Biotic Joint – a discussion with our nutritionist
In today’s conversation we are talking with our nutritionist Bill about joint health, and how the new LifeWise BIOTIC Joint food can help protect susceptible dogs, or support affected canines.
Q. Hello Bill. What is it about joint health in dogs that makes it such a difficult and common problem?
Bill: Joint health and mobility issues are complex matters that cover a variety of situations. Joints can deteriorate through age, as a result of injury or stress, or as the result of inflammation in the body. This means we need to address the problem in two distinct ways, one being the inclusion of specific nutrients in the food and the other by ensuring the animal enjoys good gut health.
Q. When you say “specific nutrients”, what are the nutrients and how does this help the dog?
Bill: The wellbeing of joints primarily revolves around the need to maintain or replace cartilage. We commonly hear glucosamine recommended for cartilage health, but chondroitin is a component of cartilage, so it needs to be present in the food too. But it’s not just these two nutrients that are needed. Bone structure and the connective tissues also need to be maintained in a healthy manner, and the minerals copper, zinc and magnesium together with vitamins C and E play an essential role in the maintenance and repair process.
Q. We commonly see fish oil recommended in conjunction with glucosamine and chondroitin. Is oil required as well?
Bill: Fish oil, because of its high omega 3 content, is often recommended as an anti-inflammatory for painful joints. But this is only a part of the process. We find the use of a blend of omega 3, 6 and 9 works well in conjunction with the nutrients mentioned earlier, all as a part of the restoration and rehabilitation process. Joint maintenance and repair is a complex process which involves a range of nutrients and processes if it is to work correctly.
Q. Does this mean you don’t recommend the use of fish oil capsules?
Bill: In our experience, the 3 6 9 oil blend gives a far better result than straight fish or omega 3 oil. This is in part due to the body’s requirement for balance between the pro-inflammatory properties of omega 6 and the anti-inflammatory properties of the omega 3 fatty acids. The use of nutrients in the body is always in balance with other nutrients, or to put it another way there is really no such thing as single nutrient therapy.
Q. Other than the nutrients already mentioned, are there any other factors associated with joint care?
Bill: The other major factor in the question of joint health is the health or robustness of the gut microbiome.
Q. You always seem to turn the conversation to gut health, but what has that got to do with joint health?
Bill: (laughing) Whether we like it or not, the health of the microbiome is directly linked to joint health. The best example of the interaction between the two areas is the effect of leaky gut, sometimes called “high intestinal permeability”. The intestines are designed to allow small particles, being nutrients, to pass through the wall into the blood stream. When the health of the intestinal wall deteriorates these small openings become larger and that allows undigested food particles, bacteria and other detritus to escape into the blood stream. These pollutants then cause inflammation in the body and particularly in the joints, which results in swelling and pain. After all, the term “arthritis” simply means “swollen or sore joints”.
Q. So how do we protect our canine friends from leaky gut?
Bill: Leaky gut is just another outcome resulting from poor diet design. If the food your dog is eating does not fully support a vibrant and diverse microbial population in the gut, then certain species will thrive whilst others will be crowded out and the population diversity will shrink. The population balance following the loss of species will determine the area of the body that is affected, and leaky gut is strongly associated with this phenomenon.
Q. Is the structure of the dog’s diet the only cause of leaky gut?
Bill: Food appears to be the major cause; poorly designed diets overloaded with heavily processed ingredients is recognised as the main culprit, but stress, antibiotics and pollutants including chemicals we use for parasite control in the dog all contribute to the problem. In short, and as with so many other aspects of canine health and wellbeing, a correctly structured and balanced diet is the best way of protecting your beloved pet from disease and distress.
Q. Can the new BIOTIC Joint food be fed continuously, or is it just for short term use?
Bill: All foods in the BIOTIC range are designed to supply nutrients required to assist in the repair of the problem, as well as provide functional ingredients in precise ratios to support long term gut health. There are no short cuts where metabolic disorders are concerned, and the underlying influence of all such conditions is microbiome health, which is why all LifeWise foods are so strongly focussed on gut health.
Well thanks Bill for your insights. It has been a most interesting discussion and we all look forward to our next opportunity to talk about our pets and their nutritional health!