Medicine's Best Kept Secret: Chelation Therapy

Medicine's Best Kept Secret: Chelation Therapy

Bypassing Bypass by Elmer Cranton, M.D.

Medex Publishers, Inc., P.O. Box 44, Troutdale, VA 24378. 2nd Edition, 1990, 267 pp, $9.95
For 50 years or more, chelation therapy has been the approved medical treatment for ridding the body of heavy metals. In World War II, sailors who absorbed lead while painting ships were detoxified by intravenous infusions of a substance called ethylene-diamine-tetra-acetate (EDTA). EDTA has also been successfully used to reduce mercury overloads in persons who have become ill as a result of the mercury in amalgam fillings in their teeth.

In the early years of chelation therapy, no one dreamed that EDTA had any function beyond its use to rid the body of heavy metals. But as time went on, more and more chelation patients reported improvements in general health - in their vision, hearing, memory, and other areas. In particular, heart patients often discovered that after chelation therapy they could walk better and further with less pain and without getting out of breath. After eight or ten chelation treatments over two or three months, they usually found that their angina pain had disappeared. Others with chronic or acute circulatory disorders also benefitted. Documented reports tell of patients "terminally ill" from gangrenous limbs who recovered after chelation therapy.

So why hasn't your doctor told you about this? That's a good question. The process, and the results, have never been widely publicized. Perhaps it's "too simple." [The patient relaxes in a chair for three hours while the EDTA solution drips slowly into a vein in the arm.] Also, many in the medical establishment still consider chelation to be "experimental." Physicians are cautious and conservative people. And, of course, they have a vested interest in preserving the status quo. The treatment of choice for heart blockages - bypass surgery - has become big, big business.

Last year about 250,000 patients had bypass surgery at a price tag of from $25,000 to $40,000 each! Cardiologists who recommend bypass surgery in a heartbeat are not likely to encourage patients to take a nonsurgical treatment that can be done in a doctor's office at a cost of $75 to $100 a session. (In addition to the cost of therapy, you may require tests costing several hundred dollars before the doctor can decide if chelation is likely to help your condition.) The downside is that insurance does not usually cover chelation therapy because it does not have the blessing of the American Medical Association (AMA).

The AMA virtually ignores chelation therapy for the same reason that most doctors do. The bottom line is the bottom line. Of course they don't put it quite that way. They can't support it, they will say, because it's "unproven"; its value has not been established by double-blind studies. That's true; it hasn't. But neither has bypass surgery nor angioplasty been validated by double-blind studies. And they never will be because the indisputable evidence is that bypasses and balloon angioplasty do not prolong life. On the other hand, numerous published studies show the value and safety of chelation therapy.

It takes time to change the medical mind-set. Not many years ago the AMA scoffed at the suggestion that health had anything at all to do with the food we eat. The AMA scoffed at vitamin supplements and pooh-poohed the idea that chemical preservatives could be harmful. For many years, the Journal of the AMA (JAMA) was largely supported by tobacco advertising. Cigarette manufacturers boasted in JAMA that a larger number of prominent doctors smoked their brand of cigarettes than smoked the brand of the competitors.

But today even the conservative AMA recognizes that coronary bypass surgery is of limited value. In 1988 the AMA admitted in its official journal that 44% of all coronary artery bypass surgery is uncalled for. And even when it is "medically necessary," it doesn't do much for the patient. How does bypassing a portion of the arterial tree, leaving all the other arteries more or less gummed up, make the patient healthy? Chelation therapy, on the other hand, cleans out all the blood vessels.

Over the last couple of decades, by word of mouth, by reports of enthusiastic patients, chelation therapy has attracted more and more patients. The word gets around, and doctors who perform this therapy treat many patients who drive hundreds of miles to have their weekly or bi-weekly sessions. According to documented studies, more than 400,000 Americans have now been successfully treated by chelation therapy, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive.
One of the best known and most highly respected of chelation therapists is Elmer Cranton, M.D., a Harvard-trained physician who runs a clinic in a tiny town in southern Virginia, not far from the Kingsport-Johnson City area. People from all over the country go to Troutdale, Virginia, to have chelation therapy from Dr. Elmer Cranton.

Dr. Cranton has written the medical textbook on chelation therapy. He has also written a popular and readable book called Bypassing Bypass. This book tells you all you ever need to know about chelation therapy, as well as what you should know about the dangers and problems of bypass surgery and angioplasty.

Formerly an orthodox physician who never made waves, Dr. Cranton became interested in chelation after the therapy saved the life of a prominent physician friend of his. Since then, Cranton and a handful of other crusading physicians have spread the gospel of chelation. It is slow going, because they are up against the force of the entire medical profession, which thrives on the use of drugs, surgery and hospital facilities.

However, chelation is well on its way to becoming the treatment of choice for many conditions, including all degenerative changes due to aging. Furthermore, the results of the first official double-blind study of chelation therapy are expected within the next year. After this study is released, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) will almost certainly approve EDTA for treatment of heart disease. When that happens, insurance companies and Medicare will reimburse for chelation therapy, and then vast numbers of older people will reap the benefits of renewed health without surgery or hospitalization.

Bypassing Bypass is a book every patient, and every doctor, should read. Readers who wish to receive periodic newsletters containing the latest information about chelation therapy can put their names on the mailing list of Dr. Cranton's Mt. Rogers Clinic in Troutdale, VA 24378-0044. the toll-free number is 800-426-3551.
William M. Stephens is a Brentwood, Tennessee, attorney whose practice centers about health-related issues.
By William M. Stephens

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