A few years ago, actor, Jeremy Piven put a voice to the idea that environmental toxins are making us sick… very sick. The stage and screen star underwent chelation therapy for what was believed to be mercury poisoning – which he accredited to overconsumption of tuna and other fish known to carry high levels of mercury in their systems. Afterwards, Piven remarked that he felt better than he had in years. He believed that the chelation therapy didn’t just remove mercury toxins but also other heavy metal deposits that had collected in his body over his lifetime. Almost overnight it seemed like other people were crawling out of the woodwork to sing the praises of chelation.
But just as quickly, top medical professionals started speaking out against the procedure as an alternative health treatment. Their warning was that chelation is not a simple flush-and-detox like drinking herbal teas and hitting the sauna. Chelation works by injecting chemicals into the blood stream that bond with heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, iron, lead, and copper. The compounds in the metals that normally cannot be processed by the body form chemical bonds with chelating agents, which allow the combined compound to be removed from the body via the liver and kidneys. Simply put, it changes your body chemistry and introduces some pretty serious chemicals into various bodily systems.
Chelation also carries risks for serious side effects like lasting kidney and liver damage, cardiac arrhythmias, and even neurological complications. So while it may be tempting to believe your dental amalgam fillings are the cause behind your chronic digestive issues, be careful in thinking chelation is the way to fix it. Likewise, if you’ve ruled out all other possible explanations for recurring skin rashes, rapid persistent weight loss, anemia, digestive problems and the like, speak with your doctor about whether heavy metal toxicity may be to blame. He or she will ask you about your risk factors and environmental exposures to heavy metals and/or their vapors. Together, the two of you should be able to accurately assess your risk and determine whether chelation is an appropriate course of action.