GROWING OLD GRACEFULLY
Updated: Sep 12, 2021
Part 6 ; NUTRACEUTICALS
Research into the efficacy of joint supplementation has varied conclusions, the strongest outcome in favour of their use is when each of the components are combined rather than when given as a single entity. There appears to be very little advise to specific doses and this is largely down to different combinations promoting the efficacy of each other thus lowering certain doses required.
o Green lipped mussel; Perna canaliculus (a mollusc) extract native to New Zealand found to have anti-inflammatory properties however the research outcome is variable and has been shown to work best given in combination with other medications and ingredients. It is naturally high in omega 3.
o Chondroitin Sulphate; A natural chemical found in human and animal cartilage, it is a seemingly safe product with encouraging outcomes with human osteoarthritic patients. It has been found to prevent cartilage breakdown and can promote repair acting as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic, although evidence remains inconsistent.
o Glucosamine Hydrochloride; Glucosamine is readily absorbed and provides the viscoelastic properties found in cartilage. In human studies it appears to be of more benefit when given in combination with chondroitin and manganese
o Vitamins A; Vital vitamin found naturally in the diet to support vision, bone growth and repair, cellular differentiation and immune response. It is possible to overdose on vitamin A but the quantities would have to be 10-1000 times the dietary requirement
o Vitamin C (ascorbic acid); An important antioxidant which dogs can actually make themselves and although deficiency will not lead to death as in people it is important for immune health, may improve pain and function with dogs with hip dysplasia, create acidic urine found to helpful for dogs prone to infection and some bladder stones, for diabetics and allergies. It can also reduce cognitive aging. The organ responsible for vitamin C synthesis is the liver which can mean during aging supplementation can be useful.
o Vitamin E; protects against oxidative damage, it is essential for cell function and fat metabolism and deficiencies can lead to eye and muscle degeneration.
o Vitamin D; helps balance minerals such as phosphorus and calcium for healthy bone and muscle development and maintenance.
o Choline; An essential nutrient which supports healthy liver and brain function, they can not be produced in the body in required quantities so is sourced from diet and supplementation. Supplementation or increasing in naturally rich foods can help with symptoms of dementia or senility.
o Hyaluronic acid; a naturally occurring product found in the skin, eyes and joints keeping tissues hydrated and lubricated. The HA molecule in the arthritic joint is smaller than normal leading to less viscous fluid. There are positive results in studies with good rates of absorption and migration to relevant connective tissues. It can also be injected into the joint directly.
o Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM); A natural occurring chemical found in animals, humans and plants. There is encouraging research for OA in people demonstrating improved joint pain and swelling in both animals and people and decreasing joint degeneration in animals.
o Omega -3; An essential fatty acid that can help pups with mental development, control inflammation and aid in would healing in adult dogs and alleviate some inflammatory symptoms in the senior dog. There are 3 main types; ALA, EPA and DHA, ALA has to convert into EPA & DHA before it can be utilised. EPA and DHA can be found in fatty fish oil. Omega 3 is required to balance omega 6.
o Omega -6; LA & AA are essential fatty acids, they do have inflammatory effects so a balance with Omega 3 is essential.
o Turmeric (golden paste) or curcumin (active ingredient of turmeric); curcumin is difficult to absorb and it requires to be absorbed into the bloodstream to be effective so combination with other necessary ingredients is essential. It is known to have anti-inflammatory properties but the research into its efficacy for treatment for OA is slim and although there are a few encouraging studies there are also plenty negating its effectiveness.
o Manganese; a mineral found in several foods, is essential for energy production, protein and carbohydrate metabolism, fatty acid production and is given as a supplement for collagen formation in tendons, ligaments and cartilage. It is also vital for brain health as it is antioxidant so can be helpful in older dogs for dementia or senility. The best source of manganese is wool, hair and feathers! It can also be found in mussels.
o Rosehip; Rosehip extract contains polyphenols and anthocyanins believed to relieve joint inflammation and joint degeneration, it is naturally rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. It has shown great improvements in function, disease activity and quality of life in people and despite being available as a supplement in the US and Australia they are currently unavailable in the UK.
The benefits appear to outweigh the negatives and it is recommended we start our dogs on these supplements while they are still healthy adults.
Some companies formulate their products for different life stages such as Yumove with a puppy/young dog formula.
Some of these supplements can cause serious health implications such as insulin resistance and doses should be given carefully and discussed with your veterinarian.