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naturalpet
Whole Food Supplements
Benefits for Pets
by Dr. Matthew J. Heller
Pets and people today share a common bond: We rarely consume a completely balanced diet that meets
our nutritional needs and promotes optimal health. Everyone knows that vitamins are fundamental to
health and wellness, and concerned pet owners are beginning to realize that even the best food sources
may not be enough. Pets’ diets may need additional fortification with nutritional supplementation.
Why Supplements
key nutrients present, as well as hundreds
May Be Necessary
of related nutrients.
In manufacturing whole food
First, it’s vital to understand that the
vitamin supplements, the raw materi-
majority of the U.S. pet population
als (plants, vegetables, fruits and/or
consumes highly processed diets. In
animal products) are gently processed
order to form those attractive kibble
to preserve the intrinsic vitamin and
bites, most pet food is cooked at ex-
mineral complexes. In consuming whole
treme temperatures, which also destroy
food vitamins made from these natural
most naturally occurring vitamins and
concentrated food sources, an animal
minerals in the raw materials. Recog-
receives the same benefit as though he
nizing this, many commercial pet food
or she had consumed the food itself.
manufacturers fortify their products
Synthetic vitamins, by contrast,
with synthetic vitamins in an attempt
typically contain only a single, isolated
to compensate.
component of the main vitamin nutrient
We must ask: Does the addition
(or, in some cases, a network of related
of these synthetic vitamins benefit an
chemicals), but do not duplicate the
animal’s health, as marketing materi-
underlying matrix in its intact organic
als suggest? Could synthetic vitamins
form. For example, dl-alpha tocopherol
potentially be harmful? Is there a better way to provide our
acetate, listed as an ingredient in a given synthetic supple-
furry companions the valuable nutrition they may not receive
ment, is supposedly standing in for the entire natural vitamin
from their primary diet? I encourage responsible pet owners
E complex. This is not what nature intended.
to take a closer look at available options for supplementa-
Unfortunately, the majority of vitamins found in nu-
tion, and to recognize the differences between the benefits
tritional supplements today are synthetic. These synthetic
of whole food vitamins and their synthetic counterparts.
vitamins are less expensive to manufacture, but are inher-
ently inferior to nutrition found in a natural organic complex.
Benefits of a Whole Foods Approach
Over the past half century, scientific studies from the Univer-
In a food source, a vitamin complex consists of the main sity of California and many other academic institutions have
vitamin nutrient and an underlying matrix of supporting demonstrated both the potential risks of consuming synthetic
enzymes, coenzymes, minerals and antioxidants. For example, vitamins and the known benefits of supplementing both
a natural food source of vitamin E, such as wheat germ oil, animal and human diets with whole food vitamin complexes
sunflower seeds or leafy vegetables, has at least five other derived from concentrated food sources.
30 New Haven/Middlesex Counties
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