Clogged arteries are responsible for a number of ailments including heart pain, high blood pressure, and peripheral arterial disease. Many of my male patients are shocked when I tell them that plaque build-up may even be causing their erectile dysfunction. How can that be? All of these conditions stem from the same cause, insufficient blood flow through arteries.
In the first part of this series, you learned how coronary artery disease and blocked arteries could lead to serious health consequences. I recommended some non-drug, non-surgical treatments you can do on your own to both prevent and improve arterial disease and its symptoms.
Now I’d like to expand on an alternative method of dissolving plaque and increasing blood flow in arteries using specific vitamins and safe chemical compounds. This therapy is called oral chelation.
What Is Chelation Therapy?
Chelation therapy has been used since about 1955 for treating heart/arterial disease. The idea of using chelation for heart disease sprang from using chelation for toxic lead, arsenic, and mercury levels. A compound called calcium disodium EDTA, an amino acid, binds to those metals. The EDTA-bound metal is then removed from your body through urination.
Using this toxic metal removal model, it was thought that a variation of the same compound, disodium EDTA, would bind to plaque and remove it from arteries. Based on this same principle, oral chelation formulas were created.
Oral Chelation Supplements
People have taken oral chelation supplements for years as an alternative treatment for coronary artery disease. In fact, because of their widespread use, the National Institute of Health recently began a clinical study to document the specific benefits of chelation therapy.
As I tell my patients who ask me about oral chelation formulas, I feel the better ones contain a lot of heart/artery-health promoting vitamins, minerals, and food-derived chemicals that can be of benefit in promoting heart and artery health. Let’s look, then, at what I think a good oral chelation supplement might contain:
- B-Vitamins – like B6, B12, and folic acid, known to be crucial to heart health in reducing homocysteine, a chemical that promotes plaque. They also maintain energy.
- Magnesium, potassium, selenium – these are heart-healthy minerals that keep heart muscle functioning correctly, regulate heartbeat, and prevent cholesterol from oxidizing and turning into plaque.
- Bromelain, malic acid, garlic – these food-based compounds from pineapples, green apples, and garlic dissolve saturated fats and prevent them from hardening into plaques.
- TMG (trimethylglycine) – also known as betaine, derived from beets, this chemical IS actually FDA-approved for treating high homocysteine levels.
- EDTA – as noted above, this chemical binds to arterial plaque and removes it. EDTA is also FDA, and USDA, approved as a food additive.
- NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) – a chemical found in high protein foods, it is an amino acid that, like EDTA, also acts as a toxin binding/removal agent.
How Does Oral Chelation Work?
Oral chelation formulas come in pill form and are taken like you would any other supplement. They go to work by binding to mineral deposits (namely calcium which plaque is), breaking it down and liquefying it so it can be removed from your arteries. Drinking plenty of filtered water daily will help flush the chelated minerals and toxins out of your blood.
It’s a good idea not to take any mineral supplements until a few hours after you take a chelation formula as the minerals can be chelated out of your system. Prescription medicine should also be taken a few hours apart from chelation supplements.
Vitamin C and Vitamin E supplements should be taken as they are antioxidants which help prevent oxidation of cholesterol into plaques.
Benefits of Oral Chelation Formulas
There are several arterial health conditions which can benefit from the artery-flushing effects of oral chelation. They are:
- Coronary artery disease, or CAD – blockages in the heart can cause heart attack.
- Peripheral arterial disease, or PAD – lack of blood flow to legs and feet causing pain.
- Erectile dysfunction – resulting from blocked arteries, lack of penile blood flow.
- Carotid artery disease – decreased blood flow to the brain, can cause stroke.
Although oral chelation therapy may still be a controversial subject, it has its following of loyal supporters. According to Everyday Health, a recent survey of people who used chelation therapy, 62% said it gave them a sense of control over their heart disease. For optimum effectiveness, chelation supplements should be combined with a heart/artery healthy diet, no smoking, and beneficial exercise.
As with any supplement, read labels and be sure you have a quality oral chelation formula with ingredients such as those mentioned above. Consult a doctor familiar with the use of oral chelation formulas. They can monitor you, ensure their correct usage, and avoid any possible adverse effects that may arise.
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.