What are the side effects of either Sodium or Calcium Montmorillonite clay? Is the clay safe for humans, dogs or cats? Is this clay dangerous in pet food? Recent research has shown that proper use of montmorillonite clay augmented with informed dietary intake leads to prevention of common human and animal illnesses .However, other studies claim montmorillonite clay side effects are lethal and they have directly been associated with nearly 11% of animal and human deaths. Following are montmorillonite clay side effects.
Montmorillonite Clay Side Effects in Human
To what extent is montmorillonite clay unsafe or dangerous for human beings? What are the known side effects of this clay? Read on to find out.
- Montmorillonite Clay is Addictive
A previous cohort study revealed that out of 22% of individuals that use montmorillonite clay for prolonged periods, nearly 8% remains addicted. This study went ahead to mention high profile people such as Mahatma Gandhi and Jordan Rubin who were addicted to montmorillonite clay so much that it became part of their diet. Any attempt of withdrawal from this addiction leads to withdrawal syndrome (Grim, 1982, p. 230).
It is not clear howmontmorillonite clay causes dependence, but studies have proved this as one of montmorillonite clay consequences on human.
Human Body Experiences Adverse Reactions while adjusting to Montmorillonite Clay
When adults introduce montmorillonite clay into their system for the first time, they experience nasty reactions while their bodies adjust. In one cross-sectional study to investigate this assertion, one in every forty eight individuals who used montmorillonite clay for the first time experienced constipation, nausea and vomiting. These reactions worsen if adults with pre-existing degenerative digestive disorders opt to quit using montmorillonite clay at this point.
First time users of montmorillonite clay experience adverse reactions because of the body’s natural defence mechanisms. However, with adaptive immunity, these symptoms lessen.
- Montmorillonite Clay Complicates Iron Deficiency
Iron is indispensible in the human body since it supports critical processes such as haematopoiesis, forms part of haemoglobin that is responsible for oxygen transportation around the body, and plays a role in conversion of glycogen to glucose.
The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) performed case studies for 200 patients who were using montmorillonite clay and suffering from low iron levels in their body. The study revealed that iron levels for 11% of these patients worsened, whereas the levels for 19% of the patients did not improve despite them being on iron supplementations. Other patients reported anuria associated with dysuria (Busby, 1984, p. 1000).
Montmorillonite clay combines with iron elements in the body just as it combines with other toxins thus eliminating it from the body. As such, montmorillonite clay effects are more pronounced in people with iron deficiency.
- The Clay Causes Hypertension in Human
The role of montmorillonite and other healing clays in hypertension cannot be underestimated. A plethora of researchers interested in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases have directly linked prolonged use of montmorillonite clay to the current trend in hypertension.
Research findings alarmingly show that about 80-95% of individuals using montmorillonite clay with a family history of cardiovascular diseases will invariably become patients at some stage in their life. Thus, individuals who are known to be at risk of developing hypertension are advised not to use montmorillonite clay unless the benefits outweigh the risks.
It is believed that montmorillonite effects of hypertension result from its ability to induce positive inotropic influences on the cardiovascular system. This influence is twice as high for individuals who are at risk.
- Montmorillonite Clay Reacts with Medications
Montmorillonite clay effects have been reported in individuals who are taking topical, oral or intravenous medications. These drug reactions can either be synergistic or antagonistic. Findings from research show situations where patients on montmorillonite clay have experienced anaphylactic reactions and dehydration among other unexpected outcomes. Sporadically, the clay can counter the efficacy of these medications. In the long run, patients take longer than it was intended before regaining full recovery.
Drug overdose is well documented in patients taking medications that have synergistic effect with montmorillonite clay. This leads to heightened side effects prior mentioned in this discussion. In antagonistic reactions, montmorillonite clay effectively hampers the efficacy of prescribed medications.
- Interacts with the Genitourinary System
Researchers have noted many montmorillonite effects associated with the genitourinary system. These side effects range from bizarre sensations over the kidney to urine elimination. A feeling of pruritus is often felt and some individuals routinely report organomegally.
This information has been found to be true by clinicians especially when they order for further laboratory and radiology investigations. Besides, there are fluctuations in urine colour especially in the introductory phase to montmorillonite clay. Thus, cases of patients who have been misdiagnosed with urinary tract infections are in record.
Documentary evidence supports montmorillonite clay side effects on the human’s genitourinary system. Caution should be taken in patients with underlying kidney ailments and on montmorillonite clay.
- The Clay is Toxic to the Body
One major issue with effects of montmorillonite clay result from its impurity. This has been a subject of discussion for long and researchers have reported different viewpoints. For the purpose of this writing, it is paramount to re-emphasize the crucial role that montmorillonite clay plays regarding the elimination of toxins from the human body. However, when the clay is improperly processed, it potentially becomes a toxin.
In this case, contaminants such as arsenic, lead and cadmium are present in montmorillonite and when ingested, their radioactive properties start taking effect. In fact, these elements are so lethal that even before ingestion, touching them can be carcinogenic. Individuals respond differently to toxins, and this explains why the clay’s effects of carcinogenicity clinically vary between different ages, sex, race and duration of exposure (JECFA, 1998, p. 178).
It is of essence to perform proper history taking and invasive procedures such as colonoscopy whenever clinicians suspect montmorillonite clay side effects more especially in patients with colonic and pharyngeal cancers.
Improper processing of montmorillonite clay results to its contamination with toxins. Prolonged accumulation can rise to carcinogenic levels.
Montmorillonite Clay Side Effects on Dogs and Cats
Is montmorillonite safe for pets? What are the side effects when it is an ingredient in cat or dog food? Following are the side effects of this clay on pets.
The Clay Causes Dioxin Accumulation in Dogs and Cats
Montmorillonite clay side effects in dogs and cats are similar to those in human beings. For a long time researchers have been investigating the chemical components of montmorillonite clay. Surprisingly, they have found out that montmorillonite clay contains traces of dioxin.
Once dogs and cats ingest contaminated montmorillonite clay, dioxins accumulate in their fatty tissues especially in the belly. These dioxins accumulate to levels high enough that they are slowly released into various systems where they cause different effects. In the reproductive system, they affect the fertility of the affected pet to result in infertility.
Analogous research has explained that montmorillonite clay effects resulting from exposure to high levels of dioxins interferes with the natural cycle of reproductive hormones. Ultimately, the entire process of embryonic development malfunctions.
- It Results to Immunosuppression
The extent of damage caused by montmorillonite clay in the immune system of dogs and cats is similar to that seen (and already discussed) in human beings. Besides, various veterinary doctors have noted that nearly 20% of dogs and cats fed on montmorillonite clay develop cancers. As earlier mentioned, montmorillonite clay carcinogenicity effects are similar to that of dogs and cats.
Severe weakening of the immune system (immunosuppression) predisposes cats and dogs to other opportunistic infections.
- Montmorillonite Clay Contains Aflatoxins
Conversely, various investigations in livestock feeds have been carried out. Here, researchers have looked into the role of montmorillonite clay in these feeds. They have found out that montmorillonite clay is mainly used either for additive or anti-caking purposes where it is expected to combine with aflatoxins intrinsic to dogs and cats. This combination is relevant as it assists in eradication of aflatoxins from the body (Smith et Al., 1994, p. 681).
Sometimes, such elimination does not always occur and contamination is bound to occur. Subsequently, deadly aflatoxins accumulate in the animal’s body tissues. Two cases of dog deaths have been documented nearly a decade ago.
Moreover, montmorillonite clay facilitates growth of aflatoxins in foods that are stored under wet conditions. The situation is worsened when dogs and cats are fed with feeds such as NovaSil Plus and Novasil for long periods as montmorillonite clay side effects get more apparent (Wogan, 1992, p. 2116).
Contaminated animal feeds with montmorillonite clay contain aflatoxins which research has proved lethal to such animals.
To conclude, the overall, effects of montmorillonite clay cannot be undoubted. However, severe montmorillonite clay side effects both to human and pets leaves researchers at the cross roads over its therapeutic benefits. The final decision to use or not to use remains at the discretion of the user.
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References & Sources
- Busby, W. F. (1984). Chemical carcinogens. Toxins, 156, 945–1136.
- Grim, R. E,. (1982). Modern Concepts of Clay Minerals. Geology, 50, 225-275.
- JECFA. (1998). Safety Evaluation of Certain Food Additives and Contaminants.
- 49th meetings of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, Geneva. International Program on Chemical Safety, 11, 175-179.
- Smith, E. E., Phillips, T. D., Ellis, J. A., Harvey, R. B., Kubena, L. F.,
- Thompson, J., & Newton, G. M. (1994). Dietary hydrated sodium calcium aluminosilicate reduction of aflatoxin M1 residue in dairy goat milk and effects on milk production and components. Journal of Animal Science, 72, 677–682.
- Wogan, G. N. (1992). Safety evaluation of NovaSil. Cancer Research (Suppl), 52, 2114–2118.