EDTA and Kidney Disease

Dear Dr. Dean,

I am a 66-year old male with chronic kidney disease (CKD). My glomerular filtration rate is down to 22%. Traditional Western Medicine does not leave me a lot of hope for renewing my kidneys and full function.

I’ve read that chelation therapy could greatly enhance the performance or reversal of kidney disease; BUT… I also read that one should not do chelation therapy with kidney disease.

I found a liquid formula that claims 95% absorption rate of 450 mg EDTA, and although oral chelation is much “safer” than infusion chelation therapy, is this 95% absorption rate at 5 servings per day too high for using with my condition?

Here is the website and product… https://www.cardiorenew.com/6weekfoundationpack.php

I sure could use some help and advice,

Most sincerely,

TERRY, Palm City, FL

Dear Terry,

I understand your quandary.

I read the material on the website you provided, and don’t believe for one minute their claim of 95% absorption of their product. EDTA, taken as tablets or capsules, will become “liquefied” as it passes through the GI tract. There is nothing magic about their delivery system. Many studies have confirmed that only about 5% of ingested EDTA is absorbed as it passes through the GI tract. About 95% of the ingested EDTA is excreted unchanged in the stool.1-3

The product you are considering was supported by only quasi-scientific mumbo-jumbo and speculation, regarding its supposedly superior absorption. Not one study was presented to support their unbelievable claims.

Similarly, one can also depreciate the falsity of the claims for the superiority of rectal EDTA, too. EDTA is going to arrive in the rectum no matter in which end of the GI tract it is introduced. I don’t believe that rectally-inserted EDTA could be absorbed more efficiently than orally-ingested EDTA which passes through the entire GI tract.

Consider that most oral EDTA formulas provide 1,000 mg per day. This amounts to absorption of about 1.5 g/month (30 x 1,000 x .05 = 1,500). This is equivalent to about half of the usual 3 g intravenous dose, spread out over a month. Nevertheless, oral EDTA provides benefits that intravenous EDTA does not. First, intravenous EDTA is completely excreted in the urine within 24 hours. That means, there is no EDTA “on board” on the days between treatments. With oral EDTA, there is always some EDTA in the blood, providing significant protection against thromboses and emboli. Second, with oral EDTA, enterohepatic reabsorption of heavy metals in the gut is prevented, resulting in a lower body burden of toxic heavy metals. I believe oral EDTA is a useful adjunct to intravenous chelation therapy.

With the low absorption of oral EDTA, I think you could safely take an oral chelation product. I had a patient with severe kidney disease, who was on dialysis. I administered IV chelation treatments, starting with only 1 ml of EDTA (150 mg) each week. I tracked his glomerular filtration rate (GFR) after each treatment, and increased his dose by 1 additional ml each week, until he reached a dose of 10 ml (1500 mg EDTA). During this time, his GFR increased slightly, and he was able to increase the interval between his dialysis treatments.

Another way to support your kidneys is to use a sauna. The chemical constituency of sweat is almost the same as urine, only more dilute. We have about the same number of sweat glands as we have nephrons in one kidney. The sweat gland system is in essence, a “third kidney.”4

Without getting deeply into thermoregulatory physiology, when we are exposed to heat, our bodies’ method of maintaining a normal temperature is “evaporative cooling”—i.e., we sweat. The reason to use a dry sauna, is that wet skin inhibits sweating, reduces evaporative cooling, and increases heat stress. To maximize sweating, keep the skin dry by frequent toweling, or install a fan in the sauna to help evaporate the sweat.5

In this regard, regular use of a dry sauna may offer you some relief. The sauna has been used by patients with chronic renal failure, resulting in reductions in serum urea and potassium, eliminating or reducing the requirement for fluid restriction, alleviated uremic pruritus (itching), improved mental outlook, and reduced the frequency of dialysis treatments.6-8

Finally, Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw, writing in their Life Extension News, reported on the benefits of Taurine for preventing and treating age-associated and diabetes-related declines in kidney function.9-10 I usually recommend a dose of 1500-2000 mg per day for those with impaired kidney function.

Ward Dean, MD


  1. Foreman EI, Trujillo TT. The metabolism of C14 labeled ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid in human beings. J Lab Clin Med. 1954 Apr;43(4):566-71.
  2. Sato K. The physiology, pharmacology and biochemistry of the eccrine sweat gland. Rev Physiol Biochem Pharmacol. 1977;79:51-131.
  3. Ethylenediaminetetraacetate, disodium and calcium disodium salts. Seventeenth Report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, Wld Hlth Org. techn. Rep. Ser., 1974, No. 539; FAO Nutrition Meetings Report Series, 1974, No. 53. Accessed: January 21. http://www.inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jecmono/v05je25.htm
  4. Miller JK, Byrne WF. Absorption, Excretion, and Tissue Distribution of orally and intravenously administered radiocerium as affected by EDTA. J Dairy Sci. 1970 Feb;53(2):171-5.
  5. Dean W. Proposal for an improved sauna based on thermoregulatory physiology. Spec Sci Tech. 1983;6(1):33-6.
  6. Snyder D, Merrill JP. Sauna baths in the treatment of chronic renal failure. Trans Am Soc Artif Intern Organs. 1966;12:188-92.
  7. Man in ‘t Veld AJ, van Maanen JH, Schicht IM. Stimulated sweating in chronic renal failure. Br Med J. 1978, Jul 15;2(6131):172-3.
  8. Lacher JW, Schrier RW. Sweating treatment for chronic renal failure. Nephron. 1978;21(5):255-9.
  9. Chesney RW, Han X, Patters AB. Taurine and the renal system. J Biomed Sci. 2010 Aug 24;17 Suppl 1:S4. doi: 10.1186/1423-0127-17-S1-S4.
  10. Pearson D, & Shaw S. Taurine protects against age-associated decline in kidney function. Life Enhancement. 2014 September; 17(8).

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