Vital Substances

11 Vitamins

B1 - Thiamine

Thiamine plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism and in energy production. As metabolism increases the need for thiamine increases. It is also essential for healthy functioning of the nervous system.. Thiamine is sensitive to heat and water soluble so it is not a very stable vitamin when exposed to high heat from food manufacturing processes.

B2 - Riboflavin

Vitamin B2 is central to the breakdown of the main nutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins). Riboflavin contributes to healthy skin and coat.

B6 - Pyridoxine

Vitamin B6 is a coenzyme of many enzymes involved in amino acid metabolism. It is used to improve immune function and a deficiency can led to skin, nerve and blood disorders.

B3 - Niacin

Niacin helps protect the skin to limit dehydration (due to its involvement in fatty acid synthesis). It is needed for the body to break down sugars and fats into energy.

Cats need this more than dogs as they have limited capacity to synthesis this from tryptophan.

B7 - Biotin

Biotin plays a large role in maintaining healthy skin and hair as well as being involved in the healthy functioning of the immune system. Prolonged taking of antibiotics has been shown to decrease natural biotin levels in dogs.

B5 - Pantothenic acid

Pantothenic acid is involved in almost every metabolic process as a coenzyme and plays a key role in the energy production of cells. Pantothenic acid helps to encourage wound healing and plays a vital role in producing hormones and digestive enzymes.

It is also a natural antihistamine and may help with anxiety.

B9 - Folic acid

Folic acid is involved in the development of tissues in the nervous system and essential for fast cell multiplication and synthesis of DNA. A deficiency can cause malformation in the foetus. Research on cleft palates in brachycephalic breeds of dogs shows that supplementation in pregnancy can reduce the incidence by 48 - 76%. Supplementation is highly recommended before and during pregnancy.

B12 - Cobalamin

Vitamin B12 plays an important role in metabolism, in particular the synthesis of proteins and the production of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 serves a supportive function in cases of reduced physical and mental capacity, helping to maintain normal functioning of the brain and spinal cord.

C - Ascorbic acid

Dogs and cats, unlike most other animals, produce ascorbic acid naturally in the liver. Too much vitamin C will often cause diarrhoea and stomach upset. However, Vitamin C may be prescribed for deficiency caused by liver disease and for certain toxicity syndromes,, e.g.) Acetaminophen toxicity. It can also help in treating feline immunodeficiency virus and as a preventative measure against the formation of struvite uroliths.

Inositol

Inositol is present in all animal tissues, with the highest levels in the heart and brain and plays a role in helping the liver process fats as well as contributing to the function of muscles and nerves. Researchers were able to show that intake of inositol has a positive effect on insulin resistance and on adipose tissue hormones in patients with diabetes mellitus. Since inositol is also required for the function of nerve tissue in the brain, the effect of this substance on various mental illnesses is also being researched.

Ergosterol (Provitamin D2)

Ergosterol is a precursor of Vitamin D. When there has been sufficient exposure to the sun, calcitriol is produced from the Vitamin D precursors. Calcitriol plays an important role in bone metabolism, in immune function and in the cell cycle.

19 Minerals/Trace elements

Calcium (Ca)

Calcium is a main component of the skeleton (support function) and plays an important role in various muscle functions. Furthermore, blood coagulation and numerous enzymatic reactions are also calcium-dependent. Calcium is used for the mineralisation/strengthening of bone tissue and teeth. Together with magnesium, it regulates muscle functions and the transmission of nerve stimuli. Higher levels of calcium are needed during lactation and growth.

Chromium (Cr)

Chromium has an effect on insulin-dependent metabolic processes. It is therefore used for the prevention of diabetes mellitus (particular in cats). It has a positive effect on sugar and fat metabolism, aiding to reduce elevated blood sugar and reduce cholesterol levels.

Iron (Fe)

The body requires iron for the production of haemoglobin (red blood cells) and myoglobin ; these are responsible for oxygen transport in the blood and muscles. Iron deficiency can result in anemia, diarrhea, weakness and poor growth.

Germanium (Ge)

In the various sources we have consulted there is no literature on germanium; we therefore assume that the role of germanium in the body has not yet been substantially researched; Germanium might act against inflammation. It might also have antioxidant properties and affect the immune system.

Potassium (K)

Potassium is the most important element for cellular fluid balance and an important activator for numerous enzymes. Potassium reduces the risk of strokes and of calcium-containing kidney stones. It is also necessary to maintain a proper fluid balance throughout the body. Potassium deficiency can result from kidney disease, loss of fluid such as diarrhoea, vomiting, medications such as a diuretic, inadequate nutrient intake, and many more.

Cobalt (Co)

Co-factor of various enzymes and is involved in fatty acid metabolism. Cobalt is however only essential as a component of Vitamin B12.

Copper (Cu)

Copper serves as a cofactor of various enzymes and is involved in many processes within the body. It facilities the intestinal absorption of iron, formation of collagen in tendons, synthesis of myelin in the nervous system and development of melanin in hair pigment. Copper supports antioxidant defence, reducing cellular damage caused by free radicals. Deficiency can lead to anemia, loss of hair pigment and bone development.

Magnesium (Mg)

Magnesium is involved in energy metabolism, muscle and nerve cell membrane function, absorption of other certain vitamins and minerals, production of protein, bone mineralisation and bone growth. Magnesium can help when there is an increased requirement to expend energy such as sports, growth phases and pregnancy. It can also help reduce muscle muscle tremors and weakness, hyperirritability, and depression.

Manganese (Mn)

Manganese is an essential cofactor of more than 60 enzymes and is involved in the following processes: Blood coagulation, detoxification of free radicals, carbohydrate metabolism, fat metabolism, development of the central nervous system and formation of bone and joint cartilage. Newborn and young animals are more likely affected by a manganese deficiency and symptoms include abnormal growth, skeletal abnormalities and reproductive failure.

Molybdenum (Mo)

Molybdenum serves as a cofactor of a variety of enzymes during metabolism. It is involved in the breakdown of sulphurous amino acids and of purine.

Sodium (Na)

Sodium is involved in the regulation of water balance, together with potassium. Sodium is also involved in the transmission of nerve stimuli and in the regulation of the acid-base balance. Deficiency can occur due to loss of fluid in the body such as diarrhea or vomiting and can cause restlessness, increased heart rate and reduced water consumption.

Nickel (Ni)

The functions of nickel in the body are not yet known. A positive effect on growth disorders and fertility disorders is under consideration.

Phosphorus (P2O5)

Phosphate, together with calcium, is the main component of bone. It supports kidney function and serves as a buffer in the regulation of the acid-base balance. It also helps in muscle contraction, motor functions and energy transfer and storage. Phosphorus combines with other enzymes in the body to aid in various bodily functions. Deficiency can lead to slow growth, poor appetite and bone deformities.

Total sulfur (S)

Sulfur is required by the body in the form of sulphurous amino acids and helps with many bodily processes. It helps with the production of collagen, which is a substance that forms connective tissues, cell structure and artery walls. Additionally, it is a part of keratin, giving strength to hair, skin and nails.

Selenium (Se)

Selenium is needed for proper function of the thyroid gland, and immune system, when converted to glutathione peroxidase it acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from damage by free radicals. It can also help to combat inflammation and contributes towards joint health, skin and coat.

Silicic acid (Si)

Silicon fulfils important functions in the metabolism of connective tissue such as skin, hair and nails, bones and cartilage.

Vanadium (V)

Vanadium is responsible for the regulation of carbohydrate, hormone and lipid metabolism. Vanadium stimulates insulin secretion from the pancreas and is involved in the mineralisation of bones and teeth. Vanadium may have insulin-like effects in lowering blood sugar levels in diabetes.

Zinc (Zn)

Zinc is one of the most important minerals in animal health. Zinc is not considered to be highly absorbable. Studies show that between 5% and 40% of ingested zinc is actually absorbed. It plays a role in normal cell growth, in fertility and immune response. It is also crucial for collagen and keratin synthesis and is therefore involved in skin and hair growth and wound healing. Zinc deficiency seems to be more prevalent in Huskies and Malamutes as they seem to require a higher-than-average amount of zinc.

Tin (Sn)

In the various sources we have consulted for the “Vitalstoffuniversum”, there is no literature on tin; we therefore assume that the role of tin in the body has not yet been substantially researched.

20 Amino acids

Amino acids in general

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins which are needed for cell growth, maintenance and repair. 10 are essential for dogs and 11 for cats with the additional one being Taurine. This means that the body needs to take these in as part of the diet, lack of these causes body tissue to break down to provide them which can resort in serious health issues.

Alanine

Alanine is a non-essential amino acid as it can be manufactured by the body. It helps with collagen synthesis and with histidine produces carnosine which is concentrated in muscle and brain tissue aiding performance.

Arginine

Arginine is an essential amino acid for some carnivores, such as cats, dogs and ferrets. It plays a pivotal role in the urea cycle in processing the large quantities of ammonia so that it doesn’t become toxic. Arginine is a nitric oxide (NO) precursor, which relaxes the smooth muscle fibres of the blood vessels, it also plays an important role in cell division, wound healing, immune function and the release of hormones.

Aspartic acid and asparagine

Aspartic acid is a non-essential amino acid as it can be manufactured by the body. It plays a major role inmetabolism. This amino acid is necessary for stamina, brain and neural health, in particular memory and cognition.

Cystein

L-cysteine is a non-essential amino acid as it can be manufactured by the body. It is produced in the liver and is a component of the antioxidant, glutathione . L-cysteine supports skin and hair growth as well as protecting the lining of the digestive system. Omnivores (dogs) convert cysteine to taurine but cats who are carnivores need cystine in other functions. Therefore, Taurine is an essential amino acid for cats as they can become taurine deficient.

Glutamic acid and glutamine

Glutamine is derived from glutamic acid, L-glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid, whilst it is not essential it can be needed in certain circumstances. It is produced in the muscles and is distributed by the blood to the organs that need it.

Glutamine plays a role in the health of the immune system, central nervous system, digestive tract, and muscle cells, as well as other bodily functions. It is utilised as a fuel for the cells that line the intestines and may be needed in larger quantities in times of stress, heavy exercise, convalesece, infection and surgery.

Glycine

Glycine is a conditionally essential amino acid. Most proteins incorporate only small quantities of glycine, a notable exception being collagen, which contains about 35%. It plays an important role in the nervous system and digestive system, it provides antioxidant protection, helps regulate blood sugar levels and assists in wound healing with its anti-inflammatory properties.

Histidine

Histidine is an essential amino acid. The body uses Histidine to make histamine. Histamine is part of an immune response to protect the body from foreign pathogens like allergens and bacteria. Histidine also helps make Haemoglobin, which carries oxygen through the bloodstream.

Isoleucine

Isoleucine, leucine and valine are essential amino acids which belongs to the group of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA). They stimulate the synthesis of proteins and slow protein degradation in muscles. They help to build, strengthen and repair muscles. An increased level of BCAAs in the diet may therefore be beneficial for senior pets. They also support liver function and liver protection.

Leucine

Isoleucine, leucine and valine are essential amino acids which belongs to the group of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA). They stimulate the synthesis of proteins and slow protein degradation in muscles. They help to build, strengthen and repair muscles. An increased level of BCAAs in the diet may therefore be beneficial for senior pets. They also support liver function and liver protection.

Lysine

L-lysine is an essential amino acid. Lysine is sensitive to heat so pet foods need to be carefully formulated to ensure that it is not degraded. Lysine has an anti-viral effect in that it hinders virus replication, it also helps to produce antibodies, hormones, and enzymes that boost the immune system. It is also involved in the production of collagen and calcium absorption. It can be beneficial to supplement with lysine for chronic viral infections in dogs and cats such as feline herpes virus.

Methionine

L-methionine is an essential amino acid. It is a urinary acidifier so can help in the prevention of urinary tract infections and bladder stones. It is a potent antioxidant and an important amino acid for liver repair due to its ability to assist in the body's detoxification process. Methionine helps prevent skin, coat and nail problems. It also serves as a precursor to other amino acids like cysteine which can then be converted into taurine.

Phenylalanine

L-phenylalanine is an essential amino acid. Phenylalanine (along with Tyrosine) are vital to the production of pigment that defines the colour of your pets coat. Phenylalanine synthesizes Tyrosine and is also essential for thyroid hormone production.

Proline

Proline is not an essential amino acid. Proline Isolates like Chondroitin promote the formation of bone and cartilage and increase flexibility. Proline helps strengthen, heal and reduce the loss of collagen, making up 33% of collagen.

Serine

Serine is a non-essential amino acid. Serine is especially important for brain, muscle and skin health. It is also involved in cell formation, fat and fatty acid metabolism, muscle formation, and the maintenance of a healthy immune system.

Threonine

L-threonine is an essential amino acid and is an important component of many proteins and neurotransmitters. It supports the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, immune system and liver. It is also necessary for the formation of glycine and serine, which, in their turn, assist in the production of collagen, elastin, and muscle tissue.

Tryptophan

L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid and plays an important role in the production of hormones and the central nervous system. It is a precursor precursor for the synthesis of melatonin (hormone that helps to induce sleep), serotonin, (neurotransmitter that helps reduce anxiety) and Vit B3 (Niacin).

Tyrosine

Tyrosine is not an essential amino acid as it can be synthesized from phenylalanine. Tyrosine (along with Phenylalanine) is vital to the production of pigment that defines the colour of your pets coat. Tyrosine is also a dopamine, noradrenalin and adrenalin precursor and involved in the proper functioning of the brain and reproductive system. It can also have a positive effect on fertility as well as helping to reduce stress levels.

Valine

Isoleucine, leucine and valine are essential amino acids which belongs to the group of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA). They stimulate the synthesis of proteins and slow protein degradation in muscles. They help to build, strengthen and repair muscles. An increased level of BCAAs in the diet may therefore be beneficial for senior pets. They also support liver function and liver protection.

11 Important building substances

Lecithin

Lecithin is an antioxidant, being one of the key building blocks to the cell membrane it protects cells from oxidation. It helps with fat absorption and allows the body to use fats as energy or break down saturated fats and pass them from the body. Lecithin supports the nervous, digestive and immune system, as well as helping to stimulate memory and learning ability.

Lecithin phosphate

See lecithin.

Mannan

Mannan Mannan-oligo-saccharide (MOS) is found in the cell walls of yeast cells and has a pre-biotic effect. It helps to promote over-all gastro-intestinal (GI) health and aids in nutrient absorption. It is also known to be an immune-activator, increasing the effectiveness of the body’s immune system.

Glucan

Beta-glucans have the ability to activate and modulate immune function, boosting it when it is low and regulating it when it is over-reacting. It is also said to help increase the bodies defenses against stress.

Glutathione

Glutathione is produced within cell, it is one of the most powerful antioxidants thus helping to combat free radicals. It protects and defends against diseases, toxins, pollutants, oxidative stress, viruses, radiation, and anything else that is harmful to the body. Glutathione levels decrease with age and can lead to certain health problems.

Choline

Choline is an essential nutrient and is present in several forms. It serves as a precursor substance for the formation of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which is linked to memory and muscle control. It also plays a role in acid base balance and helps with liver and brain function.

DNA (desoxyribonucleic acid)

Desoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is found in the nucleus of every cell and is the carrier of the genetic material. It consists of two threads of only approximately 2 millionths of a millimetre thick, whose length is dependent on the volume of information stored.

RNA (ribonucleic acid)

Ribonucleic acid is a component of ribosomes. Ribosomes are responsible for protein synthesis in cells.

ATP (adenosine triphosphate)

Adenosine triphosphate is a complex organic chemical that provides energy to drive many processes in living cells, e.g. muscle contraction, nerve impulse propagation, and chemical synthesis. Found in all forms of life, ATP is often referred to as the "molecular unit of currency".

Ubiquinone (coenzym) Q6

Ubiquinone (coenzyme Q6) is a vitaminoid. Vitaminoids are substances which demonstrate a vitamin-like character due to their structure and physiological functions. In contrast to vitamins, they are not essential, but can in principle be produced by animals themselves. In the case of illness, however, self-synthesis may be insufficient.

Ubiquinone (coenzym) Q7

Ubiquinone (coenzyme Q7) is a vitaminoid. Vitaminoids are substances which demonstrate a vitamin-like character due to their structure and physiological functions. In contrast to vitamins, they are not essential, but can in principle be produced by animals themselves. In the case of illness, however, self-synthesis may be insufficient.

Ubiquinone (coenzym) Q9

Ubiquinone (coenzyme Q9) is a vitaminoid. Vitaminoids are substances which demonstrate a vitamin-like character due to their structure and physiological functions. In contrast to vitamins, they are not essential, but can in principle be produced by people themselves instead. In the case of illness, however, self-synthesis may be insufficient.