Vanadium For Pets

Vanadium is a mineral, and evidence from animal studies suggests it may be an essential micronutrient.

In people as well as pets, there are no well-documented uses for vanadium, and there are serious safety concerns regarding its use. However, vanadium has been proposed to be of benefit to patients with diabetes as vanadium has insulin-like properties and may inhibit protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP).

Studies in rats with and without diabetes suggest vanadium may have an insulin-like effect, reducing blood sugar levels. Based on these findings, preliminary studies involving human subjects have been conducted, with promising results.

Based on promising animal studies, high doses of vanadium, like chromium, have been tested as an aid to controlling blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. However, animal studies suggest that taking high doses of vanadium can be harmful.

In various studies in people, vanadium has been used at doses thousands of times higher than is present in the diet, as high as 125 mg per day. However, there are serious safety concerns about taking vanadium at such high doses. Many doctors do not recommend people exceed the nutritional dose of 10 to 30 mcg daily (some people with diabetes are prescribed 50 to 100 mcg/day).

To date, most doctors feel that studies using vanadium were all too small to be taken as definitive proof. More research is needed to definitely establish whether vanadium is effective (not to mention safe) for the treatment of diabetes.

New organic forms of vanadium have been synthesized—vanadyl acetylacetonate, 3-ethylacetylacetonate, and bis (maltolato) oxo-vanadium. These forms appear to be safer than vanadyl sulfate and are well tolerated in diabetic cats.

In small studies in cats, the use of vanadium did improve clinical signs and reduce blood glucose levels with minimal signs of toxicity.

In pets with diabetes, dosages of 0.2 mg/kg daily for vanadium and 1 mg/kg daily for vanadyl sulfate seem safe. Some holistic veterinarians adapt the recommended human dose of vanadium to pets, using 50 mcg/day for small dogs and cats, 75 mcg/day for medium-sized dogs, and 100 mcg per day for larger dogs. The dosage of 1/2 of a capsule of Super Vanadyl Fuel (Twin Laboratories, Hauppauge, NY) given once daily on the food of diabetic cats appears safe. However, you should not administer vanadium) or chromium) to your pets unless under veterinary supervision.

With insulin-resistant type II diabetics, vanadium may help balance glucose levels by increasing glycogen synthesis (glycogen is a storage form of glucose). Because vanadium mimics many of the effects of insulin, it may improve blood sugar balance. In some studies, vanadium supplements have been shown to lower plasma glucose levels, improve insulin sensitivity, increase glucose uptake, and decrease blood fat levels in type I and II diabetics.

Studies of diabetic rats suggest that at high dosages, vanadium can accumulate in the body until it reaches toxic levels. Based on these results, high dosages of vanadium can’t be considered safe for human use; similar concerns are probably reasonably applied to dogs and cats.

Glandular Therapy For Pets
Glandular therapy is also used in the treatment of diabetes.

This therapy uses whole animal tissues or extracts of the pancreas. Current research supports this concept that the glandular supplements have specific activity and contain active substances that can exert physiologic effects.

While skeptics question the ability of the digestive tract to absorb the large protein macromolecules found in glandular extracts, evidence exists this is possible. Therefore, these glandular macromolecules can be absorbed from the digestive tract into the circulatory system and may exert their biologic effects on their target tissues.

Several studies show radio labeled cells, when injected into the body, accumulate in their target tissues. The accumulation is more rapid by traumatized body organs or glands than healthy tissues, which may indicate an increased requirement for those ingredients contained in glandular supplements.

In addition to targeting specific damaged organs and glands, supplementation with glandular supplements may also provide specific nutrients to the pet. For example, glands contain hormones in addition to a number of other chemical constituents. These low doses of crude hormones are suitable for any pet needing hormone replacement, but especially for those pets with mild disease or those that simply need gentle organ support. Glandular supplements also function as a source of enzymes that may encourage the pet to produce hormones or help the pet maintain health or fight disease.

Finally, glandular supplements are sources of active lipids and steroids that may be of benefit to pets. The dosage of glandular supplements varies with the product used.


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Shawn Messonnier, DVM

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Shawn Messonnier DVM Past Supporting Member, Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians Author, the award-winning The Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats, The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs, and Breast Choices for the Best Chances: Your Breasts, Your Life, and How YOU Can Win The Battle!

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