Chelation Therapy… The Answer for a Healthier Heart?
By David Levine, Health Writer
Your body needs various metals to function properly. However, when too much of these metals build up, it can create health problems. Alternative medicine practitioners have long known that removing these excess metals by a process called chelation can prevent a number of diseases–including one of the most serious disease of all, heart disease.
Research on the effects of chelation on subjects with diabetes proves the power of chelation. It actually helped heal hearts damaged by diabetes.
The Diabetes/Heart Disease Connection
Heart disease is the number-one cause of death among those with diabetes. Diabetes literally kills heart tissue. And that causes the heart to swell. A failing heart needs more blood to pump efficiently. More blood in the heart makes the heart work harder, adding pressure on the tissues. This causes enlargement of the heart.
Here’s an explanation. Previous research has shown that diabetes causes problems with “transition mineral regulation.” Transition minerals include copper, zinc, molybdenum and vanadium. For the study we are looking at, the researchers focused on copper.
Copper is an essential mineral–your body needs a certain amount of it to function. But it is also highly reactive. That means it can oxidize easily and release free radicals into the body, which cause damage. It has been compared to rust caused by salt on your car.
Other researchers have discovered that chelating copper can help slow or even reverse vascular and nerve damage. And the new study focused on whether it could repair a diabetes-damaged heart.
The Results are Astonishing
They titled their report “Regeneration of the Heart in Diabetes by Selective Copper Chelation,” and published it in the respected journal, Diabetes.
The researchers gave a copper chelator called trientine to rats. This chemical binds specifically to the free copper that can cause damage… not the cellular copper that the body needs.
They found that diabetic rats chelated more copper than non-diabetic rats, confirming that they did indeed have more free copper to begin with. Then they tested the hearts of the rats. Guess what they found?
The hearts of diabetic rats that were not chelated were bigger and heavier than the rats in the control groups. The chelated rats’ hearts were smaller than the controls.
On a clinical level, the chelated rats’ hearts pumped more efficiently–even though they still had diabetes.
Better yet, when the researchers added more pressure on the rats’ hearts, the untreated rats went into heart failure. But almost all the chelated rats’ hearts kept on pumping.
When the researchers examined the heart tissues under a microscope, they found something extraordinary. The hearts of the untreated rats were severely damaged and filled with scar tissue in the form of collagen. But the chelated rats’ hearts were in better shape than the control group’s hearts–chelation, it appears, even reversed pre-existing scar tissue.
It Works in Humans Too!
The researchers performed similar tests on humans and found similar results. People with diabetes who took trientine excreted more copper than non-diabetics, same as the rats.
And when the researchers looked at the sizes of the hearts with an MRI, they found that those who were chelated showed a 5% reduction in heart size. The untreated subjects’ hearts grew larger by 3%. The difference: an 8% improvement, thanks to copper chelation.
There were no side effects, such as higher blood pressure. And blood tests confirmed the chelated subjects still had the cellular copper they needed for normal body function.
Is Chelation Right for You?
These results are quite clear–chelation is a smart choice for anyone looking to improve heart health. Though these tests were done on diabetics, there is no reason chelation can’t work for others as well.
But chelation should be done under the supervision of a doctor experienced in the treatment. So why not talk to an experienced physician and start removing those toxic metals from your body now.
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Updated: May 13,2011