“The interest in nutritional supplements for people and pets has exploded into a billion dollar industry over the past several years,” says Bernadine Cruz, DVM, chair of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Communications.
Adding supplements to food sounds good, right? When speaking generally, getting your nutrients from healthy food is the best way to keep your vitamin and mineral intake at optimum levels. Supplements should never replace healthy food.
The supplements vs food debate has been going on ever since pharmaceutical companies realized they could bottle nutrients and sell them. With an industry value of over $122 billion, it was a successful move. But does it result in more health?
When you eat food, your digestive system and enzymes work to separate different nutrients for different purposes. Your body takes what it needs and usually throws away the rest through waste. This means taking more than you require of some vitamins and minerals has no added benefit, your body will dispose of the excess. In other words, adding nutrients to a quality food is often a waste.
Some nutrients also help each other out. Vitamin D, for instance, boosts the body’s absorption of calcium. By eating an orange, which contains calcium and vitamin D, you get to absorb more calcium. If you took a single supplement of pure calcium, it wouldn’t get that help. In a food like an orange there are literally dozens of helper (micro) nutrients that assist in uptake of other nutrients and balancing your body’s nutritional needs. This is the case of pretty much every whole, unprocessed (raw) food.
In many instances, the vitamins and minerals found in food sources, vs created in a lab, are easier to absorb than those in supplement form. With the added benefit of the other nutrients found in food, eating healthily gives far greater benefits than opting for supplements and eating poorly.*
Most pet food, canned and dry (kibble) undergoes high heating and processing destroying the nutritional value. Once processed, the food is devoid of any nutrients or enzymes. It’s devoid of “life.” The final product is virtually unrecognizable as food by the body.
All the natural vitamins and minerals, enzymes and beneficial bacteria that were baked, killed, and processed out of the food now get added back as something called a “premix.”
So how does your pet get a nutritional meal? Well, they take the canned and kibble and add a formulated scoop of vitamins and minerals to the food. It enables the food to pass AAFCO standards and be sold as “complete and balanced nutrition.” This all sounds pretty logical to the kibble manufacturers, but smart pet owners might ask this question before buying that bag of food:
“Can a dead and sterile food be called nutritionally complete simply because some cheap, synthetic vitamins are sprayed on it?”
Have you ever looked your pet’s food label? Especially the bottom half where it starts to look more like an organic chemistry textbook. All of those long, convoluted chemical names are, you guessed it, chemicals! They’re not food.
Real vitamins are living complexes that contribute to other living complexes like cell repair, circulatory activities and collagen production. They coexist in food with other living complexes like enzymes and essential trace minerals and they all function synergistically.
Synthetic vitamins, the kind found in premixes, were never alive nor part of anything alive. That’s what synthetic means … it occurs nowhere in nature. Synthetic vitamins are chemicals and the body recognizes them as chemicals, just like it does any other drug. Having pure, lab-created vitamins and drugs have something called “vitamin toxicity.”
It’s virtually impossible to get too much vitamin D from sunshine or foods, but dogs are harmed from vitamin D toxicity from pet foods each and every year from pet food manufacturers adding too much Vitamin D in their ‘scoop’ of supplements to inert food. Vitamin D toxicity, or hypervitaminosis D, causes bone loss and abnormally high serum calcium levels, which can result in kidney stones and the calcification of organs like the heart and kidneys. These are really common issues in dogs today, yet nobody suspects food as a cause until dogs literally drop dead from eating it. Until then, nobody makes the connection, so the synthetic vitamin D builds up in the dog and creates insidious and seemingly unrelated disease.
It’s also nearly impossible for real food to cause vitamin A toxicity. Yet synthetic vitamin A toxicity is well published and the cause of a number of recalls the last few years. This and other supplement overloads can result in a slow poisoning over time, and you may never figure out why your pet develops an illness.
If you’ve ever looked at our ingredient list, you’ll see it’s short. The reason is we use whole, fresh products. Whole fresh foods are packed with nutrition: vitamins, minerals, helper nutrients, not requiring supplementation. We use the highest quality muscle and organ meats in all of our products. Our foods contain meats and poultry that are USDA-inspected (or the New Zealand equivalent for our New Zealand sourced Venison), hormone and antibiotic free. We also use free-range, grass-fed and pasture-raised and natural meats that are the same whole muscle meats found at your finest natural food stores, rather than cheaper, mechanically separated products.
In addition to high quality meats, our added ingredients are completely human-grade and are organic wherever possible. Pet nutrition is very important and is the foundation of our food formulations. All of the recommended and required nutrients including taurine are provided by our whole food ingredients. Remember, when you see added vitamins and minerals on your cat food label, it means they were added because the ‘food’ ingredients were not of high enough quality or do not have the nutritional density to provide sufficient amounts of those nutrients themselves. Especially those nutrients destroyed by over-processing, over-mixing, or by a high temperature cooking process.
Complex and lengthly labels aren’t indicative of good nutrition. It means at the very least there’s more that can go wrong and gaps are being filled from lack of whole, fresh, foods. More likely, it means the ingredient quality is poor and requires synthetic supplementation, which can be harsh on your pet’s body. A multi-vitamin is not a substitute for eating a well crafted, wholesome quality food like Fetching Foods. www.fetchingfoods.com