Originally published December 30 2007
Interview with Dr. Hank Liers Part 5: Superior nutrition for pet health
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
The following is part five of an interview between Mike Adams and Dr. Hand Liers, the chief formulator of products sold by Health Products Distributors, Inc. (HPDI) (www.IntegratedHealth.com). To see all parts of this interview, search this site for "Dr. Hank Liers."
Dr. Liers: I feel our animals in the world we live in are in the same situation as the people: Overburdened with chemical contamination through food and personal care products. We are doing the same [to our pets]. If we give ourselves junk, then our pets get even worse stuff. They get the toxins that we will not eat. You are actually seeing in animals the exact same illnesses as in human beings. You see arthritis, diabetes, allergies, cancer, and heart disease.
Mike: It is accelerating rapidly in animals.
Dr. Liers: It is accelerating. The traditional method was to treat them the same way you treat humans, with all these drugs. That is not the cause of the problem, and it is not the solution to the problem. You are going back to the same things that we have been talking about for human beings. We decided we were going to do something about it.
We designed a line of supplements for animals that is based on the highest-quality human grade supplements. I use the exact same design criteria, and we are using exactly the same manufacturers that make our human supplements. Here is our pet website, www.2Docs.net
You will find out all about us there. We are using the highest-quality coenzyme vitamins, Kreb's cycle nutrients, and minimizing excipients and fillers. Pets cannot get better supplements. We have added a human-grade liver flavoring to most of our formulas, because many animals prefer the taste. The little pets that can be fussy, they often want something that tastes like liver. The larger animals aren't so picky, as it turns out. They will just eat a supplement as it is. We offer ten products right now.
We offer a red label line of supplements, which are what we call "core" supplements. The core is a nutrient foundation comprised of a multivitamin, essential fats, and a vitamin C formula. For example, Pet-C Plus is our super-antioxidant vitamin C formula. It has green tea extract, grape seed extract, lipoic acid, and buffered vitamin C. We designed our red line to provide a solid foundation for pets' health.
We also offer a blue label line of supplements, which focuses on helping with specific conditions, like allergies. Allergies are a major problem in animals. Allergy Defense for pets is the same as our Allergy Support Plus for humans. Within hours you can stop the itching if you keep an animal on it. Many of them scratch away all their hair, and they are itchy and miserable. You can stop that with Allergy Defense. And of course, we are always trying to improve the diet.
We have come out with our supplements, but consumers need education. They think, "Maybe vitamins are okay for me, but why would I give it to my dog?" The situation is the same. You want to do the same things for your animals, your cats, your dogs, and your other pets. Give them high-quality nutrition, give them the supplements, and give them a clean environment. Prevent the toxins, and you will have healthy animals and healthy humans. All the things we talked about for humans -- that whole discussion -- also applies to the animals.
Mike: I find, too, that for some reason, veterinarians are far more open to nutrition than human doctors. It seems like the pharmaceutical industry is really trying to take over veterinary medicine to put pets on the same drugs, and have even pet health insurance so they can pass costs around. Perhaps a nutritional approach will win out in the end. Which way do you think it is going?
Dr. Liers: Certainly, in our world some companies are making better animal foods, Natura Pet Products, for example. I do not know if you are familiar with them. They make the Innova EVO that has no grains in it. Why would you feed an animal grains?
We have two dogs, and they get a can of sardines every day. They get their vitamins every day. They get Rejuvenate! -- which has the chlorella and the yeast in it . They get Living Fuel. Maybe we'll give them an RNA tablet. We have seen great changes in them, just as in ourselves. The older dog is 15 and probably would have been dead three years ago. The other is 12 and she runs around like a puppy. She has so much energy. The quality of their hair changes, their eyes change, and they smell better. Even the intelligence is manifested, just like with human beings. They have bright eyes and are alert.
They know what is going on. Their brains are working effectively. It was interesting to see. From my perspective, we need to do this for all living things on this earth, not just people. We focus on the people, but we live in an ecosphere all together, and we need to treat it that way. All the animals need to be fed properly and taken care of in a similar fashion.
Diabetes and dogsMike: Now I notice here you have a Diabetes Defense product for dogs, and diabetes of course, is skyrocketing in dogs and in cats to some extent as well. People have asked me, "Why does my dog have diabetes?" and I say, "Well, did you look at what is in your pet food?" White rice seems to be the number one filler now in all dog food. Why would you feed a dog refined, white rice, and then wonder why they have diabetes?
You have some amazing ingredients like bitter melon extract. Wow, you normally do not see that in a pet formula. Can you talk about this product in terms of diabetes prevention?
Dr. Liers: Well actually, this product is identical to my human product, except it has liver flavor in it. It is a multi-dimensional product in the sense that when you talk about diabetes, there could be different causative factors and there could be different consequential factors. If someone is dealing with it right now, you want to deal with both of those, the causative and the consequential factors.
The causative factors often times are a pancreas where the beta cells are shot, maybe because of virus, maybe because of genetics, maybe because of toxins. Who knows? Those classic Indian herbs, the Gymnema sylvestre, the Pterocarpus marsupium, and not so much the bitter melon, but those first two are well known for regenerating the beta cells in the pancreas. They do not do it right away. In other words, it is a long-term therapy, and that is part of the problem with diabetes.
First, people do not know they have it. They do not feel it. It certainly is a major problem. They do not know their pancreas is not putting out enough insulin and that their beta cells are going south on them. The first thing I did was to put in therapeutic doses of those that will help to regenerate the beta cells in the pancreas.
The bitter melon actually has an insulin-like effect. It is an extract, so you do not have a lot in there, but it is actually enough to get some insulin-like effect. The vanadium is the same. Vanadium has an insulin-like effect. If the insulin is not opening up the cells to allow the nutrients in, you will have an insulin resistance.
When that happens, using things like vanadium and bitter melon can be helpful. Frequently, a chromium problem gives you insulin resistance. You do not have the chromium there to unlock the cell to allow the nutrients and the insulin to do their work. We put a lot of chromium in there. Each capsule in the human formula has 200 micrograms.
And this chromium is not a picolinate, because there has been research with chromium picolinate that shows that you can actually get genetic damage. It actually goes to the DNA, drops the chromium off and it can damage the gene. I do not use chromium picolinate. I use chromium polynicotinate and arginate, and those are well known forms that are a better choice. It is important, and many people do not know this information.
You cannot send a vitamin into Canada that has chromium picolinate in it. The Canadians understand. I use those polynicotinate and arginate forms of chromium at a couple of hundred micrograms per capsule. A typical diabetic would need to take, in the human case, three a day, and they would get 600 micrograms of chromium, which is a good amount and is therapeutic chromium for people with diabetes.
Diabetes Defense for pets is a scaled down form -- the animal version -- of our Diabetes Support Formula for humans, but you get that same typical response with the chromium unlocking the cell. Those are some of the factors that are there to reverse diabetes. You are building the pancreas so you can produce more insulin. You are giving insulin-like factors that will allow the cell to open to let in nutrients. You are giving chromium that helps reverse the blocking, the insulin resistance.
Now, the consequential factors lipoic acid, vitamin B1 and biotin are in the pathway of conversion of pyruvic acid to acetyl coenzyme A, which is the Kreb's cycle feedstock. If you do not have those three nutrients in sufficient amounts, you are not going to be able to convert those sugars that the body has into the Kreb's cycle to make energy.
We put in lipoic acid -- and lipoic acid is a classic nutrient they use for treating diabetics at higher doses -- and that is one of the ways. I mean, it certainly is a heavy metal chelator -- diabetics have heavy metals for sure built up in the body -- and it is a tremendous antioxidant. It is in that metabolic pathway that is crucial. We put those three things in there to give the body a chance to take those sugars, and to do something with them in order to make the energy that is needed to function in the body.
Then we have a few other factors like vitamin A in there, not beta-carotene -- diabetics do not convert beta-carotene into vitamin A very well. As you know, diabetic blindness, cataracts, and retinopathies happen all the time. These are major problems, and vitamin A is another factor that helps prevent them.
We have grape seed extract in there. The reason is that grape seed extract is one of the best collagen cross-linkers known. You get weakened blood vessels when you get glycation of the proteins because you have high blood sugar all the time. If you can cross-link those proteins and collagen, you are going to prevent the blood vessels from just deteriorating. That is some of the design logic that goes into a product like Diabetes Defense.
The cost of pet nutrition vs. sick petsMike: Many pet owners say, "Well that is going to get very expensive for me to keep buying these vitamins." But have they ever checked what it costs to put a dog in a pet emergency room because they are about to go into a coma from diabetes or low blood sugar? That is about a thousand dollars a day.
Dr. Liers: Certainly, people have short-sighted views and they respond to their conditioning. It is the same with drinking and cigarettes. You do not have money to pay the rent and do other things, but you have money for those habits that you have. That is conditioned response.
That is the robotic part of us as humans and animals that we can do something about, but it takes work. It takes a conscious effort to understand what it is that you are doing every moment. Most people have almost no sense of that. Again, that is why we are here. We are here to change that consciousness, at least to the best of our abilities. Not only just talk about it, but also live our lives that way. People want to look at you and see that you are doing it right. Then they can follow you. You have to bring it home.
Mike: That is an excellent point, in that there can be a big difference between intellectually knowing a subject and living it in body, mind and spirit. We see this all the time in western medicine where some expert on cancer dies from cancer after having treated cancer patients for 20 years. What is wrong with this picture?
Dr. Liers: He probably did not do his own therapy.
Mike: Yes, you bet he did not do his own therapy, because he knows what it does to cancer patients. I am glad to know that you live this lifestyle and you feed your pets these supplements and nutrients that you are talking about. Can you mention some of the other pet products you have available?
Dr. Liers: We offer, as I mentioned, our red label core supplements, which include our multivitamin formulas. A multivitamin is one of the most important things to take, because there is always going to be something missing in the food. The multi is the best insurance policy I know. We have multivitamins for small pets and large pets.
One of the interesting things about designing for animals is they range from 5 pounds up to 200 pounds. You have to be able to have one or two products that supply that entire size range. The Small Pet Mighty-Multi you can break in half for easy dosing, and you can give half a one a day or more. The Large Pet Mighty-Multi you can also break in half, or you can give three or four a day.
We try to cover the complete range of nutrients that animals require. We have used high-dose therapeutic multivitamins for years using 20 to 50 times the RDAs of certain nutrients. Pets do extremely well when you do that. You do no harm by giving these amounts to your pets, especially when the forms are coenzyme vitamins and other nutrients the body recognizes.
Then we have Essential Fats for Pets. Again, I think that the research has shown that dietary lack of essential fats constitutes a major deficiency. People and pets are very deficient in essential fats.
Food manufacturers take them all out, because they oxidize. So people and pets become very deficient. Every cell membrane and every membrane of every organelle in your body is made of fatty acids, these essential fatty acids. How could you possibly function without them? Ninety-five percent deficiency is found. When the clinics that I sell these products to put the animals on essential fats, almost always within a week or two they develop beautiful, shiny, smooth coats.
Therapeutic vitamin C for dogsDr. Liers: The Animal Care Center in Green Valley, Ariz. is one of my major customers. We have done research together, and they use these vitamins and have phenomenal success with them. Pet-C Plus is our super antioxidant and vitamin C formula. But people think, "Well, human beings cannot make vitamin C, but dogs can make it in their livers, so why would you want to give a dog vitamin C?" There has been research done for years. Dr. Irwin Stone was one of the first ones in the 1950s to come up with these theories, and he actually talked to Dr. Linus Pauling, who learned that when you have an illness, when you have an immune system challenge, your body could require 100 times the vitamin C it normally does. We have seen this with AIDS patients -- they keep them alive by putting them on 100 grams of vitamin C a day.
There is a true story related by Dr. Bob Cathcart in California -- he is the doctor who took over the vitamin C world when Dr. Linus Pauling left. Dr. Cathcart told a friend, "When you get an illness, start taking vitamin C until you get to bowel tolerance." Bowel tolerance is when you reach the level of vitamin C intake where you are sitting on the toilet and you have diarrhea.
What you find is -- and Dr. Cathcart repeatedly saw this -- if you have a minor illness, you can probably take three times the vitamin C that normally would cause you to hit bowel tolerance. If you have a major illness, you might not even be able to hit that level. Dr. Linus Pauling showed that there is a linear response between the amount of vitamin C in a macrophage and the activity of that macrophage.
The more you get in, the more active it is, the more it is able to kill what is needed. You begin to say, "Oh yes, macrophages are really doing a major job" when you get illness. So Dr. Cathcart told this friend -- he gave him the theory -- and so the friend went off to a conference with a couple of other friends of his for a weekend, and came home and he was not feeling well. He remembered what Dr. Cathcart said and he started taking vitamin C.
He could not hit bowel tolerance. He got up 400 grams, 500 grams a day, and 600 grams. At the end of the week he got a telephone call. The person on the phone asked, "Are you okay?" And he said, "Yes, why?" And the person said, "Because your two friends are dead. They got Legionnaires' disease, and it killed them." But he lived. He was fine. He could not hit bowel tolerance, but that is the power of vitamin C.
In other words, the more illness, the more your body needs repairing, because vitamin C is needed to build connective tissue. Any time you get major damage in your body, you have to rebuild your connective tissue. Vitamin C is needed for that. It is there to make your immune system work properly. It is even in your brain as an enzyme. It is used for that, too.
Mike: What about the form of vitamin C?
Dr. Liers: Yes, I think that is important. I use buffered vitamin C. My experience with people who have very sensitive bodies is that ascorbic acid will acidify a body. We want to avoid acidifying the body. For this reason, I always use buffered vitamin C.
Mike: What is the source for it?
Dr. Liers: Vitamin C actually is extracted and produced from corn, from potatoes -- some people say sago palm, but there are probably not enough sago palms in the world for all those people who make those claims -- beets are another one. So mostly, it is potatoes, beets, and corn and at different times of the year, it is made differently. A fermentation process goes on. It is crystallized and recrystallized so that the material we use is pharmaceutical grade vitamin C.
To start with, it is 99.93 percent pure ascorbic acid, with maybe a few minerals. There are none of the original antigens left from where it came, whether it is corn or beets. Then you mix it with a calcium source or magnesium source and you make calcium ascorbate or magnesium ascorbate, and we are always blending the two. Usually, I do not want to use just calcium, which many people do. We will have calcium ascorbate and magnesium ascorbate in virtually all our formulas containing vitamin C, and perhaps some zinc ascorbate or potassium ascorbate.
You want it to be buffered so you are not acidifying the body, especially if you take huge amounts of it. There are those people who do metabolic typing. Sometimes, they want to acidify the body and they use ascorbic acid. Therefore, I sell that, too. I have vitamin C as ascorbic acid, as buffered C tablets, as a buffered powder you put in water. I have it with grape seed extracts. I have it in my Pro-C, which is my super duper antioxidant formula that is like the Pet-C Plus for animals, where we put in green tea extract, grape seed extract, glutathione, n-acetyl-l-cysteine, lipoic acid, selenium, and vitamins B2 and B6 because those are in the pathways that make glutathione work.
These antioxidants operate in the redox cycles that the body uses and they all work together. They protect each other. One might free up another one to do the job that only it can do. Pro-C and Pet-C Plus are super duper products. The pet product and the human product are basically the same formula.
Pet-C Plus was designed more recently and I put some quercetin chalcone into it. Quercetin is probably the best natural anti-inflammatory I know of. It does not get into the body very well. Quercetin chalcone was developed by Thorne Research and it immediately gets into the body. It is water-soluble.
We also use quercetin chalcone, both in our Joint Health Formula for Pets and in our human Joint Health Formula. We wanted a powerful anti-inflammatory for joints. Quercetin chalcone, as well as turmeric, are just phenomenal for joint problems. Then we have the grape seed extract in there. So we put quercetin chalcone in Pet-C Plus because it was a more recent design than Pro-C, and that makes this formula even more potent.
Back to the issue of vitamin C with an animal -- any animal that has an illness is going to need more vitamin C. These other factors in there are going to strengthen their bodies and trap free radicals and detoxify. As you may know, glutathione is responsible for 60 percent of liver detoxification. You need to get glutathione into the liver. It is crucial.
Easing hip pain in dogsMike: When it comes to pet health and pet supplements I think probably the most popular category of supplements are, of course, joint supplements for pets. I have heard the craziest explanations from pet owners about why their dogs' hips hurt.
Dr. Liers: Overbreeding.
Mike: Pet owners are almost desperate to find something to ease the pain. Now, you have a product called Joint Health Formula for Pets with some potent ingredients in here. In addition, you use some vitamin D3, which I applaud by the way. I mean, that has turmeric, grape seed extract; what is the thinking behind this product?
Dr. Liers: Joint Health Formula for Pets is the same as Joint Health Formula for people, except for desiccated liver as flavoring for the pets. It is a multi-dimensional product, just like Diabetes Defense. That is, I designed it so that you are not just going after joint health in one direction only. Obviously, the glucosamine hydrochloride is in there because glucosamine helps to rebuild those connective tissues. It has actually been shown in clinical studies to reduce inflammation and pain. Everybody knows that.
Some people will use chondroitin sulfate and they have these big arguments saying this is better, and that is better. Dr. Jonathan Wright, a doctor who educates other doctors about nutrition, wrote that men who are prone to prostate cancer should not take bovine sources of chondroitin sulfate. They can actually cause some problems.
When I read that, I thought, "I am not putting bovine chondroitin sulfate in my products." I went out and I searched and found sea cucumber. Sea cucumber has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years for dealing with joint problems and connective tissues -- it actually is a whole body tonic. It strengthens users in many ways. It is actually 20 percent chondroitin sulfate. However, the chondroitins that are in there are different. The sugars that sit on them sit in different places, so it is a safer alternative.
Then we put the MSM in there because the MSM is a source of sulfur, which is needed in building those glycosaminoglycans, the connective tissues. MSM is also known to be a painkiller. You might find a lot of formulas with glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and MSM in them. They're foundational nutrients.
Now we go to the next level. You have inflammation in the joints. You need to knock that inflammation down. The nutrients we just talked about slowly rebuild and repair connective tissues over the course of weeks or months. We put other nutrients in Joint Health Formula that act much more quickly, like tumeric and quercetin chalcone.
If you have inflammation, you have pain. The turmeric and quercetin chalcone will knock it down so fast that suddenly -- and I know this because sometimes when I overdo it in yoga or during exercise, and I have pain and I take this stuff -- the pain goes away. If I forget to take it, pow! Within half a day, it is back again.
The Bioperine is in there because there has been research that says Bioperine -- which is a black pepper extract -- will enhance absorption by maybe 25 to 50 percent. I want to get those nutrients in. You can actually taste it. It tastes a little spicy.
Then we put in grape seed extract. There are different kinds of grape seed extract. There is grape seed extract that is high in resveratrol and what are called oligomeric proanthocyanidins, and it exhibits powerful antioxidant activity. Then there is the kind of grape seed extract containing longer-chain proanthocyanidins that tends to be a better collagen cross-linker. Japanese researchers have actually used those to cure ulcers. They will give rabbits ulcers and give them longer-chain proanthocyanidins, and they will actually heal up that ulcer. Well, I put those in here because you want to strengthen the connective tissues and you want to get that cross-linking. They have shown that enzymes cannot break down those connective tissues that are cross-linked with those longer-chain proanthocyanidins.
I put something else in there that is very unique and that is strontium. If you give strontium, you really increase bone density. How this works is a bit esoteric, but it makes sense.'
You do not want to give your strontium and your calcium together because they are going to compete. Calcium can inhibit uptake of strontium. So if you are taking your calcium, you are probably not going to pick up the strontium. You want to take them apart. This formula is designed so you can get your strontium and build your bones at a different time from the time you would take your calcium supplement.
Mike: Does the vitamin D also potentiate the strontium?
Dr. Liers: Well, that is a good question. It certainly does that for calcium. You would think that it might have a similar effect. I have not seen any research on that. For me, vitamin D is in there because you need to get those minerals into the connective tissues and the bones in order to have a strong structure in the body.
Joint Health Formula works. It is so effective compared to most of the stuff available elsewhere. If you take some other product when you run out of our Joint Heath Formula, you'll generally know it right away.
Mike: I have seen other supplements for joint health or bone health. For example, the warehouse clubs have the cheapest vitamins I have ever seen in the world. One was a fish oil vitamin that had like 10 milligrams of fish oil extract and the rest of it was soybean oil. That is amazing.
Dr. Liers: Often you find it's genetically modified soybean oil, as well.
Mike: Right. Let us wrap up the pet supplement section here. Do you have any other comments on that?
Dr. Liers: Our red line is core supplements. Our blue line is for specific conditions. We have in the blue line Diabetes Defense, Joint Health Formula, and Allergy Defense, which are for major conditions. Then for gastrointestinal discomfort, we offer 'GI Defense. It is a very unique formula.
It has probiotics. It has marshmallow and slippery elm bark. It has glutamine. It soothes the intestines. It has bismuth subsalicylate for knocking out the bugs and dealing with inflammation -- that is what is in Pepto-Bismol. Any gastrointestinal discomfort that animals have -- and they do because we feed them such junk -- GI Defense will really help to cure and heal it.
Making food your pet's medicineMike: It should be mentioned, too, that people should change the food for their pets.
Dr. Liers: Absolutely. It has to be the base. All the things we talked about for humans again. We feed our dogs sardines. They are inexpensive. They are low on the food chain, so they are not full of heavy metals and toxins. They have all these factors, the vitamin D, the vitamin A, the fish oil, and the RNA. It is a supercharged food for humans and animals.
Mike: Do you buy canned sardines?
Dr. Liers: Yes. Canned sardines will cost you around a dollar for 15 ounces. You can get them at your Asian or ethnic food market, or even Safeway has them for about $1.50. We regularly serve our dogs sardines. We developed a recipe called Dog Heaven. We mix a little bit of Innova EVO dog food with the sardines. Then we add Rejuvenate! and maybe some chlorella or Living Fuel. We may also put in nutritional yeast, and other factors like chia seeds, vitamins, and minerals, depending on the day.
We love conjugated linoleic acid. We think CLA is wonderful. The big dog gets the CLA to build the muscles, and because she is old and she has trouble making it around. We are trying to build strength so she can continue to function.
We have around 150 products that we sell, between HPDI and 2Docs, Inc. We could go on talking for a long time. I have another 150 product designs sitting in my head. It is all synergistic. When I have a discussion with you, and you say something, I might pick up an idea for something new. Right now, I'm playing with goji berries. We found some the other day to start playing with. We went to a Chinese restaurant and the server there said, "We put them in our tea for sore throats. It is medicine." That's a new idea for us. We had been thinking of eating them like raisins.
Mike: That works, too. Well, thank you for your time, Hank. You've given us a lot of great information and we appreciate you stopping by.
Dr. Liers: Thanks for having me.
About Integrated HealthDr. Hank Liers is the chief formulator of nutritional supplements sold at Integrated Health (www.IntegratedHealth.com), located in Southern Arizona. Integrated Health is a specialty provider of high-end nutritional supplements and superfoods, all made without filler or chemical additives of any kind. NaturalNews readers receive a 10% discount on all products from Integrated Health by using coupon code NT2008
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