As a holistic veterinarian it is my job to look beyond the clinical symptoms in order to find the underlying causes for our pet’s health problems. This is done by digging deeper, looking closer and connecting the dots. If something doesn’t make sense, then I look even deeper to find out what is missing.
I was working with a lady on a phone consultation who had a very sick cat. Her cat had four major diseases and were being treated by several vets for each of the problems. Her cat continued to get worse.
I have found with many chronic diseases that if I work backwards, I can often explain how the problem occurred. Sort of like peeling an onion. For this kitty, I seemed to stumble with my explanations. Something didn’t make sense. Two pathways seem to collide and I was starting to see this pattern in several cats. It was time to find out the glitch that I was not seeing.
It appeared that these cats all had similar problems. They had a long history of intestinal disease, subsequent thyroid imbalance and then ending up with kidney disease. As a clinician, the obvious common denominator was inflammation, but in these cats, the kidney disease was not being directly caused by inflammation. What was I missing?
I knew that diet was the critical factor since all of these cats had been fed kibble throughout their lives, but I could blame the kibble on the intestinal disease and subsequent nutrient deficiencies and the thyroid imbalance, but not the kidney disease. Something else was going on in the diet that had to be contributing to this problem. Then, I found it. It was glyphosate intoxication.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient found in the herbicide, Roundup. This herbicide is also found in about 700 household products and other non-Roundup herbicides. Glyphosate was originally used as an industrial pipe cleaner as it would leach out heavy metal buildup in older pipes. It was later determined that it would kill microbes, was subsequently used as an herbicide/pesticide referred to as glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs). It is estimated that over 200 million pounds of GBHs are dumped on American soil daily. Unfortunately, the FDA and EPA labelled the chemical as non-toxic to humans and other animals. The research that was used for this claim was provided to them by Monsanto, the company that makes Roundup.
Now that independent research (including the National Institute of Health) has been done, we are painfully aware of the toxicity of this chemical and the long-term detriments to the health of people and pets. Research tells us that glyphosate is in most of our food, water, soil and in some places, even the air the we breathe. Research also tells us that we can find glyphosate in the urine of almost every person in the US (10 times higher than people in England) and twice as high in our pets.
Glyphosate intoxication has gone unscathed so long because the toxin, unless exposed to high levels, has insidious effects that are just now being identified. The toxin is known to kill the normal microbial population in the gut as well as destroying the necessary microvilli in the mucosal surface of the gut that is required for normal absorption of vital nutrients. This damage leads to leaky gut syndrome, chronic nutritional deficiencies and allowance of other toxic materials to enter the body. It is also responsible for destroying essential liver enzymes known as CYP enzymes, that are responsible for the body’s primary detoxification mechanism, thus allowing harmful toxins to accumulate in the body. Recent studies have determined that glyphosate destroys kidney cells, causing kidney disease (explains my cat patients situation) and the WHO has labelled glyphosate as a carcinogen.
What can we do to address this toxicity? First, we can attempt to avoid the toxin by being selective in what we feed ourselves and our pets. Foods that have been determined to have high level of glyphosate include: almonds, barley, canola, corn, cherries, peas, dry beans, pecans, walnuts, grapes, oranges, pears, oats, soybeans, rice, tomatoes and wheat. Obviously, if possible, select organic, non-GMO foods.
What can we do to help detox the body from this harmful chemical? There is no specific antidote for glyphosate, but there are supplements that can help rid the body and support the body from the damage that has been done. Fulvic and humic acid are both known to be effective in eliminating glyphosate in both humans and pets. There are pet products available commercially. Activated charcoal and bentonite clay are also known to aide in the detoxification of the harmful chemical. Milk thistle and dandelion will help the liver detox. Sauerkraut juice is helpful. Ashwaganda, rhodiola and Siberian ginseng are helpful supplements to support the damaged endocrine function. Probiotics and digestive enzymes are essential for helping repair the damaged gut.