Article – A Nutritional Overview

 

A Nutritional Overview

Stay ImformedWe like to think that most pets in the developed countries of our world live rather pampered and privileged lives. However, many people would be surprised to learn that the health challenges facing today’s pets are actually much greater than those faced by their ancestors. In addition to the many known diseases that pets are exposed to during their lives, factors such as our pet’s longer life spans, the ever-increasing levels of chemical pollution in our environment, poor diet, the over-use of “necessary toxins “such as vaccines and medications, and centuries of man-made genetic modifications that have made many breeds particularly susceptible to serious digestive, glandular and musculoskeletal problems all contribute heavily to the health problems that our pets encounter during their lives. Therefore, the health care and dietary choices we make for our pets must reflect these challenges.

Let’s briefly explore some of the things we can do as owners to greatly improve the health and quality of life of our pets.

  • By far, the most important thing we can do to ensure a long and healthy life for your pet is to simply improve its diet. The adage “We are what we eat” is as true today for the pet as it is for its owner – only they don’t have a choice. We, as their stewards, must make the best choices we can to see that that truly healthy food is available for them. Yes, pet foods using human grade ingredients rather than refuse from human food processing are more expensive. But, they are significantly more digestible and usable by our carnivorous pets and result in less food being consumed, better weight control, and less waste (feces). Pet foods using bio-available carbohydrates such as oats, potato, rice and peas instead of wheat, corn and soy, as well as those containing a greater proportion of meat than carbohydrates should be the first choice when choosing food for our pet.
  • Maintaining a healthy environment that includes clean air and water, minimum exposure to toxins, and plenty of physical and mental exercise to reduce stress has a huge impact on our pet’s health. Whether our pet has a job as many guardian and search & rescue dogs do, performs agility, field and tracking events for our enjoyment and sport, or merely performs the equally important job of being loving companion, it is vitally important to spend time daily interacting and providing our pet with mental and physical stimulation, as this is just as important as the best diet and supportive care we can give them.
  • Many “geriatric” issues start to show up as our pets age. But many of the changes we attribute to “just getting old” can actually be prevented or reversed to degrees with newer therapies such as “veterinary chiropractic care” and massage for spinal and muscle maintenance, acupuncture for pain control and energy balancing, low level laser therapy for revitalizing and re-establishing cell function and boosting the healing process, and homeopathic, herbal, and nutritional supplements to support and maintain optimal health throughout lives.

But Beyond Food…What Else Nutritionally Does Your Pet Need?

The important role that digestive enzymes play in the well being of your pets: Enzymes are “organic catalysts” that either initiate or speed up chemical reactions in the body, such as digestion, tissue repair, hormone function and energy production. Enzymes are essential for the proper digestion of food. Two types of enzymes are utilized to perform this task – the enzymes that come from the food that your pet eats (food enzymes) and the enzymes that are produced internally from the body’s digestive organs (digestive enzymes).
In humans, during the chewing process enzymes contained in the cells of the food are released, but we should all realize that our carnivorous friends have tearing teeth rather than grinding teeth so they do not release the plant based enzymes for use very well. During eating, the pancreas secretes the proper amounts and concentrations of enzymes for digestion as well. The enzymes that aid in food digestion include:

  • Protease – responsible for breaking polypeptides (proteins) into amino acids;
  • Amylase – responsible for reducing carbohydrates (starches and other polysaccharides) to sucrose, lactose, and maltose;
  • Lipase – responsible for digesting fats into fatty acids, glycerol;
  • Cellulase – responsible for breaking down fiber.

Insufficient levels of food enzymes place the burden of full digestive on the animal’s pancreas to produce the necessary digestive enzymes. This can result in an over-stressed digestive system, which eventually leads to improper food digestion and nutrient absorption. The consequence of improper food digestion is poorer nutrition extracted from the food, leaving higher levels of nutrients in the digesta for the growth of unwanted bacteria which, over time, upsets the delicate balance of intestinal microbes. This can result in bloating, diarrhea, gas, bad breath, body odor, lethargy and sluggishness. Improper digestion and nutrient absorption, can also give rise to a number of serious physical problems, such as:

  • A compromised immune system
  • Allergies (food, seasonal, etc.)
  • Arthritis (e.g. osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia)
  • Skin problems (e.g. hot spots)
  • Cancer
  • Premature aging?

In the wild, predators like dogs and cats would have naturally eaten other animals as part of their diet and would have received a great variety of beneficial enzymes from the digestive organs and intestinal contents of their prey. Unfortunately, even moderate levels of food enzymes are not available in most commercial pet foods, as they are destroyed at the temperatures required to process kibble and canned pet foods (118o F and above). Since your pet produces only a limited supply of their own digestive enzymes, commercial pet foods tend to deplete enzymes instead of helping to supplement them. Without these food enzymes, the animal’s body has to work harder and create more digestive enzymes to fully digest the food.

So what are the benefits of an enzyme supplement for your pet? Besides aiding in food digestion and nutrient absorption, enzymes are also essential for:

  • strengthening the immune system;
  • stopping coprophagia (the habit of eating stool);
  • decreasing the risks of degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis, and toxin build-up;
  • increasing T-cell production (T-cells are cancer-fighting cells);
  • promoting weight loss

The ability to efficiently absorb and utilize nutrients from food is the foundation of good health in both humans and animals. I can guarantee that if you add nothing else to the commercial food you feed your pet except a balanced digestive enzyme formula there will be an overall improvement in your pet’s health. But please be aware that we cannot simply provide our pets with enzyme supplements meant for humans, as we are herbivorous omnivores (eating more plants than meat), while dogs are carnivorous omnivores (eat more meat than plants) and cats are true carnivores. So the balance of enzymes needed for your pet is quite different than that required for a human. Unfortunately, there is little regulation in the supplement industry. So please use caution when choosing an enzyme supplement for your pet. Trusting the source of your enzymes, as well as the knowledge of the person providing the guidance on their use is critical.

The important role that probiotics play in the well being of your pets: Many of us think of bacteria as harmful, or even deadly, but did you know that certain bacteria are not only desirable, but necessary for your pet’s good health? “Friendly” bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifido-bacterium bifidum, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus are just a few of the helpful microorganisms that can reside in your dog or cat’s intestinal tract where they play an important role in defending their bodies against disease and illness. These kinds of bacteria are referred to as “friendly” because, rather than causing illness and disease, they serve to defend your pet from harmful organisms which can invade his body from time to time.

Just like humans, your pet encounters emotional and physiological stresses everyday – and every one of these stresses can potentially affect their gastrointestinal tract. As the largest immune barrier in their body, the gastrointestinal track bears the brunt of these stresses. Everything from eating sticks and grass, to dietary changes experienced when being boarded or even just their owner being gone for the day can affect the delicate balance of good bacteria in their GI tract, which opens the door to less-than-optimal health.
In addition to the negative effects of stress, other factors such as the aging process, poor dietary choices (highly processed pet foods), prescription medications (especially antibiotics), fertilizers, pesticides and other chemical pollutants contribute to promoting an imbalance between the “friendly” versus harmful bacteria in your pet’s gastrointestinal tract.

One of the most common ways that the ratio of friendly-to-harmful bacteria gets nudged out of balance is through the use of antibiotics. Of course, the use of these drugs is not always avoidable, especially if your dog or cat is fighting a serious infection. Unfortunately, antibiotics are not able to distinguish between friendly and harmful bacteria, so when eradicating the harmful bacteria (the source of many serious infections), they also kill off a large number of friendly bacteria. This leaves your pet with even less of a defense the next time he is exposed to harmful microorganisms.

Chemicals in the water supply and soil can have much the same effect. They do eliminate many of the harmful bacteria your pet is exposed to; but they also upset the balance between good and harmful bacteria. In this way, chemicals can also have a negative impact on your pet’s health.

Regardless of the cause, if your pet shows any of the signs of an unhealthy intestinal tract, this should serve as a red flag: It’s time to intervene and help your pet get his intestinal ecosystem back on the right track. Some of the most common symptoms of an unhealthy digestive tract are the following:

  • Flatulence
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Sluggishness
  • Skin problems
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Picky, poor or fluxuating appetite

One of the simplest and most effective remedies for poor digestion is to add probiotics to your pet’s diet. When ingested, these living microorganisms replenish the microflora in your pet’s intestinal tract. Probiotics produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which inhibit the growth and activity of harmful bacteria, such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Clostridium perfringens. Several studies have documented the effectiveness of certain strains in treating diarrhea, irritable bowel, and intestinal inflammation. Probiotics may also help prevent urinary tract infections, and can even reduce allergic reactions by decreasing intestinal permeability and controlling inflammation. Specific strains known to benefit dogs and cats include Enterococcus faecium (strain SF68) and Bacillus coagulans. Bifidobacterium animalis (strain AHC7) has been shown to reduce the time for acute diarrhea to resolve in dogs. Certain strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus improve frequency and quality of stools in sensitive dogs.

I feel that most pets can benefit from probiotics, but there are some important factors that owners should be aware of before purchasing and administering these supplements. The first thing to be aware of is that probiotic bacteria are host specific. Just as dogs have a variety of breeds within the species, bacteria also have a variety of different strains. This means that the L. Acidophilus strain that is beneficial to humans may not be beneficial to dogs and vice versa. Therefore, when looking to purchase a probiotic supplement for your pet always ensure that you are purchasing a pet specific product.

It is also important to understand that for a probiotic to be effective, it needs to survive the very acidic environment of the stomach and small intestine so it can reach and colonize the large intestine. One of the ways to ensure enough probiotic reaches the large intestine is to start with a very high concentration of live probiotic bacteria. As the high quantity of bacteria passes through the GI tract, some will die but the majority will survive. In order to ensure that the probiotic is effective, the dog needs to consume billions of viable bacteria. The number of live bacteria is measured as the number of colony-forming units (CFU) per gram of probiotic. When looking to purchase a probiotic, look for a product that guarantees billions of CFU per gram.
Also please be aware that there are some conditions in which you should consult your veterinarian before feeding probiotics. If your dog is immune compromised or undergoing GI surgery, or is suffering a severe bout of gastroenteritis, you should not administer probiotics until you have discussed it with your veterinarian.

The important role that natural anti-inflammatory supplements play in the well being of your pets: Inflammation is a natural response of your pet’s body to dehydration, metabolic imbalances, injury and infection and it is usually helpful. However, it can sometimes cause more harm than good. In some diseases, like arthritis, the body’s defense system — the immune system — triggers an inflammatory response even when there are no foreign substances to fight off. In these diseases, called autoimmune diseases, the body’s normally protective immune system causes damage to its own tissues. The body responds as if normal tissues are infected or somehow abnormal, which in turn can cause debilitating levels of inflammation. Some of the symptoms of inflammation you may notice in your pets include: swollen joints that are warm to the touch, joint pain and stiffness, loss of joint function, fatigue/loss of energy, loss of appetite and muscle stiffness.

One of the prime players in the inflammatory process are prostaglandins, which are a group of lipid compounds that are derived enzymatically from fatty acids and that have many important functions in the animal body. Among other things, prostaglandins influence pain signals, regulate inflammation, maintain tissues such as the lining of the stomach, blood clotting and stimulation of many important cellular activities. However, high levels of certain types of prostaglandin can lead to excessive inflammation.

One of the safest and most effective methods of reducing the levels of the inflammation causing type of prostaglandin is by increasing the amount of certain essential fatty acids (EFA) in your pet’s diet. (In the context of nutrition, the term “essential” means that the nutrient cannot be synthesized in the human body, and must be derived from dietary sources.) The two most important EFA’s are Omega 6, which is found in plant based foods, and Omega 3, which is only found in fish and fish oils. But, it is very important to understand the fundamentally different effects these two EFA’s have on the production of prostaglandin.

Without going too deeply into the underlying chemistry involved in production of prostaglandin, the difference between these two EFA’s can be quite simply stated as: Omega 6 promotes the production of prostaglandin, while Omega 3 is considered to be neutral. Omega 3 fatty acids compete with Omega 6 fatty acids for the same binding site on the COX 1 enzyme that converts the Omega 6 fatty acids to prostaglandin. Therefore, the more Omega 3 fatty acids present to block the binding sites, the fewer Omega 6 fatty acids are able to be converted to prostaglandin. While Omega 3 does produce some prostaglandin, significantly smaller amounts are made from Omega 3 fatty acids as compared to the amount produced by Omega 6, and the prostaglandins formed from Omega 3 are generally up to 50 times less active than those formed from the Omega 6.

Fish oils contain a variety of fatty acids, but the ones that are believed to be the most beneficial are the long-chain polyunsaturated Omega 3 fatty acids Eicosapentanaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). A common misconception is that the need for EPA and DHA can be met by consuming flax seed and borage oil, hemp, pumpkin and other plant sources of short-chain omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).While it is possible for the body to synthesize EPA and DHA from ALA, research clearly indicates that the conversion of ALA from plant sources to EPA and DHA is extremely limited. Less than 5% of ALA gets converted to EPA, and less than 0.5% (one-half of one percent) of ALA is converted to DHA. This is significant because researchers now believe that the majority of the health benefits we get from dietary Omega-3 fats come from the longer chain derivatives of EPA and DHA (especially DHA) found in fish and fish oils.

It is also interesting to note that pharmaceutical companies are well aware of the effect Omega 6 has on inflammation. In fact, the way veterinary prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications (Rimadyl, Deramaxx and Metacam, etc.) work is by reducing the formation of inflammatory compounds derived from Omega 6 fatty acids. But these NSAID medications can often have unwanted side effects, such as GI tract bleeding and liver and kidney toxicity. Reducing prostaglandin production can also be achieved, without the negative side-effects, by simply increasing your pet’s dietary intake of Omega 3 fatty acids. Many independent placebo-controlled trials of fish oil in human chronic inflammatory diseases reveal significant benefits, including decreased disease activity and a significant reduction in the use or the complete elimination of anti-inflammatory drugs.

I have also seen similar results from Omega 3 in many of the pets that I have treated for inflammatory issues such as arthritis, as well as finding it to be highly effective in the treatment of a wide variety of conditions ranging from GI tract disorders to canine allergies and skin problems. Pets with high levels of Omega 3 in their diets show remarkable improvements in the condition of their skin and coats. It helps to reduce dryness and flaking in the skin, as well as many inflammatory skin reactions such as itching, scratching and the formation of hot spots, and it has been shown to help protect the skin and coat against parasitic infections such as fleas, ticks and mites.

nutritionOver the centuries, many herbs, roots, bark and plants with powerful anti-inflammatory properties have been identified and utilized by medical practitioners around the world, and they are the basis of many of our modern pharmaceutical medications. Many of the better pet supplements now incorporate extracts of some of the following natural anti-inflammatory substances in there formulations:

  • Notopterygium Root/Qiang Huo (Notopterygium incisum)
  • Cat’s Claw/Una de Gato (Uncaria tomentosa)
  • Acanthopanax Bark/Wi Jia Pi (Eleutherococcus gracilistylus)
  • Boswellia/Frankincense (Boswellia serrata)
  • Rehmannia Root/Di Huang (Rehamannia glutinosa)
  • Tumeric/Jianghuang (Curcuma longa)
  • Large Leaf Gentian Root/Qin Jiao (Gentiana macrophylla)
  • Angelica Root/Du Ho (Angelica pubescens)
  • MSM (methyl –sufonyl –methane), which is an organic form of sulfur found in plants, meat, fish, milk, eggs and soil – and is also a naturally occurring compound in the bodies of animals and humans.

The additional benefit of using these natural substances is that unlike many pharmaceutical drugs, which are designed to treat a specific symptom of a disease and nothing more, all of the natural medications listed above are also effective against multiple medical problems. Cat’s Claw (Una de Gato) for instance is not only known for its excellent anti-inflammatory properties, it is also effective in the treatment of intestinal ailments such as gastric ulcers and tumors, parasites, colitis, gastritis, diverticulitis, and leaky bowel syndrome. Additionally, many of these natural substances also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that are essential for the long term health of your pet. It is the intricate interaction of all these various elements, and their support of the active ingredient, that results in these natural substances being such powerful remedies.

There is no doubt that prescription veterinary NSAID medications, with their inherent negative side effects, do have a role to play in the treatment of acute inflammation and pain. But if your veterinarian has suggested that your pet is suffering chronic, low-grade inflammation, you may want to consider supporting or replacing prescribed medication with natural anti-inflammatory supplements. However, the use of natural anti-inflammatory dietary supplements should not be viewed a short-term fix for a specific health problem, but instead they should be considered as a long term support mechanism for the overall good health of your pet – which will not only cure, but also prevent, many of the diseases and aliments that it will encounter during its lifetime.

The important role that joint supplements play in the well being of your pets: Osteoarthritis, also referred to as degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis in dogs, with overweight and elderly dogs among the most at risk for developing this debilitating and painful joint disease. Over time, joint cartilage deteriorates and is unable to retain water, which results in a loss of lubrication between the joints. Once cartilage is unable to hold water, the body attempts to produce extra synovial fluid, resulting in the swelling of the joints. For the active dog, mobility is all about the health of the cartilage that forms the protective cushion between a dog’s bones where they meet at the joint. Cartilage provides a spongy, watery pad where the shoulder, hip, knee, elbow, wrist, and other bones come together, acting as a shock absorber between the bones when they are in motion. Like a fluid pillow full of thick liquid wedged between the bones, cartilage consumes the force of the concussion generated during movement. Cartilage does not have a blood supply; it relies on the motion of the joint to pump nutritive liquid in and out, pulling needed nourishment into the tissue. With age, cartilage can become drier, thinner, and less effective at cushioning the bones in the joint.

As the cartilage in the joint continues to break down, the friction between the joints increases, which causes small fractures to form. As the bone begins to heal, bone spurs (osteophytes) can develop. These bone spurs stretch out the joint capsule and cause pain when rubbed against other nerves or bone. As your dog ages, the natural production of glucosamine in the body slows. As a result, the natural repair process in the body slows, eventually leading to joint pain and stiffness. Joint problems begin to occur when the rate at which joint cartilage degrades exceeds the rate at which the dog’s body replenishes it. The ongoing wear and tear on your dog’s joints, combined with the slowed repair time of the cartilage, leads to the development of painful joints.

The conventional treatment for the discomfort of joint pain in dogs is the administration of pain-relieving non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin, as well as Rimadyl, Deramaxx, and EtoGesic. These pharmaceuticals do temporarily relieve pain but may also produce significant, unwanted side effects ranging from gastric upset and bleeding to liver damage and seizures. All of the NSAIDs have been plagued by reports of serious health problems resulting from their use. But they continue to find a following among veterinarians and dog owners who value their potent and fast-acting pain relief. Unfortunately, many people do not understand that pain relief drugs may mask escalating joint problems. These products do nothing to heal or stabilize the joint’s destruction; as soon as the drugs are discontinued, the dog again experiences all of the discomfort associated with joint deterioration.

The good news is that research has found that providing certain oral supplements can help rebuild cartilage, which can reduce joint pain and help restore your dog’s joint function and activity levels.

Glucosamine is a natural substance found in your pet’s body, with the highest concentration found in healthy cartilage. The glucosamine in your dog’s body produces a precursor to a molecule called glycosaminoglycan, which is used to help form and repair body tissues such as cartilage. Glucosamine is essential for the formation of the structural elements in cell walls, intercellular spaces, and connective tissues and give shape, elasticity and rigidity to such tissues as cartilage, tendons, ligaments, intervertebral discs, and mucous membranes.

Glucosamine’s primary biological role in halting or reversing joint degeneration appears to be directly due to its ability to act as an essential substrate for, and to stimulate the biosynthesis of, the glycosaminoglycans and the hyaluronic acid needed for the formation of proteoglycans found in the structural matrix of joints.
Glucosamine is readily available in two forms: glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride (HCL). It is produced in the form of a chemical salt when glucosamine is combined with sulphur molecules to form glucosamine sulfate or with hydrochloric acid to form glucosamine HCL. The primary difference between the two versions is which chemical formulation (sulfate or HCL) the manufacturer decides to use as a transport agent and stabilizer in order to more easily move the glucosamine into the digestive tract of the animal. There is some debate within the medical and veterinary communities as to which version is more effective. I have tried both forms of glucosamine in my practice, and I favor the glucosamine sulfate, as I have had better clinical success with that version of the supplement. There is also recent clinical evidence in human studies that shows that sulfate alone helps with arthritis pain, so there is some thought that this may be why glucosamine sulfate is the best form to use.

“Every active dog should be on a glucosamine source,” asserts Dr. Chris Bessent, a Wisconsin-based veterinarian specializing in natural treatment methods for performance horses and dogs. She explains that most athletic dogs have healthy joints that have not sustained damage yet. But, active dogs regularly “push the envelope,” causing some joint inflammation that can develop into early joint breakdown. Dr. Bessent refers to mature, athletic dogs that show the generalized, early signs of joint deterioration as “dogs running on four low tires.” Supplementing with glucosamine, she believes, “pumps up the tires” again.

Chondroitin is the most abundant glycosaminoglycan in cartilage and is responsible for the resiliency and elasticity of cartilage. Supplemental chondroitin is derived primarily from bovine (cow) cartilage, particularly the cartilage rings of the trachea. It is also derived from shark and whale cartilage. The source does not appear to have any impact on its effect. Chondroitin provides additional substrates for the formation of a healthy joint matrix. Evidence from many studies has shown that chondroitin acts as both as an agent to slowly reduce symptoms and can reduce the need for NSAID’s. We must however keep dosage and digestability in mind, as Glucosamine sulfate is thought to be absorbed at 96%, while Glucosamine HCl is only at 28-32% and Chondroitin is only at 8% so dosage will be radically different for successful therapy.

* (Note: The combined use of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate in the treatment of degenerative joint disease has become an extremely popular supplementation protocol in arthritic conditions of the joints. Although glucosamine and chondroitin are often administered together, there is no information available to demonstrate the combination produces better results than glucosamine alone. This is most likely due to the fact that glucosamine molecules are smaller and probably have a better absorption rate than chondroitin.)

MSM (methylsulphynolmethane) is a natural biological sulphur compound found in all plants, soils, fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, eggs, meats and milk. It has been found to help improve joint flexibility and reduce pain and inflammation in both humans and animals. While glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM are the most common ingredients in supplements for joint health, there are other ingredients which may increase the effectiveness of a joint supplement. A few of the better joint supplements boost their effectiveness by adding in herbal ingredients that have historically well-known anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties such as: wild yam, licorice root, aloe vera, pfaffia root, red poppy flower, white peony root, turmeric and yucca.

It is important to note that no amount of consumed supplements will correct structural damage to a dog’s joints. If there are calcium deposits, scar tissue, cartilage tears and dissolution, contour changes to the bones at the joint surfaces from long-term abnormal forces being applied, these abnormalities will remain present and will continue to affect the animal regardless of nutritional intake. Supplements will assist in decreasing inflammation and improving the body’s ability to repair and strengthen tissues. Supplements, however, will not reverse structural changes in a joint such as torn cartilage, calcium deposits and advanced scar tissue.

Once a dog begins using a joint supplement, they should stay on it for the rest of their lives or the degeneration of the joint cartilage will return. Continued supplementation is necessary as neither glucosamine or chondroitin are found naturally in your pet’s food – including raw diets. Also, please be aware that, depending on the source, it may only take a few days or several weeks or months to begin seeing any beneficial effect of a joint supplement. The sulfate forms show quicker utilization as they do not need to be altered, while the HCL and Chondroitin form must be shipped to the liver and reconstructed for utilization. Typically, your dog will start on a “loading dose” for several weeks and then it will be reduced to a lower “maintenance dose. The safety of these joint supplements is well suited for long term use. They can also be used with most other drugs and vitamins without any complications. The owner of any animal that is taking any type of prescription medication should always seek veterinary advice before administering any new supplement or drug to their pets.

NutritionSo we must always keep ourselves informed, as our pets mature and along with any health issues that develop, maximize their health with nutrition FIRST and only then rely on medications and the necessary evil that will improve quality of life, but with the cost of toxicity and side-effects.

I continually search out quality supplements with reasonable prices. We are all aware that all products are not equal, even if they list the same ingredients on the label. This is because not all companies perform standardization evaluations of their ingredients. These ingredients come from plant and animal sources and the quality of life and nutrition and lack of disease in those living entities determine the levels of the desired nutritional supplements that will be in the products. If we don’t test the levels to determine whether to use that source or if it needs to be filtered and concentrated, we will not achieve a consistently good quality supplement, bottle after bottle. Herbal companies in Canada, New Zealand and Australia require this by law, however the United States are far from this so careful consideration of the companies we buy from is a necessity. HealthTech, Omega Alpha, Genesis Today, Standard Process, MediHerb and Enzymatic Therapy are some of the most trusted, quality manufacturers in the world.

by Dr. Trish Kallenbach DVM, CVCP, VA, LMT