Guest Post: Elliot Harvey’s Natural Health Column:
Individually, a chemical may not alter gene expression or cause mutations, but the sheer number of chemicals used in the environment interact and become even more toxic to dogs and cats; sometimes they intensify one another, but there are instances when a relatively innocuous substance will become toxic when combined by accident or purposely with a second chemical.
Since so many of us throughout the United States, especially in California and Florida, have been subjected to aerial spraying with malathion, let us look at this chemical as an example. The pesticide malathion is ordinarily a minimal threat to a healthy body because it passes through the body in an inert state. However, when an organophosphate is present at the same time, this chemical inhibits the body’s ability to produce an enzyme that renders malathion harmless! Organophosphates allow the body to assimilate and store malathion, making it a toxic substance. Commonly used organophosphates include diazinon, methyl parathion, dursban, dichlorvos, phosmet, etc. Touted as a safe alternative to organophosphates, pyrethrins are formulated with more lethal chemicals from the organophosphate families to enhance their kill capability. Glyphosate, a popular and widely used herbicide caused gene mutations, chromosomal aberrations, kidney and liver damage, and salivary gland lesions in animal studies. Studies of human subjects linked glyphosate to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and hairy cell leukemia. Since this chemical is used as an herbicide, how can you know what exposure your dog undergoes when you cannot see the chemical? (Residues of this chemical linger in the environment for a year or more.)
Add to the environmental hazards faced by pets the addition of veterinary chemicals used to prevent heartworm, fleas, and ticks, and your animals are living in a vat of chemicals. Not even your veterinarian fully understands the interaction of these toxins. Imidacloprid is an agricultural chemical now in use as a veterinary drug. In animal studies, imidacloprid caused thyroid lesions and some stress to the liver. Generational reproduction studies in animals produced increased skeletal abnormalities and reduced body weights. In some laboratory tests, imidacloprid caused changes in chromosomes in human lymphocytes. Another veterinary drug, fipronil, administered monthly by your veterinarian has a half-life of three to seven months when used in agriculture. Fipronil blocks the gamma-aminobutyric acid- (GABA) regulated chloride channel in neurons. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) studies show fipronil causes endocrine disruption (thyroid and pituitary weights) and it affects the nervous system during fetal development. This chemical is on the EPA's list of "Possible Human Carcinogens." Lufenuron, is an insect growth regulator very popular and effective as an oral flea control. Lufenuron's sister chemical is diflubenzuron. Two metabolites of diflubenzuron are para-chloroaniline (PCA) and 4-clorophenylurea (CPU). In animal studies, PCA and CPU increased the incidence of hemangiosarcoma and osteosarcoma in animal studies. Lufenuron accumulates in fatty tissues where many other chemicals are stored. So many of these chemicals are more powerful when used topically, which is insane since that is exactly how they are used!
This is just a tiny sample of veterinary drugs used to keep pets free of parasites which would probably be safe if you could guarantee that your dog or cat did not come into contact with any other chemical—an unrealistic assumption since some chemicals occurring as by-products of waste management and manufacture have not even been identified!
So what do you do to offer some protection to your dogs since changing the chemical environment is not going to happen in our lifetime? Of course, you must start by avoiding chemical exposures. Read labels, visit sites on the internet to learn more about the chemicals you unthinkingly add to your environment. Green lawns come with a very heavy price for your family pets!
Through diet and supplements, you can defend and repair the immune system, detoxify and support the body’s filter (the liver) and provide protection to the gastrointestinal tract. There are herbs, vitamins, minerals and phyto-chemicals that play important roles in modulating gene expression. Scientists are beginning to uncover evidence that diseases previously attributed to bad genes in fact are the result of a diet that does not meet the genetically determined nutritional needs of the individual. A factor called "biochemical individuality" is the unique set of genetic elements that your pets possess. These fundamentals control its metabolism, nutritional needs and environmental sensitivities. You can see that your pets’ long-term health needs a lot more attention!
In addition to proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals food contains phyto-chemicals which are plant-derived substances that can modify gene expression. A diet rich in phyto-chemicals—phenolic compounds, terpenoids, pigments and other natural antioxidants including carotenes, are all associated with protecting against cancer and chronic diseases. Researchers have identified many active substances in these anticancer plant foods that modify gene expression to offer protection against chronic diseases. For example, bioflavonoids, carotenoids and terpenoids in various plant foods modify inflammation and immunity; saponins in legumes act as anticancer agents. Phytochemicals in spices can also influence gene expression. The substance, curcumin, found in the spice turmeric, is a powerful antioxidant that reduces gene expression associated with inflammation. Curcumin helps absorb harmful substances produced within the cell that can damage the genes that provide anti-inflammatory function to the body. Ginger is another spice that contains phytochemicals that modify gene expression and help to reduce inflammation.
Providing a diet that meets your individual pet’s biochemical individuality can be a challenge when you look at the sources of these nutrients—food grown in mineral depleted soils! Supplementing may not be a luxury but a necessity.
We will explore in future articles the benefits of reading and understanding pet product labels and the benefits of feeding your pet healthy foods and a new anti-cancer protocol is presently being tested by veterinarian clinics with positive results.
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This post was written by Elliot Harvey MH of www.doctorsfinest.com. Author of “The Healthy Wholistic Dog,” Elliot has years of experience in animal health and wellness. Pet Assure is not affiliated with and does not endorse Great Life Performance Pet Products. Pet Assure is presenting this guest post for the benefit of its readers and retains no financial interest in any future transactions.