Original post: October 8, 2010
When it comes to pet foods, active nutrition is hard to come by. Most pet foods supply an adequate amount of protein, fat and calories but the quality of this nourishment is impossible to uphold during the conventional processing methods. Processed food does not retain the nutrient value that the original, whole, fresh food had. Most of us know that the heat applied to treat these foods and the resulting oxygen exposure diminish the activity of the delicate polyunsaturated fats. We often refer to these important nutrients as Omega or essential fatty acids. Why have we chosen to make processed dry bagged food the staple for our family pet?
Manufacturers of processed pet foods try to counter this nutrient deficiency by adding fatty acid nutrients back to cat and dog feeds but the delicate nature of the polyunsaturated fat molecule makes this fortification vulnerable to oxidation as well. In addition, the cells of our companion animals depend on support nutrients – specific vitamins and minerals as cofactors and enzymes for metabolizing and using these fatty acids. They also depend on antioxidants that protect and escort these fats in the cells.
These support nutrients are also damaged by processing and shelf storage. We can replace the damaged fatty acids through oil supplementation at each meal and in most cases this delivers a reasonable health outcome. However, without sufficient support nutrition for these fats, these Omega fatty acids will not deliver their full health potential. Dry bagged or canned food is processed just like our human dry breakfast cereals are typically processed.
These dog foods are also fortified just like our fancy colourful human breakfast cereals are. You and I could not survive and function at our full life potential if we ate our three to five meals each day out of a dry cereal box. What makes our pets different? Why have we accepted processed bagged dry and canned foods as their sole source of nourishment? The answer is not ‘optimal health’; its ‘convenience’.
Money and time saved feeding dry or canned nutrition is sure to be spent in multiples on medical care as your pet ages. As our pets age antioxidant production in their cells declines making it more difficult to tolerate adversity; and this includes their ability to tolerate compromised nutrition and illness. It’s one reason our pets seem to age faster in their last few years compared to their mid-years. The obvious solution is to choose the best quality nourishment possible from puppyhood; food that has not been processed or at least to choose food that has been exposed to the least amount of processing.
The next step is to supplement each meal with fresh live nutrients – fats, vitamins, minerals and phytoantioxidants.
Those age-related ailments in your senior are not likely age-related based on what we know today. All diseases are characterised by an underlying inflammation. This inflammation can be advanced and even prevented by dietary factors; primarily fatty acids and antioxidants or oxidation. Processed, oxidized foods contribute to oxidation in the body. Oxidation advances inflammation making the inflammatory activity caused by fatty acid imbalance worse. This underlying inflammation reduces your pet’s ability to tolerate disease. It also advances your pet’s biological age. We have no control over time. Just as we humans will age chronologically our pets will. However, we have plenty of control over biological age. Nutrition can play a huge role in how we and our pets age biologically.
Processed food contributes to an underlying (subclinical) inflammation in two ways: one way is the damaged Omega fatty acid nutrients which are easily oxidized by processing. In their whole and biologically active forms and in the balance whole food provides, these delicate molecules can help manage inflammation. In their damaged state they contribute to uncontrolled oxidation and inflammation. The other way processed foods contribute to inflammation is through the deficiency of active antioxidants which are also destroyed during processing. Biologically active antioxidants from whole fresh food would otherwise help defuse elevated or uncontrolled oxidation and inflammation. They are natural protectors and cell preservers which are unavailable to the desperate cells of a body fed processed foods.
Oxidized food and the deactivated nourishment it supplies reduce longevity and life quality. This becomes more apparent with age because as our cells age; and as the cell’s of our pets age, internal production of antioxidants declines. As a result, the aging body is less capable of tolerating processed food which itself carries an additional oxidative load. The uncontrolled inflammation from this damaged food chemistry erodes cells and tissues prematurely – untimely biological aging – and in those latter years it ensues unchallenged. By improving antioxidant and fatty acid status in the cells, this inflammatory activity is better controlled; premature aging is circumvented; and quality of life preserved in those senior years. Nourishment is the factor we can have complete control over.
Aging is not a function of time. It is simply a function of biological wear and tear and attributed to a lack of timely repair of this wear. Uncontrolled inflammation accelerates that wear and tear by preventing the natural restorative processes from doing their wonderful work in your young vigorous pet. Age is a physical state influenced by state of mind, genetic predisposition, lifestyle, environment and nutrition.
Uncontrolled oxidation also promotes the production of eicosanoid hormones which accelerate tumerogeneisis, cancer and general tissue degeneration. Illnesses as common as arthritis can be accelerated by oxidation. Oxidation can be mitigated by antioxidant nutrition. If we better control oxidation in the body and allow the natural (genetically coded) maintenance systems to work according to design; to restore cells, receptor sites and tissues as they become damaged, the body will be on top of the restorative process in a timely fashion to keep up with the needed repair. This translates into improved biological age despite chronological time.
The only way we can accomplish this formidable feat is through ensuring diet is sound and lifestyle is healthy. Supplementation with a balanced and biologically active fatty acid product can help attain this inflammatory control and improved state of health. Concurrent supplementation with the vitamins and minerals that are essential cofactors the cells need to process these fats internally helps guide the fats down the right cellular paths.
A supplemental supply of phytoantioxidants further improves the cell’s ability to use and preserve these fatty acids in their active forms. Individually these different categories of nutrition can improve state of health when supplemented but they really deliver a formidable impact when they are supplemented together since they depend on each other for maximum biological activity. Take control of your pet’s health and quality of life. Supplement each meal with a species-specific fatty acid blend that includes more than just fish derived fatty acids. This fatty acid supplement must include the essential seed oil supplied together with cold water fish oil.
Finally, to ensure all the nutrient tools are abundantly available for the cells to use this properly balanced fatty acid supplement, add a vitamin, mineral and phytoantioxidant accompaniment. Individually these categories of nutrition can improve health but the key to maximum results and optimum health is complete nutrition – fatty acid supplementation accompanied by vitamin, mineral and phytoantioxidant supplementation of each meal.