The kidney disease research that could save hearts

If doctors are so sure cholesterol is the biggest danger to your heart, you might want to ask yourself why a coronary calcium scan, which measures the calcium in your arteries, is the surest predictor of heart attack risk?

No doubt about it, anyone in cardiovascular research knows calcium is the culprit behind heart disease. In fact calcium trumps cholesterol at saving the heart.

But for far too long the focus has been on cholesterol. The money for research and the development of pharmaceuticals that manage cholesterol (as well as research for off label uses for these meds) has created quite a lucrative industry for those involved.

That makes it hard to look elsewhere for answers when cholesterol is footing all your bills.

But research into another growing health problem may intersect this blind spot of cardiovascular research to provide an answer for two very serious health conditions that both lead to vascular calcification… and hearts that give out.

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Why chronic kidney disease leads to heart disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) kills more people in American yearly than breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Part of the reason could be that there are so many Americans that have certain conditions that put them at high risk for it. Those conditions include diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

But heart disease isn’t just a risk factor. Chronic kidney disease can give you heart disease. In fact, most people with CKD die from heart disease — not kidney failure.

The reason? Calcium builds up in your arteries when your kidneys stop working.

Because vascular calcification is part and parcel to CKD the latest research into saving the lives of people with the disease aims to clear their arteries — which should be the same goal for saving patients with heart disease.

Removing rogue calcium saves lives

Researchers in Zurich, Switzerland, are looking at a plant molecule that naturally binds to minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron, to see if it will help remove the calcium salts that are deposited in the blood vessels and heart valves of patients with CKD as their metabolism is impaired by the disease.

“Calcification occurs when calcium phosphate crystals are deposited in tissue,” explains Jean-Christophe Leroux, Professor of Drug Formulation and Delivery at ETH Zurich. “The compound adheres to calcium phosphate crystals, inhibiting their growth.”

The compound is a molecule known as IP6 and is found legumes and cereals — perhaps one reason that foods high in fiber are often recommended for a heart-healthy diet.

The scientists have known for a while that IP6 also has an effect in the human bloodstream, where it has to be injected. So far, in vitro experiments to study the molecules’ ability to inhibit the growth of calcium phosphate crystals in the blood, as well as mice studies, shows IP6 is particularly suitable for the job.

However, it will be a while, following testing in humans, before IP6 could be the next prescription, aside from the same old statin handouts doctors offer us to actually remove calcium or keep it from building up in our arteries. But don’t hold your breath…

Who knows if you will have to have heart disease via CKD to even be offered the medication. Because cardiologists have known of a similar therapy that binds to calcium for decades, but they don’t talk about it…

Chelation for kidney patients but not heart patients

If you’ve been reading me for a while, you may already be familiar with the term chelation.

Chelation is a therapy that removes heavy metals and minerals from the blood using a chelator substance, like ethylenediamine tetra-acetic acid (EDTA), an amino acid, that binds to them. EDTA is well-known for removing calcium as a component of urine.

If that sounds like a possible alternative to bypass heart surgery, that’s because it could be. Since bypass surgery is the most profitable income to hospitals, a big propaganda effort by conventional medicine has been ongoing for many years.

EDTA is very similar in composition to common household vinegar, and it’s currently approved to help remove lead from people who’ve been exposed to too much. It’s also used by dentists as an irrigator during endodontic procedures.

And like IP6 is may be approved soon to be used on Chronic Kidney Disease patients to keep their arteries clear of calcium deposits.

Like the researchers in Zurich, researchers at Clemson University have set out to stop vascular calcification in CKD patients. In their work, animals were treated with EDTA infusions enclosed in a nanoparticle coupled with an antibody that seeks out damaged elastin. In animals that received the targeted therapy, calcium buildup was destroyed without causing side effects. Moreover, the calcification did not come back up to four weeks after the last injection, even though other signs of chronic kidney disease were present.

But unless your heart problems stem from CKD, you could be denied these potential treatments if and when they are approved. That’s because although many studies from the 1950s until the 1990s show chelation can improve heart disease symptoms and potentially reverse atherosclerosis, the FDA and most cardiologists aren’t on board with it.

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Healthy blood flow alternatives

EDTA chelation therapy is available through some specialized integrative physicians. I have also seen it in capsule form. But it’s not the only chelator (substance for binding and removing minerals). Some natural ones include:

  • Malic acid: Your body manufactures this natural chelator. Apples and grapes contain several hundred milligrams of malic acid. Although not as powerful as EDTA, it is thought to be a good addition to EDTA for improving blood flow, too.
  • Garlic: A natural chelator and also an antioxidant, garlic has the ability to chelate lead and mercury from the body. It is thought to help to lower the sticky cholesterol underlying the atherosclerosis process and help keep your arteries elastic.
  • Cilantro: is an important source of organic selenium, a very important mineral in heavy metal detox.

And other nutrients boost the health of arteries to keep them smooth and pliable:

  • L-Arginine: at 6 grams daily triggers the natural arterial secretion of nitric oxide, which dramatically relaxes arterial smooth muscle for optimal blood flow.
  • Nattokinase: nature’s blocker clot-buster derived from the Japanese natto bean. Keeps arterial blood flow optimal.
  • Alpha-lipoic acid: scavenges free radicals and helps to promote arterial flexibility.

Editor’s note: Have you heard of EDTA chelation therapy? It was developed originally to remove lead and other contaminants, including heavy metals, from the body. Its uses now run the gamut from varicose veins to circulation. Click here to discover Chelation: Natural Miracle for Protecting Your Heart and Enhancing Your Health!


  1. A new substance prevents vascular calcification — EurekAlert
  2. Kidney disease killer vulnerable to targeted nano therapy — EurekAlert


Margaret Cantwell

By Margaret Cantwell

Margaret Cantwell began her paleo diet in 2010 in an effort to lose weight. Since then, the diet has been instrumental in helping her overcome a number of other health problems. Thanks to the benefits she has enjoyed from her paleo diet and lifestyle, she dedicates her time as managing editor of Easy Health Digest™, researching and writing about a broad range of health and wellness topics, including diet, exercise, nutrition and supplementation, so that readers can also be empowered to experience their best health possible.