Earlier this year, we spoke about premixes in pet foods and how these can harm your dog. We stated: ”There is something inherently wrong with most processed foods that pet owners are unaware of. The heating and processing that these foods undergo create a fundamental change that could have dangerous ramifications – it renders the food essentially dead. What goes into the good is not what comes out once it is heated, sterilized, irradiated and extruded and nearly all dog foods will not meet AAFCO standards once they are heated. As a consequence, the vitamins and minerals must be added back in for the food to pass AAFCO requirements.”
These vitamins and minerals are added to pet foods in the form of something called a premix. On the right is a label from what many people consider a high-end kibble. See those vitamins, minerals and long chemical names that are listed at the bottom? Those very likely came from a premix. If the premix is not added to the food after the heating process, your dog would become ill and under-nourished from eating the nutritionally dead contents. In fact, the food would not pass AAFCO standards.
Premixes are a bad idea for two reasons. One, nearly every premix is manufactured in India or China where production costs are low and standards are even lower. The frightening part is that pet owners can’t tell if the premix in their food comes from China because it does not have to be listed on the label. The only way to know is to phone the manufacturer and ask if the premix is made in the US or overseas. To read more about the safety of premixes, read this article.
The second problem with premixes is that they are manufactured with synthetic vitamins and minerals. These synthetic vitamins are isomers, or isolated forms. Synthetic vitamins do not attach to a protein that the body can understand. The body then sees it as a drug, and the liver has to make it metabolically active. This can cause toxicity in the body.
Older studies done on mega doses of Vitamin C, done by Linus Pauling, have shown that Vitamin C can help prevent colds, and sometimes shorten their duration. However, recent research has shown that long term effects of such mega doses, can affect our RNA, a major part of protein synthesis in our body.
Vitamin E has also been linked to prostate cancer in men. According to a trial including 35,000 men published in JAMA, randomized men given 400 IU/d of vitamin E had a significantly increased risk of prostate cancer (2011;306(14):1549-56). “The observed 17-percent increase in prostate cancer incidence demonstrates the potential for seemingly innocuous yet biologically active substances such as vitamins to cause harm,” the researchers noted. “The lack of benefit from dietary supplementation with vitamin E or other agents with respect to preventing common health conditions and cancers or improving overall survival, and their potential harm, underscore the need for consumers to be skeptical of health claims for unregulated over-the-counter products in the absence of strong evidence of benefit demonstrated in clinical trials.”
Research indicates it is much safer to seek out whole food sources of vitamins for our pets. For example, there are over 10, 000 ingredients in an orange. If you give your dog a supplement with ascorbic acid as the only Vitamin C source, you are eliminating the other 9, 999 ingredients necessary to process the ascorbic acid properly. There are so many factors in whole foods that allow proper usage of vitamins in the body. The main factors are:
- Unknown factors that food gives us. There are ingredients, (like the 10,000 ingredients in an orange) that we do not yet understand.
- Metabolic activity. This allows the vitamin to attach to enzymes that activate it and make it active.
- Phyto nutrients. These are plant source nutrients that allow the nutrients to absorb in the body.
Without these three components, a supplement source is unable to process the vitamin properly, or even not process it at all. Compare the dog food label above to the ingredients of a quality, commercial food: Lamb meat, lamb bone, lamb blood, eggs, lamb green tripe, lamb liver, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, silver beet (spinach), cabbage, apples, pears, lamb hearts, lamb kidneys and garlic.
Which food do you think is safer for your pet?