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The word “Nutraceutical” combines the words “Nutrition” and “Pharmaceutical.” A Nutraceutical is a food or food product that reportedly provides health and/or medical benefits. Nutraceuticals are often presented as compounds that can provide protection against chronic disease. Nutraceuticals may contain isolated nutrients, dietary supplements , or herbal products . Another definition of a Nutraceutical is a fortified food or dietary supplement that provides health benefits.
Your veterinarian can help you choose nutraceuticals that have been evaluated and have yielded positive effects in dogs. One important strategy for interrupting the progression of OA is to choose a nutritional profile that has been evaluated in clinical trials to help dogs with OA. Good joint-support diets are rich in the omega-3 fatty acid EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which helps control joint inflammation and blocks the enzymes that break down cartilage. Research shows that high levels of EPA help to stop cartilage from degenerating. EPA can also be delivered as a supplement, either in liquid or capsule form. There are several reputable manufacturers of omega-3 fatty acids for pets. The main reason for using nutraceuticals and supplements in veterinary medicine is to help certain chronic diseases. Some nutraceuticals and supplements also have additive effects on medications. The benefit is that we can use less medications, reducing harmful side effects, if any. Omega 3 fatty acids: These have been shown to reduce the body’s inflammatory response, which has shown to be most effective at reducing the itching/inflammation of the skin. They may also reduce inflammation within the joints as well for arthritis patients, and beneficial effects on the heart. SAMe (s-adenyl-L-methione): antioxidant – found in normal liver cells to help with vital liver functions . Helps to form certain amino acids that help with oxidative injury. Vitamin E: antioxidant – protects against cell membrane oxidative injury Milk Thistle: antioxidant – increases enzyme within body that acts against oxidative damage Glucosamine: an essential component of glyclosaminoglycans, which is found in tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Glucosamine helps to decrease the destruction of cartilage in joints. It suppresses free radicals that damage cartilage, and inhibits an enzyme that normally degrades the cartilage in the body. MSM (methylsulfonylmethane): an organic compound that provides sulfur, a vital building block of joints, cartilage, skin, hair and nails. Also methyl groups, which support many vital biochemical processes in the body, including energy production. Fortiflora is a powder containing non-pathogenic bacteria that when ingested exert a positive effect on the host’s health and/or physiology. The theory is that probiotics protect against other pathogenic bacteria and boost the immune system. Lysine: an amino acid that is thought to compete with arginine for incorporation into many herpes viruses. It is believed that arginine is required for producing infective viral particles, so when lysine is incorporated, the virus becomes less infective. In cats, the herpes virus is the most common cause of upper-respiratory illness, including sneezing and congestion. The use of pet supplements and nutraceuticals is a relatively recent practice in veterinary medicine. It is up to the consumer to become informed about the integrity and ethics of the manufacturer to provide any measure of assurance that the product is effective and unadulterated
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