Chelation therapy was discovered in the 1940's as a way of curing a person of heavy metal and chemical toxicity. This was particularly important at the time because many soldiers were coming home from World War two with mustard gas poisoning and other conditions.
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid is used to seek out and bind to the heavy metals in the body and flush them out. It has been effective in reversing lead, mercury and other types of poisoning and is currently being explored as a treatment for Berylliosis. In some cases it can mean the difference between life and death.
However, ethylenediamenetetraacetic acid is not a gentle treatment and it can have devastating side-effects. Because it binds with things like mercury, it also binds with essential elements such as copper, iron, zinc and calcium and excretes them, leaving the person dangerously low on vital nutrients which could cause a variety of problems and even heart failure.
In recent years more attention has been paid to more natural, alternative methods of chelation. If you're interested in less dangerous ways to rid your body of toxins, here are a few ideas:
Clay Baths -- clay is renowned for its ability to detoxify the body and has been used by tribal communities for hundreds of years, for instance, to treat life threatening snake bites. Run a warm bath and add two cups of powdered Bentonite clay and immerse yourself fully in the bath for a mimimum of 20 minutes.
Megadose vitamin C is a natural chelator and defence for the immune system. It is more effective if given intravenously but can still work orally - http://www.healthandvitalitycenter.com/intravenous-vitamin-therapy.htm
Phytic acid which is found in many foods, helps chelate toxins from the intestines. Examples of foods that contain phytic acid are:
- Nuts; and
- Soy beans.
If you do intend to follow a diet high in phytic acid, do it in conjunction with your health care practitioner. Due to its chelative powers, a long-term diet high in phytic acid can inhibit your absorption of vital nutrients in the same way that drinking too much tea, coffee or alcohol can.
Garlic -- raw garlic is known to be able to chelate toxins. The journal Nutrition studied the effects of boiled, microwaved, powdered and raw garlic: 'It has been shown that several extracts and compounds derived from garlic are able to inhibit Cu2+-induced low density lipoprotein oxidation. In summary, the extracts were unable to restore xanthine oxidase activity indicating that they do not chelate Cu2+. Only RG showed a weak Cu2+-chelating activity.' So if you want to try garlic, make sure it is raw. Other types won't work!
Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/. She is author of the book, 'Breast Milk: A Natural Immunisation,' and co-author of an educational resource on disabled parenting, in addition to running a charity for people damaged by vaccines or medical mistakes.