Chelation Therapy for Coronary Artery Disease – the TACT Study
Imagine my surprise when a doctor calls me and asks me to do chelation on himself for coronary artery disease. He referenced the TACT study which I had not read. Now I have and here are the results. I’ll try and put it into the context of risks and what is going on.
Chelos is Greek for claw. Chelation is making a chemical claw around a substance that is otherwise inert, dangerous or insoluble. Lead meets the inert quality. Iron meets the dangerous criteria. Chelation has been used medically to reduce both of those substances when they are toxic. But there is conflicting evidence about iron levels and risk of coronary artery disease and recent trends of studies appear to be on the side of it NOT being a problem. This flies in the face of initial enthusiasm about iron reduction, like that generated by the Finish study showing an 88% reduction in risk by frequent blood donation. This study from Helsinki followed 2,862 males aged 42-60 for 9 years. Heart attack rates for blood donors was only 0.7%, compared to 12.5% for non-donors. It’s hard to get that sort of effect unless something real is going on. Now, they didn’t account for the frequency of saunas, which many Finns do (building codes in Finland require every new apartment and home to have a sauna built in it). One study from Finland showed that frequent saunas are as beneficial as exercise for reducing heart risk.
What does chelation do? It sucks bad things out of your body by enveloping the target chemical, making it water-soluble by that envelopment, and then excreting it. It’s not just iron that gets enveloped. It’s whatever happens to be around. Lead is one of those enemies. The evidence of lead and hypertension is very strong. The subsequent association with coronary artery disease isn’t quite as robust, but is also strong. Both lead and iron get chelated when exposed to the chelating chemical, typically EDTA. But so is cadmium, mercury, thallium, uranium and on and on. All of these metals are dangerous and to date, not having been studied much. We just don’t know data on multiple, combinations, and likely never will. Research questions tend to focus on one variable at a time.
How do you do chelation? Properly done, you take mineral supplements before and in-between treatments (a fortified vitamin pill). EDTA is given by IV over about 3 hours once a week. And get a reverse osmosis filter at home to keep the dangerous metals out of your water.
What does the TACT study show? Well, in diabetic men, who represent about 1/3 of the 1,708 men in the TACT study, EDTA chelation reduced the risk of subsequent heart attack by 52%, and fatal heart attack by 41%. Taking high dose vitamins and minerals along with the EDTA to rebuild up “good minerals” resulted in the greatest benefit. My read of heart disease risk is that abnormal blood sugar is anything over 86, which differs dramatically from medicine’s range of blood sugar being ok up till 124. But benefit did not accrue to men in the traditional range of diabetes.
WWW.What will work for me. What would I do if I had a heart attack? It is pretty reasonable to suggest that spending 9 months of weekly EDTA visits is worth it. Heart attacks kill. In fact, 50% of us are done in by them. For now, I’m working on reducing my heart attack risk by getting my blood sugar lower so I turn off the engine that drives heart disease.
- Chelation does what to water-insoluble metals? Answer: encases them in a water-soluble “claw” and allows them to dissolve into blood, and be excreted in the urine.
- How much can chelation reduce the risk of a heart attack? Answer: If you are diabetic, your chance of recurrent heart attack can be cut in half.
- Is it worth it? Answer: Let’s see. A simple heart attack with 5 days in the hospital and 6 months of rehab will likely run you around $ 75,000 with a 13% chance of death. Your answer.
- How do you do chelation? Answer: It takes in IV treatment of about 3-4 hours once a week for about 9-12 months.
- Is the science robust for reduction of iron and reduction of heart attack risk? Answer: It appears to go back and forth. In younger years, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in America. As we get older and keep absorbing iron, it flips. The conflicting results may be because of that.