On the final episode of the series on Heavy Metals, Dr. Agolli and Dr. Burdette discuss:
Heavy metal toxicity occurs when heavy metals such as lead, mercury, iron and arsenic build up in the body and become toxic1. This can happen due to mining, smelting, industrial, agricultural and sewage waste2. Heavy metals can induce oxidative stress by generating free radicals and reducing antioxidant levels. They also alter the confirmation of protein and DNA and inhibit their function2.
Even low levels of heavy metal toxicity can be harmful. In high amounts, heavy metal toxicity can cause numerous symptoms like headache, nausea, vomiting, sweating and even death. In lower amounts toxicity from lead or mercury, for example, can have much subtler effects3.
Chelation therapy is commonly used to treat heavy metal toxicity. Chelation is a chemical process that occurs when interaction between a central metal atom/ion and ligand leads to formation of a complex ring-like structure. The ligand has a donor ion/molecule which has a lone pair of electrons and may be monodentate to polydentate. Each metal has a different reactivity with a ligand so a specific chelation agent is required for each metal. Combination therapy with a chelating agent and an antioxidant led to improved outcome2.
Heavy metal poisoning is becoming more common due to increased exposure to heavy metals from mining, smelting, industrial, agricultural and sewage waste2. Heavy metals can be efficiently excreted from the body following treatment with proper chelation agents2.
Natural chelating agents are substances that can bind to and remove heavy metals from the body. Some examples of natural chelating agents include ethylene diamine disuccinate and nitrilotriacetic acid1. Amino acids are also great at removing metals from the body and can be found in foods such as eggs and fish2. Garlic and its main bioactive component, allicin, have also been shown to reduce blood and tissue lead content in animal models3.
It’s important to note that even lower levels of heavy metal toxicity can still be worth chelating.
There are different ways to take natural chelating agents. Some natural chelating agents such as Chlorella, Vitamin C, Milk Thistle and Probiotics can be taken as supplements1. Another way to receive chelation therapy is through an IV. The commonly used chelating agent for IV therapy is ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) which is a proven treatment for lead poisoning and is thought to remove toxic substances from the body2.
Chelation therapy can have side effects and should be done under the supervision of a doctor. Progressive Medical Center in Atlanta performs chelation therapy. Call know to set up an appointment to see if this is right for you.