Nutraceuticals for Animal Health
Nutraceuticals are non-drug substances derived from food and have therapeutic benefits. They are generally safe to use and may be used as a primary therapy or as an adjunct to conventional medicines.
Certain nutraceuticals can help to reduce the amount of drug necessary to manage disease conditions such as atopy, degenerative joint disease and congestive heart failure and can be of great assistance in supporting recovery and boosting vitality.
Unfortunately many supplements made for humans and animals are made according to food grade quality as opposed to pharmaceutical standard and do not actually contain what their label claims. Additionally, many products have limited bioavailability which has a substantial impact on their efficacy. Thankfully, there are some superb products available in the veterinary market today, many of which have undergone scientific trials and proven their value in case studies.
Vitamins, minerals and fatty acids often have a synergistic effect and by supplementing an animals’ diet with a good quality broad spectrum supplement, providing optimal amounts of important micronutrients helps to ensure optimum health, vitality, immune status, growth, fertility, muscle and tendon strength and recovery. For convalescing animals, adding such a supplement usually assists with improved healing, increased strength and vitality, promotion of weight gain and increased appetite.
Glucosamine is important building block for cartilage production and plays a role in lubricating and cushioning joints. It can be an invaluable aid in treating osteoarthritis, both to decrease the dose of anti-inflammatories needed in some cases as well as to slow the progression of the disease.
A special form, N-acetyl-D- glucosamine has been shown to help protect the internal lining of the bladder wall and can be a useful supplement to use with feline idiopathic cystitis.
MSM (Methyl-Sulphonyl Methane)
A derivative of DMSO, has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, improves joint flexibility as well as elasticity of connective tissue making it a useful supplement for muscle and tendon repair.
As part of normal metabolism free radicals are produced by oxidative stress and if not neutralized by anti-oxidants they can cause cellular damage which ultimately leads to disease. In debilitated, sick, malnourished and older animals the free radical load may be excessive as they have lower amounts of anti-oxidants available to help combat free radical damage. In conditions such as sepsis and inflammatory conditions, free radicals are produced at a greater rate which may be overwhelming and delay healing.
There are a number of well known and relatively commonly used anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, carotenoids, SAMe and those that are less well known in the veterinary field such as Coenzyme Q10 and proanthocyanidins.
Anti-oxidants work in synergy and have shown to provide immune support, aid in the management of dogs suffering from cognitive dysfunction, assist animals with cardiac disease and can help to improve anemia associated with kidney disease.
Provided as supplementation in optimal amounts, anti-oxidants help to provide powerful general support for debilitated animals and assist with the restoration and maintenance of health.
An anti-oxidant with therapeutic properties assisting liver disorders, osteoarthritis and cognitive dysfunction.
Proanthocyanidins are a subclass of bioflavonoids found in blue and purple berries, purple grapes, and extracts of grape-seed and pine bark (enzogenol).
They are useful in veterinary practice for many disease conditions including osteoarthritis, infections, heart disease, saddle thrombus in cats and I have found them invaluable as a safe and reliable adjunct therapy for neurological problems, auto-immune conditions, allergies, neoplasia and simply to support vitality and general energy levels in compromised animals.
A naturally occurring anti-oxidant which assists with energy production in the cells. Co-enzyme Q10 supplementation has shown improved cardiac function in animals with cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure. It has also shown improved survival times in acute renal failure, improved exercise tolerance and in some cases, been of benefit to some cats with inflammatory mouth disease.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
These important nutrients have specific anti-inflammatory properties and are a very versatile therapeutic aid for a number of health conditions.
Omega 3’s can help to reduce fatty plaques within blood vessels and dogs displaying symptoms of heart failure have enhanced longevity and quality of life following omega 3 fatty acid therapy.
Supplementation helps to maintain normal kidney function and can help to slow the progression of renal failure. They can be a useful supplement for animals with osteoarthritis and very important for the development of the brain before birth and during early development.
Vitamin B’s are fundamental to energy production, metabolism, growth, and maintenance of healthy tissues. They are a useful aid in helping to reduce nervousness and general stress, treating muscle fatigue, supporting appetite as well as treating debility, anorexia and anemia.
Has been used as a natural remedy to support liver health for more than 2000 years. As an antioxidant, milk thistle helps in the detoxification process and helps to assist and promote liver health.