Chelation is a treatment doctors have used for years to remove certain toxins from the body, most often when someone suffers accidental lead poisoning, but for any other treatment, most traditional doctors thought it was a scam or called it "quackery". A decade long study has now convinced the conventional cardiologist who led it to reconsider chelation for heart disease.
Carlos Perez and his wife, Helen, love to walk, but not too long ago, Carlos was having trouble with his legs.
"I would walk one block, two blocks, then have pain; a tremendous pain," Carlos explained.
It was the first sign of trouble for this otherwise healthy 83-year-old.
Helen told Ivanhoe, "He came and sat down and said, I feel faint,' so I panicked and I said, Oh, I can't do anything, call 911."
Carlos had a heart attack. After a successful recovery, he looked for ways to prevent another.
Gervasio Lamas, MD, Chief of Cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami has studied chelation therapy for more than a decade. Chelation extracts environmental toxins from the body.
Dr. Lamas told Ivanhoe, "We have no natural way of excreting these metals, and these metals are all around us."
During treatment, patients receive an IV of a medication that allows the metals to pass through the body. Urine tested the next day shows a huge spike in toxins.
"Lead and cadmium are incredibly toxic to the heart and to the blood vessels," Dr. Lamas said.
In a study of 1,700 heart attack patients, people who received chelation therapy had a 41 percent reduction in cardiac events over five years. Dr. Lamas exclaimed, "I was shocked. My cardiology colleagues were shocked. I am a believer now."
Thanks to chelation, "Now I walk 45-50 minutes fast. This chelation is fantastic for me," Carlos said.
Dr. Lamas says the study also showed that heart attack survivors who were also diabetic had a 43 percent reduction in the risk of death after chelation alone. The FDA still considers chelation an experimental therapy, so it is not covered by most insurance companies. Dr. Lamas says more study is needed before the treatment would be FDA approved for heart attacks.