For eons, humans and animals have fared pretty well getting all their needed nutrients from food as Nature intended. These necessary nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. These, as well as thousands of other natural co-factors, have been identified as part of the composition of the natural foods we eat daily. Many health organizations, including the U.S. Cancer Institute and the United Kingdom Health Department, recommend that humans get their nutrients from a varied diet of good food and not from synthetic vitamins and minerals produced in chemical plants. We should offer the same for pets, too.
Early in the 20th century companies began manufacturing cheap synthetic forms of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. These synthetic chemical forms of nutrients began to be widely used in fortifying processed foods or natural by-products of foods that lacked the normal amount of these elements. With their use also came the necessary studies to determine their safety levels. Unfortunately, the man-made forms of these elements do not come without risk. Many have toxic levels and some even lethal dose levels. The National Research Council (NRC) has published two books on this subject; Vitamin Tolerance of Animals and Mineral Tolerance of Domestic Animals. There are some very interesting statements in these books. To paraphrase, these books say that studies of these elements are incomplete, but the NRC uses the insufficient data along with inference and extrapolation to come up with what they call “the presumed upper safe level” to recommend on each of the man-made synthetic forms of vitamins and minerals. They go on to admit that the “presumed upper safe level” determined from insufficient data using extrapolation and inference should be alright to use for a short period of time without showing signs of intoxication. Getting your nutrients from food is sounding better all the time as being the right way to do it, but it doesn’t stop there. Furthermore, they say that studies of one year or more to learn potential long term effects have generally not been conducted but should be. Also, generational studies on the potential negative effects of synthetic supplements have not been done but should be. Lastly, tests have admittedly been conducted on single elements only. Studies to learn the potential negative effect of two or more elements combined at elevated levels is admittedly an unknown which the NRC says should be studied. Today, every commercial dry and canned dog and cat food adds as many as 26 of these chemically synthesized vitamins and minerals which the scientific community states long term effects of two or more at elevated levels is virtually unknown.
A sad example of the dangers of these chemical supplement compounds was recently experienced by the Venezuelan polo team. Prior to a polo event in Florida the team of polo ponies was given a synthetic supplement concoction that included supplemental synthetic selenium. Within three hours 21 ponies had died. It was determined by the University of Florida that up to 20 times normal levels of selenium were found in the ponies tissues. David Barber, the University’s toxicologist, determined that there were abnormally high levels of selenium found in the blood and livers of the ponies.
Tragically, errors in compounding these chemical vitamins and minerals do happen. As recently as the spring of 2006 high levels of Vitamin D3 added to a pet food killed a number of dogs and cats due to a formulation error of this synthetic vitamin, causing a condition called hypercalcemia (elevated blood calcium) and causing those pets to go into renal failure. Most died within three to four days after eating the food.
Pet food that is marketed and sold as natural, if labeled correctly, is required to have a statement on the packaging similar to, “Natural with Added Vitamins and Minerals.” This statement is a disclaimer to let the consumer know that the added vitamins and minerals are not natural. Perhaps they are saying to “use at your own risk” which is the meaning of a disclaimer. Adding to the concern should be the fact that most synthetic vitamins and synthetic amino acids such as taurine now come from China; the country that caused the unprecedented 2007 pet food recalls due to an intentional melamine spiking of exported food ingredients with melamine.
In studies on animals, the negative effects of high levels of these man-made forms of vitamins and minerals are everything from renal failure and cancer to hypercalcemia and death. Health organizations and health professionals’ time and again have encouraged getting our nutrients from food. Numerous times wrong amounts of synthetic nutrients have been formulated into pet food or pet supplements with the end results being illness or death to pets and costly recalls. When the scientific community admits more studies need to be conducted on the use of these elements, the case appears very convincing that it is better and safer for both humans and pets to get their nutrients from food.
Nature’s Logic brand of pet foods is the ONLY full line of pet products IN THE WORLD that never uses synthetic vitamins, synthetic minerals, or synthetic amino-acids in anything. All nutrients come from the real whole foods from which each diet is made. This is the logical way pet food should be and is the logic behind Nature’s Logic. http://www.natureslogic.com/