Original post: January 15, 2011
We’ve been led to believe that dry processed kibble and canned food is the best source of nourishment for our companion animals. We’re told that this fortified nourishment, rich with flavor contains all of the essential nutrients they need. Much like our own fast foods are designed for convenience, processed kibble and canned dog and cat foods are designed for our convenience; not our pets’.
It’s no wonder that the same epidemics such as diabetes, obesity, inflammation, joint degeneration and cancer are epidemics in our pet populations just as they are in our own. Yet we’ve been taught to accept these costly diseases in our loyal companions as inevitable developments of age when they are not. They are more a result of poor biological state; a situation that we can have more control over than we’re led to believe.
Veterinary costs alone can make prevention a worth while practice to implement on your companion animal if improved quality of life is not enough incentive. Since their food tends to be more processed and nutrient damaged than our own, prevention with supplementation is even more powerful for our companion animals than it is for us. Results are usually apparent immediately. The following paragraphs are designed to demonstrate just how valuable disease prevention through supplementation is to your pet; how much it can improve health and longevity and save in veterinary costs.
Nutrients are now known to modulate genetic activity Aging itself is a degenerative condition that human interference accelerates. We’re quick to blame genetic predisposition for age-related diseases but recently discovered facts have shown otherwise.
The discovery of powerful genetic influences by nutrients as common as vitamin C has opened a scientific window into our new age diseases that has revolutionized how modern health care providers and consumers think about food and nutrient supplementation. Vitamin C is now known to play a role in gene activity when it comes to cartilage synthesis.(1)
Chondroitin sulphate, for example, is now known to literally free the genes responsible for collagen synthesis of inhibitory factors (nitric oxide specifically) which impair the ability for cells to use glucosamine to regenerate cartilage tissue.(2,3) Glucosamine supplementation to combat joint disease, therefore, delivers very limited results but in combination with chondroitin sulfate, vitamin C and grapeseed extract which supports vitamin C activity,(4) results are more powerful, more complete and more immediate.
Another example of powerful gene activity by nutrients is that of the specialized vanadium compounds, such as vanadyl sulfate, for instance, which is now known to activate gene systems responsible for the regeneration of glucose transport sites. In other words, supplementation with this vanadium compound can literally reverse the type II diabetic state in humans and other mammals including dogs and cats.(5, 6, 7) DHA from marine oils is powerful insulin support (8, 9) but most of us are conditioned to use such supplements when we’re challenged by disease instead of supporting daily maintenance of health with preventive supplementation. Interestingly, such fats are completely destroyed by the high heat processing which dog and cat foods are exposed to and naturally occurring levels, required for daily maintenance, are then missing completely from the diet.
Prevention is the most powerful cure.
Many of us, including scientific researchers, have misunderstood the underlying message that these findings have delivered. It’s not so much that these naturally occurring substances have therapeutic affects to help us recover from disease as their absence or limitation in the daily diet prevents a dependent metabolism, including genetic activity, from functioning according to design. Processed foods contribute to disease in multiple compounding ways: they are generally higher in glycemic index to strain insulin function;(10) this metabolic stress increases free radical production;(11) and this food lacks biologically active building blocks and cofactors for normal maintenance. The resulting insulin resistance and other metabolic impairment which goes unnoticed festers deep inside our unsuspecting furry companions while the body fights it with limited nutrient resources – disease is inevitable. Since our companion animals’ food is typically more processed than our own the influence is more profound in them.
Daily supplementation with minerals, vitamins, essential fats and special antioxidants to ensure maximum availability of quality, biologically active nutrients supports metabolic maintenance from day to day to limit degeneration. There are different degrees of a diabetic state including prediabetic insulin resistance, which all of us, together with our companion animals, face as we age.
Any degree of insulin efficiency that is less than optimal results in that slower metabolism which we say causes us to put on body fat more easily, recover more slowly from physical work, and experience stiffer, less resilient joints. Obesity, diabetes, chronic inflammation and joint degeneration are all epidemics in our pet population mirroring our own health statistics.
Your Pet’s Health is In Your Hands
The good news is that you can take back control. Daily supplementation with preventive doses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fats and other omega-3 fats from marine oils (such as DHA) helps maintain youthful insulin function and healthy genetic activity of these built in maintenance systems. This preserves a youthful predisposition from the inside out. You don’t have to find each and every nutrient discussed in this short article either. These are only a few examples of nutrient activity anyway.
Ask your local health food store retailer to direct you to powdered or liquid canine or feline supplementation. Tablet forms of such supplements are not designed for the shorter gastrointestinal tracts of our dogs and cats. Quality, research-based multiple supplements will take these discussed nutrient synergies into account in the formulation. Ensure that the fatty acid and other essential nutrients are included in the right proportions for your companion animal’s unique metabolic needs. These requirements are much different than yours and mine. Take charge of your loyal companion’s health; prevent disease and unnecessary vet bills and improve their quality of life with proper supplementation. Your pet’s health is your responsibility.