Newsletter - December 2012
Tori's had a lifetime of urinary tract infections, and nothing seemed to help. The vet feels it's due to a lifetime of prednisone, a structural issue, and probably because there's mild incontinence as well. Whatever the cause, saying it's been a challenge to keep things under control would be an understatement. I searched for something that could help, and while everything I'm listing below has some science behind it, none did the job when used alone. The combination is what seems to be helping and the proof is that Tori's been free of UTIs for about one year - a record for her.
I've talked about this before, but the subject of UTIs comes up fairly often on the K9Kitchen list, so I want to share what's been working here. I started off by using cranberry. Despite it's reputation to keep bacteria away from the bladder wall, it did absolutely nothing for Tori. I used D-Mannose, and it alone seemed to help a bit, but not nearly enough. Then I found this by Quest vitamins. It's a combination of cranberry and D-Mannose and Tori (15 1/2 pounds) gets just less than 1/4 capsule of powder mixed into her late snack of regular food with added water. To this mixture, I add 1/8 tsp acidophilus. Without the acidophilus, UTIs were less frequent, but with it, things are under control.
As an aside, the Quest product seems to be unavailable in the U.S. according to the clients I've spoken to, but maybe a further search would bring it up. If it's really not available, there are Canadian companies that sell it on-line.
New Knowledge About Vitamin D
McGill University in Canada is home to professors John White and David Goltzman in the Faculty of Medicine Department of Physiology. These two men lead a team that discovered that vitamin D in active form essentially shuts down cancer cells. Before everyone starts to pop vitamin D in mega doses, or gives huge amounts to dogs, let's get more of a handle on the mechanism of action that causes this incredibly beneficial effect.
It turns out that vitamin D inhibits production and function of the protein cMYC which happens to be the driver behind cell division and is active in elevated levels in over half of all cancers. The natural antagonist of cMYC is called MCD1 (had enough of letters and numbers yet?) and what's key here is that vitamin D stimulates production of MCD1. So, essentially, we have more more of the good stuff to shut down the protein that drives cell division in a great many cancers.
"Taken together, our results show that vitamin D puts the brakes on cMYC function, suggesting that it may slow the progression of cells from premalignant to malignant states and keep their proliferation in check”, said Dr. White
The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the National Cancer Institute/Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute.
This is exciting stuff, but what do we do with the information? How much vitamin D should we take? How much for dogs? There aren't concrete answers just yet, but the days of 400 IU per day for people are over! Well, unless you tend to form kidney stones or your doctor suggests otherwise. It's been several years since vitamin D was touted as pretty much a cure-all (it's not), but still, no set amount was established. Most naturopathic doctors I've spoken with over the years have suggested 2,000 IU per day for healthy people. In dogs, we know that the safe upper limit is 500% greater than the recommended allowance for healthy dogs, so there's a lot of wiggle room there, and I usually use more than the recommended allowance, especially for dogs that are genetically predisposed to cancer.
Foods with a lot of vitamin D in them aren't easy to find. Fish is a good source, but meats in general are not. Chicken skin is fairly good. For most dogs and people, supplemental vitamin D can be helpful, but I still prefer to find a natural source. That's why I take (and use for dogs, including Tori) wild salmon oil. In some cases, especially when a dog can't tolerate much oil, cod liver oil can work very well. The benefit to using these fish oils is that we also take in some omega 3 fatty acids - a bonus for our brain cells, heart, eyes and skin. Sure, I still take supplemental vitamin D, but I need less of it when taking wild salmon oil, and the benefits are great!
A heartfelt thank-you for your support during our 2 day sale in November. We were blown away by your response, so we kept packing and shipping almost 24/7. It was hectic, fun, and we feel great about helping you meet some health goals for both your two legged and furrier family members.
I've been so busy that November ran away from me, and posting to my blog couldn't be a priority. Still, there's one entry that I hope you'll find helpful. Be warned: graphic poop pictures might make you want to put down your coffee cup.
" In times of joy, all of us wish we possessed a tail we could wag" ~ W.H. Auden