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The importance of essential fatty acids and their function?

A healthy body is a matter of balance. This balance can only be maintained through nutrition. A healthy immune system is on constant alert for potential microbial invaders that can upset this balance. Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential for this function. Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids are essential in maintaining a functional defence against a daily barrage of potentially harmful microorganisms and toxins. Although the emphasis is on the anti inflammatory properties of the Omega 3 fatty acids, the Omega 6 fatty acids are of equal importance. The Omega 6 fatty acids are essential in the body’s initial response to a potentially inflammatory reaction whether it is to a toxin, allergic response or microbial organisms. Once the inflamma­tory reaction has completed its task, the site of the invasion comes under control of the metabolites of Omega 3 fatty acids. The balance is again established.

How do essential fatty acids contribute to a shiny healthy hair coat in a dog or cat?

It is interesting that AAFCO uses a healthy shiny coat as one of the major criteria that must be passed for a dog food to recieve the AAFCO seal of approval. But how can a coat be shinier or the shiniest coat ever? To have a healthy coat is dependant on a proper hormone balance which is controlled by season of the year, nutrition, age, food sensitivities, and the environment and level of stress. Another way of looking at it is getting to the root of the problem, that is, the hair follicle. If the follicle is clogged with inflammatory debris, or the proper balance of nutrients fails to reach the follicle, the follicle can no longer sustain a healthy shiny coat which reflects the overall well being of a pet.

When a diet has essential fatty acids added by the manufacturer, what are the pitfalls?

Supplementation of essential nutrients are how all manufactured diets are balanced. These supplements must be preserved to prevent them from becoming rancid as the diet ages on the shelf. Polyunsaturated fatty acids by nature of their chemical structure are subject to becoming rancid if antioxidants are not present both in the diet and the body to protect them. Once rancid, fatty acids are no longer functional and can be potentially harmful when transformed into trans fatty acids.

Give your pet food the litmus test!

How many of the ingredients in your pets “FOOD” can be found in your grocery store.

You may find some in the junk food aisle!

And to further illustrate the difference between FEED and FOOD, take the ingredient list into a vitamin store and see if in fact the vitamins and minerals listed are the same source as you buy for yourself.