Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size


EDTA is a molecule called a chelating agent. A chelating agent is a claw-like substance that can grab and stick to other molecules.

Some types of EDTA stick to calcium. Other types stick to metals, such as lead.

Recommended Related to Vitamins & Supplements

Branched-Chain Amino Acids

Branched-chain amino acids are essential nutrients. They are proteins found in food. Your muscles "burn" these amino acids for energy. The specific amino acids that make up the branched-chain amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The term branched-chain simply refers to their chemical structure.

Read the Branched-Chain Amino Acids article > >

Why do people take EDTA?

EDTA is sometimes prescribed by doctors to clean toxic metals, such as lead, from the blood. Doctors have used the molecule for decades to treat heavy metal poisoning. In those cases it is given through an IV.

EDTA is also an ingredient in some prescription cancer-fighting medicines.

Supplement makers claim that over-the-counter forms of EDTA can be taken by mouth to "detox" the body and make your gastrointestinal tract healthier. There is no scientific evidence to support this.

Some have also advertised that EDTA might help fight clogged arteries (arteriosclerosis) by removing cholesterol and plaque from the bloodstream. Again, there is no research to show this really works.

Some people take EDTA to try to treat:

However, evidence is lacking that EDTA works for those conditions. Recent studies say it is not helpful and may even be dangerous.

Optimal doses of EDTA supplements have not been set. Supplement ingredients and quality may vary widely. This makes it hard to set a standard dose.

Can you get EDTA naturally from foods?

EDTA is a chemical that is added to certain foods and beverages to help them keep their color and flavor. For instance, it is sometimes added to:

The FDA says EDTA is considered safe for use in foods in the U.S.

What are the risks of taking EDTA?

The most common side effect of EDTA is burning at the IV site.

Chelating agents can also have serious, even life-threatening side effects. One of the most serious side effects of EDTA is kidney damage and kidney failure.

Other side effects that have been reported in patients taking some forms of EDTA have included:

Vitamins and
Lifestyle Guide

Which Nutrients
Are You Missing?

Learn More

Today on WebMD

vitamin rich groceries
Do you know your vitamin ABCs?
St Johns wart
Ease hot flashes and other symptoms.
Are you getting enough?
Take your medication
Wonder pill or overkill?
fruits and vegetables
Woman sleeping
Woman staring into space with coffee

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.