Original post: October 21, 2010
Seniors have different nutritional needs that result from an aged digestive system that may have a reduced capacity to digest and absorb crucial nutrients. Research also demonstrates that the manufacture of important antioxidants in the senior’s body begin to decline compromising immune system efficiency and contributing to premature degeneration and aging. When this age-related deterioration is compounded by common food-related deficiencies, aging can accelerate prematurely to compromise life quality. This phenomenon progresses in much the same way in the human family members as it does in the canine companion members.
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 and this factor largely contributes to stiffness and that slow get-up-and-go your senior is developing.
Active lifestyle is the most effective way to maintain health and vigor in those senior years but we all know that physical recovery from day to day work can take longer when we’re older. The faster metabolic rate, fido, is equipped with only means this age-related decline occurs sooner in them than it can in us.
Maintaining the body with proactive nutritional strategies prevents this decline from occurring prematurely allowing your precious canine companion to stay by your side and keep up with you in your active lifestyle. 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. A lack of nutritional vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids and fatty acids will cause this biological age to advance beyond the chronological years. Processed food contributes in two ways to that underlying (subclinical) inflammation that our aging pets are vulnerable to: one way is the damaged omega fatty acid nutrients that are easily oxidized by heat, light and oxygen exposure. In their whole and biologically active forms and in the balance whole food provides, these delicate polyunsaturated fat molecules can help manage inflammation and prevent premature aging. 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.
Oxidized food and the deactivated nourishment it supplies reduce longevity and life quality. And this becomes more apparent with age because as our cells and those of our companion canines’ age, internal production of antioxidants declines. The aging cells of the body produce less of their internal antioxidant needs. As a result, the aging body is less capable of tolerating processed food which itself carries an additional oxidative load. As our pet’s age, they actually need more dietary antioxidants to compensate for this internal decline and dietary deficiency translates into premature aging. It’s no different from what we need from our diet except that we need different proportions.
Aging is not a function of time. It is a physical state influenced by state of mind, genetic predisposition, lifestyle, environment and nutrition. The factor we have the most control over is nutrition. Oxidation can be mitigated by antioxidant nutrition. Fatty acid nutrition can help regulate inflammation. If we better control oxidation in the body and allow the natural 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. It allows your companion canine to keep up with you in your active lifestyle for longer in their life. In turn, this circumvents premature aging from gaining momentum.
A supplemental supply of digestive enzymes, vitamins, minerals, special fibres (lignans) and antioxidants specific to your aging pet’s needs reduces the rate of aging and risk for disease. Senior nutrition must also be designed to support gut-friendly bacteria; a critical component of the immune system. This entails regular probiotic supplementation wedded to prebiotic (blend of soluble fibers) supplementation.
Powdered forms of these nutritional supplements prove to be more effective in the gastrointestinal tract of the dog than tablet or wafers that use binders. This higher bioavailability of the powder format is especially important for senior dogs that may have compromised digestive efficiency.
The addition of these crucial nutrients throughout an active lifetime prevents early onset of aging and keeps your pet by your side in your active lifestyle. The longer your pet can keep up to you, the less likely it is for premature aging to start is evolution. By staying on your healthy lifestyle program together you can support each other on a quest to maintain health, vigor and long lived quality of life.