Ingredient GlossaryHave a health care question? Click here to e-mail our Product Specialists.
Glossary of Active Ingredients:
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha Lipoic Acid is an antioxidant that is naturally found in mitochondria-the energy-producing structures inside cells. It is a more powerful antioxidant than the fat-soluble Vitamin E and the water-soluble Vitamin C it works synergistically with because Alpha Lipoic Acid is both fat- AND water-soluble. Research shows it has the ability to reduce oxidative stress. Because it also stimulates the movement of blood sugar across members and into cells, it helps increase insulin sensitivity and lower high blood sugar.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, the major component of muscle, skin, hair, nails and other tissues. Amino acids are also found in bioactive compounds in the body such as hormones, antibodies, enzymes and neurotransmitters. Ten are considered essential because they must be present in the diet: arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine (and taurine in cats). Because amino acids play so many roles in the body, they can be found in a wide variety of supplements, including calming, digestion and others.
Arabinogalactan is a polysaccharide, or, complex carbohydrate, found in a variety of plants. Approved as a dietary source of fiber in people by the FDA, it is also considered a "prebiotic" because it can be used as a food source by the beneficial bacteria in the large intestine. Research is ongoing as to the compound's ability to stimulate the immune system.
Betaine (Trimethylglycline or TMG) is a product of choline, a Vitamin B-like substance. It has been recognized as an "osmolyte", or, a substance which protects cells against osmotic stress. This type of stress occurs with the concentration of molecules outside the cell is greater than that inside the cell and water flows out, causing the cell to shrink and possibly die. Therefore it plays a role in maintaining cell volume and fluid balance
Beta Glucan is the soluble fiber found in oats, barley and other cereal grains. Numerous studies in humans have shown it to be the agent in oatmeal that reduces serum cholesterol. It is also a powerful stimulant to the immune system. By normalizing the rate at which food moves through the GI tract, Beta Glucan moderates the release of sugar into the bloodstream.
Biotin is a member of the B-vitamin family and, like some other vitamins, is a co-enzyme for several metabolic pathways. It is vital to healthy skin and coat. In addition, because it is a component of the enzymes responsible for the utilization of glucose by the liver, Biotin may support proper insulin and glucose levels. Most dogs will get all the Biotin they need from their food and from the beneficial bacteria in the gut, as long as they are not receiving antibiotics or raw egg whites in the diet.
Boswellia is an herb whose active ingredients are said to interfere with the enzymes that contribute to inflammation and pain. By inhibiting lipoxygenase and cycloxygenase, Boswellia may act as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.
Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme found in pineapples that may aid in digestion as well as reduce pain and inflammation. Numerous studies in humans have shown Bromelain and other enzymes to be effective in speeding up recovery from exercise and injury, as well as from surgical procedures. There is evidence that some of the enzyme may be absorbed from the GI system intact and enter into the systemic circulation, where it may have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving actions on joints, muscle and connective tissue.
Calcium (Ca) is a macromineral found in highest amounts in bone and teeth. However, it also has important roles in muscle contraction, cell membranes, blood clotting, enzymes regulation and hormone release. Significant skeletal abnormalities can result from either too little or too much Calcium in the diet, especially in large and giant-breed dogs. The ideal ratio between Calcium and Phosphorus from dogs is between 1.2:1 and 1.4:1.
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Calming Decapeptide is a bioactive peptide with relaxing properties that is isolated from the milk protein casein. Comprised of a string of ten amino acids, this partially digested protein is known for its calming effects and ability to work synergistically with L-theanine. Calming decapeptide helps regulate stress-related behaviors without altering energy level or emotional balance.
L-Carnitine is an amino acid that transports fat into mitochondria for aerobic oxidation and energy generation. By enhancing the body's use of fat for energy and therefore sparing muscle glycogen, Carnitine may provide benefits during aerobic exercise, particularly endurance events.
Cetyl Myristoleate is a unique fatty acid (Omega-5) discovered by a research chemist at the National Institute of Health (NIH) that is used for both joint inflammation and pain. Although the precise mechanism of action is unknown, it has been suggested that cetyl myristoleate may inhibit the cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase pathways, decreased production of inflammatory and pain mediators. It can be obtained from animal or plant sources. However, the animal source (beef tallow), provides a higher percentage of active ingredient than the plant source, requiring a much smaller serving size.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is known as "the calming herb" although it has many uses both internally and externally in people and animals. It is classified as a nervine because it is an herb with specific actions on the nervous system. Because of its anti-spasm and anti-inflammatory properties, it is especially helpful for animals that process anxiety through their intestinal system (diarrhea, appetite or weight loss).
Chloride (Cl) is a macromineral commonly referred to as an electrolyte because it helps maintain the body's acid/base balance and hydration status. It is also known as "salt" when combined with its partner Sodium. Chloride is an essential component of two intestinal secretions necessary for digestion and absorption of nutrients: bile and hydrochloric acid (HCl), better known as "stomach acid."
Chondroitin sulfate is not only the building block of the much larger molecules hyaluronic acid (HA) and proteoglycan (PG), it also inhibits the effects of various enzymes that degrade cartilage. Research has shown that chondroitin sulfate is bioavailable when taken orally in dogs and that it works synergistically with glucosamine to both stimulate new cartilage production and inhibit cartilage breakdown.
Chromium (Cr) is a trace mineral which works with insulin to regulate blood sugar. There may be a relationship between Cr deficiency and insulin resistance. Supplementing with Cr has been shown to increase fat loss and increase lean muscle mass.
Cinnamon is a plant whose bark and oil contain an active ingredient recently discovered to mimic the effects of insulin. The compound MHCP has been shown in numerous studies to lower blood sugar (glucose) by enhancing the movement of sugar from the blood and into cells. By helping insulin work better, Cinnamon may be beneficial in cases of insulin resistance.
Collagen is the main structural protein found in the connective tissues of the body (skin, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments). It has been shown to support joint, bone and soft tissue health as well as play a substantial role in the healing of gastrointestinal tissue. Hydrolyzed collagen (gelatin) is a modified form that has been broken down into smaller pieces making it easier to digest and absorb.
Copper (Cu) is a micromineral required for production of normal connective tissues include tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bone. As a component of many enzyme systems, it is also involved in making Iron available to the body for blood, in producing skin and coat pigments, in proper nerve signaling and in repairing antioxidants. Special diets must be used in certain breeds of dogs, Bedlington terriers, West Highland white terriers and Skye terrier, because they have a hereditary defect resulting in excessive accumulation of Copper in the liver.
Curcumin is most known as the major ingredient in curry powder, but it is also believed to possess medicinal qualities. The main active substance curcumin has effects throughout the body, but primarily on the liver (relieves jaundice) and circulatory system (dissolves clots). Turmeric is often combined with other herbs to help them function better.
DHA see Fatty Acids
Devil's Claw is a South African herb (Harpagophytum procumbens) that is used for pain and inflammation of bone, joints and other tissues. Data from 14 clinical trials in people conducted over the last 40 years suggest Devil's Claw is effective in the reduction of pain associated with osteoarthritis and is associated with minor risk when compared to non-steroidal animal-inflammatories (NSAIDs). Because it contains bitters as an active ingredient, which encourages appetite but stimulates the secretion of stomach acids, it should be used with caution in animals at risk for GI ulcers.
Direct Fed Microbials
Direct Fed Microbials are live microorganisms (bacteria and yeast) fed to promote healthy digestive and immune function. When these "good" bugs break down food ingredients that the body normally can't, they produce energy and vitamins for the body, food for cells in the cecum and colon, and byproducts that keep the "bad" bugs from growing. Research suggests probiotics are useful in repopulating the intestine with "good" bugs after antibiotic use. They may also benefit certain dogs during stressful events such as travel or boarding, with illness or injury, or that have loose stool.
EPA see Fatty Acids
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Fatty Acids are dietary fats that can come from animal as well as plant sources. While only a small amount of fat is required in the diet of dogs and cats, it serves a number of purposes. It is necessary for the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K; it is a very dense supply of energy (calories); and it makes food tastier. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are the specific fatty acids linoleic acid, an Omega 6, and alpha-linolenic acid, an Omega 3, that dogs and cats cannot make themselves and must receive in the diet (cats also require arachidonic acid). EFAs may be helpful in managing dogs with skin problems.
Fish Oil is an excellent source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. In particular it contains two Omega 3's Eicosapentanoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexanoic Acid (DHA) with special health benefits. EPA has been shown to improve a number of conditions including heart disease, arthritis and kidney disease while DHA has been shown to improve brain function. It is particularly beneficial in growing puppies and older dogs with cognitive dysfunction.
Flax Seed is a source of the essential fatty acids (EFAs) linoleic acid, an Omega 6, and alpha-linolenic acid, an Omega 3. In fact, Flax is the greatest plant source of Omega 3 fatty acids. As a source of lignans, Flax offers the additional health benefits of these natural compounds.
FOS are sources of non-digestible, soluble fiber that serve as food for the probiotics or "good" bugs in the large intestine, keeping them healthy. Examples of prebiotics are: arabinogalactan, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), inulin, mannanoligosaccharides (MOS), pectin and psyllium.
Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are sources of non-digestible, soluble fiber that serve as food for the probiotics or "good bugs" in the large intestine, keeping them healthy. Also known as prebiotics, other examples include mannanoligsaccharides (MOS), arabinogalactan, inulin, pectin and psyllium.
Gamma Oryzanol is a natural, hormone-like substance found in rice bran. It is used to build muscle and improve performance in both human and equine athletes in active training programs. Also known for its ability to normalize nervous system control of digestive secretions, Gamma Oryzanol is recommended to help manage a broad range of gastrointestinal disorders.
Ginger is a plant that has been used for thousands of years in Asia primarily as a digestive aid to prevent nausea, vomiting and stomach ache. Other positive effects in humans include reducing cholesterol and preventing platelet clumping, helpful in preventing cardiovascular disease. Ginger may also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Glucosamine is the building block of chondroitin sulfate, a specific type of glycosamingoglycan (GAG). Current research suggests glucosamine has two beneficial actions in joints. Not only does it increase the production of new GAGs and therefore new cartilage, glucosamine has also been shown to inhibit the free radicals and enzymes that break down cartilage. This small but important molecule plays a vital role in both the production and protection of healthy joint tissue.
L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body, especially in muscle tissue. Although it is not an essential amino acid, there is such great demand for its use in the body that production may not be able to keep up with consumption, so supplementing may be necessary. Glutamine is involved in more metabolic processes than any other amino acid, including building muscle, repairing intestinal tissue and enhancing the immune system.
Glycine is one of the simplest amino acids and is classified as nonessential because it does not need to be supplied in the diet. However, this compact substance plays many essential roles in the body. Best known as a neurotransmitter, Glycine makes up 35% of the protein collagen, is a key component in many metabolic reactions, and has anti-inflammatory as well as immune-modulating properties. Recently, it has been shown to inhibit gastric secretions and protect gastric mucosa against chemical and stress-induced ulcers
Gymnema sylvestri: Gymnema sylvestri is a plant containing two main active components. One controls sugar cravings and therefore weight gain by neutralizing the sweet flavor of sugar on the tongue, and the other helps to control high blood sugar. It is unclear whether Gymnema works by preventing sugar from being absorbed from the digestive tract, stimulating insulin release, or functioning at a higher level in the body.
Hops (Humulus lupulus) is most recognized as the flavoring agent in beer. However, this herb has also been used for centuries to relieve nervous tension, anxiety, irritability and other mood disturbances and therefore is classified as a nervine, or, an herb with specific actions on the nervous system. In humans, it has been shown to aid in sleep disturbances such as insomnia. In animals, it is most useful for those that process anxiety in the head and become distracted and unfocused.
Hyaluronic Acid, or HA, is an integral component of joint cartilage and joint fluid, providing both lubrication and shock absorption. Hyaluronic acid is what makes joint fluid "sticky". Because it blocks inflammatory reactions thereby protecting cells in the joint, HA is especially useful in acute situations as well as flare-ups of chronic joint conditions.
Inositol is closely related to the B-vitamin family and is found in nearly every cell in the body. Because of its location within the cell membrane, it plays two major roles: transporting fats and assisting in nerve transmission. By participating in the action of serotonin, a neurotransmitter whose brain levels are known to be a factor in anxiety, inositol may be helpful in nervous dogs.
Iodine (I) is an essential micromineral whose only known function is as part of the thyroid hormones which regulate metabolism. Needed by the body only in very small amounts, an excess or deficiency of this ingredient can result in goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland), dry and flaky skin and coat, and other signs. The amount of Iodine in common pet food ingredients varies widely, with meat containing low amounts and seafood containing high amounts.
Iron (Fe) is a micromineral found in the hemoglobin of red blood cells (RBCs), the myoglobin of muscle cells, and various enzyme systems. Fortunately, many ingredients used in dog and cat food are rich in Iron and deficiency is uncommon. Because too much Iron can interfere with absorption of other minerals as well as cause disease, it is best not to oversupplement.
Licorice is one of the most widely used herbs for people and animals in both Western and Chinese medicine. Sweet and soothing, licorice is used for its anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, expectorant and other healing activities. The deglycyrrized form is preferred because it does not have the side effects of the plant as a whole.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), a member of the mint family, is considered a calming herb. Used in the Middle Ages to reduce stress and promote sleep, today it is often combined with other soothing herbs such as chamomile, hops and valerian to enhance their overall relaxing effect.
Lysine is an essential amino acid, meaning it must be provided in the diet since the body cannot create enough of its own. It can also be a limiting amino acid, especially when low-protein, cereal-based diets are fed. "Limiting" means if it is not present in adequate amounts it limits the body's ability to make protein. Lysine is often supplemented in cats with respiratory and eye infections caused by the feline herpesvirus.
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Magnesium (Mg) is a macromineral involved in hundreds of metabolic processes in the body including energy production, genetic coding, protein synthesis, hormone secretion and white blood cell development as well as muscle and nerve cell function. With half of the body's magnesium located in bone tissue, this mineral plays an essential role in the structure of bones and teeth.
Mannanoligosaccharides (MOS) are sources of non-digestible, soluble fiber that serve as food for the probiotics or "good bugs" in the large intestine, keeping them healthy. Also known as prebiotics, other examples include fructooligosaccharides (FOS), arabinogalactan, inulin, pectin and psyllium.
MOS are sources of non-digestible, soluble fiber that serve as food for the probiotics or "good" bugs in the large intestine, keeping them healthy. Examples of prebiotics are: arabinogalactan, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), inulin, mannanoligosaccharides (MOS), pectin and psyllium.
MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is a source of organic sulfur which is required for a number of functions in the body. Sulfur plays critical roles in the formation of protein, connective tissue, immunoglobulins and enzymes. MSM is a safe and inexpensive compound that may support healthy joints, a strong immune system, and resilient skin and coat.
N-Acetyl Cysteine is a modified form of the amino acid Cysteine and a precursor to the body's natural antioxidant Glutathione. Research has shown that NAC specifically protects the mucosal lining of the GI tract against oxidative stress. It also protects tissues in the respiratory tract from damage due to inflammation and excess mucus production, and protects the liver from various toxins, including acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose in people and pets.
Niacinamide is a form of niacin, also known as Vitamin B3, nicotinic acid, or nicotinamide. While these terms are often used interchangeably, there are some differences in the activity of the different forms. Niacin is used in a wide range of conditions in people based on its cell-protecting effects especially in blood vessels, nerve tissue, the digestive system and skin. The Niacin family also plays an important role in energy production and in the synthesis of many important compounds including proteins, fats and DNA.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 Fatty Acids are named for their chemical structure but are valued for their health benefits. In order for the body to function well, there must be a balance between the omega-3s (generally considered anti-inflammatory) and the omega-6s (generally considered pro-inflammatory). Good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids include fish oil and flax seed.
Pancreatin 8x see Pancrelipase
Pancrelipase is a mixture of three enzymes normally made by the pancreas: amylase, lipase and protease. Together, these enzymes break down fats, protein and starch in the diet into smaller particles which the small intestine can then absorb. Supplementing pancreatic enzymes is useful when the pancreas cannot make them itself or when the enzymes cannot reach the intestines where they are needed for digestion.
Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata) is an herb known as "nature's tranquilizer". Its gentle but effective sedative effects were first recognized by South American Indians and now are used throughout the world for insomnia, nervous anxiety, restlessness and tension. Passion flower is believed to cause relaxation by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter GABA. It is often used in combination with more potent calming herbs such as valerian.
Perna (Perna Mussel, Green-Lipped Mussel, Sea Mussel) is a shellfish that naturally contains a number of active compounds that work against inflammation and the destructive cycle of degenerative joint disease, or, arthritis. The unique combination of biologically active proteins, chelated minerals, glycosaminoglycans, amino acids, nucleic acids and essential fatty acids work together to maintain healthy connective tissue.
Phenylalanine is an amino acid that is involved in the production of certain brain chemicals such as epinephrine and dopamine. Preliminary studies suggest it may help reduce chronic pain associated with certain health conditions because of its proposed ability to block enzymes which break down endorphins. Endorphins are the body's natural pain-killing and "feel good" chemicals. For this reason, it is also used in people with certain forms of depression but not in anxious patients because it may amplify nervousness.
Phosphorus (P) is a macromineral that, like Calcium, is found in highest amounts in bone but also has an important role in muscle function. Other functions include energy production and the synthesis of many vital compounds such as DNA. The ideal ratio between Calcium and Phosphorus from dogs is between 1.2:1 and 1.4:1.
Potassium (K) is a macromineral commonly referred to as an electrolyte because it helps maintain the body's acid/base balance and hydration status. It plays a vital role in muscle contraction and is also required for nerve impulse transmission, enzyme reactions and transport functions.
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Prebiotics include non-digestible soluble fiber that serve as food for the probiotics or "good" bugs and stimulate their growth. Examples of prebiotics are fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), mannanoligosaccharids (MOS), arabinogalactan, and inulin from chicory.
Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria and yeast) fed to promote healthy digestive and immune function. When these "good" bugs break down food ingredients that the body normally can't, they product energy and vitamins for the body, food for cells in the cecum and colon, and byproduts that keep the "bad" bugs from growing. Research suggests probiotics are useful in repopulating the intestine with "good" bugs after antibiotic use and may benefit certain animals with diarrhea.
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) is a water soluble vitamin involved in more than 100 enzyme reactions. It plays a role in a wide range of physiological processes including nervous system function, niacin synthesis, red blood cell function, immune response, fat metabolism, hormone modulation and gene expression. Deficiency may result in nervous system signs, therefore it is included in many calming supplements.
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid or plant-source antioxidant that appears to have especially protective effects on nervous tissue and connective tissue, such as collagen. In addition, it possesses strong anti-inflammatory activity, especially against the action of histamine, and may be beneficial for allergic conditions. It is used along with other bioflavonoids in the management of cancer in both humans and animals.
Definition: A high quality source of carbohydrates, protein and fiber.
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Selenium (Se) is a micromineral that partners with Vitamin E in the body's antioxidant defense system to trap free radicals produced by exercise, illness and certain medical conditions. It is also involved in the production of thyroid hormone.
Shark Cartilage is the skeletal material of shark and has been consumed as a health food in traditional Chinese medicine for its many benefits. Recent scientific studies have confirmed its use specifically in joint health. It is an excellent dietary source of chondroitin sulfate and other glycoaminoglycans (GAGs) that are the building blocks of cartilage. It also contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc and other bone-building minerals.
Sodium (Na) is a macromineral commonly referred to as an electrolyte because it helps maintain the body's acid/base balance and hydration status. It is commonly known as "salt" when combined with its partner Chloride. Sodium is critical for normal nerve and muscle function, as well as transport of many substances (such as glucose) across cell membranes.
Soy or Soybean is a plant in the legume family. It is valued worldwide for its high protein content as well as its high fat content. Although not a complete protein source for dogs and cats, it does contain many essential amino acids. Likewise, it contains both the essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic acid (an Omega 3) and linoleic acid (and Omega 6) as well as another valuable fatty acid, lecithin. In addition it is rich in B-vitamins and several minerals including Magnesium and Iron. Soybeans also contain phytates, oxalates and nondigestible sugars which may cause problems in some people and animals.
Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD)
Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD) also known as orgotein, is the most important and effective antioxidant in the body and is the first line of defense against free radicals that damage cells. However, it is a delicate protein that is quickly degraded by the acids and enzymes in the stomach. In order to pass through to the intestine where it can be absorbed and used by the body, it must be coated with a protective layer.
Taurine is an amino acid found in high concentrations in electrically active tissues such as the brain, heart, retina and muscle. It stabilizes membranes and assists in the movement of electrolytes in and out of the cells, which is critical for proper nerve transmission and muscle contraction. Taurine is also involved in growth and development, the absorption of fats and vitamins, and proper immune response. Not considered essential in the diet of dogs, some breeds appear susceptible to the heart disease dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) when taurine is not supplemented. However, it is required in the diets of all cats to prevent DCM, blindness and other serious diseases.
L-Theanine is an amino acid found naturally in green tea that has direct effects on the brain. By improving levels of the neurotransmitters GABA, serotonin and dopamine, L-Theanine is capable of producing feelings of relaxation without causing drowsiness, and relieving feelings of anxiety without altering personality. It is believed to work in a synergistic manner with calming decapeptide.
Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
Thiamine (Vitamin B1) is a water soluble vitamin important in energy and carbohydrate metabolism and in the transmission of impulses along nerves. Some thiamine is produced by microorganisms in the intestinal tract but most is supplied by the diet. However, significant amounts of thiamine are lost when foods are heat processed or stored for long periods of time. Because a deficiency may result in nervous system signs, it is often used in calming supplements.
Threonine is an essential amino acid, meaning it must be provided in the diet since the body cannot create enough of its own. It may be the second limiting amino acid after Lysine. That is, if not present in adequate amounts it limits the body's ability to make protein. In addition, it supports the production of mucin in the GI tract, a necessary component of the mucus that lubricates and protects the digestive tract.
L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is converted by the body into serotonin, melatonin and other hormones that transmit nerve signals in the brain. The effect of serotonin is to increase the feelings of well-being and contentment, to calm and to soothe.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a "nervine" or, an herb with specific actions on the nervous system. Its sedating effects can be so potent that it should not be used by people or animals taking central nervous system (CNS) prescription medications or undergoing surgery using general anesthesia. Valerian rebalances a nervous system struggling with restlessness, anxiety and, in humans, insomnia. Because it also relieves muscle cramps and spasm associated with tension, it is especially helpful in animals that process anxiety through their muscles.
Vegetable Oil is obtained by extracting oil from the seeds or fruits of a variety of plants including corn, soybean, sunflower and others. Most Vegetable Oils contain linoleic acid, an Omega 6 fatty acid that is essential in the diet of dogs and cats.
Vitamin A is well known for its role in maintaining healthy vision, especially night vision. However, it is also needed for growth, reproduction, immunity and other functions. Dogs have the ability to convert beta-carotene and other carotenoids into the active form of the vitamin but cats require strictly Vitamin A or a precursor known as retinol in the diet.
The Vitamin B family is made up of several compounds that serve many important roles in the body: protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism; energy production; proper nerve cell transmission; and cell reproduction and division (especially rapidly dividing ones such as red blood cells). B-vitamins include Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Pyridoxine (B6), Folic Acid (B9), and Cyanocobalamin (B12). Choline, Biotin, Inositol and others are sometimes referred to as B-vitamins.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) is an antioxidant that works with Vitamin A and Vitamin E to protect the tissues of the body, especially those of the respiratory system. It is also important in the production of connective tissues like tendons and ligaments, skin and muscle, bones and teeth. Under normal circumstances, dogs make their own Vitamin C in the liver from glucose. However, liver problems, disease, stress, old age and other conditions have all been shown to decrease blood levels of Vitamin C, meaning dogs struggling with these particular issues may benefit from dietary supplementation.
Vitamin D (Calciferol) plays an indirect role in bone, muscle and nerve structure and function by managing the levels of Calcium (Ca) in the body. It controls the absorption of Ca form the intestine, the movement of Ca into and out of bone, and the amount of Ca excreted by the kidneys. Vitamin D also plays an important role in proper Phosphorus levels in the body. It is a conditional nutrient, meaning it is only required in the diet when exposure to the sun is limited, since UV light normally converts a precursor of Vitamin D in the skin to the active form of the vitamin.
Vitamin E (Tocopherol) is most recognized as an antioxidant that works closely with its partners Selenium and Vitamin C to protect the body from oxidative stress. Exercise, illness and certain medical conditions, as well as high fat diets, all increase the requirements of Vitamin E in the diet. A deficiency causes muscle weakness and degeneration.
Yucca is an herb native to North and Central America used by ancient and modern civilizations to relieve pain and inflammation. While its mechanism of action is largely unknown, active ingredients have been isolated from Yucca that have antioxidant, antiplatelet-clumping and anti-inflammatory properties.
Zinc (Zn) is a micromineral involved in over 100 enzyme systems ranging from connective tissue formation and antioxidant protection to carbohydrate metabolism and immune system function. It is most recognized for its role in skin health, working synergistically with fatty acids to produce a soft, glossy coat.
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