The Rodney Dangerfield of Vitamins

The more, I use vitamin C, the more I realize it does not get enough respect. Vitamin C is the Swiss Army Knife of nutrients. It is an antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, chemotherapy agent, antitoxin…. It seems to me the reason for the misunderstanding surrounding vitamin C is that is no standard dosage. Vitamin C must be dosed to effect or its benefits will not be realized. To further complicate matters, the effective dose will vary from patient to patient- and from day to day- depending on the body’s biochemical status.

Vitamin C is the most researched chemical there is. It, also, may be the safest. In the human literature, doses over 100,000 mg are used routinely. I, myself, am taking 40,000 mg daily to treat my disc disease- with great success. Vitamin C, in my experience, is the best pain reliever for back pain- better than tramadol, methocarbamol, etc. When the functionally adequate dose is achieved, the pain disappears. When the pain returns, it is time to take more vitamin C.

Recommended Supplements

I am frequently asked what supplements I recommend. If the goal is cancer prevention or lifelong maximum functionality, I recommend the following: 1.) multiple vitamin such as Nutrient 950 by Pure Encapsulations, 2.) probiotic such as Pro 5 by Klaire Labs, 3.) vitamin C, 4.) MSM, 5.) Potassium/Magnesium by Pure Encapsulations, 6.) flaxseed oil such as Barlean’s Organic (non-lignan), 7.) iodine, and 8.) NAC (n-acetyl-cysteine).

As a pet ages, there are two functional issues that are of central importance. The first is getting enough of the “right” things into the body. The second is getting the “wrong” things out of the body. If these two things can be achieved, maximum function is attained- and maintained.

Holistic Cure for Cancer

“Is there a holistic cure for cancer” is one of the most common inquiries we get. It is a difficult question to answer. There are, of course, holistic cures for many cancers. Dr. Nicholas Gonzales has been treating and curing “incurable” cancers such as stage 4 pancreatic adenocarcinoma for years. The Gerson clinics have also been successful in curing many types of cancer.

The problem has been that the Gonzales and the Gerson protocols are so complicated that they are impossible to apply to dogs and cats.
So I have been looking for a protocol that is simple enough that it can be used for pets. Google recently alerted me to such a protocol- “because of my interest in alternative medicine”- which they had noted in tracking my activity on the internet. They sent me a link to the Budwig Diet. The Budwig Diet was developed by Dr. Johanna Budwig, a German physician and scientist who was nominated 7 times for the Nobel Prize. Many consider her the greatest nutritional scientist of the 20th century.

The Budwig Diet consists of flaxseed oil and cottage cheese. Couldn’t be simpler. There is a lot of information about it- including sites devoted to dogs. Hopefully, this information will be helpful. If you try it, please let us know if it is successful.

Old Dogs and Magnesium

Two weeks ago, we saw a 10 year dog that had been having seizures for several days. There are several things which can cause seizures in older dogs. In my experience, the most common is a functional deficiency of magnesium. Estimates are that approximately 30% of the human population in this country is deficient in magnesium. My impression is that magnesium deficiency is probably just as common in dogs.

Most of the body’s store of magnesium is intracellular. This means that attempting to assess a dog’s magnesium status with the standard blood chemistry panel will not reveal the functional deficiencies that are the cause of seizures in many old dogs. The best way to assess magnesium is by measuring red blood cell magnesium. This is often done in a panel which measures both essential and toxic mineral content of red blood cells. If one wishes to determine a given dog’s nutritional needs, the red blood cell mineral panel is an excellent means of doing so.

A Most Unusual Case of Chronic Vomiting

An 18 month old, neutered male Boston Terrier presented with a long history of chronic vomiting. The dog was treated with the usual medications and would be better for a while. His diet had been changed several times. He would improve with each change, but after a couple weeks would begin vomiting again.

The history suggested chronic gastritis due to food allergies. A food allergy panel showed allergies to many foods. A Stool Microbial Profile showed major deficiencies in probiotic bacteria- but no pathogens. A hypoallergenic diet and probiotic were started. He was normal for a few weeks, but the vomiting began again.

A Snap CPL test was abnormal- suggesting pancreatitis. A CBC was within normal limits. A chemistry panel revealed a mild elevation in ALT ( liver enzyme) and very low serum chloride. He was treated for pancreatitis and responded well.

Two months later the vomiting began again. At this point, it was clear the dog was suffering from something unusual. A Urine Essential Elements panel was run since the serum chloride had been low. Low serum chloride can be associated with hypochlorhydria ( low stomach acid). Iodine is essential for the production of stomach acid so a Urine Halides Panel was run. 90% of the time the Urine Halides Panel shows elevated fluoride- which can block iodine. In this case, urine fluoride was normal, but urine iodine was so low that none could be detected. Iodine supplement and betaine HCl (stomach acid) were started. At recheck 3 months later, the dog continues to do well.

SSKI- An Old Drug Reconsidered

SSKI(super saturated potassium iodide) is an old drug that has been largely forgotten over the years. In the early 20th century, it was the medication most commonly prescribed by physicians. A medical maxim from that time gives some idea how commonly it was used- “if ye know not what, where or why, prescibe ye then K & I.”

I became interested in it because of personal thyroid problems- which SSKI has largely resolved. Thank you, Dr. Google! In addition to thyroid dysfunctions, SSKI can be used for many different conditions. It is effective against fungal diseases such as ringworm, athlete’s foot, and sporotrichosis. It also will resolve sebaceous cysts.

SSKI can be used against other infections. Urinary tract infections respond well. It will often help with respiratory infections. It can be applied to gums to treat gingivitis. It is probably effective against any infectious agent- that’s why it is used as a disinfectant. There are many other indications for the use of SSKI that apply more to humans than pets.

SSKI is also effective in removing toxic halides (fluoride and bromine) form the body. Fluoride toxicity appears to be much more common in dogs than the literature would suggest. We have now tested 14 dogs for urine halides. All but one has shown elevated fluoride levels in their urine. The exact significance of this is not known at this time. I’ll keep you posted as to our experience. Theoretically, elevated fluoride affects many body organs. It might even be a major contributor to food allergies. We will see.

The First Day of Fall- Winter is Coming

As I was feeding the horses this morning, I noticed they were beginning to get their winter coats. Right on schedule as this is the first day of fall. The transition from summer to winter is a slow process that takes several weeks. Outwardly it is apparent as the hair coat changes in preparation for cold weather. There are internal changes which must be made to enable the animal to survive winter. Miles of capillaries must be absorbed and, then, re-routed to direct blood away from the skin in order to conserve heat. This places a tremendous physiologic demand on the animal. It is especially important for older animals. Most people recognize the need for protein and vitamins which animals experience during the fall, but are not aware of great demand for cellular energy this process creates. Cellular energy is created by intracellular organelles called mitochondria. In older animals, especially, mitochondrial support is very important at this time of year. There are many mitochondrial support products available. We recommend Mitochondrial ATP by Pure Encapsulations.

Your Dog Needs a Job

Many behaviorists and trainers recommend that high energy dogs have a “job”. Finding a “job” for most dogs is challenging as most require advanced training and are not really open to pet dogs. My dogs have several jobs. The one I would like to recommend is tracking. On Sundays mornings either my wife or I will go hide. The dog’s job is to find the person who is hiding by tracking. It is surprising how much energy a dog expends in tracking. Tracking can be done almost anyplace and doesn’t require expensive equipment. Dogs can be taught to track easily and, with practice, become quite good at it. Here is a link describing a training protocol. (

Chronic Fatigue

Those of you who are familiar with functional medicine will not be surprised that I, a veterinarian, spend a lot of time reading the functional medicine literature about people. I am always looking for new ideas to help my patients- as well as myself. I have recently been dealing with my own low body temperature, which has been a major concern considering the record cold winter in Ann Arbor this year. After a great deal of searching, I finally found a book that addressed the issue. The book is “Stop the Thyroid Madness” by Janie A. Bowthorpe. In addition to inabilty to maintain body temperature, the book addresses chronic fatigue. I have suffered with chronic fatigue for almost 20 years- but no more! The STTM approach to adrenal and thyroid dysfunction is something I wish I had found years ago- Oh well. I recommend it to anyone suffering with fatigue, exhaustion, depression, etc. Many older pets also suffer from the same problems. I am hopeful addressing adrenal and thyroid issues using the STTM protocol will greatly increase the quality of life for older pets.

Protein Requirement in Chronic Renal Disease

Recent research has raised serious questions regarding dietary protein restriction in dogs with chronic renal disease. It appears that another medical myth has bit the dust. The rationale for protein restriction for chronic renal disease patients appears to have been based on flimsy data that has been refuted. The recommendation currently is for high quality protein with restriction applied only in advanced disease.

From a functional perspective, it is important to keep in mind the role of digestive enzymes and stomach acid in protein metabolism. Since most pets with chronic renal disease are older, they often benefit from enzyme and stomach acid supplementation.