For many us of, dogs and cats are more than just pets; they are furry little family members that have nutritional needs just like we do! Minerals are an essential part of that nutrition and play a vital role in every single cellular process. Ionic trace minerals are also necessary to perform regulatory and structural functions.
Every moment of every day, our pets rely on macrominerals, ionic minerals and trace minerals to generate billions of tiny electrical impulses. Without these impulses, not a single muscle could function.
Trace minerals are essential minerals found in a variety of animal and plant foods. They are referred to as “trace” minerals because a body needs them in very small amounts. These trace minerals are simply elements. The same elements you learned about in your high school chemistry class. These elements comprise this entire planet and everything on it, including you and your pet. There are 92 known elements, 22 hypothesized others, and hundreds of variations.
Trace minerals work hand in hand with macro-minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. Without the proper balance of trace minerals, these macros can’t do what they need to do. Here are just a few of the vital trace minerals and what they do:
- Iron is vital for bodily function and helps provide oxygen to both organs and muscles
- Selenium is an antioxidant that helps regulate glutathione peroxidase. This function is vital to prevent oxidative damage such as disease, aging, cancer and inflammatory diseases
- Zinc greatly affects the immune system and the quality of your pet’s skin and fur
- Copper serves several functions within a pet’s body. It helps absorb iron, which participates in the synthesis of melanin and helps to stop anemia
- Manganese (not to be confused with magnesium) is needed for bone growth and thyroid hormone production. It ensures the quality of bone and cartilage, while playing a significant role in the mitochondria function.
Vitamins and minerals are important to our nutrition and overall health. Most of us take dietary supplements each day, and provide daily supplements to our children, in order to ensure our bodies are being provided the nutrients we require. Since pets are members of the family for so many of us, why wouldn’t we take steps to ensure that they get the nutrition they need to be happy and healthy too?
One of the most important minerals – for both people and animals – is magnesium. Nutritional magnesium plays a significant part in over 300 enzymatic reactions within the body. It is deeply involved in the creation and maintenance of bones, cells, tissues, and physiological processes, and is vital to:
- Energy production
- Oxygen uptake
- Electrolyte balance
- Metabolism of food & glucose
- Central nervous system function
- Regulation of hormones
- Muscular function and activity
- Synthesis of proteins & fatty acids
- Chelated minerals are essentially minerals that are bound to a living component or amino acid. They are designed in laboratories to essentially trick an organism into accepting the amino acid along with the attached mineral. While it is possible that some chelates are more easily absorbed, in most instances chelates and non-chelated minerals have the same rate of absorption.
- Ionic Minerals differ from both chelated and colloidal minerals. Ionic minerals are not designed in a lab and do not need to be chelated in order to be effective. These minerals carry an electrical charge, and in this form are immediately absorbed without intermediate processing. Ionic minerals are dissolved in a liquid, rather than just suspended in liquid. This gives ionized minerals the ability to be more easily absorbed into the blood stream and body cells. Research has shown that a body is able to selectively absorb and utilize ionized minerals. This means pets that are given these types of minerals are able to utilize the minerals they need, when they need them.
Another main component in the effectiveness of mineral supplements is particle size and how it relates to absorption. Dr. Chris Meletis outlines particle size as follows “Chelated and colloidal particles are far too large for cell assimilation in the body. These particles will be caught up in the blood stream and subsequently deposited, building up in various parts of the body, contributing to diseases such as kidney stones, bone spurs and hardening of the arteries…..The body’s ability to utilize a mineral is primarily a matter of size and solubility.”
Most pet foods will claim they are nutritionally balanced, but look at the source of the minerals in these factory foods. Regarding minerals in pet foods, PetMD website states “The bulk of the minerals used in pet foods typically come in pre-combined powdered mixes. It is not reasonable to source minerals only from raw ingredients because they are less likely to survive processing. This is why you will see many chemical names on a bag of dog food.”
In order to for minerals to survive processing and to stay price competitive, most pet foods companies are forced to use products such as magnesium oxide, which our pet’s bodies are barely able to use. Oxides are essentially a rock form of these minerals, which have difficulty being assimilated. Imagine eating a penny and expecting your body to absorb copper! Additionally, these mass produced foods may contain chelated minerals with a variety of bonding agents in the form of carbonates, citrates, sulfates and phosphates. The differences between man-made chelates and nutritional ionic minerals are detailed below.
You’ve done the research and you are feeding your pet a perfectly balanced raw food diet. When it comes to trace minerals though, we still have 2 problems:
- Soil Depletion – without doubt, soil from decades ago was more nutrient rich than the soil today. In turn, today’s food sources are lacking nutrients. A Scientific American article cites modern American agricultural practices as one of the reasons today’s soil has been drained of nutrients. The article mentions a 2004 study done by the University of Texas at Austin in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. The article also states “A Kushi Institute analysis of nutrient data from 1975 to 1997 found that average calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels 37 percent; vitamin A levels 21 percent, and vitamin C levels 30 percent.”
- Daily Mineral Requirements – each and every day we may feed our pets the exact same thing. However, this could leave our pets lacking in certain trace minerals. Times of heat stress, travel, rigorous exercise, cold stress and other factors can lead to higher requirements of electrolytes and trace minerals. That is why it is necessary to have highly bioavailable ionic minerals to be used when the body requires them.
- Magnesium deficiency
- Immune suppression
- Loss of appetite
- Skin disorders
- Copper deficiency
- Bone and joint disease
- Poor coat color
- Ligament and tendon issues
- Manganese deficiency
- Reproductive issues
- Skin and hair abnormalities
- Bond and joint development issues
- Selenium deficiency
- Low immunity
- Muscle cramping
- Low stress tolerance
- Cobalt deficiency
- Poor growth
- Low levels of Vitamin B12
- Zinc deficiency
- Fertility issues
- Bone and joint problems
- Decreased healing of wounds