Blended excerpts from various sections of
by Franco Cavaleri ISBN 0-978-0-9731701-1-5
This article is composed of multiple excerpts to result in tone and content shifts and reference numbering that may be out of order.
Arthritis refers to as many as 100 different diseases affecting the area
in or around a body’s joints. Arthritis is not only crippling an aging
human population, it’s also assaulting our pets at an extraordinary
rate. There are breed-specific genetic vulnerabilities to arthritis, but if
the maintenance systems in the dog’s body stay in good form, premature
cartilage wear—osteoarthritis—can be avoided.
Not surprisingly, nutrition can play a huge role in advancing or preventing
joint disease related to wear-and-tear. A diet that supplies
healthy collagen building blocks like glucosamine and glycosaminoglycans
will be more likely to forestall the early onset of osteoarthritis
than a diet that relies on heavily processed foods. To further compound
matters, a diet that is processed to the point where fatty acids
and amino acids are damaged will actually contribute to oxidation and
inflammation in the body and interfere with the body’s ability to use
those cartilage building blocks to repair joint tissues.
A raw food diet, on the other hand, supplies natural building
blocks for collagen. This natural supply of glycosaminoglycans and
other cartilage nutrients provides fabulous support and protection
for joints on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, this whole food does not
present the same oxidative potential in the body, eliminating the interference
that commonly impairs the body’s ability to restore health
after wear and tear has taken its toll.
After the onset of osteoarthritis, however, a pharmacological
effect that re-activates collagen manufacturing in the damaged joints
is required. The dog’s body needs a supply of active nutritional
ingredients that have been engineered to penetrate to the cartilage
cells themselves—the chondrocytes—to reactivate them.
The chondrocytes are the worker cells of the cartilage tissue or matrix,
as it’s often referred to, that use glucosamine to make collagen. Collagen
and other compounds, referred to as proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans,
also make up the cartilage tissue, lending it that rubbery characteristic.
In order for the chondrocytes to make and preserve functional
cartilage tissue they need minerals like sulphur, copper, and manganese,
and vitamins like C, D, and E to name just a few. The wear and tear of
time and use can cause these worker cells to become dormant. Even if
these nutrients were supplied abundantly by the diet, the joint tissue
could not be constructed without the activity of the chondrocyte.
The oxidation that can escalate in our senior animals also interferes
with the activity of the chondrocyte. Since our pets’ protective
antioxidant systems degrade as they age, oxidant interference with the
work of the chondrocytes goes unchallenged. Even dogs on a raw food
diet will need extra support in the form of chondrocyte activators as
they age. Food alone, even if it is fresh and whole, cannot accomplish
Supplementation of the raw food diet with nutrients that can protect
chondrocytes and reactivate them when they have become dormant is
essential if joint tissue is to be regenerated. Fortified dry feeds, such as
those commonly packaged in bags, also need added supplements that
provide support and recovery potential.
As discussed, many of the nutrients added back to these feeds in the form
of fortification cannot survive in the bag long-term while stored on the
store shelf or at your home. Some condition-specific diets will supply joint
building blocks in the feed such as glucosamine, but these processed and
then fortified feeds are still not as good as engineered compounds created
to get a specific job done.
They do not provide the keys that turn on dormant
chondrocytes or keep them in the “on” position as our animals age. In
addition, these feeds rarely detail how much glucosamine, chondroitin,
antioxidants, and other important joint nutrients might be added to
the feed and what form they are in. In fact, because they are highly
processed, these bagged and canned feeds contribute to general body
oxidation, further interfering with chondrocyte activity and preventing
the added nutrients from delivering their benefits.