Iron and Your Heart Health
A ranch house, a zip lock bag and some ordinary flour
1)Some ordinary wheat flour such as can be found in most homes placed with some water in a zip-lock plastic bag. A magnet is passed over the bag and an extraordinary thing happens 'Iron particles start popping out and attaching themselves to the side of the bag, forming clusters of what looked like iron filings.
2) The next experiment involves placing a well-known brand of cereal into a bowl of water. The magnet is again passed over the bowl this time and the flakes literally line up and follow the magnet round the bowl.
This is the first time I realized that there is so much added iron in the food that we eat and the effect it can have on our health.
We - ve all been told that heart attacks and heart bypass surgery are as a direct result of clogging or furring of our arteries by 'bad cholesterol'. The arteries become so narrowed as to make the blood flow through the arteries very difficult thus placing enormous strains on the cardio-vascular system.
Why do we need chelators and what are they?
A few trace metals that we absorb are toxic, these include iron and lead
To make use of them our bodies must form chelates (key-lates) out of them, and to do this requires chelating substances
Chelating substances attach to desirable trace metals and allow the body to properly utilize those metals they also attach to undesirable trace metals and allow the body to remove them.
Types of Chelator
Many chemicals can serve as chelators. Their effects will depend on the precise nature and concentration of that chelator.
There are some weak chelators present in common foods.
Stronger chelators are substances used medicinally to rid the body of excess toxic metals
Why is there potential for Iron Overload? Iron overload is possible because there is no normal mechanism for removing it from the body.
The body is iron-efficient, it retains its iron and recycles it over and over again.
The body's iron level is controlled almost entirely by absorption and iron can build up progressively as dietary intake increases, especially in men because they do not have a monthly blood loss.
Over a period of months and years this will result in the accumulation of several grams of iron.
Iron and Heart Disease Risk
Iron can generate free radical pathology.
There is now good evidence that free radical pathology leads to changes in the blood vessels which sets the stage for atheroscelerosis.
Accumulation of excess iron in the body may increase the risk for heart disease and the connection doesn't end there....
Health statistics have revealed that women have a lower risk of heart disease than men, until menopause, after which the risk is the same.
Pre-menopausal women have a monthly blood loss that rids the body of excess, potentially toxic iron, which may protect against heart disease.
Even pre-menopausal women with high blood cholesterol levels and high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which are considered to be strong risk factors for heart disease, have less heart disease than men.
The Lead connection
Lead is a toxic element that has many undesirable health effects.
Evidence links excess lead with cardiovascular disease, cancer and other disorders.
Researchers have found that cancer rates are higher amongst people living near heavily-traveled roads and it was suggested that this increased risk is due to the higher levels of lead in the air.
This led the researchers to test the effect of a lead-removing substance 'EDTA (ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid),a man-made amino acid and chelating agent 'on cancer rates in people living near high-traffic roads.
After 18 years those treated with EDTA had one-tenth of the cancer rate of those not treated with EDTA.(1)
This is the use of chelating agents, orally or by injection, in order to bind and remove harmful metals from the body.
The man-made chelating agent EDTA can remove most toxic metals.
This therapy has been used by doctors as an effective alternative to bypass surgery for atherosclerosis since the 1950s, giving hope that having hardening of the arteries need not lead to coronary bypass surgery, heart attack, stroke and numerous other related diseases.
Doctors noted reduced pain and blood cholesterol levels as well as other favorable changes. EDTA chelation therapy has been reported to help in many conditions now thought to be related to free radical pathology: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and others.
Another effect of EDTA is that it changes the calcium/ magnesium ratio in the body.
EDTA removes calcium more efficiently than magnesium which reduces the ratio.
Lowering the ratio improves the flexibility of blood cells, reduces the tendency of blood to clot and reduces blood cholesterol and blood pressure.
So the benefits of EDTA are not entirely due to the removal of toxic metals but also the calcium/magnesium balance.
In the case of intravenous chelation, EDTA is used as the chelating agent. It is carried in a glucose formulation together with synthetic B Vitamins. It takes several hours and requires 80-100 treatments.
Oral EDTA therapy can also be used. One or two oral doses of EDTA per day, over a period of months can have a long-term preventative effect.
But beware! ' there are many so-called oral chelation supplements on the market containing few or no chelating substances!
For an oral chelation supplement that has been tested and certified to lower bad cholesterol by The University of Illinois, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
1. Blumer,W, et al Environmental International 3: 1980, pages 465-471
New Answers to Old Questions, The Free Radical Story by Harry W Hersey
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