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Our Animals Need to Detox Too!

by Erin Zamzow, DVM

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We are living in a world in which toxics are been introduced at an alarming rate. The toll of chronic heavy metal and chemical buildup in our animals' bodies cannot be understated. While all body systems are compromised, the most dangerous consequences are seen in the immune, endocrine, and nervous systems. Once these systems are impaired, maintaining functional health becomes a constant and often impossible struggle. Some of the proven consequences of body toxicity include almost all degenerative diseases: cancer, premature aging, and compromised immune systems.

Until recently these "low-grade" issues have either been brushed off or treated with pharmaceuticals. Traditional treatment success has been limited and as more research and data emerge, many mainstream practitioners are concluding that organ toxicity is the major player in this unhappy cycle.

Sources of toxics include but are not limited to: our food, water, and air and the increasing levels of industrial and household chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides. We need no reminder of the recent pet food recall catastrophe to insure that we are diligent about our animals' food. Even organically grown ingredients cannot be protected from polluted air and rain. A study done by Gloria Dodd, DVM found heavy metals in even high quality canned pet food and unacceptably high levels of aluminum in many pet foods.

Effects of Toxics on Animals
Toxics affect the body in three general ways: by disrupting the production of ATP by disrupting organs and membranes (free radicals); by disrupting cell function and signaling (pesticides with chlorinated hydrocarbons or organophosphates; endocrine disruptors; heavy metals), and by disrupting gene expression (cancer). Heavy metals are known to be preferentially bound to receptors that are meant to receive minerals such as zinc, calcium, or magnesium. Therefore they can interfere with immune function, muscle contraction, energy production and repair of bone. Arsenic and chromium bind to DNA.

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the action of natural hormones. Molecules that look similar can "mimic" hormones, blocking the intended activity, and can disrupt the entire signaling system. Unfortunately, even molecules that do not have structures similar to hormones can also interfere with endocrine signals, making it extraordinarily difficult to tell which compounds may interfere.

Free Radicals
Because metals easily gain and lose electrons, they can act to trigger the formation of free radicals. Molecules need pairs of electrons to be stable and, if missing one from the pair, they are considered a "free radical" and will 'steal' an electron from a neighboring molecule in order to re-stabilize themselves. The molecule that was robbed now becomes a free radical and a chain reaction of free radical formation can occur. If this chain reaction cannot be stopped by the antioxidants in the body, oxidative stress results. Some free radicals are actually necessary in normal physiology, and are required in normal enzyme reactions and in the work of the signaling molecule. However, an excess of them or abnormal free radical molecules results in irreparable damage.

Helping Our Pets Detoxify
One very effective and safe way of removing heavy metals and toxins from the body is through the use of ingested zeolites. Zeolites are minerals formed when volcanic ash hits seawater. Tiny honeycomb-shaped cages are formed in a mineral matrix that has a very strong negative charge. Since heavy metals and many toxins have a positive charge, they are attracted to the little cages, trapped and passively removed so as not to create a greater burden on the kidneys or other organs of elimination. Other methods include acupuncture, homeopathy, and herbal or nutritional supplements.

Antioxidants are essential in scavenging free radical molecules, and protecting and repairing tissues. In this way they can reduce the damage of infection, inflammation, and slow down the effects of aging. Using "Network Antioxidants" together dramatically boosts antioxidant activity. These unique antioxidants refresh and recharge each other, allowing them to do their work over and over again. Included in this group are CoenzymeQ10, Alpha Lipoic acid, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Glutathione. A supplement that provides valuable antioxidants as well as supporting the body's endogenous production of these substances is ideal.

The body is designed to heal and all the mechanisms are already in place. Removing the roadblocks to health and encouraging natural healing mechanisms is the most basic foundation we can lay for our pets' long and happy lives.

Dr. Zamzow is the co-formulator for VivoAnimals, which provides innovative, cutting-edge natural health solutions for the animal companions in our lives. For more information call (877) 848-6628 or visit www.animaldetox.com.

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