In utilizing laboratory testing to assess exposure to heavy metals, there has been a lot of controversy throughout the years over using chelated samples to report non-chelated ranges.
The question has been asked many times as to how a clinician is to accurately interpret a patient’s chelated results if they are based on non-chelated ranges. Progressive thinking tells us that there can’t possibly be a direct comparison. The sole purpose of chelating agents is to disrupt heavy metals that have settled in the tissues and pull them out to reveal total toxic burden on the body. So, it is expected that the use of a chelating agent would result in levels of heavy metals much higher than typical reference ranges. Others argue that chelated ranges are not necessary and that non-chelated ranges serve as a valuable tool in illustrating a decrease in heavy metal toxicity as the patient undergoes treatment. Under this line of thinking, non-chelated ranges provide a comparison as to what should be considered “normal” levels of heavy metals, as a patient’s toxicity levels decrease.
There are as many schools of thought on treatment for heavy metals as there are for chelated ranges versus non-chelated ranges. Therefore, Metametrix profiles that measure urinary Toxic Elements will include both chelated and non-chelated reference ranges. In addition, a host of analytes have been added to build a more robust test profile. This way, deciding on the best treatment protocol is in your hands. Either way, it’s important to know that you’ll get more sensitive results, whether you elect to examine chelated or non-chelated ranges. Samples collected without the use of a chelating agent will continue to only provide non-chelated ranges.
For those of you who are wondering, these new chelated and non-chelated ranges are a valuable tool for clinicians who use a patient’s full medical history (symptoms and exposure history) to determine the best course of treatment for those who are symptomatic of heavy metal toxicity.
~ Christie Edgeston