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Some Thoughts On Meniere's Disease and Chelation Therapy. Learning About Possible Metal Toxicity In Your Body

 

I have had several discussions about chelation therapy and how it relates to Meniere's Disease lately and it caused me to do more studying about the subject. So what I am describing here are the questions from people with Meniere's Disease for which I sought answers while doing hours and hours of research. These are very simple descriptions of my findings. This is a very serious and important subject.
 
Please do not make any decisions lightly or alone. You have to have qualified medical personnel to help you to understand what might be happening to your body and how it can be helped. Also you need to have a qualified health practitioner to administer the chelating agent.

I want to share some of the questions I “asked” in order to learn more. I wanted to know when chelation is routinely or most commonly used. I want to know what it actually consisted of. Because I had come across a few cases where the outcome was completely negative, I wanted to understand the risks and how to evaluate when you wouldn’t want to do it…ever! How does one know when to use it? What does it do? I wanted to understand why it seemed to becoming a popular treatment and what kinds of risks were involved. Were those risks were ever perceived to be too high? In other words, why would you even consider using this treatment. Near the end of this article, I am adding some information about mercury amalgam fillings. That is a metal, too and many of us have no idea it could be causing all sorts of health issues, including many symptoms you can think of.

I started out by looking up definitions: here is how Mosby’s Defined “Chelation: A chemical reaction in which there is a combination with a metal to form a ring-shaped molecular complex in which the metal is firmly bound and isolated. Chelating agent: a substance that promotes chelation. Chelating agents are used in the treatment of metal poisoning.” So it seems to be similar to the concept of putting down sawdust to soak up an oil spill...or adding a raw potato to salty soup to get rid of the excess salt. It tells me that the agent gets together (bonds) and pulls out (isolates) the offending destructive metal, taking it out of harm’s way.
 
Naturally that led me to wonder what metals I wanted to get out of my body. http://nccam.nih.gov/chelation/chelation_new.pdf
I wondered what kind “chelating agents” I was looking for and who makes the decision to do this procedure. The more I kept reading, the more concerned I have become. This is not something to take lightly. I asked myself if I want to have a chemical put INTO me (and by what route) to take something out. But like all medical discoveries, risks are part of the development of new practices. It’s fine to take a position when you are relatively healthy. It’s an entirely different proposition when this is presented to you as a life-saving treatment: your only chance. So one needs to ask themselves how much risk is one ready to take. Is this realistic or not? Is it a calculated, educated risk?
 
I will share some website links and a few paragraphs of information that I hope will help you advance your knowledge just a little. Please do not by any stretch of your imagination feel this information is conclusive. It should raise a lot of questions for you. However, I feel the subject is important enough for me to ask some questions and hopefully find both you and me a few knowledgeable and trustworthy, objective sites to study. (That last phrase presented a bit of a challenge in all I read.)
 
If you are honest with yourself, you are already doing things that are somewhat similar. Any drug you put into your body via a medication uses the concept of changing the internal chemistry of your body. In this case, you are not drawing out, but I think you are binding to other chemicals to get a different outcome or result. These could be alcohol, cigarettes, antidepressants, sleep meds, high blood pressure meds or cholesterol lowering drugs. They would include all prescribed, over the counter ones (OTC) and recreational ones. It would include herbal products as well. You really can’t get away from the idea that you are altering your internal reactions. Chelation is another way, but it’s a little scary in that relatively few people have participated in the procedure, and some have not had good outcomes.
 
So in considering chelation, it’s not as though you are doing something unusual: just something uncommon. And that would also have originated with someone taking a risk to try this, to start the whole concept.
 
I wanted to find out what sorts of things could be “handled” by chelation so I took the phrase "uses for chelation therapy" and found a few more defined sites. I don’t know if you have ever done this, but I find the HTML codes a bit distracting when I want pure information. So in this case I copied the entire Google.com page of sites into Outlook Express, converted it to plain text and then re-converted it back into HTML. (I thought I was really clever to discover this procedure! I still have the URLs in case I want to go back for more details.) Then in several further steps, I proceeded to delete all the extra words and spacing, and came up with a more complete list of conditions that suggest a use for chelation. If you are interested in the information, use this link and do the same.
http://www.google.ca/

search?q=%22uses+for+chelation+therapy%22&hl=en&lr=&filter=0

 
Basically I now had a list I could conceivably take to my doctor and ask for their opinion. When you do this kind of research you come across ideological squabbling in the health community. So it is quite difficult to find answers that you can trust. In one site I found references to “closet chelation” done by doctors for themselves or their families. As I know this to be true in the use of nutritional supplements, I am now wondering how effective this procedure is. Could it be more useful than I am led to believe?
 
There are quite a few references to costs and comparisons and financial gains. So the issue is very clouded for me. I am sharing this as I find it, so please don’t use this for any kind of advice. There isn’t any. These are just my thoughts, and as I am able to do quite a bit of detailed research and understand probably a little more in the health field, I felt it might be of interest to you.
 
This is probably the best site which has the most basic and easy to understand descriptions of all I found. Chelation Therapy
http://your-doctor.com/patient_info/

alternative_remedies/various_therapy/fraud_topics/chelation.html 
 
This site answered many of my questions, for instance…quote “what is chelation? “Chelation therapy involves the use of chemical compounds injected into the blood stream, muscle or taken by mouth to bind metals that are present in toxic concentrations so they can be excreted (usually in urine) from the body.”
 
When could chelation be a treatment of choice? Quote: “Chelation therapy is medically indicated when toxic levels of heavy metals such as iron, arsenic, lead, and mercury are present. While iron is a vital metal the other metals (arsenic, lead, and mercury) are not required by the body.
 
Lead toxicity most commonly occurs with young children exposed to old houses with lead paint dust or chips. Occupational exposure (soldering, welders, smelters, battery reclamation) is also a risk. Lead screening for children has now become a standard part of a doctor's visit for children in may states.
 
Mercury toxicity almost always occurs with high risk occupational exposures including dental workers, manufacturers of batteries/ thermometers, tannery work/taxidermy, and contaminated seafood. Arsenic poisoning usually occurs from exposure to insecticides, herbicides, rodent poisons, veterinary parasitic medications, or intentional poisoning.
 
There are some heavy metals to which most people are not exposed, but they might be a problem for some. They include cadmium, manganese, aluminum, cobalt, zinc, nickel, copper and magnesium. Heavy metal toxicity can cause a wide range of problems including severe injury to the body organs and the brain.
What are the common? They are Desfuroxamine Mesylate, Dimercaprol (BAL), DMSA, D-penicillamine, Calcium Disodium Versante (CaNa2-EDTA).” (Close quote)
  
Side effects of chelation can be slight or very, very serious. Do not play around with this. Can it be dangerous? Quote  “Absolutely! All chelating agents have both minor and potentially life threatening side effects. They must be used under the supervision of a physician in a hospital setting.”
Please visit this website for more details. http://your-doctor.com/patient_info/

alternative_remedies/various_therapy/fraud_topics/chelation.html  
 
As with all drugs, side effects are a reality. You simply can’t put something into your body without another reaction happening. Some of the side effects can be kidney damage, skin peeling and blisters, headache, chills, fever, fatigue, muscle aches, reduction of the body's ability to make new blood cells in the bone marrow, dangerously low blood pressure, fast heart rate, dangerously low calcium levels in the blood, increased risk of bleeding or blood clots (including interference with the effects of the blood-thinning drug warfarin [Coumadin]), immune reactions, abnormal heart rhythms, allergic reactions, blood sugar imbalances and convulsions. There have been reports of nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal upset, excessive thirst, sweating (diaphoresis), low white blood cell counts and low levels of blood platelets.
 
People using chelation have had severe reactions in which they have stopped breathing. Death has been reported, although it is not clear if chelation therapy was the direct cause. It has become very obvious that you should avoid chelation therapy if you have heart, kidney or liver disease or any condition affecting blood cells or the immune system. Chelation should be avoided in pregnant or breast-feeding women and in children. Chelation may not be safe for anybody. Weigh the risks and possible benefits very, very carefully.
 
Faculty of the Harvard Medical School has another really good write up at this link. I would encourage you to visit their site. First read their caution and their summary. I would urge you to use this same caution in all your research until you feel comfortable with your knowledge.
 
http://www.intelihealth.com/

IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/8513/34968/358746.html?d=dmtContent
It states: “Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.
 
And their Summary: quote ”Chelation therapy with EDTA has been suggested for many conditions. Chelation may play a role in the treatment of lead or heavy metal toxicity. It should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health care provider. Chelation has not been shown to be effective for any other condition. Recent studies suggest that chelation may not be beneficial as a treatment for clogged arteries or peripheral vascular disease. Chelation may cause many adverse effects or death. It should be avoided by patients with heart, kidney or liver disease; patients with conditions affecting blood cells or the immune system; pregnant or breast-feeding women; and children. Speak with your health care provider if you are considering chelation therapy.
The information in this monograph was prepared by the professional staff at Natural Standard, based on thorough systematic review of scientific evidence. The material was reviewed by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School with final editing approved by Natural Standard.”


Acceptable uses for chelation from what I read as suggested by the mainstream medical community include two groups: lead toxicity and heavy metal poisoning. Chelation therapy with calcium disodium EDTA is an accepted therapy in medical institutions for lead toxicity. Studies have demonstrated that chelation therapy reduced lead levels in the body and slowed progression of kidney failure in people with lead toxicity. Chelation therapy may also be used when toxic levels of iron, arsenic, or mercury are present.
 
So my concern is about getting enough tests and objective “second opinions” to determine that metals are indeed the cause of your symptoms. In turn, that means YOU have to have enough courage to ask the right and maybe recurring questions and to insist on a meaningful discussion with your health care practitioner. That might be a challenge.  But I urge you to persevere. Do all the research you can do. Pretend you are sitting beside me right now and asking the same questions. Incidentally, you will bet much better results if you ask instead of tell or demand answers. I suspect this might be a prolonged diagnostic search. Do not take any shortcuts. Take your time and be thorough. This is your body: no one else’s.  Only definitive testing will show what is needed to be removed.

Some other points to consider: it is important to know that many studies echo the point that chelation does not improve atherosclerosis (clogged arteries).
By now you will understand the concept behind chelation: it is to bind and isolate a metal, and to get it out of your body. So in conditions where there is no metal, why would someone use or propose to use this treatment? That makes no sense to me.
  
The American Heart Association does not recommend chelation therapy for arteriosclerotic heart disease (damaged artery walls). People with heart conditions should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
 
Studies suggest that chelation does not improve peripheral vascular disease, or claudication (exercise-induced pain or fatigue in the legs caused by clogged arteries). If you are considering chelation for heart disease, it is advised to start with the traditional treatments as well. Continue your research. My research mentions that repeated chelation therapy may improve kidney function and slow down the progression of renal disease. You need to study this further to confirm these results.
 
You may recall earlier articles in which I brought to your attention the American Medical Association’s (JAMA) recommendation for the use a certain configuration of nutritional supplements to reverse or prevent heart disease (degenerative conditions.) Here is the link to that report. “Vitamins for Chronic Disease Prevention in Adults”    

http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/287/23/3127

There seem to be many claims that cannot be substantiated and they include (amongst many others) include treatment of angina , gangrene , arthritis, multiple sclerosis , Parkinson's disease, ...and Alzheimer's ... psoriasis. It reads like a medical text and I do not want to add to the confusion by even mentioning any of these. Some of these suggested uses are for conditions that are potentially life-threatening. Please do not do anything or plan to do anything without second and third opinions. As I mentioned previously, I wouldn’t even consider many of these degenerative medical conditions to be treated with chelation. (JAMA)
 
As I am reading list after list of conditions that could be treated with this chemical, I am starting to get a little suspicious. In one spot it speaks of calcium being used as an antioxidant. Calcium is not my idea of an antioxidant. I know it as a mineral. http://kidshealth.org/teen/misc/mineral_chart.html
Therefore I set this site aside. I am only trying to find trustworthy sites and my intelligence is saying that site doesn’t meet my credibility test for now. It doesn’t mean it can’t act as an antioxidant, but for now, I won’t spend any time checking it out.
 
These are all degenerative conditions. And the American Medical Association has already told us they can be reversed under certain conditions, so this chelation knowledge needs a whole lot more exploring for me and maybe for you. I am open-minded to a point. However I do not want to mislead anyone. For now, I think I will set this research aside.
 
Mercury amalgam is a metal which many of us innocently carry about in out bodies. We have been led to believe it is harmless, yet we know it is not. For more on this and any dental issue or questions, I strongly suggest you contact Tom McGuire; DDS. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on dental wellness and the founder of The Dental Wellness Institute. He will provide a “second opinion” from a sound knowledge base. http://www.dentalwellness4u.com/browse/mouth.html 
Phone:  1-800-335-7755 (Pacific time)

Web Site:  www.dentalwellness4u.com  

 

Quote: Are Mercury Amalgam (Silver) Fillings Toxic? There is no safe level for mercury and even one atom of it will do some harm to the body. A Mouthful of Poison by Dr. Myron Wentz: The Truth about Mercury Amalgam Fillings. Both sites have a tremendous amount of information on dental health, and things you can do now to prevent further problems. After all, our mouths feed our bodies: having the “door” of your body healthy would make a lot of sense.
 
I found a most interesting site that is looking for people to participate in clinical trials. So if you wish to do something like that, check out this site.
http://clinicaltrials.gov/search/

term=complementary+and+alternative+medicine&recruiting=true
I do want to give you a “heads up” on this kind of participation. Do cheek out the indirect sponsor for the trial. It might be sponsored by a pharmaceutical company but the sponsorship is done very discreetly. If a drug is involved, it may or may alter the study’s outcome. Just be aware if you sign up. Studies like this are what is classified as scientific objective research. And as you read through all my searching, you noticed a profound lack of this kind of research. However, from my own experience, not all studies deemed to be scientific, end up positively “pure”. Wish that they were!
 

I found little information on testing for residual levels or any helpful ideas of what one could expect during treatment. I would assume that once the metals were out of your body, life would be back to being normal, but no where did I read that. I found little long-term projections of disease recovery. Because most of the information came from health care professionals who did not support this treatment, I found few positive results from the treatment. I have to think they must exist. Otherwise, why would this be a possible treatment at all?


So what did I achieve from all this research? I learned an incredible amount about the process, and why or when it might be used. I learned that there are still many unanswered questions. I also found that the medical community is still not looking to solutions in other “non-traditional” arenas. I found many Internet sites have a lot of dated material. My suggestion to you is to continue to do your own research until you find sites that make you feel comfortable and give you more confidence. I hope this research has been as helpful to you as it has been to me.

 

By Karin Henderson - Nurse, Retired.

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