EDTA Chelation Drug Error

After the news about Abubakar Tariq Nadama, a five-year-old boy with autism, who tragically died after receiving an IV treatment with the chelating agent EDTA, every parent considering or doing any form of chelation for their child was filled with nagging doubts. “How did this happen, and could it happen to my child?” filled chat rooms and flooded DAN doctors’ email inboxes.

The results of the autopsy have now been analyzed, and a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Karen Kane reads in part –

“Dr. Mary Jean Brown, chief of the Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that Abubakar Tariq Nadama died Aug. 23 in his Butler County doctor’s office because he was given the wrong chelation agent.

It’s a case of look-alike/sound-alike medications. The child was given Disodium EDTA instead of Calcium Disodium EDTA. They sound alike. They’re clear and colorless and odorless.

They were mixed up.

Both types of EDTA are synthetic amino acids that latch onto heavy metals in the bloodstream.

Essentially, Tariq died from low blood calcium. Without enough calcium – a metal – in the blood, the heart stops beating. Dr. Brown said the Disodium EDTA the child was given as a chelation agent acted as a claw that pulled too much calcium from his blood.” (see the full story at http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06018/639721.stm)

With all this said, many of us still had questions about the Disodium EDTA that is available and used orally for chelation with autistic children. I have had any fears put at ease by an explanation from Dr. Volpe on the background of EDTA: Traditional IV EDTA chelation has always been done using Disodium EDTA, and calcium Disodium EDTA is a relative newcomer. In fact there is nothing wrong with Disodium EDTA except that it must be dripped in a vein slowly over several hours (which is typically the way chelation has been done).

When the calcium form came out doctors started to inject it rapidly over just a minute or two, something that cannot be done with the sodium form.

However, none of these concerns apply to an oral formulation because a) the absorption is not going to be instantaneous, and b) anything absorbed from the gut does not go to general circulation but goes straight to the liver from where it is released slowly.

In other words, your body will not allow minerals like calcium to be thrown off when you take something by mouth, because if the calcium approaches critical levels, the body will slow down absorption or release from the liver. It only takes seconds for the body to bring the calcium level back up, but it doesn’t even have that small amount of time to recover the loss when something is being injected.

Another form of EDTA is liposomal EDTA. It is different from other forms in that liposomes are absorbed in the cells lining the intestinal tract and diffuse into blood over a period of 48 hours. In addition these liposomes are 50% phosphatydil choline and 50% other phospholipids.

Phospholipids are crucial for life and are found in all known life forms. Phospholipids can mix simultaneously with both water and with oil. By bridging these two environments, phospholipids are able to spontaneously assemble into membranes. This property makes the phospholipids important in improved detoxification and nervous system health.

Dietary intake of phospholipids has declined, due to large increase in refining and processing of our foods. Phospholipids are found in highest concentration in eggs, organ meats, muscle meats, milk, and peanut butter.

Due to the incorporation of these crucial building blocks, liposomal EDTA is unlike any other kind and is possibly the most beneficial in terms of transporting the EDTA into the body for use in chelation.

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