There are always advertisements that make that claim but whether they work or not is another story. I recently saw one for EDTA, suppose to clear the plaque. All I know is I use it at work to help treat lead poisoning.
You are talking about Chelation therapy which uses EDTA to bind with heavy metals to help remove them from the blood.The anti-statin group is using this as an experimental treatment to remove plaque but there is no evidence that it works. The FDA and AHA have both come out against it. Here's the AHA's statement;
Chelation therapy is administering a man-made amino acid called EDTA into the veins. (EDTA is an abbreviation for ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid. It’s marketed under several names, including Edetate, Disodium, Endrate, and Sodium Versenate.) EDTA is most often used in cases of heavy metal poisoning (lead or mercury). That’s because it can latch onto or bind these metals, creating a compound that can be excreted in the urine.
Besides binding heavy metals, EDTA also "chelates" (naturally seeks out and binds) calcium, one of the components of atherosclerotic plaque. In the early 1960s, this led to speculation that EDTA could remove calcium deposits from buildups in arteries. The idea was that once the calcium was removed by regular treatments of EDTA, the remaining elements in the plaque would break up and the plaque would clear away. The narrowed arteries would be restored to their former state.
Based upon this thinking, chelation therapy has been proposed to treat existing atherosclerosis and to prevent it from forming.
After carefully reviewing all the available scientific literature on this subject, the American Heart Association has concluded that the benefits claimed for this form of therapy aren’t scientifically proven. That’s why we don’t recommend this type of treatment.
EDTA isn’t totally safe as a drug. There’s a real danger of kidney failure. (renal tubular necrosis). EDTA can also cause bone marrow depression, shock, low blood pressure (hypotension), convulsions, disturbances of regular heart rhythm (cardiac arrhythmias), allergic-type reactions and respiratory arrest.
In fact, a number of deaths in the United States have been linked with chelation therapy. Also, some people are on dialysis because of kidney failure caused, at least in part, by chelation therapy.
The American Heart Association is concerned that some people who rely on this therapy may delay undergoing proven therapies like drugs or surgery until it’s too late. This is the added danger of relying on an unproven "miracle cure."
Clearly, people who choose chelation therapy are risking more than money.
In the 1960s scientists started a small-scale study involving 30 patients. However, after two patients died and the others showed no signs of improvement, it was stopped.
Also, a recent study of chelation therapy, using currently approved scientific methodology, was done on people with intermittent claudication. (This is peripheral artery disease [fatty buildups] in leg arteries.) This study found that EDTA chelation therapy was no more effective than a placebo (sugar pill).
Finally, a recent study entitled "Chelation therapy for ischemic heart disease” was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 2002;287:481-486). The authors followed 84 patients for 27 weeks. All of the patients had coronary artery disease. One-half of the patients received intravenous chelation therapy during the study period and the other one-half received intravenous placebo (fluid with no drug). Neither the physicians nor the patients knew whether they were receiving chelation or placebo. Patients were given exercise tests to see how long they could exercise before their electrocardiogram (ECG) showed changes indicating ischemia. They also answered quality-of-life questionnaires. At the end of the 27 weeks, the patients who received chelation were no better than the patients who received placebo. The authors concluded that "Based on exercise time to ischemia, exercise capacity and quality-of-life measurements, there is no evidence to support a beneficial effect of chelation therapy in patients with ischemic heart disease, stable angina, and a positive treadmill test for ischemia."
Thus, there’s still no scientific evidence that demonstrates any benefit from chelation therapy.
What do other authorities say about this treatment?
Food and Drug Administration:
In the absence of evidence of safety and effectiveness, the use of this treatment for atherosclerosis is investigational. To date, no physician or sponsor has filed a plan or protocol to study its (EDTA’s) use in such treatment.
No party has ever provided us with an organized submission attempting to show that it is an effective therapy in atherosclerosis; instead, we have been handed unorganized data without any attempt to describe a formal study.
Under the circumstances, we have had no choice but to attempt to prevent improper promotion of the drug and to point out its unproven status.
American College of Physicians:
Chelation therapy with EDTA has been used in the treatment and prevention of atherosclerosis. Because of the risk of severe renal (kidney) toxicity and lack of objective evidence suggesting therapeutic benefit from EDTA therapy … such therapy should be regarded as investigational and (should be) conducted under carefully controlled conditions in an academic institution by experienced investigators.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health:
There is no reason to expect benefit from chelation in the management of arteriosclerosis. More importantly, there has been no scientific evidence of such benefit — and there is scientific evidence of no benefit.
American Medical Association:
The AMA believes that chelation therapy for atherosclerosis is an experimental process without proven efficacy. They have also reaffirmed their 1984 House of Delegates Resolution stating:
"…there is no scientific documentation that the use of chelation therapy is effective in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer;
"…if chelation therapy is to be considered a useful medical treatment for anything other than heavy metal poisoning, hypercalcemia, or digitalis toxicity, it is the responsibility of its proponents to (a) conduct properly controlled scientific studies, (b) adhere to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for the investigation of drugs, and (c) disseminate results of scientific studies in the usually accepted channels."
American College of Cardiology:
There is insufficient scientific evidence to justify the application of chelation therapy for atherosclerosis on a clinical basis. At the present time, therefore, chelation therapy should be applied only under an investigational protocol.
It's about time they brought out laws to prevent these kinds of unproven claims. They know full well that desperate people will try anything to regain their health and it's nothing less than taking advantage.
I'm trying to remember where I saw the article now. Perhaps an old Readers Digest while I was waiting in the clinic. Seems they were using EDTA on service people for possible exposure to heavy metals and they "discovered" that their arteries cleared up. Whatever.
There was an elderly lady in the grocery store ahead of me and I saw that her legs looked horribly marked from varicose veins. If made a remark that I had them too and we started a conversation. Long story short, she said that she had had atherosclerosis very badly then started Chelation therapy and that it had completely cleared her of it. I'm very skepical so I did'nt believe her but always wondered about it. It's pretty expensive too. Hugh Downs of "20-20" fame has a commercial about it too. No thanks until it's proven to work.Erijon thank you very much for all that, you too Ireneo & Ed.
Actually, plaque regression starts at an LDL under 70 using a statin along with exercise. From the NIH;
"BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of lifestyle modification, mainly daily aerobic exercise, on coronary atherosclerosis in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD).
METHODS AND RESULTS: A 6-month prospective observational study was conducted with 84 CAD patients receiving pravastatin treatment in order to evaluate the relationship between lifestyle modification, in particular aerobic exercise, and plaque volume as assessed by intravascular ultrasound (IVUS). Lifestyle during the study period was assessed by the-lifestyle modification score. A significant decrease in plaque volume by 12.9% was observed after 6 months of pravastatin therapy (P<0.0001 vs baseline). The change in plaque volume correlated with the change in the serum level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (r=-0.549, P<0.0001), non-HDL-C (r=0.248, P=0.03), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol/HDL-C (r=0.505, P<0.0001), apolipoprotein (apo) A-1 (r=-0.335, P=0.007) and apoB/apoA-1 (r=0.335, P=0.007), and lifestyle modification score (r=-0.616, P<0.0001). There was a clear positive correlation between a change in the serum HDL-C level and lifestyle modification score. Multivariate regression analysis revealed that the increase in serum HDL-C level and lifestyle modification score were independent predictors of coronary plaque regression.
CONCLUSIONS: An appropriate combination of statin therapy and lifestyle modification, in particular, physical activity, may result in coronary plaque regression. This combined treatment strategy, inducing an increase of the serum HDL-C, may contribute to coronary plaque regression."
I notice the very small word in the conclusion..."MAY"
Are they referring to calcified plaque or soft plaque? I assume it's hard plaque because this is in the lumen. So, perhaps someone can explain to me why reducing the hard plaque would be considered as safe? weakening hard plaque would make it far easier for the soft plaque beneath to burst through, causing clots.
All the latest research I've read says the opposite. Fat is always moved around using proteins, and these are coded for specific tasks. Pure fat has no protein and certainly no code, so the body has no idea what to do with it.
The dr's and pharma companies push statins like candy, but no one ever looks closely at how damaging statins are either. They are very dangerous for some people, and there are quite a few renowned dr's who will tell you that going on a statin is insane due to the horrible side effects.
The truth is it is better to have no plaque, but the dangerous kind is homogenous soft plaque (i have that in my carotid unfortunately) and you need to have fractionalized cholesterol testing to measure the particle size - lp(a) and lpp in an NMR test - it takes about 10 days to come back. big fluffy cholesterol is much safer than the small dense particles that can break off - Lp(a) of less than 30 is optimal.
I posted my last comment to the board, not myself - sorry.
You are absolutely right that chelation therapy was used to clear lead from the body and in the process they did find that it cleared the plaque from the arteries which is how that all got started. It takes about 24 sessions to see results (per the people that provide the therapy) and each session is 3 hrs long and very costly. There are a lot of companies out there that claim they have liquid or powder chelation but they are scams like angioprim and cardio renew to name two.
I can't agree and would never recommend that anyone undergo chelation therapy. It is not proven and has never been tested. There is a study that has been started and stopped and the NIH is waiting for a group to take the lead again, none are interested. Again, Chelation is NOT proven and is NOT safe. In addition, it keeps people from moving on to proven effective treatments until it is too late.
Concerning statins, the incidence rate of side effects is 1 in 2,200 which is considered very safe. In studies, the statin control, group and the placebo control group reported almost the same incidence rates for side effects. The placebo control group reported side effects in 1 in 2,223 participants. I don't think that statins are necessary for preventing heart disease in low risk patients, but they have saved many, many high risk people from developing CAD. Most of the "renowned" doctors telling horror stories of statins are selling books to make money, seems like a conflict of interest to me.
Thanks Jon for the research and info, very interesting. It is worth noting that a lot of the people that are anti-pharmaceuticals are also trying to make money, as you say it's a sell. They say the pharmaceuticals are making huge profits on us and i'm sure that is the case....at the same time they attempt to arouse our suspicions so that we will buy into their product.
Doubt everything and make up your own mind, weighing up the known pros and cons i say......and nothing beats a healthy lifestyle. :-)
You are absolutely correct. Also, yes the drug companies do make a profit, but what's wrong with that? They need to make money on the hundreds of millions of dollars spent researching, developing and bringing a drug to market. Also, they need to fund the research on the new drugs that will continue to improve health care going forward. I have never understood why the anti-drug company crowd thinks they are not entitled to a profit, yet every retired doctor that writes a book trashing drug companies has a right to profit from their writings. Never made much sense to me.
Let's put it this way. I have familial hypercholesterolemia so my cholesterol is way up in the scale, and I mean WAY UP. Diet alone wouldn't make any noticeable difference in my lipid levels, so statins are the 'only' solution. Whether lower cholesterol does make a difference or not is something I can't make up my mind about, but my cholesterol certainly is lower than average now.
My main confusion is if there is low cholesterol, or average, or high, does it really make that much difference? I know research says this and research says that, but what I'm looking for is the detail to understand it. If the chemical processes require cholesterol, then there is always plenty in the blood, even if lower than average. See my point? Is it more likely statins are lessening inflammation of the arteries rather than a lower cholesterol level helping?
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