Chelation describes the process of removing heavy metal toxins, including lead and arsenic, from the bloodstream. A chelate is any substance that assists in this process. EDTA and DMSA are both chemically synthesized substances used as chelates. Their acronyms stand for ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid and dimercaptosuccinic acid, respectively. Heavy metals enter the body through a variety of means including eating non-organic foods and fish, and inhaling smoke. Natural herbs have shown the ability to act as chelates too. Check with your health care provider before using any herbal remedy.
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Cilantro can be used to remove heavy metals from the bloodstream. Cilantro is an herb that is also used as a seasoning or garnish. According to Maile Pouls, Ph.D., Director of Research for Extended Health, cilantro is effective as an oral chelator. The benefit of cilantro is that it is easily found and inexpensive. Pouls found that oral chelators, such as cilantro, can actually outperform intravenous EDTA chelation.
Garlic, also known as allium sativum, not only has a culinary purpose but a medicinal one, too. In 1994, the National Institutes of Health published findings that garlic was an effective in chelation of lead. The study showed that when lead alone was given to chickens there was a spike in lead concentrations in the chickens' livers and surrounding tissue. When chickens were given both lead and garlic, the concentration of lead was reduced.
Selenium is a non-metal located just under sulfur on the periodic table. In 1999, The University of Arizona found that selenium reduced metal toxicity. Glutathione peroxidase is an enzyme that protects organisms from oxidative damage. Selenium plays a major role in this enzyme’s function. Researchers explain that through the process of mercury binding with selenium, metal toxicity is reduced. It is possible to control consumption of mercury through smart food choices, but mercury also is emitted naturally through the degassing of the earth’s crust.
- MayoClinic.com: Chelation therapy for heart disease
- Geological Survey of Brazil: Oral Chelation and Nutritional Replacement Therapy for Heavy Metal Toxicity
- National Institutes of Health: Garlic's ability to prevent in vitro Cu2+-induced lipoprotein oxidation in human serum is preserved in heated garlic: effect unrelated to Cu2+-chelation.
- University of Arizona: Chemical Characterization of a Mercury-Selenium Detoxification Compound