Strategic Blood Sugar Support for Healthy Dogs and Cats
Are you a “pet owner warrior” who is dedicated to helping your pet have the healthiest life possible? Proper nutrition and exercise are critical cornerstones of support for the patient that needs help maintaining normal blood glucose levels, and the pet parent must be diligent in making sure that they are doing everything that they can to help.
Beta cells, which are special cells in the pancreas, must be working properly in order to support glucose metabolism and uptake into our cells. Insulin is a hormone that “unlocks the gate” of all cells in the body, allowing glucose to enter the cells and be used for essential metabolic processes. Without insulin, glucose cannot enter cells and thus circulates unused in the bloodstream, the levels rising and the body starving. Excess glucose spills over into the urine, drawing water with it; this causes excessive urination and thirst. The starving body tries to survive by eating more food and breaking down fat and muscle to form more glucose—but the glucose cannot be used. This can result in weight loss and loss of overall well-being in the body, and eventually can be fatal. It is therefore extremely important to maintain blood glucose levels within normal ranges at all times.
Obesity is an increasing problem in dogs and cats. Approximately 80 million dogs and cats in the U.S. are obese. This can present a problem when attempting to keep blood sugar levels within normal ranges in obese pets, therefore posing a threat to your pet’s good health. If you don’t believe that your pet is overweight, double check that you are right– ask your veterinarian, because most pet owners do not recognize that their pets are overweight.
If your pet needs to lose weight, gradual weight loss is very important and should be monitored with the help of your veterinarian. As a general rule, overweight pets should not lose more than 2% of their body weight per week. For example, a 15 lb cat should not lose more than 5 ounces/week (15 lbs x 16 oz/lb = 240 oz. 240 x 0.02 = 4.8 oz, rounded up to 5 ounces). Keep in mind that as time passes, the weight goal changes as the weight is lost. For example, at the beginning of second week our cat now weighs 15 lbs – 5 oz = 235 oz, so our weight goal this week is losing 2% of 235 oz. Rapid weight loss can lead to other health problems, especially in cats; they can develop hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver) which is a potentially fatal disease. For guidelines on safe weight loss for dogs and cats, see the weight loss tools at http://www.petobesityprevention.com.
It is not good enough to focus just on losing weight by reducing caloric intake. A diet of cardboard is high in fiber and low in calories and would result in weight loss, but obviously is not a good choice. Because there is no single ideal diet recommended for all pets, your veterinarian will provide dietary guidance. Some veterinarians advocate whole foods that are not highly processed. It is very important to feed your pet a consistent, high-quality diet that your pet will readily eat. Willingness to eat the food is the most critical factor! Don’t forget that treats are also food, so it is important to know which treats are healthy for your pet since many contain sugar. According to Dr. Ernie Ward, a typical dog biscuit (25 to 27 kcals) fed to a 20-pound dog is the equivalent of an average adult human eating two Keebler EL Fudge Double Stuffed Sandwich Cookies™ (180 kcals).
For treat guidelines, see: http://www.petobesityprevention.com/kibble-crack-%E2%80%93-vet-exposes-sugary-secret-of-pet-treats
In addition to diets formulated specifically for your dog or cat, patients may benefit from nutraceutical supplementation to ensure proper nutrient intake.
DiaVetin™ is a novel lifetime natural supplement formulated by veterinary specialists and a compounding pharmacist to assist you in helping your pet be as healthy as possible.
How can DiaVetin™ help?: DiaVetin™ is a blend of 24 naturally occurring herbs, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, digestive enzymes and antioxidants that work synergistically to promote healthy metabolism and function in animals. These carefully selected ingredients may help support normal body processes including glucose and fat metabolism, glucose tolerance, immune function, antioxidant support, and digestion of nutrients.
Ingredients included in DiaVetin include:
Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) is found in foods such as cereals, beans, vegetables, liver, meats, and eggs. It is required for the proper function of sugars, proteins, and fats in the body. It is also required for the proper growth and development and support of the brain, nerves, skin, and many other parts of the body. It may also help support the immune system.
Biotin (Vitamin B-7) is a co-enzyme found in wheat germ, whole grain cereals, whole wheat bread, eggs, dairy products, nuts, salmon and chicken. It plays a key role in the body, supporting the health of the skin, nerves, digestive tract, and cells, as well as enhancing metabolism. It may help to treat some types of nerve pathology, as well as having been shown to decrease insulin resistance and may, in combination with chromium, help promote normal blood sugar levels.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant shown to reduce plasma free radicals and support insulin levels. It is also integral to collagen formation, supports immune function, and has an antihistamine-like function.
Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopheryl) is an antioxidant that may help improve vascular reactivity and reduce oxidative stress, as well as being a fat soluble membrane stabilizer. Vitamin E should not be given without another antioxidant such as vitamin C or grape seed extract since these reduce the tocopheroxyl radicals back to their active state.
Vitamin K-1 (phytonadione) is found in green vegetables (kale, spinach, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts), which may help promote healthy blood sugar levels within normal ranges.
Calcium, found in milk, dairy products, kale and broccoli, etc., is a mineral that is essential to bone health and teeth, but may also play a role in helping to maintain normal glucose uptake by the cells.
Chromium, available from dietary sources such as brewers yeast, molasses, brown sugar, coffee, and tea, is an important trace mineral required for proper metabolic functioning and is necessary for the breakdown of fats and proteins. It is a hormone regulator which helps support glucose uptake in the cells, therefore promoting normal ranges in blood sugar. An essential component of glucose tolerance factor, it is thought to increase the number of receptors, increase receptor sensitivity, and the binding of insulin to the receptor sites.
Magnesium is an important trace mineral. More than 300 metabolic enzymes need magnesium to function. It is essential for basic cellular life, energy function, blood clotting ability, insulin function, vitamin B activity, regulation of vascular smooth muscle tone, and bone, protein, and fat production and metabolism.
Vanadium is a mineral responsible for many functions in the body, including acting very much like insulin does in healthy cells to help regulate normal blood sugar levels. It increases lipid and amino acid metabolism, it increases insulin sensitivity as well as insulin and glucose uptake, and increases metabolism and the bodies overall energy level. It has also been shown to increase glucose oxidation, glycogen synthesis, and hepatic glucose output.
Zinc is a co-factor in the bodies enzyme system, and is required for normal immune function and taste acuity, as well as helping increase the effectiveness of insulin to help maintain normal blood glucose levels. Zinc increases the binding of insulin to receptors and inhibits its degradation. It is felt that zinc can play a large role in maintaining healthy immune function, since zinc supplementation has been shown to support normal blood sugar control.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is often called the “ideal” antioxidant. Found in foods such as yeast, organ meats like liver and heart, spinach, broccoli, and potatoes, this naturally occurring substance is also produced in a ‘healthy’ body. Stress, aging, and various disease states weaken the body’s ability to produce sufficient quantities, and very little change is seen in free ALA amounts in the body when large quantities of ALA rich foods are added to the diet, therefore supplementation may be necessary. Alpha Lipoic Acid serves vital functions at the cellular level such as energy production, and helps support glucose uptake into the body’s cells as well.
L-Carnitine is an amino acid that may support healthy cognitive function and memory. It is also necessary for fat metabolism, helping to turn fatty acids into energy. It may help promote normal blood sugar levels and assist in regulating a normal appetite.
L-Glutamic Acid is another amino acid that is important for learning and memory. It is an important neurotransmitter. It is a necessary factor in glycolysis, glyconeogenesis, and cellular metabolism, as well as GABA synthesis, therefore helping to promote and maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC), derived from the amino acid L-Cysteine, is an antioxidant that increases glutathione synthesis and regulation.
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid, as well as very possibly the most potent antioxidant of all. This carotenoid is unique because it is not converted to vitamin A in the body. This prevents an excessive build up of the fat soluble vitamin A and prevents the toxicities associated with that scenario. It is the pink pigment found in foods such as salmon, shrimp, trout, crab, and lobster. Astaxanthin helps protect pancreatic beta cells from damage. As a potent antioxidant it helps protect light induced oxidative damage of photoreceptors in the eye, as well as many other important processes in the body.
Cassia Nomame (10:1 Concentration) is a Chinese herb that is often made into a tea in Japan. It is used to increase urine flow due to the diuretic properties it possesses, as well as being an ingredient in many weight loss products because it may help support a healthy metabolism and is a natural lipase inhibitor (a potential fat blocker). It may also help maintain normal blood glucose levels.
Cat’s Claw (Una de Gato or Uncaria tomentosa) is a medicinal vine found in the rain forests of Central and South America. It has been traditionally ground up and made into a tea to support good health in many ways by the indigenous tribes who live there. Cat’s Claw is a complex compound consisting of numerous ingredients. This explains its multitude of uses.
It is considered to be a natural immunostimulant by herbalists,as it appears to enhance the function of white blood cells. A group of oxidole alkaloids in Cat’s Claw have been identified and documented to have immune-boosting properties. The most active immune-boosting alkaloid is Isomer A, which increases the immune response in the body and acts as an antioxidant to rid the body of free radicals, and by increasing lymphocytic (white blood cell) activity. The immune boosting alkaloids pteropodine and isopteropodine have been found to have a positive modulating effect on brain neurotransmitters (5-HT(2) receptors). The glycosides found in Cat’s Claw have been shown to help support normal inflammatory processes in the body. Possible side effects of Cat’s Claw are minimal and usually found only at extremely high doses. They include headache, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
Cinnamon powder (Cinnamonum cassia) (bark) is derived from an evergreen tree native to South India and Sri Lanka, but is also found in countries such as China, Vietnam, and Brazil.. Cinnamon promotes enhanced uptake of glucose into the cells. It also enhances the conversion of glucose into energy, enhancing glucose metabolism up to 25%, as well as helping to regulate the stomach’s emptying rate.
Co-Enzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10) is a fat soluble substance found in every cell in the body. Similar to a vitamin, our bodies make CoQ-10 and our cells use it to produce the energy needed for cell growth and maintenance. It is also found in a number of foods, but highest in organ meats, sardines, beef, soy oil, and peanuts. In addition to its vital function in energy production and cell growth, it also functions as an antioxidant, protecting the body from damage in the mitochondria from free radical injury, as well as helping certain enzymes with the digestion of food. It supports energy metabolism as a catalyst in ATP production.
Fenugreek Seed Powder (Trigonella foenum graceum): Fenugreek seeds contain saponins that may help support glucose uptake into the cells. The seeds are high in fiber, providing up to 85% of the daily recommended intake, which helps slow normal carbohydrate digestion and absorption, thus helping to improve blood sugar control. Healthy blood glucose levels are supported by a number of mechanisms such as increased insulin release from beta cells, increased glucose tolerance, and by regulating carbohydrate digestion and absorption, as previously mentioned. It may also assist in maintaining a healthy weight range by providing a feeling of fullness due to the high fiber content.
Glucomannan (Amorphallus konjac K. Koch)(tubers) is a sugar from the root of the konjac plant. It is a natural fiber, purified from the konjac flower, that soaks up moisture in the gut, as well as fat and cholesterol. It has been used to assist in maintaining normal blood sugar levels. It is often used as a thickening agent in foods, and may enhance weight loss efforts through its absorption of fluids in the gut, providing a feeling of fullness. Glucomannan should be taken 1-2 hours after other medications since it has the potential to interfere with the absorption of any other drugs.
Imuno-2865* is a naturally occurring hemicellulose (high molecular weight polysaccarharide complex) and fatty acid mixture which has been extracted from graminae,, poaceae, dioscoreaceae, and several species of mushrooms, using a proprietary process. This extraction process causes the breaking down, or “pre-digestion” of the polysaccarharide molecules into smaller components called hemicelluloses (arabinoxylan and beta-glucan), making them an ideal food source. Beta-glucans are polysaccarharides occuring in the bran of cereal grains, the cell walls of bakers yeast, certain types of fungi, mushrooms, algae, and plants, including poaceae and graminiae. These glyconutrients increase interferon-y production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells , acting synergistically with the interleukin-2 to increase Natural Killer(NK) cell activity and production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, as well as enhancing the activity of other important immune cells such as B-cells and T-4 cells. The effectiveness of beta-glucans is enhanced when delivered in small particle sizes (microparticulates) to promote better digestion and absorption into the immune system. The beta-glucans in Imuno-2865 are unique and have been extracted from a variety of sources , including natural plant sources, rice bran, and mushrooms, which have shown encouraging immune support possibilities. Grape Seed Extract, another ingredient in Imuno-2865*, is rich in proanthocyanidins. Arabinogalactan enhances beneficial gut micro flora by increasing short chain fatty acid production (primarily butyrate) which is essential for proper colon health and is the preferred substrate for energy generation by colonic epithelial cells.
Pancreatin 4x (porcine) is a compound containing three digestive enzymes: lipase, protease, and amylase, that are derived from the pancreas of pigs. It is used as an aid to support healthy digestion.
Quercetin is a potent flavanoid antioxidant found abundantly in nature. It is not only found in colorful fruits and vegetables such as apples, grapes, and red wine, spinach, peppers, cauliflower, onions, tomatoes, and strawberries (which could explain the old saying ” An apple a day —“), but also in many medicinal herbs such as St. John’s Wort, milk thistle, green tea, hops, valerian and passion flower, to name a few.
It is important to remember that supplementation with DiaVetin™ does not take the place of a proper diet and exercise, but is adjunct therapy to help support your pet’s blood glucose levels and to help contribute to their wellness and longevity.
Taking care of your diabetic pet requires extreme commitment and dedication each and every day to help your pet not only survive but thrive. Diligent pet owners are “superhero owners”, because your daily vigilance regarding the care of your pet is necessary for the rest of your pet’s life to ensure their health and happiness (and yours!)……naturally!