Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dogs, Cats and Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Niacin, and Thiamine

Dogs and cats share most health problems with humans. Readers of my blog know that I believe in attacking healthcare problems by all available means. I recommend following the advice of physicians and, in addition, taking extra vitamins. Most owners, however, can’t afford to provide their pets with the same quality of healthcare that they arrange for themselves. Fortunately, for the first time in human history, pet owners have access to affordable, high-potency vitamin supplements. Because of vitamins, this seemingly tragic situation may turn out to be a blessing for both pets and their owners.

My dog was beset with a bad case of arthritis. Every time I took her for a walk and she ran around, she would return in pain. It had gotten to the point where it was affecting all four legs and I was starting to need to carry her up and down the stairs. It was a sad situation. Then she got a cancerous growth on her face. After the surgeon removed the growth, I decided to treat her with vitamin D, niacin, and vitamin C. Specifically, I treated my 60 lb dog with 800 IU of vitamin D, 125 mg of time release niacin, and 2000 mg of vitamin C every other day (I coat the pills with peanut butter and she wolfs them down). I did this because all three vitamins are known to help the body fight off cancer. The result has been nothing short of miraculous. My dog is running around like she did when she was a puppy, and she jumps in and out of the back of the car on her own. I’ll let you know about the cancer after a year has gone by. So far, however, so good.

Dogs and cats provide our society with an opportunity to test the full potential of vitamins for treating cancer, because vitamins are often the only practical approach. We took Toffee to the dog oncologist. For us, the most difficult part of the recommended radiation treatment was the sheer effort involved. We both work and we have two kids in school. We might have been able to pull together the thousands of dollars needed, but driving the dog to and from chemotherapy sessions, and then nursing her in-between was more than we could manage.

Animals (including humans) are naturally resistant to cancer. Cancer is a disease of old, older, and oldest animals. Studies of cancer have proven that the cause of cancer typically involves multiple failures of basic metabolism. It is a complex disease, and there is a lot of variability between one case and another. Even a single cancer, e.g. colon cancer, can be fairly described as a family of diseases rather than a single disease. As a result, some patients diagnosed with colon cancer live for decades and die of other causes while other patients die in months. Due to the complexity of cancer, it is a near certainly that failures of vitamin-dependent metabolic pathways are sometimes involved.

I believe that treatment with vitamins is relatively straightforward. Four vitamins are the most important. Read more here These are vitamin C, niacin, fat-soluble thiamine, and vitamin D. As a starting point, I recommend feeding dogs and cats with cancer the following daily doses: 125 mg time release niacin, 2000 mg vitamin C, 800 IU vitamin D, and 20 mg of the fat-soluble thiamine known as TTFD. Doses in this range will cause side effects. Vitamin D can be particularly toxic. The most important side effect to watch out for is nausea. Never force a nauseous pet to eat vitamin supplements. The second most important side effect to watch out for is burning, itching skin (a niacin side effect). The pet can lick the fur off the irritated spot. Other than that, just observe. If the pet seems uncomfortable, give the vitamins a break for a week. If a vitamin is the problem, the discomfort will rapidly diminish (and return again when the supplements are resumed).

Vitamins are a safe, cost-effective treatment for a wide variety of animal health problems. They are a particularly interesting approach for cancer in animals. Because they are inexpensive and readily available, vitamins are often the only practical approach. In these cases, there is much to gain and nothing to lose by supplementing pets with high potency vitamins.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Seven or more eggs a week raises risk of death

This is the title of a Reuters story as reported on Yahoo! News today. The lead paragraph says:
“Middle-aged men who ate seven or more eggs a week had a higher risk of earlier death, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday.”
This sounds pretty definitive, doesn’t it? More evidence that we all better stop eating eggs. Those things are deadly! According to Dr. Luc Djousse and Dr. J. Michael Gaziano of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School:
“Whereas egg consumption of up to six eggs a week was not associated with the risk of all-cause mortality, consumption of (seven or more) eggs a week was associated with a 23 percent greater risk of death”.
Oh, so six eggs a week seems to be OK, but seven and put your affairs in order.

Since the lipid hypothesis of heart disease has taken hold as gospel, we have been hearing about the high cholesterol in eggs. To show how well established this theory has taken hold in the conventional wisdom, the story states:
“Eggs are rich in cholesterol, which in high amounts can clog arteries and raise the risk of heart attack and stroke.”
No room for any opposing opinions there. This is why we are all encouraged to eat egg-white omelets and use Egg-Beaters®. And why do eggs have so much cholesterol anyway? There is a lot of cholesterol in eggs because there is a lot of cholesterol in chickens, just like there is a lot of cholesterol in humans. Maybe it isn’t such a good idea to be monkeying around with drugs that foul up our bodies natural mechanisms to make cholesterol.

It has been my somewhat-educated opinion that the lipid hypothesis is flat-out wrong anyway. The studies supporting the link between high cholesterol and heart disease are weak, at best. I refer you to my page on cholesterol, if you are interested in more on this.

But lets get back to the news of the study. So far we have learned that eating seven eggs a week will greatly increase your likelihood of an early demise. Also we have been reminded that eggs are high in cholesterol and we all know how dangerous that is.

The researchers studied over 21,000 male physicians taking part in a much larger study since 1981. During the study period:
“1,550 of the men had heart attacks, 1,342 had strokes, and more than 5,000 died.”
Then in paragraph 14 of the 17-paragraph story we are told:
"Egg consumption was not associated with (heart attack) or stroke," the researchers wrote.
What! Wasn’t eggs, cholesterol, heart attacks and strokes the whole story! Apparently the facts didn’t fit the story, but I do give them some credit for telling us the truth at all. After the story has now blown up as we read it, the last paragraph tells us some very important details:
“Men who ate the most eggs also were older, fatter, ate more vegetables but less breakfast cereal, and were more likely to drink alcohol, smoke and less likely to exercise -- all factors that can affect the risk of heart attack and death.”
So there you have it. Older, fatter, drinking, smoking couch potatoes die sooner. Maybe that should have been the title of the story, but then I guess it wouldn’t have been much of a story.