Chelation is the formation of bonds between metals and other molecules. Chelation therapy is one way to remove the following toxic metals from the body: arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. These metals cause chronic disease and can be removed from the body to prevent kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and neurological problems. Metals are bonded to such proteins as albumin, enzymes, peptides or amino acids. Glutathione and metallothioneins, both proteins, link to toxic and essential metals.
Cadmium causes oxidative damage to tissues and interferes with the actions of essential chemicals in the body. Cadmium is a carcinogen, lead is a probable carcinogen, and methylmercury is a possible carcinogen. Mercury and cadmium toxicity come from oral exposure to fish and cigarette smoke. Lead can come from old water pipes and lead paint. Toxic metals are found in the environment from mining and toxic wastes, also. Modern nanomaterials contain cadmium, also. Early exposure to lead may reduce a child’s IQ!
Importantly, chelation results in incorporation of the mineral into the structure of an organic chelating agent. The mineral is connected to either sulphur, nitrogen or oxygen atoms. (Zinc, copper, and manganese can also be bound.) Chelators mobilize the metals and deliver them by way of the kidneys into the urine or through the liver into the bile for removal. Water soluble particles tend to be removed by the kidneys, while fat soluble particles tend to be excreted into the bile. Fat soluble chelators are able to penetrate into cells to bind mineral, even in the central nervous system.
Metallothioneins and glutathione naturally chelate heavy metals. Blood glutathione levels serve as a biomarker for toxic metal overload. Foods such as dietary insoluble fibers from grains and fruit can aid in removing metals from the body. They reduce levels of mercury in the brains and blood. Alginate (extracted from algae), chlorella, and modified citrus pectin reduce lead and mercury in some cases. The fermentation of Bacillus bacteria produces a biopolymer which binds metals.
Sulphur-containing protein in foods, such as garlic and broccoli-related foods, aids chelation. Garlic has been shown to reduce cadmium-related kidney damage and reduces lead damage in lab rats. Cilantro in soup can aid in the excretion of mercury, although cilantro was no better than placebo in removing lead in children. Taurine amino acid, when used for about 6 months prior to hair analysis, mobilizes heavy metals for removal.
Nutritional deficiency increases the risks of metal toxicity, and calcium deprivation improves the absorption of lead and cadmium into the body. Magnesium and zinc supplements reduce the absorption of cadmium. Calcium supplements reduce the removal of lead from the bones of pregnant women and breastfeeding women, at a time when the child is vulnerable to lead.
Alpha lipoic acid is an antioxidant chelator. It crosses the blood-brain barrier and can redistribute metals in the body. N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) chelates toxic chemicals and stimulates glutathione, a metal chelator. Selenium forms an insoluble chemical with mercury and can relieve symptoms of mercury toxicity, while selenium yeast increases the excretion of mercury.
Detoxifying the body is improved by enhancing the natural chelation pathways by use of pharmaceutical agents. Pharmaceutical chelators are small organic molecules containing sulphur, oxygen and nitrogen. EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) removes chemicals by way of the urine. EDTA causes greater loss of essential minerals than do DMSA (dimercaptosuccinic acid) and DMPS (dimercaptopropane sulfonate). Mercury excretion increases once tightly bound lead and cadmium are reduced.
DMSA and DMPS are taken either orally, intravenously, as a suppository, or as skin preparations. These last only a few hours in the body. Oral absorption is 20%. Ten to 25% is excreted through the urine, while the rest is excreted in the feces. DMSA results in increased excretion of arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, with methylmercury and lead being removed from the brain. A negative effect is loss of some zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium, and the possibility of higher losses of copper. There are rare side effects of rash and necrosis of the skin, which resolve with discontinuation of the treatment.
DMPS orally is 39% absorbed. DMPS is used intravenously more often than is DMSA. Some DMPS is removed by way of the bile. It increases removal of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in the urine. Because of the significant loss of copper, selenium, zinc and magnesium, replacement therapy is advised.
Penicillamine removes copper excess in Wilson’s disease. It removes toxic metals, but is not the best for them. Best choices for chelation seem to be DMPS or DMSA for arsenic, EDTA plus BAL for cadmium, DMSA for lead, and DMSA or DMPS for mercury. Other choices include penicillamine for cadmium, EDTA plus BAL for acute exposure for lead, and BAL for acute exposure for mercury.
There are good results with chelation in children. At this point, treatment of children has been done for shorter periods, with time between doses for body levels of essential minerals to recover. Testing has been done in children with autism, and some children experience a worsening of their symptoms after chelation (perhaps from redistribution of toxic metals in the body).
In general, testing of urine metals is done after an initial dose of a chelating agent to see if the metals are readily available (chelation challenge). Such testing will help determine which patients will benefit by treatment. Some metals may be released before others with chelation. Kidney failure does not seem to prevent effective chelation therapy. In some cases, lead removal has resulted in improved kidney function. Some studies report a reduction in angina and cardiovascular symptoms after chelation of lead.
CONCLUSION: Chelation provides simple, effective, safe and cheap treatments to alleviate the growing problem of chronic diseases, much of which is the result of mineral toxicity.
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Rainbow Grocery has the following products: Alginate, alpha lipoic acid, calcium, chlorella, cilantro, DMPS, DMSA, EDTA, garlic, glutathione, insoluble fibers, magnesium, modified citrus pectin, N-acetylcysteine, taurine and zinc.
To order the above products call 415-863-0620 and ask for “supplements”. Delivery by UPS is available.
Summary #956. nutrientmedicine