Another demanding season of athletic adventures is underway.
The nutrient requirements of canine athletes are unique. Not only do they have greater energy requirements, but it's long been known that they also have an escalated need for antioxidants. Antioxidants help to repair tissues damaged by exercise, and can help with endurance. A study (The Waltham Book of Clinical Nutrition) that dates back to 1994 showed that vitamin C supplementation helped racing dogs by facilitating oxidation by mitochondria in working muscles. Before you become overly excited about vitamin C, keep in mind that it can backfire and become a problem, causing calcium oxalate stones in some dogs. I rarely supplement a diet with vitamin C, but do look to natural sources such as vegetables and fruits. The decision to supplement should be based on breed (some are more prone than others to calcium oxalate stone formation,) medications (prednisone, for example, increases the risk of these stones forming,) and the health history of an individual dog.
A study of sled dogs found that dogs with higher plasma concentrations of vitamin E had greater endurance than dogs with lower concentrations (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, May 2001)
Phytonutrients are naturally occurring compounds found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. They contribute to the color, flavor and disease resistance of plants. Over the many years I've formulated diets for performance dogs, I've found that these compounds can be very helpful. Foods that are particularly rich in carotenes include sweet potato, carrots, winter squash, mango, melon, spinach, chard, kale, broccoli and bitter greens (beet greens, turnip greens, etc.) Beta carotene plays a role in recovery from exercise and other stresses.
Other examples of phytonutrients are anthocyannins, which scientific evidence strongly suggests have anti-inflammatory properties as well as antioxidant activity. Look for blue, purple and black tones in the fruit and vegetable aisles, and you'll find anthocyannins. Some good sources are blackberries, beets, blueberries, purple carrots, purple sweet potato and purple cauliflower. Ellagic acid is an antioxidant found in foods such as raspberries and strawberries. It's been found to have anti-mutagen and anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown the anti-cancer activity on cancer cells of the breast, oesophagus, skin, colon, prostate and pancreas, specifically by protecting destruction of P53 gene by cancer cells. Fresh raspberries are best, but they are not always available and are fairly pricey. Raspberry seed powder can come in handy throughout the year, and makes for powerful addition to the diet.
CoQ10 may help support your dog's health by optimizing cell energy production. I've found this supplement to be so amazing for some dogs that you could actually see the change in them, including their performance. Omega 3 fatty acids are important for every dog (and person). In the case of canine athletes, we use them to reduce inflammation, and promote good recovery after exercise.
Sale! Save $7.77 per Cardiac & Cognition Package - Perfect For Your Canine Athlete
This package includes:
1/2 pound of Antioxidant Booster
120 capsules (500 mg) of our exceptional wild salmon oil
60 capsules of CoQ10 (30 mg each)
90 capsules of vitamin E 200 IU
If you haven't tried it, do it now. The results are impressive!
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