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Safety Concerns

Kidney Toxicity:

In the early 1950s several deaths occurred from kidney toxicity after EDTA treatment. At that time the dosage used was around 10 grams per infusion. The recommended dose now is 3 grams.

Kidney toxicity is related to size (quantity) of the dose and the rate of infusion. Experienced therapists adjust dosage so that the infusion will not harm the kidney. Indeed, research has shown that, properly administered, chelation therapy improves kidney function, especially if there is any impairment present to this vital organ.

However, if the patient is very elderly, or has low parathyroid activity or is suffering from heavy metal toxicity which is damaging the kidney, treatment should be modified to use less EDTA less frequently (once per week perhaps). Heavy metals damage the kidneys and too rapid infusion can overload them. Heavy metals most likely to produce kidney damage during infusion therapy are lead, aluminum, cadmium, mercury, nickel, copper and arsenic.

Renal function tests should always be performed before chelation therapy is started. In any case of significant renal impairment, lower dosage of EDTA infusions should be used. Use extreme caution. Also make sure that the patient has sufficient periods of rest between the infusions.

Excessive Removal of Calcium

If, through inexperience or error, there is too rapid an infusion (or too much EDTA used), levels of calcium in the blood can drop rapidly, resulting in cramps, convulsions, etc. An injection of calcium gluconate will swiftly rectify such abnormal reactions.

Inflammation of a vein

If an infusion into a vein is performed too rapidly, inflammation may occur. Reduce the dosage and dilute EDTA infusion mix. Administer the infusion very slowly.

Insulin shock and hypoglycemia

During EDTA infusion it is possible that blood glucose may drop, leading to insulin shock. This is more likely to happen to diabetic patients. Patients having EDTA infusions are advised to have a snack before or during the three hours plus treatment period. Avoid dairy products that are high in calcium. Eat complex carbohydrates; avoid foods containing sugar such as ripe bananas. You may eat a fruit during infusion, if needed.

If you are diabetic and is taking zinc-­bound insulin, there is a risk of too rapid a release of insulin, leading to hypoglycemia and shock. If this happens, make sure that you are given a rapid introduction of sugar to stabilize your condition. Before further EDTA infusions, you will need to change the form of insulin used. It has been found that, most people need less insulin while undergoing chelation therapy.

Congestive heart failure

If the heart is already unable to cope adequately with the movement of fluids, and there is evidence of congestive heart failure (extreme shortness of breath, swollen ankles) and/or if digitalis-­like medication is being taken, extreme care is needed over chelation infusions, since EDTA prevents digitalis from working adequately. Avoid sodium EDTA for such people as it could increase the fluid retention tendency. Use a 5 per cent dextrose and water instead.


Chelation therapy, when administered by an experienced therapist at the proper doses, is very safe. A very large study, which had been monitored by the friends and foes of chelation therapy, found that EDTA administered in the proper dosage was no more toxic than a placebo. American College for the Advancement in Medicine estimates that over 500,000 patients have undergone chelation therapy safely nationwide using ACAM protocol. No fatalities have been reported. It is important that the therapist keep a close eye on your condition for the toxicity and side reactions. Strict adherence to the dosage and rate of administration is very important. Keep an eye on the calcium and magnesium in the blood as these are removed during the treatment. Many suggest the availability of emergency cardiac equipment as a wise precaution.

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