Hi! Dr Palmquist here, your new AHVMF president. The annual Board of Directors meeting occurred in Columbus, Ohio this year. The meeting opened with remarks by outgoing president, Dr Barbara Royal. It was a particularly moving discussion of her experiences since becoming an organic farm family. She explained how her husband decided to change his life and how that change awakened powerful healing in their lives. Organic farming is not just about eliminating toxic chemicals. It's about balancing relationships and building communities that begin in soil, water, air and sunshine and expand outwards to involve every aspect of community.
As I sat there listening, I couldn't help but smile at the powerful simplicity of her message. We cannot be healthy until we find a balance between all things residing in the space between soil and air.
Human beings stand in that space and use our free will to create a myriad of things. Some of those things are beneficial and some have detrimental effects on health. As health care professionals, we must become interested in the effects of our choices on the terrain in which we reside. It's just critical to our success in living better lives.
As the meeting progressed, this theme just kept echoing in every aspect of AHVMF's activities. Research gives us facts that help people make informed choices. Scholarships fuel and support the new generation of professionals and allow them to explore the exciting and useful area of natural medicine.
There is a growing awareness that nutrition involves so much more than chemical nutrients. With the advent of rapidly progressing scientific work on the genetic effects of food and medicines, it could not be clearer that proper health care must become more like gardening and less like warfare. If we build health, we have far less disease to fight. Building health is far more desirable. Physicians and veterinarians who are interested in creating health are well-armed with science now. The dialog is progressing in many ways to help us better assist people and animals in their lives.
The microbiome is the collective of microorganisms that comprise the normal community of our bodies and our soil. The organisms are so numerous that we can't even name them all. Individuals with diverse populations of various viruses, bacteria and protozoal community members have better health. The microbiome is a literal gene-bank holding and using vast genetic potential to assist the host organism in its pursuit of survival. These non-host genes code for various proteins and systems that support immunity, defend against invading pathogens, create solutions to toxins and dangerous substances ingested and modify nutrients to make them more and less toxic.
Caring for our animals and families must involve increasing awareness of these populations. Our health is a reflection of the health of the communities that live in, on and around our bodies.
If we injure the microbiome by making it less diverse or less rich, meaning limiting the number of types or microorganisms or their numbers, then poorer health arises. This is true in the soil as well as in our intestines or skin. The price we pay for injuring soil organisms translates directly into lost nutrients. Take for example the widespread use of the herbicide glyphosate, an herbicidal chemical patented as a mineral chelator and antibiotic, which kills weeds by altering the soil's bacterial population and negatively impacting the weed's ability to absorb nutrients. Billion of tons of this chemical are dumped into the soil annually. We are discovering that it accumulates in water and food. Recent research shows it is in breast milk, honey, childhood vaccinations and a wide variety of foods. Our foundation funded work to investigate its presence in prescription pet foods. Those results are forthcoming this year thanks to your support!
Because we know that the chemical is used and because we know that it is an antibiotic, a mineral chelator, a mitochondrial toxin and that it seems to damage the body's inherent detoxification mechanisms, we begin to have concerns over its widespread use. We know that most chronic diseases begin with mitochondrial and microbiome damage. It makes sense that damaging the source of cellular energy would compromise health and research clearly shows that.
Informed minds ask questions:
- What is the effect of low level exposure on digestion and digestive organs?
- Is the mucosal border of the digestive system negative affected? If so, are there links to the development of allergies, asthma, and cancer from chronic low-level exposure?
- What food items are contaminated and what is the level of contamination?
- Are small levels of several toxins more toxic than we supposed?
- What can be done to remediate such environmental and personal health damages?
AHVMF is currently funding studies examining a wide variety of natural health questions that range from environmental concerns, cancer, herbal therapies, homeopathy and genetically modified techniques. We are growing and energizing the healing community. The AHVMA, our parent group of holistic professionals, raised over $16,000 at their annual banquet this year. That money helps provide much needed scholarships to veterinary students interested in holistic and integrative therapies. The student scholarship awardees are amazing people - intelligent, lovely and dedicated.
I had the honor of spending several days last month assisting in the development of new integrative teaching curricula for a veterinary school. It is so amazing seeing how people are beginning to fully realize the potential of natural medicines. As science is brought to bear, we are discovering fascinating and important issues we all need for our animals and our families. The time for fighting is over. The time for dialog and scientific investigation is now. Did you know there are over 100,000 scientific articles about herbs? Time to put that information to work for better healing, better longevity, better health!
Every choice we make is directed to improving health and giving you better options in veterinary care. Please support us in our fundraising efforts. Have a garage sale, put out a change jar, tell your friends and neighbors, share our stuff from Facebook, send us your Inspiring Stories, and keep us in your prayers and intentions. Our new web site will launch soon. Watch for it!
Dr Memon's brilliant paper brings together 32 veterinary specialists with training in holistic modalities to discuss the need for integrative veterinary training in all veterinary schools. It's amazing work! It's open access so anyone can obtain the entire paper. Enjoy!!
Integrative veterinary medical education and consensus guidelines for an integrative veterinary medicine curriculum within veterinary colleges.