500 North Highway 67, Cedar Hill, TX 75104

FAQ - Chelation and Metal Toxicity

What is EDTA Chelation Therapy?

Chelation is the chemical binding of one substance to another. EDTA Chelation means that the modified amino acid binds up with toxic heavy metals such as Aluminun, Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Beryllium, Bismuth, Cadmium, Cesium, Gadolinium, Lead, Mercury, Nickel, Palladium, Platinum, Telluriu, Thallium, Thorium, Tin, Tungsten and Uranium and removes them from the body. EDTA was used to treat the lead poisoned ship painters after World War II. After their treatments, doctors noted a significant improvement in the patients who also suffered from angina, arthritis and other chronic diseases. EDTA has been approved by the FDA for treatment of lead toxicity since the 1950s..

Is Chelation Therapy dangerous?

No. Recent testing at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) showed that out of 48,000 chelation infusions, half real and half placebo, there was NO difference in the number of side effects between the two groups. However, it is important to monitor kidney function while treating with EDTA to prevent any issues with the kidneys. This is why a Chelation Therapy session consists of a 1-2 hour drip, and not a fast IV push, infusion. We strictly follow the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) protocol.

Do I have to change my primary care physician (PCP) in order to receive these treatments?

No. If you have a PCP, then you will only receive treatment from the AG PATEL MD “ARM” Center for your heavy metal toxicity. At your request, we will update your PCP on a regular basis.

Does insurance pay for Chelation Therapy?

Although we do not take any insurance, if a patient has lead toxicity, some insurance plans will pay for both lead and other heavy metals. If a patient does not have lead toxicity, most insurance plans will not pay for the treatment program.

What happens at my first appointment?

The first appointment is for a consult with the doctor and a challenge IV test, which takes about 60-90 minutes total. You will need to download patient demographic forms from the Patient Forms page or request that they be emailed to you in advance. There are patient demographic forms, HIPAA forms, Waiver forms and a short patient history form. These forms must be completed before your appointment can take place. If you do not complete the forms prior to arriving for your appointment, then you will need to arrive at our office at least 45 minutes early to complete the forms or you may be rescheduled. After your information is reviewed by the doctor, you will receive the challenge test and be scheduled for a 2 week follow-up to discuss the results and options.

What is a Challenge test?

After you have met with the doctor and been approved to take the Challenge test, a small dose of EDTA will be given by IV for one hour, which is designed to pull metals out of tissue and bone. After the Challenge test is completed, you will collect your urine for 6-9 hours and then call UPS to come and pick up the specimen for shipment to the lab. This urine test is actually more predictive of lead toxicity than a blood test.

How long does it take to get the results?

It usually takes 10-14 days. At your first appointment, we will schedule a 2 week follow-up appointment.

What is the follow-up appointment for?

You will discuss the test results and proposed treatment plan with the doctor and you may actually start the first treatment the same day. For patients who have paid the initial consult, this follow-up consult is included in the initial fee as long as the follow-up appointment is solely about the heavy metal testing.

Will I need any other lab work?

If you are going to receive EDTA Chelation Therapy, you will need to have a current serum creatinine (lab test for kidney function) or you may provide test results if not older than 3 months as this will be used to calculate the dosage of EDTA. Also, you will need a blood lead level either before the initial appointment or before the second appointment to discuss the challenge.

Will I need to take anything else?

You will need to take extra vitamins and minerals during the course of the treatment program. Please bring a list of all current vitamins you are taking to your first appointment. We have most patients take an N acetyl cysteine supplement and test most patients for the MTHFR gene, which could indicate you need a special type of folic acid called MethylFolate. Other supplements to be considered include magnesium, antioxidants, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, selenium, CoQ10 and B complex.

How long is a Chelation Therapy session?

Each session lasts 1-2 hours because the IV must take this long in order to prevent any kidney damage. When the proper of amount of time is taken, we have had no adverse reactions to date.

How many Chelation Therapy sessions will I need to take?

Patients will have 1-3 sessions per week, but not on consecutive days, for 15 sessions per batch. Very often, two batches are required. After the blood levels and urine levels reach a low heavy metals level, we generally recommend one session every month or two for “maintenance” because lead will continue to leach out of the bone and accumulate in the tissues for the rest of a patient’s life.

When do I get re-tested?

Patients will be tested after the 15th session and again after the 30th session. Urine will be collected again each time in order to ascertain the heavy metal levels. After every 5-10 sessions, patients will need to repeat the serum creatinine test to check kidney function. Following the doctor’s review of the test results, the treatment plan will be updated.

When will I be able to tell a difference in how I feel?

Many patients have an energy boost after a few sessions, but this is most likely due to the vitamins and/or magnesium we put in the IV to supplement the amounts which patients are lacking. It often takes 10-15 sessions to really see a difference with EDTA, but sometimes it takes more sessions in cases of severe toxicity.

Does EDTA Chelation Therapy help with heart disease?

Although EDTA Chelation Therapy is NOT FDA approved for heart disease, there are many small studies that indicate that it does help with heart disease. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is doing a clinical trial to see if Chelation Therapy is a beneficial treatment for patients who have had a heart attack, but it will take a few more years before we have the results. Certainly we can say that patients with lead levels of at least 2ug/dl have increased cardiovascular mortality and morbidity from lead, so it makes sense to assume that removing the lead will be a good thing. It is important to remember that EDTA Chelation Therapy is FDA approved only for treatment of lead toxicity.

Where does lead come from?

Lead is an environmental toxin that was widely distributed in our land, water and air by gasoline additives and paint. Despite the reduction of lead in blood over the last two decades, it is still in our bones and it comes out 10 times faster as we age because of bone remodeling. The current average lead level in US adults is 2.5ug/dl and 38% of US adults have a level above 2ug/dl. Circulation 2006 (American Heart Association Journal) called it the “Silent Killer in the US” and ranked it close to cholesterol as a cardiac factor. 14ug/dl was the average level in the 1970s. Other sources of lead are leaded crystal, ceramic paints from overseas (particularly yellow and red), toys, trinkets, spices, food and other imported items.

What does lead cause?

Lead is a neurotoxin and affects nerves, memory and brain function as well as the entire vascular system, kidneys, eyes and GI tract. It is a systemic toxin, but deposits heavily in the liver and causes a wide spectrum of common symptoms. A lead level of 2ug/dl vs. 3ug/dl causes an increase in stroke death from 151% to 249%. The majority of excessive deaths in patients with lead detected in their blood is from cardiovascular conditions, but even a lead level of 2ug/dl is associated with 25% excessive deaths from other conditions.

Who is most at risk for having elevated lead levels?

Patients that have osteoporosis, hyperthyroidism, acute prolonged illness or malnutrition, low vitamin D, chemotherapy, or other diseases that cause excessive bone loss or remodeling have been shown to accelerate the release of lead from the bones into the tissue and blood. People who currently work or worked in construction, painting, munitions, or worked with paint or gasoline are at high risk due to the amount of lead in their bones from the past.

What about mercury toxicity?

Mercury is typically found in fish (seafood), fillings (dental “silver” amalgam) and flu shots (and other vaccinations). Mercury causes immune system depression and is among the most toxic non-radioactive heavy metals on the planet.

What about cadmium toxicity?

Cadmium is commonly found in cigarette smoke, including second-hand smoke. Cadmium depresses the immune system, is toxic to bone and kidneys and is an endocrine interrupter.

What about aluminum toxicity?

Aluminum is found in aluminum foil, aluminum cookware and anti-perspirants. Aluminum toxicity is associated with learning and behavior problems in children, Alzheimer’s Disease and memory loss in adults, and it impairs mitochondrial function.