Many medications can deplete the human body of nutrients. They do this in several ways:
1. Taking the drug out of the body via the gastrointestinal system (chelation)
2. Altering GI or urinary tract acidity
3. “Stimulating or inhibiting enzymes involved in the transport of nutrients around your body”
4. “Stimulating of inhibiting enzymes involved in activating nutrients or in transforming them into more usable substances”
5. Needing certain nutrients to work or to be detoxified by the liver 1
Since many, if not all, medications used by humans were originally tested on animals, specifically cats or dogs, I would imagine the “drug mugging” effect is true for them as well. An excellent book about these effects on humans is “Drug Muggers: Which Medications Are Robbing Your Body of Essential Nutrients -- And Natural Ways to Restore Them.”
While your cat or dog hopefully isn’t taking a drug to lower cholesterol, he or she may very well have been given antibiotics, corticosteroids, anesthesia, pain medications, acid blockers, anticonvulsants, insulin, thyroid medications or anxiety medications. Chemotherapy can also deplete the body of nutrients.
Antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria. The good bacteria help with digestion, and also produce some vitamins on their own, e.g. B12. Whenever Mr. Fluffy was on antibiotics, I also made sure to give him a probiotic, to replenish the good flora in his gut. In fact, he got a probiotic every day whether he was on antibiotics or not.
Anesthesia can rob the body of B122, and after Mr. Fluffy’s dental, I made sure to add a supplement to his food for a couple of days to replenish his body’s stores of the vitamin. Since B12 is water-soluble, the body excretes what it doesn’t use.
Acid blockers, as previously mentioned, prevent the body from breaking down food, which makes it harder for digestive enzymes to do their job and get the nutrients where they need to go. The minerals in the food also can’t be broken down without stomach acid to activate pepsin. So they essentially “rob” the body of everything, because the body isn’t getting as much from food as it normally would.
If you smoke indoors, your pet is breathing that smoke as well, and likely ingesting it when they groom or lick themselves. Smoking depletes the human body of vitamin C, thiamine, folic acid, calcium3, glutathione and zinc4. It also "imparts the heavy metal cadmium into your body, and cadmium is a potent neurotoxin. If it is present in your body, it throws off your trace minerals , so you might say it's a drug mugger of healthy minerals (which you need to make bones)."5 I would suspect this is also true for pets who live with smokers.
If you have city water, you and your pet may be drinking flouride and chlorine, which are usually added to public water systems. I would strongly encourage you to use a water filtration system, both for your drinking water and your pet’s, especially in light of the following:
“Flouride is an enzyme and hormone inhibitor, affecting the nervous system as well as digestion. Flouride is the major cause of brittle bones and teeth,” and “may cause brain and kidney damage.” It has also been linked to cancer. In fact, many European countries “do not use water flouridation . . . Based on the grounds that its use is unethical and imposes unnecessary health risks.” 6
It displaces iodine in the thyroid, which can contribute to hypothyroidism. In addition to public water and toothpaste/dental products, it’s also in the certain medications. The ones that may also be used pets are Prevacid, Prozac, Prilosec, and the quinolone class of antibiotics.7
Chlorine (or chloride) is also an iodine displacer. In addition to it’s use in water, it’s also used to manufacture many pharmaceuticals, including Prevacid, Nexium, Pepcid, Zantac, and the antibiotics Vancomycin and Cipro.8
I have also read that flame retardants added to mattresses and furniture can accumulate in the body these compounds can block thyroid.9
Thimerosol (mercury), found in vaccines and some seafood, particularly tuna and sea bass, and other pollutants “can adversely impact your thyroid hormone by blocking the thyroid receptor or preventing activation of T4.”10
If your pet has food allergies, it’s even more important that they be fed an organic, balanced, species-appropriate diet to ensure they’re getting all the necessary nutrients.
While I have no data on this, I wonder if the toxins in other chemicals, e.g. flea and tick and heartworm medications, herbicides and pesticides (if your pet goes outdoors), household cleaners, detergents, chemicals in carpeting and household products, fragrances including air fresheners, preservatives, BPAs from plastics (including pet toys) and even processed foods also deplete the body. I would think they would, if for no other reason than the liver has to filter these toxins to remove them from the body. But are other organs being affected?
Dr. Plechner states, “My clinical observations over many years suggest that indeed the adrenal cortex is a prime target for toxic damage, and specifically the zona fasciculate of the cortex where cortisol is produced. I have seen many cases of cortisol deficiencies develop as an apparent result of exposure to environmental chemicals such as pesticides, anti-flea preparations, and anesthesia compounds. Such exposures have caused both short-term and permanent imbalances.”11
Are these toxins another piece to the puzzle of why our special-needs pets continue to have problems?
I personally wouldn’t have attempted a detox for Mr. Fluffy until his GI system had healed, and unless I had a holistic vet to guide me. Every pet is different, and their needs and history would determine the best detox program. But the GI system needs to be healthy, as this is the main means of excreting the toxins, and if it’s still damaged, those toxins can be reabsorbed back into the body. And no one wants that.
1 Cohen S Drug Muggers 2011; 91
2 Pacholok SM, Stuart, JJ Could It Be B12? An Epidemic of Misdiagnoses 2005; 134
3 Mindell E. New Vitamin Bible 2011; 453
4 Cohen S Drug Muggers 2011;149, 293
5 Cohen S Drug Muggers 2011;149, 79
6 Nagel R Cure Tooth Decay 2012, 165-166
7 Cohen S Thyroid Healthy 2014; 97
8 Cohen S Thyroid Healthy 2014; 99-100
9 Cohen S Thyroid Healthy 2014; 129
10 Cohen S Thyroid Healthy 2014; 138
11 Plechner A Pets at Risk 2003; 64
Medications can deplete the body of nutrients
Environmental toxins like smoking can also cause nutritional deficiencies.