO, MROA practicing naturopath, osteopath, and acupuncturist in the United Kingdom, with over forty years clinical experience, Chaitow is Editor-in-Chief, of the ...more
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