Updated: Oct 16
Original post: September 16, 2010
Fatty acid supplementation of our pets’ food has become widely accepted as the thing to do; everyone and their dog is doing it and for good reasons. When it comes to the furry members of the family, fatty acid supplementation is even more valuable than it is to us since their processed foods are more nutrient damaged than our own. The essential and other polyunsaturated fats important to health are easily destroyed during processing and shelf-storage of foods; their molecular structure makes them extremely delicate.
Dry bagged food may present a formidable list of ingredients on the label. However, the processing was sure to damage many of the delicate nutrients especially the polyunsaturated fats. Good intentions and love are just not good enough for our pets. We need to supplement the love with knowledge and informed intentions.
The very reactivity of these specialized fats that we and our pets rely on for cellular and metabolic activity is what makes them vulnerable to damage by heat, oxygen and light exposure. Once damaged, the life supportive force these special fats provide and our pets’ depend on for immune system efficiency, skin cell integrity, hormone balance and inflammatory control is lost for good. If processed bagged food is the main source of nourishment for your pet, polyunsaturated fat status and general health cannot be optimal and this will become more evident as your pet ages. Since this deficiency is common, supplementation with polyunsaturated fats such as the Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats produces reliable health improvements.
These fatty acid supplements are not miraculous substances that cure ailments and prevent disease. Very simply, they are essential building blocks and tools for the metabolism that the diet is supposed to supply daily in unlimited quantities. Limitation of these fatty acids in the diet prevents the natural design – health. The reliable health improvements that supplementation can offer are simply a function of the body receiving all of the nutritional tools it needs to do its job.
Today our pets are experiencing an escalating frequency and intensity of kidney and liver disease, chronic inflammatory ailments, tumours and cancers. Long term imbalance and deficiency of these essential fatty acids can set the stage for these diseases. The cells use these polyunsaturated Omega-fats to manufacture specialized hormones (prostaglandins, prostacyclins and others) that are at the center of these prolific diseases. Correction of this hormone deficiency and imbalance through supplementation with the right fatty acids can prevent and even correct some of these ailments.
However, fatty acid supplementation is not as straight forward as adding a dash of salmon oil, a drizzle of olive oil or a bit of flaxseed oil to your pet’s food bowl. In order to achieve the balance in the body that fatty acid supplementation is intended to accomplish the balance of the formula needs to be properly strategized. Diet directly influences the body`s nutrient status. The body in turn uses this nutrient pool as required to maintain tissues and systems and ward off illness. Limitations of key nutritional factors simply create limitations in recovery from day-to-day wear and tear and limited protection from invading pathogens.
A body riddled with these limitations is not able to tolerate other adversities in life either. If we add a genetic predisposition for disease or other environmental (toxins) or lifestyle aggravators (sedentary lifestyle) to this equation we further advance the vulnerability – the frequency and intensity of the illness and associated symptoms. The more contributors we remove from this equation, the better control we can have over inflammation; even genetic predispositions for disease. The foods we choose and the supplementation we apply are things we can control and improve on easily.
As much as fatty acid supplementation should be done with a blend of essential (flaxseed and/or olive oils) and conditionally essential (cold water fish oils) fatty acids together to achieve the proper balance, other important nutrients are crucial to the health outcome. The body depends on important enzymes and vitamins required to process these fatty acids in the cells. Antioxidants are also critical nutritional factors because these nutrients protect the delicate fatty acids in the cells from damage that uncontrolled oxidation can cause. Some of these highly specialized antioxidants serve also as guidance escorting these fats down the right pathways.
If vitamins, minerals, enzymes and / or antioxidants essential to this process are missing, the body may not be able to use these precious fatty acids to maintain health and prevent disease. If any one of these important cofactors is limited the results from fatty acid administration will also be proportionally limited just as though there were a limitation of the fatty acid itself. Supplement the love. However, we must also supplement the supplement. Fatty acid supplementation must be accompanied by a vitamin, mineral and antioxidant supplement. This makes certain that all the cofactors needed for the utilization and cellular handling of these delicate fats are abundantly available. Supplement the love for health, happiness and harmony to a ripe old age.
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