Now I can tell the secret. Chelation saves lives.
Last weekend, I had the privilege of attending the spring conference of the International College of Integrative Medicine in Nashville TN. What I learned was so profound that I feel compelled to share the information. I even had to learn how to blog just for the occasion!
I confess that I have been reluctant to use this live-saving therapy because of the lack of data (other than the reports of my colleagues.) One of my diabetic patients had dry gangrene on 2 toes. He was confined to a wheelchair. After 12 chelation IVs he was pain free, and walking, after 26 IVs the gangrene peeled off like sunburn and left no scar. His cold purple feet turned pink and I could feel his faint pulse for the first time. He died a few months later– from complications related to a fall– not related to his chelation, but despite this apparent miracle, we have not been using chelation therapy while waiting on the TACT data.
In August 2012 the first ever large scale trial to study chelation therapy for the treatment and prevention of DEATH, stroke, heart attack, angina, stents and by-passes in high risk patients with heart disease was published. 1700 patients were studied over 10 years. Initially, in 2012 the results were reported as lukewarm “While being provocative, due to its borderline significance and the above-mentioned reasons, the TACT study is not conclusive and should not change clinical practice. The results do warrant further study, especially in patients with diabetes or prior anterior MI, due to a signal of benefit in these subgroups.” (From mayoclinic.org)
In March 2014, however, Dr Gervasio A Lamas, a non-integrative professor of medicine from Columbia University and Mount Sinai in Miami Beach and the TACT principal investigator presented the TACT data to our conference attendees. It is not a “signal of benefit,” as first claimed. It is a slam dunk, OMG, AMAZING, blockbuster study that needs to be shared!!
Chelation is safe. There were no more adverse events in the treatment group than in the placebo group.
Chelation improves outcomes. Chelation plus oral vitamins reduces the rate of stroke, heart attack, death, angina hospitalization or need for stent or cardiac bypass, BY A LOT, a clinically significant 26%. (95% CI 0.74 P=0.016 NNT 12).
If the patient is diabetic, though, the results are even more stunning. There was a 43% reduction in the 5 year death rate with chelation therapy, as well as a 51% reduction in the combined endpoint listed above, when vitamins were added.
Over 100,000 patients are quietly and often secretly getting chelated in doctor’s offices all over the country. More need to know about it, now that the data are out and we have the scientific support of what we have been seeing clinically for decades.
Chelation is not an easy or inexpensive therapy, but only because currently it is not paid for by any third-party insurers. It requires a series of 40 IV infusions, once a week, and each lasting three hours. Patients must also take high dose oral multivitamins (they improved the outcomes about 11 %.) Each IV costs between $100-$200 depending on what part of the country you live in, and you need blood drawn after every 5th IV. This brings the total cost to $4500 to $10,000 for the 40 week therapy. Considering the cost of ONE DAY in the hospital with heart attack or stroke this is quite inexpensive.
More work needs to be done. There is more to know. Only 8% of the patients in TACT were women. We need to know which populations get the best results, and why. For now, though integrative doctors with specialty training in chelation therapy can join the celebration. Their patients have been celebrating results for decades.