Aging is not a disease! Yet it comes along with less than perfect immunity, reduced nutrient absorption, and the cumulative effects of a lifetime’s exposure to oxidative stressors. Combined, these increase the risk of age-related diseases in dogs and cats, including diabetes mellitus, thyroid disorders, obesity, arthritis, cancer, cognitive dysfunction, and Cushing’s disease in dogs.
With aging, nutrients in food are not ideally absorbed, so adding a safe quantity of necessary vitamins and minerals is essential to health. These include beta-carotene, vitamins C, D, E and the Bs, iron, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and a balanced ratio of calcium and phosphorus, among others.
Certain antioxidants and plant extracts also benefit the aging brain and body:
• Huperzine, or selagine: protects mitochondria and has neuroprotective effects, improving alertness and energy.
• S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM-e): a co-substrate used in the production of nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids; has anti-inflammatory effects and supports the formation of joint cartilage.
• Alpha lipoic acid: a potent antioxidant found in spinach, broccoli and liver. Restores vitamins C and E to their functional states. Used for diabetic neuropathies, hepatic and heart disease, and is a heavy metal chelator.
Aging cannot be avoided, but complementing your patients’ diets with vitamins, minerals and natural plant extracts will help them fight the ever-present free radical damage occurring in their bodies, and allow them to lead longer, healthier lives.