By Ward Dean, M.D.
In his November, 2001 report from the Gordon Research Institute, Garry Gordon, M.D., had some provocative things to say about chelation therapy in general, and oral chelation, in particular. First, Dr. Gordon mentions the work of Dr. Walter Blumer of Switzerland. Dr. Blumer has documented the benefits of intravenous EDTA for heavy metal detoxification treatment for over 20 years. He showed that patients receiving a minimum of 30 injections experienced, overall, an 85% reduction in cardiovascular events, and a 90% reduction in new malignancies, when compared to individuals from the same Swiss town who did not receive chelation therapy.
Based on his experience Dr. Blumer developed a protocol which requires only a 5-minute infusion of Calcium EDTA, as opposed to the normal 3-hour program performed by most US chelating physicians with Sodium or Disodium EDTA. Dr. Gordon observes that Dr. Blumer appears to be enjoying significant anti-aging benefits himself from his self-administered treatment.
On a personal note, my older brother who lives in Switzerland had to suffer two heart attacks and endure a triple bypass, followed by angioplasty, before he saw the light and began chelation therapy. Dr. Blumer, who recently retired, was his physician. Dr Gordon said it was the parenteral (intravenous) use of EDTA therapy that changed his life some 30 years ago. He notes that I [Dr. Gordon] have to take a large part of the ‘blame’ for having written the first protocol calling for the standard 2-to-4 hour method of administering Disodium EDTA. However, ever since the dramatic improvement that I received from I.V. EDTA, I have wanted to make these benefits available to more people as affordably and conveniently as possible. Dr. Gordon also concedes that he was initially not aware that EDTA could be perhaps our BEST mercury detoxification therapy. Unfortunately, in the last 10 years, Dr. Gordon admits that he has only had time to get approximately 10 I.V. EDTA infusions. Nevertheless, he claims that he has not gone a day without oral chelation, reportedly taking a minimum of 800 mg of EDTA a day. Although Dr. Gordon considers this to be a low amount, he believes this dose provides significant benefits when taken on a daily basis. Another ingredient he believes to be helpful is malic acid, which he states is a uniquely effective chelator of iron and aluminum.
Nevertheless, Dr. Gordon believes that even higher doses of EDTA should be considered to provide what he considers to be therapeutic levels, suggesting that the average patient could benefit from consuming 800 to 5000 mg EDTA every day, depending on body weight and renal (kidney) status. Dr. Gordon bases these dosage recommendations on research conducted by Abbot Laboratories. Abbot claimed that 1000 mg EDTA per 35 pounds of body weight was the correct dose for treating asymptomatic lead intoxication orally, based on FDA sanctioned studies. Dr. Gordon concedes that there are a number of suggested protocols for taking EDTA. For example, he currently recommends that patients consume doses of 2.5 grams of EDTA twice a day, along with their other supplements. Part of his rationale for doing so is the seemingly paradoxical fact that EDTA enhances the uptake of some nutrients (especially, zinc and iron). He reasons that since sick patients are probably malnourished, the increased uptake of selected minerals would be beneficial.
He notes that most physicians believe it is important to take EDTA away from other supplements or food, to avoid the theoretical loss of minerals (see my previous recommendations below). He admits that there are not adequate data yet available on which to base solid recommendations as to whether oral EDTA should be taken at the same time as other mineral-containing supplements or foods, or be taken on an empty stomach, conceding that it is entirely open to argument at this time. Dr. Gordon believes that the true benefits of chelation are related to the detoxification effects—i.e., the preferential removal of toxic heavy metals like cadmium, mercury and lead. He now thinks it is this chelation-induced optimization of mitochondrial function and enzyme activity (as with the nitric oxide synthases and others) that is caused by the removal of these toxic elements that best explains chelation’s broad range of health benefits.
He noted that only 5-to-18 percent of orally administered EDTA is absorbed. However, he believes (as I do) that despite this low rate of absorption, the benefits from oral EDTA are quite significant. EDTA is used as a common food preservative to prevent the oxidative degradation of bile salts into carcinogenic substances. Analytical chemists believe that EDTA that remains in the intestinal tract works like an ion exchange reservoir or sink to enhance the removal of toxic metals from the body. It is clear that orally ingested (but systemically un-absorbed) EDTA remaining in the intestine provides numerous benefits beyond the food preservative use of preventing the oxidative degradation of bile salts. Dr. Gordon noted that it is EDTA’s ability to ionically bond to trace elements that explains how EDTA prevents the oxidative degradation of nutrients when added to our foods. But it is also this property that also helps EDTA remove lead, mercury, cadmium, and other heavy metals.
EDTA also alleviates endothelial dysfunction caused by the presence of heavy metals, resulting in the restoration of the ability of endothelial tissues to produce nitric oxide (NO) — particularly if in the presence of B vitamins. These toxic metals also can cause immunodepression, which helps to explain the decreased immunity with aging, and why so many older people suffer from chronic infections. Learning-disabled children also often need heavy metal detoxification. Dr. Gordon believes this can usually be done affordably, conveniently and safely by the oral route.
Dr. Gordon also mentioned the significance of the life extension studies with EDTA — including those that demonstrated the ability of EDTA to extend the maximum lifespan of the lowly rotifers (small multi-celled animals found in freshwater lakes and ponds) by up to 50%. Dr. Gordon offered himself as an example of the benefits of oral EDTA. He said that anyone still confused enough to think that orally administered EDTA is dangerous or ill advised only has to see that in the last 10 years his health has done nothing but continue to improve. Dr. Gordon, who will be 67 in January of 2002, says that his only regret is that he had not been using higher doses of EDTA than the average of 800 to 2000 mg a day that he has taken since 1983.
Garry F. Gordon, MD, DO, MD (H)
President, Gordon Research Institute
Dr. Dean’s Comments on Oral Chelation Regimen
We’ve now presented the oral EDTA therapy protocols of Dr. Garry Gordon, whom I’ve always considered one of the Founding Fathers of Chelation Therapy. For another opinion on this issue, here is what I said in our August 2001 newsletter, in reply to a customer who asked about the optimum way to take oral EDTA. I suggested, Start with one or two capsules daily. Work up to 8-10 capsules daily at one time on an empty stomach (one hour before, or two hours after a meal). Take a multi-mineral replacement formula such as Essential Minerals or Advanced Essential Minerals with a meal at the ‘other end of the day’ (i.e., if Oral ChelatoRx is taken in the morning, take the minerals with supper — or if Oral ChelatoRx is taken at night, take the minerals with breakfast.)
So there you have it — two considered viewpoints. My recommendations are based on guesswork, just as are Dr. Gordon’s (we’d both like to think its educated guesswork). At the present time however, we don’t really know which regimen is best. I think that the important take-home lesson here is that simply taking EDTA is far more important than when you take it.