Chances are you own a pet that’s been neutered or spayed. Both spaying and neutering remove all of the normal sex hormone-secreting tissues, but your dog still needs a certain level of circulating hormones for normal biologic functioning throughout life.
Over time, the loss of these hormone-secreting organs takes a toll on your dog’s adrenal glands, as they are the only tissues remaining that are capable of producing these hormones. Now they must do their own work plus the work of the missing organs. It's very difficult for these tiny little glands to keep up with the body's demand. In addition to this extra burden, your pet’s body must cope with the continuous exposure to chemicals, from pesticides to plastics to flame retardants. These chemicals can affect your dog’s hormones in much the same way as spaying and neutering!
How Early Neutering or Spaying Puts your Dog’s Endocrine Function at Risk
Your dog’s endocrine system consists of tissues and glands that release hormones into the bloodstream. A big part of your dog’s hormonal endocrine balance comes from hormones made in the testicles (in males), the uterus and ovaries (in females).
When a female dog is spayed, both her uterus and ovaries are removed. Neutering removes a male dog’s testicles. With either procedure, no consideration is given to the hormones produced by these organs – such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Both spaying and neutering remove all of the normal sex hormone-secreting tissues.
Your dog needs a certain level of circulating sex hormones for normal biologic functioning throughout life. And they’re needed in the right proportions.
When the sex organs and their hormones are taken away from a still-developing young dog’s body, it can affect everything from the brain to the bones. And because these sex hormones are so vital, your pet’s body struggles to get them however it can… Without ovaries or testicles, the task of producing sex hormones falls onto your dog’s adrenal glands. They are the only tissues remaining that are capable of producing these hormones. Over time, this takes a toll on your dog’s adrenal glands. They must do their own work plus the work of the missing organs. It's very difficult for these tiny little glands to keep up with the body's demand.
De-sexing plus these every day hazards can create a double whammy for your Pet
We live in a toxic, polluted world, and that’s especially so for your dog. He or she may:
- Sleep in a dog bed that’s been treated with flame-retardant chemicals
- Drink water that’s chlorinated and fluoridated from plastic water bowls
- Romp in grass at the park that’s been treated with pesticides
- Eat food that’s been treated with chemicals
- Eat food packaged in plastic containers
Surprisingly, these chemicals – a class of chemicals known as endocrine disruptors, which include DDT, BPA, dioxin, PCBs, lead, triclosan, phthalates and arsenic – affect your dog’s hormones as does neutering and spaying.
Just like with spaying and neutering, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or xenoestrogens can reduce your dog’s hormone production as well as the release of hormones from the endocrine glands.
Because these endocrine disruptors mimic estrogen hormones, they can lead to an imbalance of hormones in your pet’s body.
Combining these two factors – desexing your pet and everyday exposure to potentially harmful chemicals – can create an even greater burden on your dog’s adrenal glands.
Functional medicine practitioners in the veterinary community, like Dr Karen Becker of Dr Mercola Healthy Pets are big believers in the benefits of balancing sex hormones naturally. Rather than using actual hormones (which can be tricky), Dr Karen Becker likes to use their raw materials to support hormonal balance. This protocol from Dr. Jack Oliver at The University of Tennessee Clinical Endocrinology Service. His protocol consisted of two ingredients that have been shown in studies to balance cortisol and other hormones, while lowering strong estradiol (estrogen) levels:
- HMR (7-hydroxymatairesinol) lignans (from Norway Spruce) – Unlike flax lignans, the HMR plant lignan converts to enterolactone (acts as a “good” phytoestrogen) by gastrointestinal bacteria immediately upon ingestion, and is then completely and quickly absorbed from the GI tract.
- Melatonin – This valuable hormone modulates other hormones and promotes healthy cortisol and estradiol (estrogen) levels. Works synergistically with lignans to support beneficial estrogen metabolism.
- In addition, based on research Diindoylymethane (DIM) was added for additional benefits. A major active metabolite of Indole-3-carbinol (I3C), DIM is a constituent of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. It plays many useful roles in the body, but it’s been shown to promote beneficial estrogen metabolism in both males and females.
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