BIOTIC Liver – nutritional support for dogs with liver disease

Blog Care Health Nutrition

The liver is the largest organ in the body and maintains a close association with the gut through an exchange of hormones. Furthermore, a large portion of the liver’s blood supply is delivered by the portal vein, with the liver being immediately downstream from the gut. It is this close proximity that appears to be behind some of the main issues associated with liver disease.

Under normal conditions, the blood supply from the gut contains fragments of microbial residue and small food particles. A healthy liver has the unique ability to tolerate these pollutants, provided the quantity remains within acceptable levels. However, in situations whereby pollutants exceed a normal or acceptable level, there is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates the dog loses its ability to maintain what is known as “liver immune tolerance”. When liver immune tolerance is lost, inflammation of the liver results. Prolonged exposure to inflammation is a precursor to the development of cirrhosis and chronic liver disease.

The reasons for the loss of liver immune tolerance are not fully understood, but research suggests the gut microbiome plays a major role in this loss of tolerance and the subsequent development of liver disease. In healthy animals the leakage of microbial remnants and food particles are the main pollutants with which the liver has to contend, and it is only when the burden of pollutants becomes too high that a liver immune response is provoked. As gut health deteriorates through dysbiosis (a shrinking of microbial diversity in the gut), the gut wall can become thinner and more porous, allowing increasing quantities of undigested food particles and microbial remnants to leak into the blood stream. It is the overwhelming quantity of these contaminants that triggers the loss of immune tolerance, and instead causes an ongoing immune response in the liver with the subsequent inflammation causing liver damage.

Continued dysbiosis of the gut microbiome leads to an increasingly porous state of the intestinal wall, a condition known as Leaky Gut Syndrome. As that porosity increases, so too does the burden of pollutants in the liver. To add insult to injury, and as the condition worsens, the remaining bacterial species breed up to populate the newly found intestinal space. This leads to a condition known as Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), and through the leaking gut the abundance of bacteria are able to  translocate to other parts of the body, and in particular the liver.

Low level inflammation of the liver results in damage (cirrhosis) of the liver and the further effect of bacterial translocation and pollutants is steatohepatitis (fatty liver disease). It is estimated 20% of all cases of cirrhosis result in steatohepatitis, which is also a forerunner to liver cancer.

Any treatment of liver disease must also target gut health, and in particular Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS) and Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). Accordingly, LifeWise BIOTIC Liver food is specifically designed to seek to correct gut microbial deficiencies, as it is these deficiencies that are the underlying cause of both LGS and SIBO. It is only after the leakage of food particles from the gut and the translocation of bacteria is corrected that liver immune tolerance can be regained. This then allows the liver a chance to repair the damaged thanks to its unique healing ability.

But reducing the impact of gut derived pollutants is not the only mode of action of the food. Careful attention to nutrient ratios and levels has resulted in a food designed to aid good function of the liver itself. The high-quality protein ,and particularly the high sulphur amino acid supply, together with appropriate mineral and vitamin levels, ensures the nutrient profile reduces the working load for the liver, thus aiding the repair process. This two-pronged approach of restoring both gut and organ health is a hallmark of all LifeWise BIOTIC foods, and is an essential requirement for long term rehabilitation.

This food is specifically formulated for dogs suffering liver problems, and the addition of a quality probiotic supplement will enhance the effectiveness of the food for the dog. Accordingly, this food is not suitable for feeding growing dogs, pregnant or nursing bitches, or dogs suffering or prone to suffer from hyperlipidaemia or pancreatitis. Please consult your veterinary adviser prior to transitioning to this food.

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