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Chelation Therapy What is It and Who Can Benefit? by Barbara Gordon-Cohen, D.O.

Chelation therapy was first used in the 1950s to treat patients for lead poisoning. Doctors were fascinated to notice improvements in other medical conditions, especially in regards to heart disease and circulatory issues. With the development of major heart surgery many doctors stopped using chelation therapy however some still continue to make it available to their patients as they have experienced good results.

What is chelation?

Chelation is a natural process by which a metal of mineral is bonded to another substance that acts like a claw and can then be moved or removed from the body. For example, red blood cells contain a chelate of iron and enable the molecules to be moved around the body. Certain substances have the property of bonding to toxic or improperly situated metals in the human body. These metals can then be removed to pass out harmlessly in the urine. By far the most widely used of these substances, and one with a proven safety record, is a man-made amino acid called EDTA (ethylene-diamine-tetra-acetate).

EDTA is essentially non-toxic and is an approved food preservative. It is also used as a preservative for soft contact lenses and in pharmaceuticals to give them longer shelf life.

What happens during chelation therapy?

In chelation therapy, a solution of EDTA is slowly infused intravenously. Each treatment takes three hours and two treatments are possible in one week. The molecules of EDTA bond to metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, aluminum and minerals such as calcium and remove them from places where they are doing harm.

Some of the effects are that blood flow is increased, blood becomes more flexible and the whole body simply becomes more efficient.

Who benefits from chelation therapy?

Chelation therapy is known to rid the body of heavy metals that can cause damage to the nervous system and the immune system.

Chelation therapy is an option to be considered by persons suffering from coronary artery disease, cerebral vascular disease, generalized atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and related ailments associated with senility and accelerated physical decline. In addition it is an option that may help one to improve the results of bypass surgery. With EDTA, the molecules bind to excess calcium in the bloodstream and therefore can prevent the calcium from binding to the cholesterol in the bloodstream and forming plaque.

As always, it is important to consult a certified practitioner to discuss your health issues and treatment options.

Barbara Gordon-Cohen, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, is board certified in family medicine and neuromuscular medicine. Her office is at 4 Boar Court in Suffern. She can be reached by calling 354-4507 or visiting

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