Glandular Health Recap
- We have multiple glands in our bodies which do an amazing amount of functions that we tend to take for granted
- Some of them might be better called organs, but they’re a collection of cells similar in nature. The liver is full of liver cells, for instance. That collection is called a gland or an organ
- If we look at glands, some of the smallest ones in our body do some of the most amazing things, especially in hormone regulation
- Hormones are chemicals produced in one place that affects the whole body
- The thyroid is one gland that produces hormones and is probably no bigger than the tip of your little finger, but it affects so much
- These are important and we want them all fully functional and healthy
History with Dr Dee – the History of Eating Glands
- This dates back to the most ancient of human tribe – these traditions have really been around forever
- Except for the us and a few other countries, currently eating organs is as much a stable food as anything else and is a prized cut of meat
- These organs have reserves of vitamins and nutrients, especially vitamin A and D, long chain unsaturated fatty acids, macro and micro trace minerals
- Weston Price
- He was a dentist in the early 1900s that went around the world studying different cultures and looking at dentitions, what different cultures were eating, etc. In one of his stories, he talks about a native tribe in Alaska where he noticed no scurvy, which was strange since there were no citrus fruits or anything like that around for them to be eating. He asked why there wasn’t scurvy and was eventually told by the chief that they ate a certain organ to help prevent scurvy. The chief explained that when they would get a caribou, there were two incisions made in the back around the lumbar area and they extract two tiny organs, slice them thin, and pass it to everyone to have a little piece. Do you know what that organ is? It’s the adrenals. The people also ate the second stomach and its contents in the ruminants, which is loaded with all kinds of trace minerals and essential fatty acids and chlorophyll extracts which are loaded with vitamin C
- The other story he told that she thought was pretty interesting was that he went to a gentleman in charge of a tiger containment/sanctuary/zoo in England who traveled to Africa. At that time, tigers weren’t able to reproduce in captivity. This man watched a tiger after it caught a zebra eviscerate it and eat only certain parts, then looked to see what the tiger had eaten. The tiger had eaten mostly the adrenals and a few other organs. After that, they started feeding more organ meats to tigers in captivity and now they’re able to reproduce
- There’s a couple different ways to get glandular products…
- Macerated whole glands that have been dried/desiccated and capsule (the organ is ground to mush, dried, and put into a capsule)
- Extractions from the glands (they take a portion of the gland that is supposed to be the most important part and use that extraction of the gland to make products)
- Sources vary quite a bit. It could be anywhere from a typical feedlot raised animal to organic sources from New Zealand
- It could even be neonatal (very young or newborn animals, like veal)
- It’s also important to look at the way that the glandulars are delivered, for instance taken as a capsule vs chewing
- With capsules, you should open them up and give them to your dog to chew because that mimics nature much more than just swallowing a capsule
- In nature these are eaten by consumption and chewing. This starts a whole different digestion process where the saliva is starting digestion in the mouth instead of in the stomach
- The connection between the mouth and brain is very important!
- A lot of chiropractors will do muscle testing while having you chew on a glandular to see if it’s the correct glandular based on how your brain responds
- If you’re using a natural thyroid product for instance, for yourself or your dog, chewing them is much better because it actually stimulates all of the impulses to the brain and causes much quicker absorption
- These glandular products can be with or without the hormones they produce
- Some thyroid support will be thyroid without the thyroxine in it, for instance
- Dr Will mentions Standard Process as one example
- Some, like armour thyroid, have the full complement of thyroid hormone
- When using a product that does have hormones in it and another product or medication, even a synthetic one like synthroid, you could potentially double up on the hormone unintentionally, so be careful
- Hormones are very potent in small qualities, so watch out for this!
- If you’re feeding something like a thyroid glandular, you have to know that there’s a reason to feed it – don’t add it into the diet unless your dog actually needs it
- Many of the other glandulars, or products that just have ground up glandular tissue that is “clean” without the hormones, are “pretty darn safe” though, says Dr Dee
- Some products come in combinations with multiple glands and Dr Dee uses those a lot for animals that are debilitated or old or just need an extra boost – a little bit of spleen, heart, kidney, parathyroid, etc.
- She often gives these to a depleted, old animal who really just needs a little boost
- There’s a couple different ways to get glandular products…
- Different Companies
- Dr Will is a little bit more old fashioned than Dr Dee and they agree to disagree a little bit on this front
- Standard Process
- This is what Dr Will uses – he first heard about them as a young vet/vet student and has used them ever since
- Dr Lee was the founder of standard process and has long since died, but he lived in the 30s-40s
- He found a way to extract glandular material with a certain process that created what he called protomorphagens – these parts were determined to be nuclear material (every cell has a nucleus, and in that nucleus is the DNA and RNA, the controllers of great processes and important things)
- His view was that if a gland is under attack, which is not uncommon in our animals, especially in vaccinated animals with autoimmune disease of one form or another. This is one of the reasons that we feed glandular – to support that gland that is being attacked
- Hypothyroidism, he says is the most common thyroid disease in the dog, and probably the most common glandular disturbance in the dog. It is literally known to be autoimmune attack on the thyroid itself. That’s why the thyroid gland is not working well and the hormone isn’t doing its normal job
- One of the things he discovered was that feeding these protomorphagens would offer a distraction from the immune attack on that gland. The immune system would attack the protomorphagen instead and then leave the thyroid intact
- Counter point with Dr Dee
- She thinks he was amazing and did a lot to help overall health of people in this country…but…she also things the extraction of hormones out of glandular material is a slippery slope and can be dangerous
- She used Standard Process for 20 years
- When she changed to a new company that uses neonatal glands, the vitality/essence of the product seemed much stronger
- Dr Dee’s theory is that when you feed a gland, the body recognizes the DNA in that organ and goes to that specific organ
- So if you eat that thyroid glandular, she doesn’t think it’s that important that it has the protomorphagen, but that it has the DNA in there that is recognizable and goes directly to the organ
- Because of this, she thinks the quality of the product is really the most important – don’t use feedlot-sourced supplements
- Even though it’s horrible to think about, if you’re going to use glandular, use younger animals who haven’t had that much assault on them (the glands) and don’t have such a tendency to accumulate toxins and get maladies, like stressors of the adrenal glands. They are less toxified, simply because they didn’t live long enough to accumulate the toxins
- There are other companies out there that use organic ingredients from New Zealand, but you can’t possibly grow enough cattle to be organic and sustain the market. And even though its organic, that doesn’t necessarily mean that its processed in the best way to be most effective
- The proof is in the pudding – you have to just feed them and see how the animal does
What are some of the organs that we commonly support?
- Dr Will had a client years ago with a 2-3 yr old doberman, very shy and afraid of everything. The owner said he just wasn’t doing right and his chest sounded like a washing machine – Will says it was “the sound of confusion.” His diagnosis was heart disease and Dr Will prescribed a remedy that really seemed to turn him around. But the owner was so dedicated that she added raw, fresh hearts daily, amino acids, and a glandular. This dog did so much better and now, years later, Dr Will says he can’t help but think that it might not have been the remedy after all, but instead the heart support by the glandulars and raw heart
- This is a great idea if you’ve got any sort of cardiac disease going on
- Liver is a “wonderful source of goodies”
- Dr Dee’s story – Weston price; he traveled to the Sudan and visited tribes where the women were usually over 6ft tall and the men over 7ft tall. Their dental health was perfect and their immunity was amazing. They felt that the liver was part of their religion that said the soul was present in the liver – which is the same that Chinese medicine says (because the liver opens into the eyes and you can see the soul in the eyes). In this culture, they ate the liver as much as they possibly could and respected and valued it so much for their overall health. They even had special tools for handling the liver and didn’t let any humans touch it while it was being extracted from the animals. They ate it both raw and cooked. It tells you how valuable they realized it to be to overall health
- The liver is full of fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A and D
- If you have eye problems, feed some liver
- Its rich in copper, zinc, iron, antioxidants
- The liver is the place of detox in the body – the antioxidants are what do the detoxing
- If you eat the liver, yes it may be full of toxins, especially if the animal came from a feedlot, but it’s also loaded with antioxidants as well
- Counter point Dr Will
- He’s never bought the theory that the liver is a toxic organ – it’s a filter
- If you’re going to store toxins, they’re stored in the fat typically. He’s never felt shy about recommending the liver as a good organ to feed
- Gurson therapy often relies on liver shakes as part of the therapy (raw liver) and is remarkably good for cancer and can even reverse it in some cases. He says that he’s certain that that isn’t even all organic liver, so there must be some good if you can’t get all organic
- Counter point Dr Dee
- Because of the amount of exposure to toxins and heavy metals we have, if you don’t have enough of those antioxidant and minerals to filter the toxins via urine/feces, then the toxins get stuck in the body
- It’s still going to be healthier to get healthier liver, but she agrees that it isn’t as toxic an organ as we think it is
- It’s probably safe to say that if the animal was malnourished, the liver probably isn’t very healthy either and doesn’t have a full complement of nutrients
- Probably the most common disease in dogs’ adrenal glands
- It’s so important for overall function of everything!
PITUITARY AND HYPOTHALAMUS
- These are in the brain and teeny tiny, but they do so much for a whole cascade of hormones
- The thymus was studied in coyotes. Coyotes in the wild were found to still have their thymus whereas most humans and domesticated dogs don’t have a thymus. It would be interesting to see other animals in the wild and if they still had a thymus intact. This just shows the impact on the immune system of our denatured diets and how that can actually shrink the thymus
- If you’re ill, especially with winter coming, thymus would be very good to take, along with echinacea and astragalus and whatever else you take
- Fun fact from Dr Will – the thymus is there when you’re born, but disappears when you get into adulthood. It’s interesting that wild coyotes still had theirs as adults when living in the wild
- This is another organ you’ll find in glandulars
- This is great for dogs who have had their spleens removed, or dogs with hemangiosarcoma
- Although you may think of them more as an organ of elimination, they do some amazing things with our hormones
- They’re responsible for calcium metabolism, part of the chain of events that control amount of calcium in the blood
- This would be good for dogs in kidney failure, or for elderly pups whose kidney function is declining
- This is something that they discussed before the doctor’s rounds
- Neither have had any amazing success feeding gonads, but they haven’t used it very often either
- For instance, they mention possibly feeding something with estrogen to an incontinent bitch. They haven’t really tried it, but suspect it may help some. Dr Dee also mentions wild yam extract
- When you’re just going through puberty and you have your gonads removed, aside from the impact that it has on joint and brain health, it also forces you to immediately go through a forced menopause
- Maybe we haven’t emphasized enough that the gonads often interact with all of the other glands. You can’t take one out and just lose that function – they’re all interdependent and affect each other. You take away the estrogen, but you also lose the interaction from the ovaries with every other gland
- It’s so interwoven that we don’t even fully understand what we’re impacting
- That’s part of the reason that the diagnosis of these endocrine disorders can be confusing for doctors who just like to compartmentalize and don’t understand how everything interacts
We hear a lot about how veterinary thyroid tests are inaccurate. Can you shine some light on that for us?
- Most vets just check for T4
- T4 is just one of many hormones by the thyroid. It can be a normal value, but the dog is acting/looking abnormal and symptomatic, so you can get a false reading and end up with a “false negative” on an unhealthy dog
- Dr Will does a TSH, free T4 and T3 and a thyroglobulin (antibodies) test for any patient he suspects of having a thyroid disorder instead
- These are the same tests that Dr Dodds usually recommends for her patients
- Dr Dee is writing a course all about thyroid health for us now
If you go to the vet and they give you a glandular supplement, and you’re raw feeding organs, should you worry about an overlap of that? (Hypothetically, thyroid glandular and necks with thyroids on them, for instance)
- Yeah, it definitely could be too much
- Legally you’re not supposed to have active t3 and t4 in the glandulars, but it could happen. The prescription drugs, such as armour, are the only ones that should have these in them
- If it’s another organ though, like heart or liver or something, Dr Will doesn’t think you’ll overdo it on those
If we’re raw feeders and we can feed these organs specifically, could that be enough support or do we need to look for glandulars?
- It depends on the known pathology
- You’d have a hard time feeding enough adrenals, thyroid, etc to support those glands, just because they’re so tiny
- For something like heart, liver, and kidney, you’d probably be fine
If you have a dog with hypothryroidism, how much liver should we be feeding? Is there such a thing as feeding too much organ meat?
- Yes, there’s such a thing as too much!
- When we’re talking about raw, we’re trying to mimic what they’d eat in the wild ideally – about 10-15% of that animal is organ meat. If you keep your percentages around that, you won’t get into trouble
- But if you’re feeding a lot, you could get into trouble
- You need to balance it, that’s for sure
- Dr Will always looks back to Dr Pitcairn’s ideals – you can do a regular amount of 10% of the diet to be liver or kidney daily, or you can do a feast day that’s an organ day (but you may end up with a GI disturbance, but that won’t result in toxicity either). You won’t feed a feast of organs daily
If the adrenals are off, what symptoms would we see?
- There’s two different kinds of classic diseases, Cushings and Addisons
- In Addisons, you’re so depleted that you can’t regulate electrolytes and you need to add things in.
- For cushings, you’re producing too much and the animals need to be balanced
- Addisons animals usually crash and burn because they’re so bad. Cushings are overweight, have a poor coat, pant a lot, drink a lot – it looks a lot like thyroid disease and can be tricky to diagnose
- Add vitamin C to cushings dogs, per Dr Dee!
- In the end, you need to know from bloodwork, not symptoms
Cushings – is this directly related to thyroid disease?
- Dr Will doesn’t know, but he guesses probably
- Dr Dee says definitely. In cushings, there’s an increase in hormones that will actually turn off the thyroid and you can have both happening at the same time. But if you support both of those organs, they can both come back into balance
- A lot of frustrating cases in people are actually adrenal disease that just isn’t diagnosed correctly
- She mentions a website called stop the thyroid madness
- Addisons isn’t usually related to thyroid disease as much
One member mentions that her dog is epileptic and has some neurologic issues caused from distemper as a puppy. She’s having trouble sourcing organs so she has been feeding beef brain. Could this be causing any issues?
- It’s probably not going to hurt as long as you’re feeding it in proportion to the diet, but you probably want to work with a pro if you have known imbalances with the hormones
- This is a deep seeded, chronic disease and you need a professional
- You also probably want to add in several other supplements as well
Anal gland health overall? Are there supplements or glandulars we can be looking at?
- If she had one word, Dr Dee thinks vaccinosis
- Anal glands are a normal, healthy part of the anatomy and should be expressing on their own. If you have to take your dog in often, then you have an issue
For a dog with seizures and borderline thyroid issues, what do we do?
- For seizures, Dr Dee always thinks vaccinosis and rabies vaccines, and thyroid – especially if the dog is borderline on thyroid issues
- Remember that these are just reference ranges and they aren’t tailored to your dog. Look at the whole dog, not just the bloodwork
- Most conventional vets just give enough t4 to get it on the high end of normal and nothing else
- Dr Dee will hit most of this on her upcoming course
Is there a problem with feeding too many necks that probably have thyroid tissue intact?
- We talked about this last time and its going to be so variable that it’s hard to know for certain. It’s impossible to measure