Previous month:
October 2010
Next month:
December 2010

November 2010

Does Your Dog Need To Lose Weight? Life's Abundance Weight Loss Food For Dogs Is The Answer

HealthyPetNet Lifes Abundance Diet Dog Food Obesity is one of the most common canine nutritional disorders in America. And vets widely agree that excessive weight can lead to a whole host of health problems. Therefore, it’s easy to see that shedding a few unwanted pounds now can make an enormous impact on your dog’s quality of life.

Compared to our regular formula, Life’s Abundance Weight-Loss Formula contains 28% less fat and 32% fewer calories to help adult dogs maintain a healthy weight and an active lifestyle. And, it’s enhanced with L-carnitine to help the body utilize fat and to support long-term weight management.

For the most part, your dog eats the same food every day. That is why carefully choosing a food is so important to your dog’s long-term health.

Take a look at Life's Abundance Weight Loss Food For Dogs and you'll see what makes Life's Abundance top quality and the best choice for your pooch that needs to lose weight.

Useful Tips For Winter Puppy Care

The holidays are fast approaching and, amid the hustle and bustle, many people choose to adopt a new puppy into their homes during the holiday season. If you are the proud pet parent of a brand new puppy, here are some great tips on how to best take care of your new bundle of joy during the cold-weather months.

Most puppies do fine in cold weather - many of the long haired large breeds love to chase snowflakes and romp through winter landscapes. If you are considering adopting a short haired breed or small puppy, never leave them outside unattended. Although it is important to watch them vigilantly to make sure they stay warm, most dogs can still enjoy short stints outside. Remember, puppies need a lot of attention and care, and for potty training purposes, they need to be able to relieve themselves every few hours. You can start potty training your puppy as young as eight weeks of age, and it can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

If you have opened your home to a puppy this winter and are wondering about how best to care for your new family member, then watch this video. In it, Dr. Sarah talks about special considerations for puppies during the cold months and tips and tricks on how to beat old man winter.

Watch The Video

Does Ash In Cat Food Give Cats Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)?

Cat_w_food2 There is a lot of information on the internet that states the ash content in cat food causes urinary tract infections.  That is very old outdated thinking and is not backed by scientific findings.
Urinary tract problems can be due to stress.  Cats are affected by stress and stress can come from many things. 
Urinary problems are usually the result of a food not producing the proper pH levels for one reason or another, are also a direct result of the animal not being fully hydrated and the crystals cannot be fully passed out of the body because there is not enough fluid going through the kidneys and bladder.  Cats are desert animals genetically even though they have been domesticated for years.  People may think that they are drinking a lot of water, but they typically do not! 
This is why Dr. Jane Bicks, Life's Abundance formulator and holistic vet, created Instinctive Choice.  Optimally a cat should be eating both wet and dry food.  Instinctive Choice has protein coming from meat sources and extra water in the food.  This hydrates a cat and mimics more of a wild diet.  Most wet foods have quite a bit of carbohydrates and less protein than Instinctive ChoiceInstinctive Choice also has dog grass which is an herbal grass that cats will eat on their own if given access to it.  It is one of the best things to help the urinary tract health.  Cats get most of their water in the wild from the animals they prey on.  This is how they really were meant to get most of it in the first place.
The Life's Abundance dry cat food has denser nutrition which is why Dr. Jane suggests feeding it along with the Instinctive Choice wet food so that the cat is getting all the nutrition it needs along with a higher amount of naturally occuring water.
Life's Abundance foods are balanced.  Minerals work best when they are balanced and too much of one, just leads to an imbalance of minerals overall and the body does not function as well.

What's Really for Dinner? The Truth About Commercial Pet Food

by Tina Perry

Cow brains. Sheep guts. Chicken heads. Road kill. Rancid grain. These are a few of the so-called nutritionally balanced ingredients found in the commercial pet food served to companion animals every day.

More than 95 percent of US companion animals derive their nutritional needs from a single source: processed pet food. When people think of pet food, many envision whole chickens, choice cuts of beef, fresh grains, and all the nutrition that a dog or cat may ever need -- images that pet food manufacturers promote in their advertisements. What these companies do not reveal is that instead of whole chickens they have substituted chicken heads, feet, and intestines. Those choice cuts of beef are really cow brains, tongues, esophagi, fetal tissue dangerously high in hormones, and possibly diseased and even cancerous meat.

Those whole grains have had the starch removed for corn starch powder and the oil extracted for corn oil, or they are hulls and other remnants from the milling process. Grains used that are truly whole have usually been deemed unfit for human consumption because of mold, contaminants, poor quality, or poor handling practices.

Pet food is one of the worlds most synthetic edible products, containing virtually no whole ingredients.

Pet food manufacturers have become masters at inducing companion animals to eat things cat and dogs would normally spurn. Pet food scientists have learned that it's possible to take a mixture of inedible scraps, fortify it with artificial vitamins and minerals, preserve it so that it can sit on the shelf for more than a year, add dyes to make it attractive, and then extrude it into whimsical shapes that appeal to the human consumer. For this, pet food companies can expect to earn $9 billion in sales in 1996.

Scraps and Byproducts

For years, many care givers have tried to avoid feeding their companion animals people food leftovers, having been warned by veterinarians about the heath problems they can cause. Yet much scrap material from the human food industry is ending up in dogs and cats dinner bowls. What the consumer purchases and what the manufacturer advertises are often two entirely different products, and this difference threatens the animals healthy, especially as they age.

Learning to read ingredient labels and taking the time to read them carefully is crucial to making an educated choice when purchasing pet food. Ingredients are listed in descending order of weight (heaviest first) under standards established by the Center for Veterinary Medicine for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The name of the product (in most states) is dictated by the regulations of the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). The trouble is, AAFCO standards can lead to deceptive product names due to the weight and volume variations between wet and dry ingredients. Also, the average consumer has no idea what the definitions for the listed ingredients mean. Preservatives, vitamins, minerals, flavorings, and cereal make up most of what the companion animal eats.

It is not happenstance that four of the top five major pet food companies in the United States are subsidiaries of major multinational food production companies: Colgate Palmolive (which produces Hills Science Diet), Heinz, Nestle, and Mars )see The Corporate Connection). From a business standpoint, multi-national food companies owning pet food manufacturers is an ideal relationship. The multinationals have captive market in which to dump their waste products, and the pet food manufacturers have a direct source of bulk materials.

Both make a profit from selling scraps that originate from places far worse than the dinner table. In his 1986 book Pet Allergies veterinarian Al Plechner sums up what goes into companion animals food: Condemned parts and animals rejected for human consumption are routinely rerouted for commercial pet foods. A similar fate applies to so-called 4-D animals. These are food animals picked up dead, or that are dying, diseased, or disabled, and do not meet human-food qualifications. They are processed straightaway for companion animal consumption. Little goes to waste.

Says Plechner, Food processing refuse of all sorts winds up in your animals dinner bowls. Moldy grains. Rancid foods. Meat meal. The latter is ground-up slaughterhouse discards often containing disease-ridden tissue and high levels of hormones and pesticides, the very things that may have contributed to the death of the steer or hog. A decade later, his words still apply.

When cattle, swine, chickens, lambs, or other animals meet their ends at a slaughterhouse, the choice cuts -- lean muscle tissue and organs prized by humans -- are trimmed away from the carcass for human consumption. Whatever remains of the carcass (bones, blood, pus, intestines, ligaments, subcutaneous fat, hooves, horns, beaks, and any other parts not normally consumed by humans) is, according to the pet food industry, perfectly fit as a protein source for cat and dog food.

The Pet Food Institute, the trade association of pet food manufacturers, acknowledges in its 1994 Fact Sheet the importance of using byproducts in pet foods as additional income for processors and farmers. The purchase and use of these ingredients by the pet food industry not only provides nutritional foods for pets at reasonable costs, but provides an important source of income to American farmers and processors of meat, poultry, and seafood products for human consumption.

Many of these remnants are indigestible and provide a questionable source of nutrition. The amount of nutrition provided by meat byproducts, meals, and digests varies from vat to vat of this animal protein soup. A vat filled with chicken feet, beaks, and viscera is going to make available a lower amount of protein than a vat of breast meat.

James Morris and Quinton Rogers, professors with Department of Molecular Biosciences at the University of California at Davis Veterinary School of Medicine, assert that there is virtually no information on the bioavailability of nutrients for companion animals in many of the common dietary ingredients used in pet foods. These ingredients are generally byproducts of the meat, poultry and fishing industries, with the potential for wide variation in nutrient composition. Claims of nutritional adequacy of pet foods based on the current AAFCO nutrient allowances (profiles) do not give assurances of nutritional adequacy and will not until ingredients are analyzed and bioavailability values are incorporated.

Meat byproducts, the catch-all term of the pet food industry, is a misnomer because these byproducts contain little if any meat. Byproducts contain little if any meat. Byproduct are animal parts leftover after the meat has been stripped from the bone. Chicken byproducts include heads, feet, entrails, lungs, spleens, kidneys, brains, livers, stomachs, noses, blood, and intestines free of their contents. What the pet food manufactures fail to mention is that most byproducts, digests and meals are also filled with other substances, such as cancerous tissue cut from the carcass, plastic foam packaging containing spoiled meat from supermarkets, ear tags, spoiled slaughterhouse meat, road kill, and pieces of downer animals.

Canned Cannibalism

Another source of meat that isn't mentioned on pet food labels is pet byproducts, the bodies of dogs and cats. In 1990 the San Francisco Chronicle reported that euthanized companion animals were found in pet foods. Although pet food company executives and the National Renderers Association vehemently denied the report, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the FDA confirmed the story. The pets serve a viable purpose by providing foodstuff for the animal feed chain, said Lea McGovern, chief of the FDA's animal feed safety branch.

Because of the sheer volume of animals rendered and the similarity in protein content between poultry byproducts and processed dogs and cats, rendering plant workers say it would be impossible for purchasers to know the exact contents of what they buy. In fact, Sacramento Rendering cited by inspectors five times in the past two years for product-labeling violations.

Grease and Grain

The most nutritious dry pet food is no better than the worst if an animals will not eat it. Pet food scientists have discovered that spraying the kibble or pellets with a combination of refined animal fat, lard, kitchen grease, and other oils too rancid or deemed inedible for humans makes an otherwise bland or distasteful product palatable. Animal fat is mainly packing house waste or supermarket trimmings from the packaging of meats. Animals love the taste of this sprayed fat, which also acts as a binding agent to which manufacturers may add other flavor enhancers. The pungent odor wafting from an open bag of pet food is created by this concoction.

Restaurant grease has become a major component of feed-grade animal fat over the last 15 years. Often held in 50-gallon drums for weeks or months in extreme temperatures, this grease is usually kelp outside with no regard for its safety or further use. The rancid grease is then picked up by fat blenders who mix the animal and vegetable fats together, stabilize them with powerful antioxidants to prevent further spoilage, and then sell the blended products to pet food companies. Rancid, heavily preserved fats are extremely difficult to digest and can lead to a host of animal health problems, including digestive upsets, diarrhea, gas, and bad breath.

Once considered a filler by the pet food industry, the amount of grain products included in pet food has risen over the last decade as the American population has focused its attention away from consuming beef and toward a healthier diet of grains and vegetables. Commonly two of the the top three pet food ingredients are some form of grain products. For instance, Alpo's Beef Flavored Dinner lists ground yellow corn, soybean meal, and poultry byproduct meal as its top three ingredients. 9 Lives Crunchy Meals lists ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, and poultry byproduct meal as its top three ingredients.

Of the top four ingredients of Purina's O.N.E. Dog Formula -- chicken, ground yellow corn, ground wheat, and corn gluten meal -- two are corn-based products from the same source. This is an industry practice known as splitting. When components of the same whole ingredient are listed separately (ground yellow corn and corn gluten meal) it appears that there is less corn than chicken, even when the whole ingredient may weigh more than the chicken.

Soy is another common ingredient in many pet foods. It is used by the manufacturers to boost the claimed protein content and add bulk so that when animals eat a product containing soy they will fell more sated. Tofu is suitable for humans, but most forms of soybean do not agree with a dog or cat's digestive system. Like many other pet food ingredients, soy is virtually unusable by an animal's body. Being obligate carnivores, cats have little ability to digest any nutrients from soy. The problem is worse for dogs because they lack the essential amino acid to digest soy products. Soy has also been linked to bloat and gas in many dogs.

Additives and Processing

Pet food industry critics note that many of the ingredients (such as corn syrup and corn gluten meal) used as humectants to prevent oxidation also bind water molecules in such a way that the food actually sticks to the animal's colon and may cause blockage. Blockage of the colon may cause an increased risk of cancer of the colon or rectum.

Two-thirds of the pet food manufactured in the United States contains synthetic preservatives added by the manufacturer. Of the remaining third, 90 percent includes ingredients already stabilized by synthetic preservatives. Because most pet food contains large percentages of added fat, a stabilizer is needed to maintain the quality of the food. Sodium nitrite, often used as a coloring agent, fixative, and preservative, has the ability to combine with natural stomach and food chemicals (secondary amends) to create nitrosamines, powerful cancer-causing agents, according to A Consumer's Dictionary of Food Additives.

Many pet foods advertised as preservative-free do not contain preservatives. Almost all rendered meats have synthetic preservatives added as stabilizer, but manufacturers aren't required to list preservatives they themselves haven't added.
Premixed vitamin additives can also contain preservatives. In the 1003 Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, veterinarian Philip Roudebush reported finding low concentrations of synthetic antioxidant preservatives in all analyzed samples of products labeled as chemical free or all-natural.

Other types of additives depend on whether the pet food is semi-moist, dry or canned. Because semi-moist food contains 25-50 percent water, antimicrobial preservatives must be used. Propylene glycol was frequently used in cat food until it was pulled in 1992 for causing a variety of health problems.

Processing greatly alters the nutritional value of the food ingredients. Veterinarian R. L. Wysong states in Rationale for Animal Nutrition: Processing is the wild card in nutritional value that is, by and large, simply ignored. Heating, freezing, dehydrating, canning, extruding, pelleting, baking and so forth, are so commonplace that they are simply thought of as synonymous with food itself.

Because the ingredients that pet food companies use are not wholesome, and harsh manufacturing practices destroy what little nutritional value the food may have had in the first place, the final product must be fortified with vitamins and minerals.

Questionable Nutrition

How, then, can any pet food be guaranteed to be 100 percent complete or nutritionally adequate? As long as it meets the AFFCO minimum standards, such a guarantee can be on the label. Yet in 1994, feed tests conducted by the New York State Agriculture Department showed 7 percent of all pet foods analyzed failed chemical analyses for guaranteed nutrients. Other states report similar findings, with failure of analyzed feed ranging from to 12 percent.

Even if a pet food meets AAFCO standards, certain nutritional requirements (for example, lysine) can vary between species by as much as sevenfold. Although manufacturers clam that millions of companion animals can thrive on a diet consisting of nothing by commercial pet food, research and an increasing number of veterinarians implicate processed pet food as a source of disease or as an exacerbating agent for a number of degenerative diseases. For example, kidney disease is on of the top three killers of companion animals. According to Plechner, the extra protein and harsh ingredients of many pet foods place an overload on the kidneys. Left untreated, the toxic buildup leads to vomiting, loss of appetite, uremic poisoning, and death. Wysong adds, In the last few years, large statistical studies have shown the link between the diet (of processed foods) and a variety of degenerative diseases, including cancer, heart disease, allergies, arthritis, obesity, dental disease, etc.

After extensive research, the Animal Protection Institute (API) published a Pet Food Investigative Report to educate companion animal care givers about pet food ingredients, ingredient definitions, labeling, and dietary ailments resulting from processed commercial pet food, including the most commonly know brands. Yet, whether such food is purchased at the supermarket, pet store, or from a veterinarian, it makes little difference in terms of the quality -- only in the cost.

Since the report was published earlier this year, API has conducted more research on holistic pet care and pet food alternatives, but still claims that the vast majority of pet foods available on the market today provide less that optimum nutrition for companion animals.

It is sad to think that the food provided by animal care givers to their four-legged friends could be hazardous to the animals'; health and longevity. Care givers should assume responsibility for providing as healthful a diet as possible for the animals in the care. Consumers should be informed: speak with a holistic practitioner or herbalist, or consult your veterinarian (but be aware that a veterinarian's knowledge of nutrition may be limited to the two weeks of nutrition he or she had veterinary school 20 years ago).

Although the ideal solution would be for companion animals to be fed only wholesome homemade and/or vegetarian diets, this is not an optician for everyone -- the cost and time commitment is sometimes prohibitive. By taking more moderate steps, however, care givers can still greatly improve a companion animals' diet and quality of life.

Tina Perry is an animal advocate with the Animal Protection Institute.

Reprinted from The Animals' Agenda, Nov/Dec 1996

sojos - real food for dogs

Great Gifts For Pets & People During The Holiday Season!

405355_lg Just in time for the holidays, Life's Abundance is now offering quality gifts at exceptional values. With toys, treats and more, our festive Holiday Gift Baskets make the perfect gifts for the furry pet kids on your list. Pet parents will be thrilled to receive your joyous gift, introducing the possibility of a healthier life for their dogs or for their cats. Be sure to review the detailed descriptions of these baskets for complete lists of their contents. And with our Gift Certificates, you can give personalized gifts redeemable for any of our superior products. No matter which gift you choose to share with your loved ones, there are no better tidings of joy than messages – or baskets – of better health.

Purchase a Life's Abundance Dog or Cat Gift Basket or Gift Certificate Today!

Is Your Canned Dog Or Cat Food In A Non Badge Can and BPA Free?

A lot of pet food cans are lined with material that includes BPA, bisphenol A. This substance is linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Dr Jane Bicks, product formulator for Life's Abundance says this about the cans they use - "Way ahead of you on the cans by about 20 years. I was one of the first investigators with hyperthyroidism in cats. I did a retrospective study to determine the possible causes of it. Canned cat food was one of the possible causes.Thus when I made canned food I selected the company that does not have BADGE lining. Most canned companies have that horrible lining."BADGE, by the way, is another name for BPA.

Here is a direct statement from Life's Abundance:

“We do not use BADGE coatings in any of our canned foods.”  In addition, Life's abundance stated the following in their response…”BADGE (BPA) COATINGS ARE USED IN 90% OF ALL CANS.   This type of lining is considered an epoxy resin which have achieved wide acceptance in protective coatings, including coatings for food and beverage cans, because of their exceptional combination of properties such as toughness, adhesion, and chemical resistance. The most widely used epoxy resins are based on bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (BADGE). BADGE is a major component in all bisphenol A / epichlorohydrin based liquid epoxy resins. It’s entire
chemical nomenclature is Bisphenol-A Diglycidyl ether or 2,2-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl) propane bis(2,3-epoxy-propyl) ether.
OUR CAN LINING CONTAINS BFDGE. This is used in the aluminum 3oz and 5.5 oz cans. Even though some of the letters seem the same, the compound we use, is an entirely different compound from BADGE. BFDGE stands for Bisphenol-FDiGlycidyl ether or bis(hydroxyphenyl)methane bis(2,3-epoxypropyl)ethers. 

The purpose of lining is exactly the same as why you might coat a surface with lacquer-protection.  The purpose with food contact surfaces is to protect the can from the food (to prevent rust, etc) and the food from the can.  There are many properties such as adhesion to the metal and ability to withstand processing and migration of food chemicals (especially acid) which need to be considered in selection of compounds.  Additionally, properties to prevent sticking of the food to the lacquer on the lid need to be considered. Cans are coated on both sides but the needs are obviously different.”

My note:**Be a safe consumer,if you are feeding a canned food other than Life's Abundance call the company and ask about the can lining. 90% of the canned foods contain badge (BPA) lining.As of right now I don't know any "large" cans that are non-badge...only the small cans.

Learn more about Life's Abundance Canned Dog Food and Life's Abundance Instinctive Choice Canned Cat Food

Scientists Learn How Food Affects The Brain: Omega 3 Especially Important

Article From ScienceDaily (July 11, 2008) — In addition to helping protect us from heart disease and cancer, a balanced diet and regular exercise can also protect the brain and ward off mental disorders.

"Food is like a pharmaceutical compound that affects the brain," said Fernando Gómez-Pinilla, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery and physiological science who has spent years studying the effects of food, exercise and sleep on the brain. "Diet, exercise and sleep have the potential to alter our brain health and mental function. This raises the exciting possibility that changes in diet are a viable strategy for enhancing cognitive abilities, protecting the brain from damage and counteracting the effects of aging."

Gómez-Pinilla analyzed more than 160 studies about food's affect on the brain; the results of his analysis appear in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience.

Omega-3 fatty acids -- found in salmon, walnuts and kiwi fruit -- provide many benefits, including improving learning and memory and helping to fight against such mental disorders as depression and mood disorders, schizophrenia, and dementia, said Gómez-Pinilla, a member of UCLA's Brain Research Institute and Brain Injury Research Center.

Synapses in the brain connect neurons and provide critical functions; much learning and memory occurs at the synapses, Gómez-Pinilla said.

"Omega-3 fatty acids support synaptic plasticity and seem to positively affect the expression of several molecules related to learning and memory that are found on synapses," Gómez-Pinilla said. "Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for normal brain function.

"Dietary deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in humans has been associated with increased risk of several mental disorders, including attention-deficit disorder, dyslexia, dementia, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia," he said. "A deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in rodents results in impaired learning and memory."

Children who had increased amounts of omega-3 fatty acids performed better in school, in reading and in spelling and had fewer behavioral problems, he said.

Preliminary results from a study in England show that school performance improved among a group of students receiving omega-3 fatty acids. In an Australian study, 396 children between the ages 6 and 12 who were given a drink with omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients (iron, zinc, folic acid and vitamins A, B6, B12 and C) showed higher scores on tests measuring verbal intelligence and learning and memory after six months and one year than a control group of students who did not receive the nutritional drink. This study was also conducted with 394 children in Indonesia. The results showed higher test scores for boys and girls in Australia, but only for girls in Indonesia.

Getting omega-3 fatty acids from food rather than from capsule supplements can be more beneficial, providing additional nutrients, Gómez-Pinilla said.

Scientists are learning which omega-3 fatty acids seem to be especially important. One is docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, which is abundant in salmon. DHA, which reduces oxidative stress and enhances synaptic plasticity and learning and memory, is the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in cell membranes in the brain.

"The brain and the body are deficient in the machinery to make DHA; it has to come through our diet," said Gómez-Pinilla, who was born and raised in salmon-rich Chile and eats salmon three times a week, along with a balanced diet. "Omega-3 fatty acids are essential."

A healthy diet and exercise can also reduce the effect of brain injury and lead to a better recovery, he said.

Recent research also supports the hypothesis that health can be passed down through generations, and a number of innovative studies point to the possibility that the effects of diet on mental health can be transmitted across generations, Gómez-Pinilla said.

A long-term study that included more than 100 years of birth, death, health and genealogical records for 300 Swedish families in an isolated village showed that an individual's risk for diabetes and early death increased if his or her paternal grandparents grew up in times of food abundance rather than food shortage.

"Evidence indicates that what you eat can affect your grandchildren's brain molecules and synapses," Gómez-Pinilla said. "We are trying to find the molecular basis to explain this."

Controlled meal-skipping or intermittent caloric restriction might provide health benefits, he said.

Excess calories can reduce the flexibility of synapses and increase the vulnerability of cells to damage by causing the formation of free radicals. Moderate caloric restriction could protect the brain by reducing oxidative damage to cellular proteins, lipids and nucleic acids, Gómez-Pinilla said.

The brain is highly susceptible to oxidative damage. Blueberries have been shown to have a strong antioxidant capacity, he noted.

In contrast to the healthy effects of diets that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, diets high in trans fats and saturated fats adversely affect cognition, studies indicate.

Junk food and fast food negatively affect the brain's synapses, said Gómez-Pinilla, who eats fast food less often since conducting this research. Brain synapses and several molecules related to learning and memory are adversely affected by unhealthy diets, he said.

Emerging research indicates that the effects of diet on the brain, combined with the effects of exercise and a good night's sleep, can strengthen synapses and provide other cognitive benefits, he added.

In Okinawa, an island in Japan where people frequently eat fish and exercise, the lifespan is one of the world's longest, and the population has a very low rate of mental disorders, Gómez-Pinilla noted.

Folic acid is found in various foods, including spinach, orange juice and yeast. Adequate levels of folic acid are essential for brain function, and folate deficiency can lead to neurological disorders such as depression and cognitive impairment. Folate supplementation, either by itself or in conjunction with other B vitamins, has been shown to be effective in preventing cognitive decline and dementia during aging and enhancing the effects of antidepressants. The results of a recent randomized clinical trial indicate that a three-year folic acid supplementation can help reduce the age-related decline in cognitive function.

In patients with major depression and schizophrenia, levels of a signaling molecule known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, are reduced. Antidepressants elevate BDNF levels, and most treatments for depression and schizophrenia stimulate BDNF. Here, too, omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial, as is the curry spice curcumin, which has been shown to reduce memory deficits in animal models of Alzheimer's disease and brain trauma. BDNF is most abundant in the hippocampus and the hypothalamus -- brain areas associated with cognitive and metabolic regulation.

The high consumption of curcumin in India may contribute to the low prevalence of Alzheimer's disease on the subcontinent.

In humans, a mutation in a BDNF receptor has been linked to obesity and impairments in learning and memory.

"BDNF is reduced in the hippocampus, in various cortical areas and in the serum of patients with schizophrenia," Gómez-Pinilla said. "BDNF levels are reduced in the plasma of patients with major depression."

Smaller food portions with the appropriate nutrients seem to be beneficial for the brain's molecules, such as BDNF, he said.

Gómez-Pinilla showed in 1995 that exercise can have an effect on the brain by elevating levels of BDNF.

He noted that while some people have extremely good genes, most of us are not so lucky and need a balanced diet, regular exercise and a good night's sleep.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Journal Reference: Gómez-Pinilla et al. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 2008; 9 (7): 568 DOI: 10.1038/nrn2421

Editor's Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

When choosing an Omega 3 supplement make sure it is exceptionally pure and fresh and has a high concentration of nutrients. Learn more about Omega 3 supplements


Natural Treatment For Demodectic Mange In Dogs

Demodectic mange also known as demodex, demodicosis, or red mange is caused by an over population of demodectic mites. There are a number of different species of this type of parasitic mite, and they usually live in the hair follicles of our pets.

These mites are almost always transmitted from mother to young in the first few weeks of life, and generally live in harmony on your pet without causing any problems. However, when something such as malnutrition, a weakened immune system, or intense stress disrupts this natural balance, these mites can reproduce rapidly and become out of control.

Because the mites that cause demodectic mange live in the hair follicles of dogs, hair loss is usually the first noticed symptom. Hair loss typically begins on the head area, often starting around the eyes and muzzle. Other symptoms include crusty, red skin that may look moist in appearance, and in some cases, the affected areas can become sensitive and itchy and may even crack and ooze.

Demodectic mange ranges from mild, to very serious and if left untreated, it can actually be fatal. In serious cases hair loss can spread over vast areas of the body, lymph nodes can become swollen, the skin can become inflamed and painful and secondary infections can quickly develop. Some dogs become very ill and may develop symptoms such as a fever, lethargy and lose of appetite.

What Causes Demodectic Mange?

One of the things that need to be stressed is that demodectic mange is not caused by unhygienic living conditions or environmental contamination. It is also not contagious as most pets already have demodectic mites.

Demodectic mange is caused by poor immune system functioning and is most common in canine puppies with under-developed immune systems or older pets with suppressed immune systems. Corticosteroids or other immune-suppressing drugs have also been implicated as a possible cause for demodectic mange as well as other types of mange caused by demodex mites.

Diagnosing Demodectic Mange

If you suspect that your pet may have demodectic mange then a veterinary examination is necessary. As the mites are too small to be seen with the naked eye, a skin scraping or biopsy is often done before an accurate diagnosis can be made.

The cause for the weakened immune system may also be explored, especially in older pets where mange is often a sign that an immune-compromising condition is at hand. Your vet may test for illnesses such as Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, cancer, and heartworm disease in dogs, or Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) in cats.

Help for Demodectic Mange

In many cases, the underlying cause of the immune suppression or deficiency must be treated in conjunction with the treatment for mange. Conventional treatments of mange usually take the form of chemical based lotions, dips and shampoos.

Many of these treatments contain chemicals such as benzoyl peroxide, amitraz and ivermectin, however, it must be noted that these chemicals can be very harsh and cause a number of unwanted side-effects. In cases where demodectic mange is severe or generalized over large areas of the body, antibiotics are often prescribed to guard against serious infection. Antibiotics should not be used unless necessary as they tend to weaken the immune system.

Natural Remedies

Many pet owners are turning to natural and safer products to treat their pets, and it is good to know that there are natural alternatives available. There are a number of natural herbal and homeopathic ingredients which can help to treat demodectic mange without the risk of side-effects.

One popular herbal ingredient used with great success is Garlic which acts as a natural deterrent for fleas, mites and other parasites. It also contains natural antibiotic properties which can help guard against infections after a mite infestation. Wormwood is also very beneficial when treating pets for mites and has been used for centuries as a natural pesticide and insect repellant.

Herbs such as Neem and Lemongrass have also shown excellent natural repellant properties, and both have the ability to treat skin irritations and support healthy skin. Lastly, Niaoli has become a sought after herb for its antiseptic, clearing and cleansing properties. This powerful herb also acts as a tissue stimulant and is often used to clean wounds, skin irritations and promote healing.

There are also a number of herbal ingredients to boost the immune system and encourage healthy immune functioning. One such example is Echinacea purpurea which is well known for its excellent immune functioning properties and for its antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Milk Thistle is also beneficial for boosting the immune system as well as helping to restore optimal liver functioning.

Tips for demodectic mange
  • Demodectic mange cannot survive without a host and therefore can only survive on your pet. It is therefore not necessary to treat bedding or kennel area of infected dogs.
  • Keep your dog in good health. A balanced diet, adequate exercise, vaccinations and regular visits to the vet will help keep your pet in good health and may go a long way in preventing immune-related conditions.
  • Feed your pet a high quality balanced diet that contains all the necessary nutrients for a strong, healthy immune system.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids can be given as a supplement to help boost the immune system as and encourage skin health.
  • Do not let any skin conditions get out of control. Conditions such as mange can spread quickly and can become serious if not treated swiftly.
  • Avoid giving your dog harsh pharmaceutical drugs whenever you can. Drugs such as Cortisone and frequent use of antibiotics suppress the immune system and can contribute to conditions such as demodectic mange.


Get more info on PetAlive Manage Mites Shampoo - Cleansing herbal shampoo promotes healthy skin in dogs

Get more info on PetAlive Manage Mites Spray - Cleansing skin spray promotes healthy skin in dogs