Listen up pawrents!
We all know that vitamins are super important for all the family, but only the real stuff!
A lot of fur-friends ask us about vitamins. Like what’s the best vitamin for my pups joints?” Or what’s the best vitamin to stop shedding?
It really doesn’t matter why you’re looking for the best vitamins for your fur-kids, because the answer is always the same!
Are we talking real vitamins or fake ones?
This is a very important question to ask, because real vitamins are very different than the ones found in many commercial foods and treats.
So what is the difference between real Vitamins and fake ones?
Most of the vitamins used in pet (or human) foods and supplements are synthetic vitamins.
Synthetic means they’re produced in a lab and not by mother nature. Did you know that the first synthetic vitamin was created in 1933 and since then, synthetic copies have been marketed as an important part of our diets. Today, if you look at the label of your pets food or your favourite breakfast cereal, you probably will see lots of added synthetic vitamins. Even milk has added vitamin D.
So, fact is – synthetic vitamins are pretty much in every product you buy for yourself and for your dog. Unless, you only shop organic or cook from scratch. So what’s the problem?
Synthetic vitamins don’t always act like their real counterparts.
Synthetic vitamins are chemical isolates, meaning they’re only part of a real vitamin. Vitamins are defined as a GROUP or complex of organic compounds and it’s best to think of them this way. Vitamin activity is the sum of many parts.
The synthetic form of vitamin C, ascorbic acid, is a fraction, isolate or distillate of the naturally occurring vitamin C. But ascorbic acid is missing important synergists, as it only makes up about 5% of the entire vitamin C complex! WOW!
Naturally occurring vitamin C contains not just ascorbic acid, but “cofactors” like rutin, bioflavonoids, Factor K, Factor P, Tyrosinase, Ascorbinogen and other compounds. These all work synergistically and if these important cofactors are missing, the synthetic vitamin isn’t vitamin C.
When synthetic vitamins and minerals are manufactured, they are fundamentally different than their real food counterparts. Not only are they missing many key components, they’re just mirror images of real vitamins.
Experiments show that synthetic vitamins don’t always behave like their real food counterparts.
In one study, female rats were fed a diet deficient in vitamin D. Their offspring developed rickets, which is one of the symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency. When the rats were fed synthetic vitamin D, a third of their offspring still had skeletal malformations. But when they were fed liver, a whole food source of real and nourishing vitamin D, the offsprings were normal.
In another study, a group of rats was fed a very high fat diet that was deficient in vitamin A. They divided these rats into two groups. The first group was given Beta-carotene, which is synthetic vitamin A. The second group was given an extract of whole carrot. The group fed the Beta-carotene developed eye disease as a result of the vitamin A deficiency, while those fed the carrot extract didn’t.
In another study, rabbits were fed a diet deficient in B vitamins and, as a result, developed cirrhosis of the liver. When synthetic B vitamins were added to their diet, the disorder wasn’t prevented. But adding yeast, which is a good source of B vitamins, did prevent the condition.
Getting back to ascorbic acid, another study looked a guinea pigs, which are susceptible to vitamin C deficiency. They fed the guinea pigs a diet deficient in vitamin C and then gave half of them ascorbic acid and the other half orange or lemon juice. The researchers saw that the guinea pigs that were given the juice were much better protected against pneumococci infection.
So those vitamin isolates made in labs don’t behave the same as real vitamins with all their cofactors present and might even be harmful if not used correctly.
First of all, your dog needs more of a synthetic vitamin than natural vitamins, which can easily lead to toxicity. The reason why so many well-known pet food companies had all recalled foods because of elevated vitamin D levels.
So, in summary, replacing real food vitamins with their synthetic counterparts hasn’t been shown to offer the same benefits of real foods with the natural vitamins intact.
How Do You Spot Fake Vitamins?
You can usually identify synthetic vitamins based on their names.
In general, if there is no real food source given, assume the vitamin is synthetic. But you’ll know for certain a vitamin is a ‘fake’ if it includes any of the following words:
The Best Vitamin Is A Real Vitamin
It is simple: you get what you pay for. Real foods and supplements made from real foods contain naturally occurring vitamins with all of their important cofactors intact.
Think about fruits, berries and all these rainbow-coloured veggies. Seeds and oils can also be a rich source of vitamins. Real vitamins that ‘work for the health’ in your dog, just the way nature intended. Nourishing and honest.
As for the cheap, fake vitamins? Well, we might be playing roulette with our dog’s health and our own.
LET’S GET REAL EVERYPAWDY
Love, Your Cooka
PS: Find yummy super-treats made from plenty of wholesome foods and rich in REAL vitamins and minerals here