Chelation and Kidney Failure

Dear Dr. Dean,

Is an EDTA chelator complex with Malic Acid safe for persons with partial kidney failure?

I have personally tried Angioprim in the past, and was recommending it to a relative. However, I see it is unsafe for persons with kidney disease.

My 70-year old relative has been refused angioplasty because the dye used could cause his already struggling kidneys to shut down (due to massive internal bleeding after “minor” surgery two years ago), rendering him liable to lifelong dialysis.

Do you know of an alternative treatment? He suffers from angina, and is currently experiencing multiple minor heart attacks during coughing spells, for which the doctors cannot find a cause. He was a heavy smoker until 15 years ago when he quit cold turkey. He has not used cigarettes since.


Dear Grant,

I’m not sure about the danger of Angioprim, but the potential harm of EDTA to the kidneys has been greatly over-exaggerated for many years. The concern stems from the early days of intravenous chelation therapy, when doses in excess of 3 grams per day were used, and treatments were administered on a daily or every-other day regimen.

Today, the standard for IV treatment involves a dose of no more than 3 grams, and is usually administered no more than once per week. If someone does have impaired kidney function, most physicians reduce the dose, and/or increase the interval between treatments.

In the thousands of IV treatments that I have administered, I’ve never had a patient suffer any kidney impairment—and I’ve treated a lot of people who suffered from various degrees of Chronic Kidney Disease. In fact, the most common result is improvement in kidney function over time, as blood flow improves.

The product that you mentioned claimed that it was a special formula that was not destroyed in the digestive tract, implying that was what happened to oral EDTA. In fact, EDTA is not destroyed by the digestive tract—it’s just not absorbed very well, and about 90% of an orally ingested dose is recovered unchanged in the stool, and only about 10% is absorbed into the bloodstream, and subsequently passes through and excreted by the kidneys. That is one of the advantages of oral EDTA, in terms of both efficacy and safety.


Fig. 1. Rate of absorption of orally consumed EDTA, as determined by recovery from feces in 3 healthy humans. Absorption ranges from 3 to 5 percent (Redrawn from Foreman and Trujillo, 1954).
Oral EDTA has some advantages over the intravenous treatment—which is why I recommend them both for maximum efficacy. Intravenous EDTA is administered over a short time—30 minutes to 3 hours—and virtually all of it is excreted within 24 hours. [See Figure 1.] Oral EDTA, in contrast, by daily consumption, maintains fairly low doses in the blood, but these levels are there every day.


In addition to binding with calcium and heavy metals like lead, cadmium, and aluminum, and stimulating calcium metabolism, EDTA is a very potent anti-coagulant (it is one of the anti-coagulants used in blood collection tubes to prevent coagulation). Thus, by consuming EDTA every day, a secondary benefit is that it exerts significant protection against stroke and heart-attack producing blood clots.

Considering a daily dose of 1,000 mg of oral EDTA each day, with absorption of about 10%, is like having one intravenous treatment spread over a month.

The advantage of combining EDTA with Malic Acid enhances the effectiveness of EDTA, in reducing aluminum levels in the body (aluminum, like lead and mercury, has absolutely no physiological benefit in the body, but produces a number of adverse effects, due to its cross-linking propensity).

In addition to oral EDTA with Malic Acid for your friend, I’d suggest he add Turmeric (for its anti-inflammatory and fibrinogen-lowering benefits). Fibrinogen is the last factor in the clotting cascade, rises predictably as we get older, and is a more important risk factor for cardiovascular disease than elevated cholesterol and lipids. Whole ground turmeric should be added to his regimen—especially if his fibrinogen levels are elevated (most doctors don’t even check for fibrinogen levels, despite its known significance, because there are no drugs that are known to alter its levels). Turmeric will drop elevated fibrinogen levels like a rock!

I hope this answers your question,

Ward Dean, M.D.