Blended excerpts from various sections of Potential Within YOUR DOG’S HEALTH
by Franco Cavaleri ISBN 0-978-0-9731701-1-5
Original post: September 14, 2010
This article is composed of multiple excerpts to result in tone and content shifts and reference numbering that may be out of order.
Arthritis refers to as many as 100 different diseases affecting the area in or around a body’s joints. Arthritis is not only crippling an aging human population, it’s also assaulting our pets at an extraordinary rate. There are breed-specific genetic vulnerabilities to arthritis, but if the maintenance systems in the dog’s body stay in good form, premature cartilage wear—osteoarthritis—can be avoided.
Not surprisingly, nutrition can play a huge role in advancing or preventing joint disease related to wear-and-tear. A diet that supplies healthy collagen building blocks like glucosamine and glycosaminoglycans will be more likely to forestall the early onset of osteoarthritis than a diet that relies on heavily processed foods. To further compound matters, a diet that is processed to the point where fatty acids and amino acids are damaged will actually contribute to oxidation and inflammation in the body and interfere with the body’s ability to use those cartilage building blocks to repair joint tissues.
A raw food diet, on the other hand, supplies natural building blocks for collagen. This natural supply of glycosaminoglycans and other cartilage nutrients provides fabulous support and protection for joints on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, this whole food does not present the same oxidative potential in the body, eliminating the interference that commonly impairs the body’s ability to restore health after wear and tear has taken its toll.
After the onset of osteoarthritis, however, a pharmacological effect that re-activates collagen manufacturing in the damaged joints is required. The dog’s body needs a supply of active nutritional ingredients that have been engineered to penetrate to the cartilage cells themselves—the chondrocytes—to reactivate them.
The chondrocytes are the worker cells of the cartilage tissue or matrix, as it’s often referred to, that use glucosamine to make collagen. Collagen and other compounds, referred to as proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans, also make up the cartilage tissue, lending it that rubbery characteristic.
In order for the chondrocytes to make and preserve functional cartilage tissue they need minerals like sulphur, copper, and manganese, and vitamins like C, D, and E to name just a few. The wear and tear of time and use can cause these worker cells to become dormant. Even if these nutrients were supplied abundantly by the diet, the joint tissue could not be constructed without the activity of the chondrocyte.
The oxidation that can escalate in our senior animals also interferes with the activity of the chondrocyte. Since our pets’ protective antioxidant systems degrade as they age, oxidant interference with the work of the chondrocytes goes unchallenged. Even dogs on a raw food diet will need extra support in the form of chondrocyte activators as they age. Food alone, even if it is fresh and whole, cannot accomplish the task.
Supplementation of the raw food diet with nutrients that can protect chondrocytes and reactivate them when they have become dormant is essential if joint tissue is to be regenerated. Fortified dry feeds, such as those commonly packaged in bags, also need added supplements that provide support and recovery potential.
As discussed, many of the nutrients added back to these feeds in the form of fortification cannot survive in the bag long-term while stored on the store shelf or at your home. Some condition-specific diets will supply joint building blocks in the feed such as glucosamine, but these processed and then fortified feeds are still not as good as engineered compounds created to get a specific job done.
They do not provide the keys that turn on dormant chondrocytes or keep them in the “on” position as our animals age. In addition, these feeds rarely detail how much glucosamine, chondroitin, antioxidants, and other important joint nutrients might be added to the feed and what form they are in. In fact, because they are highly processed, these bagged and canned feeds contribute to general body oxidation, further interfering with chondrocyte activity and preventing the added nutrients from delivering their benefits.