Chelation therapy and iron [was Re: Have you heard of this?????]

Robert Bradbury rbradbur at hardy.u.washington.edu
Thu Oct 8 13:33:39 EST 1992

In article <1992Oct5.170349.19325 at spdcc.com> dyer at spdcc.com (Steve Dyer) writes:
>In article <1992Oct5.121701.392 at lrc.edu> dorham_r at lrc.edu writes:
>>I would like to know if anyone has heard of chelation therapy.  If
>>anyone has, could you tell me something about it?  Thanks!!!!
>Well, there are two kinds of "chelation therapy": are you interested in
>the bozoid one that people push to "treat" heart disease, or the legitimate
>therapy used to remove heavy metals like lead and mercury from the body in
>cases of poisoning?

As Steve points out chelation therapy has a very important and valid use
in the removal of heavy metals from the body.  An interesting thought given
the recent study involving the linkage between iron and heart disease
is whether the mechanism of action of EDTA in improving people with
heart conditions might be by binding to and removing iron from the
body.  EDTA is known to bind iron and is commonly used for that
purpose in free radical experiments.  If it can cause the excretion
of iron (as it does with lead/mercury) then it would have the same
effect as donating blood in lowering ones iron stores.

Iron has for a number of years been suspected of playing a key role in
free radical generation.  [For the chemists, mitochondrial respiration
generates superoxide which is converted by superoxide dismutase to hydrogen
peroxide (H2O2).  B-oxidation of fatty acids in the peroxisomes also generates
H2O2.  Some fraction of the H2O2 escapes the enzymes catalase and glutathione
peroxidase is converted into hydroxyl radicals which can attack (and oxidize)
DNA, lipids and proteins in a reaction which requires Fe++ or Cu+ ions.]
Since our levels of Fe are much higher than our levels of Cu it is a favorite
choice for involvement in damage to molecules.

There is a great deal of evidence that oxidized cholesterol is consumed
by macrophages in the process of plaque generation.  If the iron-heart
disease link is confirmed then iron would be strongly implicated in
the generation of oxidized cholesterol.  If EDTA can reduce iron levels
then it may also reduce oxidized cholesterol levels.  This will then 
allow gradual cleanup and widening of the arteries to occur as has been
demonstrated in Dean Ornish's work with very low-fat diets.

Of course this would be relatively easy to test by measuring iron/ferritin/
transferrin levels of people who undergo chelation therapy.  If they drop
significantly after therapy it would be some fairly strong evidence for
the iron-heart disease link as well as interesting support for such therapy
in heart disease treatment.  Of course one might be able to obtain the
same effects by frequently donating blood.  There is a great epidemiological
study waiting for someone to correlate regular blood donation with heart
disease/cancer rates.

Robert Bradbury		uunet!sftwks!bradbury or rbradbur at u.washington.edu

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