CHELATION THERAPY             by  John Knowles

 (Presentation at Paphos Health & Wellbeing Festival, 19 January 2003)


I’m going to talk to you today about a relatively little-known medical technique called “Chelation Therapy”.  First, I want to make it clear that I am not a physician or other medically-qualified person – just a reasonably well-educated layman. This may lay me open to criticism.  Still, I’ve had some direct personal experience with Chelation Therapy that I want to share with you.  You are, of course, free to ignore it.  But I urge you to listen carefully to what I have to say, because the advice I have to offer may be of immediate benefit to you or to someone close to you if suffering from any one or more of many medical conditions that have been shown conclusively to respond favorably to this therapy.

I would also emphasize that in making this presentation there is absolutely nothing in it for me.  I’m here because I’ve taken a deep personal interest in this much maligned and misunderstood therapy, and I hope to be able to advance your understanding of it, to your lasting benefit. 


What is Chelation?

Chelation is a method used by physicians for many years in the treatment of occlusive arterial disease.  It has long been the officially approved, standard treatment for lead and mercury poisoning and to remove radioactive bone-seeking elements such as plutonium from the body.  By removing heavy toxic metals from the bloodstream, however, it also inhibits the development of plaque deposits and eventually reduces and eliminates them.  It is much more effective in the treatment of atherosclerosis than the more common, very risky and very expensive, open heart surgery, particularly since it cleans up the entire circulatory system rather than simply patching up a particular place in one or two blood vessels.  In addition to cardiovascular disease, because it treats the whole body, it has been found to inhibit the development of cerebrovascular diseases like Alzheimer’s and to eliminate the need for amputation of extremities like toes, feet, etc, in cases of occlusive peripheral arterial disease.

One study in Switzerland even reported a 90% reduction in deaths from cancer in a large group of patients studied over an 18-year period.


Among other things, Chelation removes the following toxic metals: 

Chromium, iron, mercury, copper, lead, cadmium, cobalt, aluminium.

It should be noted that aluminum is a proven causal factor in human senile dementia, as well as in other brain syndromes like Alzheimer’s.  The incidence of Alzheimer’s is 50% greater in areas with high aluminum content in drinking water than in other areas.  The use of aluminum in foods is completely out of control.  People still cook in aluminum pots and pans, a great source of poisoning.

Such widely differing diseases as Parkinson’s and Down’s syndrome have also been associated with elevated aluminum content.  Because of its widespread presence in nature, aluminum has now been found to be a basic factor in ageing.  There is much experimental evidence with lower organisms to suggest significant life extension through the use of EDTA therapy.



Ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid (EDTA) was synthesized in the 1930s in Germany.  It forms chelates with (that is, it grabs onto) and removes toxic heavy metals from the bloodstream.

It very effectively treats cases of heavy toxic metal poisoning.  As mentioned, it's the standard treatment.  In the 1940s, while treating a number of employees in a battery factory in the United States for lead poisoning, attending physicians noticed significant general improvements in their patients’ health.  Elderly patients with atherosclerosis who were being treated primarily for chronic lead poisoning showed a dramatic improvement in their atherosclerotic disease following chelation therapy. EDTA was later found to be effective in removing metastatic calcium deposits from the human body.  Also reported were remarkable benefits and improvements in patients suffering from angina pectoris when treated with EDTA chelation therapy.  In some cases previous abnormalities in electro-cardiograms disappeared completely.

It has since been shown to delay the onset of diseases of old age and to be effective in dealing with many other medical conditions.


In fact, it was so universally beneficial that physicians at first hesitated to list all of the observed benefits, fearing to be categorized as little more than “snake oil” salesmen!

A famous chemist Dr. Linus Pauling, double Nobel Prize winner, has made the following categorical statement:  “Chelation is far safer and much less expensive than surgical treatments for atherosclerosis … metallic ions play an important role in the formation of atherosclerotic plaque.  EDTA removes these ions with relative safety and without surgery.  (It) helps to reduce and prevent atherosclerotic plaques, thus improving blood flow to the heart and other organs.  The scientific evidence indicates that a course of EDTA chelation therapy would eliminate the need for bypass surgery.  Chelation has an equally valid rationale as a preventive treatment.”


This is just what I did myself some 10 years ago.  I read an article about chelation in OMNI magazine, and traveled to Philadelphia to attend a clinic that specialized in this therapy, purely for prophylactic purposes.  Although 70 years old at the time, I had no inkling that I had any kind of problem.  In my initial physical examination, the doctor found that I had a partial blockage in my left carotid artery.  I had six treatments there before I returned to Cyprus.  On the advice of the American doctor, I went to see my physician here, the well-known cardiologist, Dr. Panicos Papageorgiou.  I told him the whole story, and asked him to check me over very carefully.  He found that my left carotid artery was absolutely clear – after only six treatments.  Thereafter, I travelled to the States on several occasions for the purpose, among other things, of obtaining chelation treatments, as a preventive measure.  Although the treatments cost only $100 each, the trips themselves were very costly.  So I was very happy when chelation became available in Cyprus.  Dr. Dinos Xydas in Nicosia, has been specially trained and certified by the American College of Advancement in Medicine in the treatment protocol.  I go to him three or four times a year for health maintenance treatments.  After all, we live at the bottom of an increasingly polluted goldfish bowl.  We're constantly ingesting all sorts of poisons from the environment, much of which finds its way into the bloodstream.


Now why isn’t chelation therapy the treatment of choice for arterial disease?

Let’s hear from Dr. Linus Pauling again.  He said, “Past harassment of chelating physicians by government agencies and conservative medical societies seems to stem largely from ignorance of the scientific literature and from professional bias.”  Please forgive me for believing that the term “professional bias” is an euphemism for enormous vested financial interest. 


Patients are rarely told by their doctors about chelation therapy before they are recommended to undergo bypass surgery or angioplasty, although chelation is hundreds of times safer at a small fraction of the cost.  If asked, cardiologists and bypass surgeons will usually criticize chelation therapy, tell you there’s nothing to it, and press for the much more profitable catheterization and bypass surgery or angioplasty.

No prizes for guessing why cardiologists and vascular surgeons have consistently opposed chelation therapy, despite their lack of first-hand knowledge concerning its effectiveness and safety in the treatment of occlusive arterial disease.  Politically powerful and traditional medical organizations have an obvious and positively huge vested interest in catheterization studies and in arterial by-pass surgery.  This is a 12 to 15 billion dollar a year business in the United States alone.  Many hospitals would be in deep financial difficulties and a vast army of vascular surgeons, cardiologists and their team members would be forced to find other applications for their specialized medical skills without these very lucrative procedures.  To expect large segments of the medical profession with such strong vested interests in vascular surgery to make recommendations concerning the use of EDTA therapy is comparable to looking to the fox to guard the hen house.

This is quite aside from the interests of the pharmaceutical industry.  Drug companies profit enormously by selling an array of ever more expensive drugs associated with surgery rather than the multi-vitamin-mineral supplements recommended by chelation physicians.  Because their advertising is virtually the sole financial support of medical journals, drug companies can and do dictate what appears in them.  Accordingly, very few if any articles favoring chelation ever manage to appear in mainstream journals.  Moreover, the patent on EDTA expired many years ago and there’s no profit in it for them.


This preference for surgery by establishment medicine continues today, in the face of all the evidence in favor of chelation.

In this context, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I read in the “Cyprus Mail” of 10 December 2002, the great news that “Surgeons in the American Heart Institute (that is, in Nicosia) have successfully carried out a revolutionary new surgery to open up narrowing carotid arteries (which, by the way, was my own problem!) which transport blood to the brain.”  The article is headed “Operation gives new hope to avert strokes”.  Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, Dr. Christos Christou said carotid disease was one of the major causes of strokes.  “Stroke is the third cause of death in developed countries”, he said.  “Patients, like the 60-year old man we operated on, who have narrowing of the artery, are at risk of developing a stroke”.

The article goes on:  The patient was suffering from narrowing of the carotid artery and suffered a stroke three months ago.  Doctors said they were unable to operate due to the anatomy of the narrowing of the artery … Christou said the procedure had many complications in the past due to the fact that equipment was much heavier and there was the danger of the patient having a stroke, but advances in technology have made the process easier with fewer complications … Christou said the procedure meant patients could leave hospital within 24 hours but warned there could still be complications …”

This is hailed as a great new development in surgery!  Without wishing to appear cynical, I have a couple of questions:

What are the “complications” the doctor referred to? and

What guarantee is there that the artery won’t clog up again, requiring yet another operation?  … and another ? … and another?

That is, how does the operation get at the underlying cause of the condition?  That's the real question!  In fact, it obviously doesn’t.  It does not do anything to deal with the underlying problem.  At great personal risk, (depending on circumstances, as many as 4 to 5% or more of patients die on the operating table), you may undergo an expensive operation to remove, say, a partial blockage of an artery.  Surely, I don’t have to be a doctor to suggest that this is a “band-aid” approach to a serious blood chemistry condition that does nothing to treat the cause.

By this I mean that, for some chemical reason, as was obvious to Dr. Linus Pauling, a chemist, something in your circulatory system has deposited that plaque at that particular spot.  What about the rest of your circulation?  How many other locations, from your brain to the tips of your toes, are silting up in a similar fashion that your doctor doesn’t know about?

And has no way of finding out?


In a word, chelation goes over to the attack and gets at the cause.  The entire circulatory system is cleaned up, cleared of accumulated heavy metals.

This has implications for the prevention and/or cure of many circulatory problems.  Diabetes, for example, frequently results in blockages of the extremities, resulting in poor circulation and even gangrene.  We have a lot of this in Cyprus.  The conventional treatment is amputation of toes, then feet, then legs, in that order.  Using chelation, ischemic (i.e., the blocked) limbs have been saved from amputation.  Moreover, cerebrovascular symptoms of dementia and ischemia have been reversed.  Angina is usually relieved without surgery.  Improvement occurs in the whole body, not just in one small segment.  With chelation therapy, definite life extension is predictable.



I have here a “Textbook on EDTA Chelation Therapy” published by the American College of Advancement in Medicine.  The Foreword was written by Dr. Linus Pauling, whose remarks I quoted earlier.  It contains, among many others, a Report on “Treatment of Peripheral Arterial Occlusion, an Alternative to Amputation”.

Four patients were presented, each of whom represented end-stage occlusive peripheral disease with gangrene of the involved extremity.  These patients had exhausted all traditional forms of therapy and they had all been referred for surgical amputation.  Instead of surgery, intravenous EDTA chelation therapy was instituted with complete success in each case.  These gangrenous extremities all healed and were saved from amputation.  Long-term follow-up, extending for more than a year, indicated that all four patients continued to do well with their previously gangrenous extremities intact and pain free. 



Brain disease represents one of the leading causes of death.  It is actually a large number of diseases due to different causes.  The most common of these disorders is cerebrovascular disease and its most prominent manifestation is stroke.  Not only do strokes cause death;  they may cause protracted morbidity, including permanent paralysis, transient ischemic attacks, memory loss, personality changes, and so-called “senility”.

Intravenous infusions of EDTA have been shown to be an effective form of therapy for various states associated with abnormal cerebral blood flow.  This is particularly noteworthy because medical science has no other effective treatment for most of these conditions.



A study in Switzerland reported a 90% reduction in deaths from cancer in a large group of patients who were chelated and who had been carefully followed over an 18-year period.  When compared with a carefully-matched control group, it reported a 10 times greater death rate from cancer in the untreated group, compared to the death rate of patients who had been treated with EDTA.  As might have been predicted, a greatly reduced incidence of cardiovascular deaths was also observed.



Having undergone preliminary tests and a physical examination, you’ve made your first appointment.  You go to the doctor’s office.  You sit in a comfortable recliner chair, and you are hooked up to a bottle containing the EDTA solution.  A fine needle is inserted into a vein in the arm, attached to the tube leading to the bottle suspended from a hook on an individual mobile stand, which allows you to visit the bathroom as needed.  You sit quietly there for about 3 hours, reading, chatting, or napping, drinking lots of water and occasionally going to the bathroom.  The heavy metals being eliminated from your blood are quickly excreted in the urine.

It’s a totally comfortable and relaxing experience.  There are absolutely no side effects.  No hospital stay.  Afterwards, you just get up and go home.

Compare that to the physical and psychological effects of bypass surgery!  Not to mention that a Rand Corporation investigation actually published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that, in the USA, 44% of cardiovascular surgical operations are totally unnecessary.  In Britain, comparable studies say that over 30 per cent were not necessary – even by conventional standards!

Moreover, the bypass operation has NOT been demonstrated to prolong life.  In fact, a number of studies show absolutely no difference between the victims of atherosclerosis who underwent bypass and those who were simply maintained by a conventional drug, diet and exercise programme (without chelation).

Exactly the same as would have been expected if they had been operated on (provided, the study pointed out, that they survived the operation, which has an operative mortality of 4 to 5% or even more, depending on circumstances).  This has been borne out by separate studies done at Harvard, the University of California at Irvine, and Duke University.

Finally, no one has ever been known to die from chelation therapy delivered according to the ACAM protocol, of the many hundreds of thousands of people who have been chelated millions of times.  It is totally risk-free, so far as anything can be said to be.  

One Thing to Note:

Medical doctors who administer this treatment regularly undergo it themselves, and treat their own families.  On three occasions I have walked into a physician's office to find him hooked up while sitting at his desk.  That should tell you something.  In fact, many vascular surgeons refuse surgery and undergo chelation therapy themselves!  They're much too smart to elect open-heart surgery when there's a safer, cheaper, and better alternative.


There are however a few DRAWBACKS.     

1.  The Insurance Industry still refuses to pay for chelation therapy except for specific American Medical Association/Food & Drug Administration approved problems, such as heavy metal poisoning (lead, mercury) and one or two other conditions.  This is because, under the influence of the US medical establishment, treatment specifically for atherosclerosis is not approved for reimbursement by Medicare.  Insurance companies have been obliged to pay for the vastly more expensive surgery.  Cypriot companies follow the guidelines established by the Americans, who are imitated by the British.  So you may have to pay for chelation therapy yourself.  The cost of chelation, however, is relatively very low – currently about € 150 – 200 € per treatment.  A complete course of several treatments would maybe create problems to your budget.  If you have to pay this over a year or two, how much are your life and health worth?


2.  For chelation to be truly effective, you will have to quit smoking.  For some reason, it has been found that the effects of chelation are much reduced in people who continue to smoke.


3.  Chelation therapy also recommends a modest change in life-style, to help chelation to counter the activity of free radicals in the body.  Chelation itself is a great help in fighting free radicals, but the diet should be shifted way from fried and fatty foods, with greater reliance on fresh, preferably organic, fruits and vegetables.


4.  Since chelation, in addition to toxic heavy metals, also removes important trace elements from the blood, you should also take a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement to replace those lost in the process.



I don’t want to leave anyone here with the impression that I’m denouncing the medical profession.  Regardless of what I’ve said here, I have the greatest respect for doctors.  It’s certainly not doctors, as such, that I have any problem with.  If you have any medical difficulties, by all means go to see your doctor in the first instance.

Nevertheless there is one segment of the medical profession to which I am very much opposed:  the slash-and-burn cardiovascular surgeons and their drug-pushing accomplices who are simply out to make a lot of money, and to hell with your health and prospects of living out a good long life.  These are the people who try to force you to opt for an expensive, very risky procedure with an uncertain outcome that totally fails to deal with the real, underlying problem, which is so easily, cheaply and safely taken care of with the chelation procedure.  At the same time, to be fair, in many cases, this may not be done on a conscious level.  Many doctors, probably most conventional general practitioners, kept ignorant of the benefits of chelation, honestly believe that surgery is the only answer, as that is how they have been brainwashed by the primarily American Medical Establishment.   

Your doctor may be a fine, competent professional, but although the profession certainly does nothing to discourage us from accepting the myth, he or she isn’t God.  They are just as human as we are, with all the usual human failings and motivations.

The point of all this, I suppose, is that you really owe it to yourself to assume the prime responsibility for your own health.  Don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion.  And if, however well-intentioned, your MD pushes bypass surgery or amputation of extremities, RUN, do not walk, to a qualified physician who has been specially trained to administer chelation therapy.  Fortunately, we have some in Cyprus.  The life or limb you save will be your own.

John Knowles, Cyprus                      email: 


(Dr. Natasha Mala in Paphos-Chlorakas is doing chelation therapy as well) The amount of chelation therapy can be tested by kinesiology-test. If it is not a severe case 2 – 5 therapies are sufficient, remark from Dr. h.c. homeopathy Samantha-S. Malekides-Kruse)