Original post: September 20, 2010
Fatty acid supplementation of our pets’ food has become the widely accepted thing to do; everyone and their dog is doing it and for good reasons.
When it comes to the furry members of the family, Omega 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.
To compensate for the well known deficiency, pet owners are supplementing each food bowl with the precious nutritional fats to improve their pets’ health potential. However, fat supplementation to improve immunity and longevity is not as simple as throwing in some cooking oil or fish fats. These fatty acids also depend on important vitamins, minerals and other cofactors in the body.
These engineered foods present a formidable list of ingredients on the label but that doesn’t mean your pet’s immune system, muscles, heart, lungs and brain will receive these nutrients intact. Dry bagged and canned pet foods are often so processed that antioxidants, vitamins, and even minerals are damaged along with the oxidized fats. Supplementing with the precious polyunsaturated fatty acids is usually not enough if these other nutrients are also not available in sufficient quantities. The key to maximum life potential is complete supplementation.
Polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation regularly delivers formidable health benefit but these fats are not miraculous substances that cure ailments and prevent disease. The more accurate explanation is that a deficiency or imbalance results in poor health. Limitation of these fatty acids in the diet prevents the natural design – health. The reliable health improvements when they are supplemented are created by the body`s maintenance systems, not the fatty acid molecules. However, these maintenance systems depend on other nutrients to do their work with the fatty acids; other nutrients which are also difficult for the body to extract from the processed nourishment.
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.
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. The body depends on important enzymes and vitamins required to process these fatty acids in the cells. These must be supplied in proportional quantities.
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. Supplying these other supportive nutrients maximizes the benefit from the fatty acid supplement.
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 expected results from fatty acid administration will also be proportionally limited just as though there were a limitation of the fatty acid itself. Processing of food is sure to cause damage of these nutrients in varying degrees. The degree of damage is directly proportional to the heat intensity and oxygen exposure.
Supplement the love. However, we must also supplement the supplement. Supplementation of each food bowl must be complete to include a properly blended polyunsaturated fatty acid component and the support from a vitamin, mineral and phytoantioxidant supplement. This makes certain that all the cofactors needed for the utilization and cellular handling of these delicate fats are abundantly available to maximize results.