Mineral Toxicity and Chelation
Article By: Phil Bate PhD
Article Date: 07/28/2008
There are many toxic minerals such as mercury, lead, aluminum, cadmium, copper, and arsenic that can cause very severe damage to the body or brain. To prevent this, there is a sort of “brain blood barrier” that doesn’t allow these toxic minerals to pass to the brain unless the blood is loaded and overcomes this “barrier”. Instead, the liver removes these toxic minerals and stores them temporarily in itself, and then gradually allows releases them out into the bloodstream in small amounts to be stored in other areas, or excreted.
If a chelating agent is present in the blood, then it combines with all the minerals in the blood and is thus able to be excreted, usually thru the kidney/urine passageway. Also, small amounts of all minerals carried in the blood are excreted thru the skin (Perspiration), and stored in the hair cells, and fingernails, etc.
Here’s the problem! If the blood is very low on chelation material such as vitamin C or glutathione, then the liver cannot release much toxic material due to the possibility of brain damage. This means that all mineral measurements, blood, urine, or hair, may show very low “relative” readings as compared to nutritional minerals present normally. Since the toxicity is determined by the ratios of toxic minerals to “normal” nutritional ones in that individual.
It is literally impossible to measure the amount of minerals directly. We would have to biopsy the liver and all the other storage places in the body to do this – expensive, painful, and inaccurate at best.
So, we measure indirectly by three basic methods, blood, urine, and hair. Blood only measures what is there at the time of measurement, and this changes fairly fast. Urine (best done with a 24 hour collection) is better and more accurate. Hair analysis is usually most accurate as it measures the average over weeks or even months and compares to the overall minerals in the body that are excreted or stored naturally.
However, to complicate further a complicated procedure, some problems such as autism result in a lowering of natural chelation materials, like vitamin C and glutathione. This deficiency distorts the toxic measurement simply because the liver won’t release the toxins to the bloodstream if it can’t be combined with a chelate for excretion. Thus, ANY measurements are distorted or meaningless. If vitamin C is given for a week or so prior to any mineral test, the results will be much more reliable.
The above information can be very confusing to a layperson (and even some MD’s). It’s important to understand how mineral toxicity and excretion works in order to understand how chelation works.
The word “chelate” means to “grab onto”, or “claw onto”. There are some chemicals that are attracted to minerals in the blood. These chemicals attach themselves to all minerals in the bloodstream, and take the combination out of the body, usually by the kidney/urine excretion route.
What does this mean? Well, it’s the best way to rid your body of excess or toxic minerals. For example, if you played with mercury as a child with your bare hands, some mercury was absorbed into your body thru your skin. Once it gets into the body, the body defense is to store it in order to get it out of the bloodstream, and away from the brain where it can do damage. Or, perhaps you have mercury in your tooth fillings that is gradually leached out into your bloodstream. This toxic mineral will be stored in your body, and very gradually released over a long period (often years) in small amounts that will not damage you.
Actually, since we evolved from the sea many millions of years ago, our blood is very similar to the ocean saltwater. Of course, it has evolved a lot in the meanwhile, but the mineral composition is still very close. As a matter of fact, seawater has been used for blood transfusions when there was no blood available.
Nature doesn’t waste anything, and so, the minerals in your body all have some purpose. Calcium and magnesium supply the “battery” that keeps your heart beating, and calcium is used in bones, hair, and fingernails. Magnesium is used in over 6000 enzymes as well.
Enzymes are the chemical catalysts that are used within the body to transform one chemical form into another. For example, many many enzymes are needed to transform blood calcium into bone calcium.
Vitamins are also required for enzymes. Each enzyme requires at least one vitamin or mineral, plus amino acids, etc. This is why if you don’t get enough vitamins and/or minerals in your food, some enzymes aren’t made, and some needed chemical transformations aren’t made.
One major problem with minerals. Unlike most vitamins, many minerals MUST be somewhat balanced in their intake. It is not enough to just take all the minerals haphazardly. Standard testing of blood and urine doesn’t reflect balance of minerals in body cells, just in the blood or urine at the time of testing. Mineral analysis using hair is much better for determining “balance” of minerals. For more information on this see: Testing Body Mineral Balance/Toxicity by Hair Analysis.
So, since it is probable that at sometime in your lifetime, you will absorb too much of some mineral that may affect your health, chelation is the best way to get rid of toxic levels of such minerals.
There are several modern chelators. The favorite of most MD’s that specialize in chelation is EDTA. You sit in a clinic with a needle in your arm for about an hour or so putting this solution into your bloodstream. It mixes (claws onto) with the minerals in the blood stream, and makes them water soluble, and out the urine pathway.
The one I used successfully in my former practice was plain old vitamin C. For adults I used it in 12 gram doses or so, split up into 6 doses at 4 hour intervals. Some skip the one after midnight. This has the benefit of not paying “doctor
time”, and also confers some health extra benefits as well!
For a child, scale down appropriately. Even most 3 year olds can tolerate 2000 mg in 500 mg doses every six hours. If not, the only effect is diarrhea.
Now, there’s just one problem to using any chelators. It takes every mineral out of the bloodstream in effect (or at least as much as it can “hold”). This means that not only the “bad” mineral that we’re trying to get out is affected, but all the “good” (and necessary) minerals as well. So, whenever using any chelator, or using large amounts of vitamin C, BE SURE TO TAKE MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS TO REPLACE THESE “GOOD” AND NECESSARY MINERALS!
What other minerals might affect YOU? Calcium comes to mind. With all the Madison Avenue ads about calcium, you might believe that you can just take calcium and be OK. WRONG!
In order for the calcium you take to end up in bones, etc. it requires many vitamins and other minerals to do the chemical steps. If any one of these many steps is not done, then the calcium is “excess”.
What happens to “excess” calcium? It winds up as kidney stones, plaque in the arteries, bone spurs, arthritic joints, etc. The advertising is just WRONG. Not so good to just take calcium!
As was shown above, excess calcium in the blood stream combines with fatty acids and cholesterol) also in the bloodstream, forming plaque in your arteries.
Everybody knows that this is what is responsible for all those bypass operations, (and the doctor’s new Cadillac or house on the ocean). Chelation has long been proven to be more effective in removing plaque from arteries than either open heart surgery or angioplasty (putting a small balloon into your artery, and blowing it up which breaks up the plaque and allows it to be carried away for waste disposal).
Chelation, actually combines with the calcium which forms the building block of artery plaque, and takes it out of the body. This leaves the fatty acids without support, and they are effectively “washed away” in the bloodstream.
What it involves is sitting for an hour or so once or twice a week in an office (usually), reading a magazine (probably way out of date), and relaxing while hooked up to a needle in a vein. Pretty easy. Cost is usually in the few thousand dollar range – compared to 100 times that for open heart surgery.
In all cases, it is necessary for the patient to change their eating and supplement habits to avoid having to do it again. Few MD’s seem to know this. There are many repeat bypass operations in five years or so because of this factor.
Chelation is much safer. Not one recorded death in many years. Compare this to open heart surgery where some 2-5% of the patients die within a few days of the surgery or on the table. Did you know that Orlando Florida is a leader in open heart surgery in the US? Did you also know that Orlando is the leader in heart related deaths? Yes, Virginia, it’s correlated. In Jupiter Florida, Dr Ahner has been doing chelation therapy with EDTA for many years. I have worked with him only slightly, but every patient I ever referred to him has thanked me.
Surprisingly, I found out about vitamin C chelation from a Hair Analysis Laboratory that was founded by a chiropractor. Many years ago, they used a vitamin C formulation especially for chelating calcium. It worked on a few patients quite well (obviously I didn’t get many patients for heart problems). In addition, I know from my own hair analysis over nearly 20 years that my toxic mineral levels have gone from average or slightly above to quite low. I take a minimum of 4 grams of vitamin C per day.
Dr Bate is a retired orthomolecular psychologist who invented Neuroliminal Training, a better way to change brain wave amplitudes.