Chelation therapy is an older, more controversial treatment for autism. However, recent studies have caught the attention of medical professionals and advocates alike. By 2022, some believe chelation will become a standard protocol in the field of neurology and behavioral health with further research on its effects expand their understanding to new perspectives on this condition.
Chelation therapy is a medical treatment that uses chemicals to remove heavy metals from the body. It is often used in the treatment of autism. In 2022, it will be important to know what chelation therapy is and why it’s so dangerous.
Chelation is a medical procedure used to eliminate heavy metals from people who are experiencing acute toxicity or poisoning. Because the individual suffering from toxicity will be in discomfort and may have organ damage or failure, the therapy is usually administered in a hospital environment.
Unfortunately, numerous firms have marketed chelation “treatment” off-label to cure a variety of medical disorders for which pharmaceuticals are ineffective. Chelation may be more harmful in certain instances. Autism is one of these disorders.
When the connection between autism with childhood vaccines started to be popularized in the late 1990s, the relationship between autism and chelation treatment was established. The allegation that vaccinations contain high quantities of mercury that may cause autism has never been confirmed, and the advantages of chelation treatment have also never been established. In fact, there have been multiple stories of children dying after receiving chelation treatment from their parents.
Work with your child’s physician and behavior therapist to manage emotional, mental, physical, and behavioral health rather than listening to anecdotal information. Autism may be treated with evidence-based therapies, and behavior therapy is a good place to start.
What Is Chelation Therapy and How Does It Work?
Heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and arsenic may accumulate in the body and cause poisoning. If there is too much copper or iron for the kidneys or liver to filter out, it may build up in the body.
Chelation is a medical therapy that involves medications called chelators that bind to metals in the circulation and filter them out of the body to lessen or halt organ damage. The drug is removed via urine, which is filtered by the kidneys, after it has bonded to the poison.
Because chelation is such a thorough medical procedure, the medications do have negative effects. When a person is admitted to the hospital for heavy metal poisoning, the advantages far exceed the hazards. Acute poisoning from mercury, arsenic, lead, or other industrial poisons or metals puts people in great risk and need quick medical attention.
These medications will only be given to those who have heavy metal poisoning, according to doctors. A urine sample is used to determine the presence of heavy metals or toxins in the blood and to make a diagnosis.
Unfortunately, some organizations or people claim that chelation treatment may remove “toxins” from the body without the patient having to be admitted to the hospital. Chelation therapy has been incorrectly linked to the treatment of medical disorders such as arteriosclerosis (damaged arteries), severe leg cramps caused by clogged or damaged arteries, neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, and lowering or even “curing” autistic symptoms. These are untrue statements.
There is no treatment for autism, and no scientific evidence supports the use of chelation for anything other than severe metal toxicity. People who do not have a diagnosed medical cause to get this treatment face serious adverse effects. Any group advertising chelation therapy as a viable treatment for autism spectrum disorder should be avoided.
Chelation Therapy in the United States: An Overview
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 111,000 persons in the United States reported using chelation treatment to treat diseases for which it was not licensed in 2007. In addition, 72,000 children under the age of 18 got chelation treatment to address a variety of health concerns for which the medications had not been licensed.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States advises against utilizing chelation therapy as a treatment for autism. Chelation therapy performed outside of hospitals or physicians’ offices include sprays, capsules, liquid drops, clay baths, and even suppositories, according to the government agency.
These are hazardous for a variety of reasons. They’re used to treat diseases for which these drugs haven’t been licensed. They aren’t given or monitored by a medical expert, either.
These medicines have dangerous negative effects when they are overused. They have the ability to extract vital minerals from the body. Metals and minerals are required by your organs in a precise proportion, and removing them might be harmful.
The following are some of the reported chelation medication negative effects:
- Kidney problems
Chelation treatment for autism was developed in tandem with the anti-vaccine movement. This movement wrongly claimed that the quantity of heavy metals, particularly mercury, found in conventional childhood immunizations to protect against measles, mumps, and rubella might cause autism in young children. Research investigations have frequently refuted this idea.
Any group that continues to promote the disproved belief that there is a relationship between autism and vaccinations is preying on parents’ fears. There is no scientific evidence for a link between the two.
There are no medical studies that support the use of chelation therapy to treat autism.
Since the late 1990s, medical experts have looked at the possibility of a connection between childhood vaccines and autism. There is no relationship between the two.
If a kid is healthy, vaccines begin when they are between the ages of one and four. This is also the age at which the earliest and most noticeable signs of autism occur. Autism is more likely to be diagnosed shortly after receiving vaccinations, and this is the sole link between the two.
While there is anecdotal evidence from parents who have used chelation treatment to help the process, no medical studies have shown positive results for children. There have been cases of people dying as a result of using chelation treatment to treat autistic symptoms.
According to a 2009 research, there was no statistically significant beneficial behavioral change linked with this treatment, and there were no indicators that substantial levels of heavy metals were being eliminated from the body. Instead, the research discovered unacceptably high risks and no demonstrable benefits for children with autism.
A 2015 research looked for any evidence from medical studies on chelation as a therapy for autism. There was just one research that looked at the procedure using methodology. There was also no research that looked at the connection between heavy metal poisoning and autism, which would suggest that chelation therapy may be used to treat this developmental disease. The hazards, according to the research, greatly surpassed any potential advantages.
Extreme dangers, including the possibility of death
Outside of severe heavy metal intoxication, there are no advantages to undergoing chelation treatment. There have also been stories of persons dying after using chelation therapy as an off-label treatment. In the year 2005,
- A Texas teenager had a heart attack as a result of chelation therapy-induced hypocalcemia.
- In Pennsylvania, a 5-year-old kid died of heart failure due by chelation therapy-induced hypocalcemia.
Chelation therapy is not a good or safe way to treat autism. It will not alleviate the condition’s symptoms, and it is more likely to damage your kid.
Other Medical Treatments Should Be Pursued
Your doctor can assist you with a number of suggested therapies. Begin with behavior modification. Working with an applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapist is common in this situation. This specialist can create a treatment plan for your kid to assist them acquire skills that will help them improve sociability and communication, two of the most difficult behavioral areas for autistic children.
Because it has been consistently proved to help children with autism, ABA therapy is considered the gold standard in autism treatment. The sooner you begin this treatment, the better.
An accurate early diagnosis of autism allows for quicker access to therapy. While ABA treatment may assist persons of any age, when it is started at a young age, the outcomes are usually more spectacular and occur more rapidly.
You may also consult a dietitian, speech therapist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, or other specialists to help your child’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. While ABA therapy is often the cornerstone of treatment, these additional services may help to advance the development of certain abilities.
Chelation: Is it a “Therapy” or a “Therapy”? Poison Control in the National Capital Region.
Be Wary of Potentially Dangerous Autism-Treating Products and Therapies. (Updated April 2019) Food and Drug Administration of the United States (FDA).
Vaccines are not linked to the development of autism. (In March of 2020). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a U.S. government agency that (CDC).
Chelation therapy is a kind of treatment that involves the use of chemicals The Association for Science in Autism Treatment is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving autism treatment (ASAT).
Autism Spectrum Disorder Chelation (May 2015). The Cochrane Library is a collection of books published by the Cochrane
Deaths Associated with Chelation Therapy-Induced Hypocalcemia in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Oregon, 2003-2005. (February 2006). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) (CDC).
After receiving chelation therapy for autism, a British boy died. In August of 2005, Today’s Medpage.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment and Intervention Services (Updated September 2019) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a U.S. government agency that (CDC).
What Is Applied Behavior Analysis and How Does It Work? Autism Speaks is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about
Doctors are being sued by a father for ‘fraudulent’ autism therapy (March 2010). ABC News is a reputable news organization.
The National Institutes of Health’s study on chelation therapy has been slammed by experts (July 2008). Spectrum.
Unproven Claims and Unsound Theories in Chelation Therapy (November 2013). Quackwatch.
Books promoting autism cures and vaccine misinformation have been removed from Amazon (March 2019). NBC News is a news organization.
Chelation therapy is a treatment for autism that involves the administration of intravenous infusions of chelating agents. It has been used in the past to treat lead poisoning, and it is still sometimes used for this purpose. Chelation therapy may be harmful to children with autism as well as adults who have not yet developed symptoms. Reference: is chelation therapy safe.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the side effects of chelation therapy?
A: Chelation therapy is a common treatment for heart failure, when severe scarring (calcification) of the arteries prevents blood flow to some or all parts of the body. Side effects typically include lightheadedness and headache in addition to metallic taste in mouth, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
What is the process of chelation?
A: Chelation is a medical process to remove heavy metals from the body. It usually involves using an agent like EDTA, or lipoic acid which binds specifically to certain metals and pulls them out of the bloodstream into another solution.
How much does chelation treatment cost?
A: Chelation treatment costs vary a lot depending on which doctor, hospital and location you go to. It primarily depends on who is treating the patient.
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Janice is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Special Education. She also holds a Master of Science in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) from Queen’s University, Belfast. She has worked with and case managed children and youth with autism and other intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in home and residential setting since 2013.