Chelation Therapy Side Effects

Few side effects occur when chelating agents are administered for approved indications using the recommended dosage and route of administration.

Research has been conducted to test claims that chelating agents are useful alternative therapies in the treatment of disorders such as heart disease and autism. However, no such evidence supporting their use for these condition has yet been found and in 2010 the United States Food and Drugs Administration announced that over the counter chelation products are unapproved and that their sale is a violation of federal law.

Some of the common side effects of chelating agents include:

  • Burning sensation when injected into a vein
  • Fever and chills
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Fall in blood pressure
  • Breathlessness or tightness in the chest
  • Respiratory failure
  • Low blood calcium
  • Irregular heartbeats or cardiac arrhythmias
  • Severe allergic reactions may occur with the use of some chelators and lead to skin rash, eczema, exacerbation of asthma or asthma attacks.
  • Severe hypersensitivity reactions may lead to anaphylactic shock and even death.
  • Depression of the bone marrow leading to low counts of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. This can lead to anemia, infections and an increased bleeding tendency.
  • Kidney damage and failure leading to end stage renal disease requiring dialysis.
  • Liver damage may be seen with some chelating agents and some patients may develop liver failure.
  • Damage to the brain leading to a decline in cognitive function
  • Vitamins and vital nutrients may leave the body along with the heavy metal. This can be a particular problem among children who require adequate levels of nutrients for normal growth and development. In addition, vitamin supplements may not always replenish the loss of vital nutrients caused by long term chelation therapy.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jun 16, 2023

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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  1. Don Jin Don Jin Hungary says:

    Vitamins and vital nutrients may leave the body along with the !!heavy metal!!

    LOL-but scientific proof thats this therapy don't work-so what is this?
    You so full of shit docs...

    "United States Food and Drugs Administration announced that over the counter chelation products are unapproved"

    It means this therapy very effective, thank you for this scientific proof.

    • Jello Bunny Jello Bunny United States says:

      In what way is that scientific proof? You're the one that sounds like an idiot here.

      Maybe because you're from a different country you don't understand USA standard rules and regulations. Some of these chealation agents are so strong that it can cause kidney failure, heart failure, and even death. As a matter of fact there have been reported deaths because of chelation therapy. The reason for this is your body can only filter out so much at a time, the remaining stays in your blood stream or is filtered back, making you undergo something along the lines of retoxicity. There is no 1 pill power pill that will flush it all out right then and there. The risks for this drug being available OTC are very dangerous to masses especially considering they are uninformed or unknowledgeable in the procedures and proper uses for it. That doubled with the fact there is still psuedoscience going on about "autism" being "treatable", many parents will stupidly seek to treat there children this way and end up killing them or causing them near fatal organ damage When autism is closer linked to genetic and environmental causes. The people who do not have autism and push that it is a "disease" and "treatable" with such and such are the biggest insults to the medical community.

      . Just because there are blogs with people praising chelators who have no medical or scientific background does not mean they are capable or educating the masses, they for sure can spread phony baloney and psuedoscience which people buy into easily.

      The only time a heavy chelator like this should be used is when there are clear signs and symptoms present. I've seen cases where patients hair starts falling out in a matter of less than a week, with exposure to heavy metals like Mercury, along with a load of other serious symptoms, there are emergency situations like this where this drug SHOULD be readily available for use, to potentially save the life of the one undergoing the horrors of heavy metal toxicity or blood poisoning. The simple push with "I'm uncomfortable with a drug like this being readily available because it might be abused" is the dumbest comment I've seen out there on the web, the pharmacuetical industry as a whole in America is as abusive as it can be, it loads medications onto non needing patients even, because drugging the symptom will always be easier than actually treating or trying to cure the issue as a whole.
      If this drug is going to make it's way into the sight of people's it's best to educate, study and give as many details based on science as possible to avoid misuse or terrible accidents that can befall the foolishly misguided in an attempt to "self-administer" this drug themselves. Always seek a RELIABLE medical professional, they have a load of more experience and knowledge in that regard than someone who hasn't been through the school fold like the average masses out there. I also say reliable because nowadays it's hard to find a trust worthy practicioner with the air of paranoia and general distrust towards medical practioners and medicinal vendors out there being hand in hand to make more money, prescribing unnecessary pharmacueticals to boast there own profits and sales. Find a practioners you can trully trust and then go from there. There are still good doctors out there, sadly many I've encountered in "designated for" hospitals seem hugely misguided or even unaware of some of the rising issues with patients and doctors, they aren't bad people, just out of the loop.

  2. Andy Groeneveld Andy Groeneveld United States says:

    Can anyone explain why the medical profession does not approve of chelation therapy other than the basics when it has so many benefits to those who are ill and could have a better  quality of life for example diabetics ?
    Phoenix fire Department Paramedic

    • Edward Wrobel Edward Wrobel Canada says:

      I had heart attack in 2013 and three stents inserted. My future looked grim: bypass surgeries and  mitral and aortic valves replacements. I began intensive chelation therapy in February 2014.Following IV injections: 120 3g and 110 5.75 gram in 2016 to 2019. consecutive cardiac CT scans indicated almost complete reversal of calcification. I'm preparing to publish my finding in near future.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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