When your pet gets sick or develops a health condition of some kind, naturally you want to do all you can to heal him. That might include a change to a higher-quality pet food, a visit to the vet, medications, or more often supplements intended to help. But well-intentioned pet owners can sometimes do more harm than good, particularly when giving too many synthetic nutrients like vitamins, minerals, or amino acids. These man-made supplements are already present in nearly all pet foods but they are not without risks. In excess, these artificial nutrients can actually harm your pet. This is a greater problem for pets than most of their loving care-takers even realize.
Example: L-Lysine and Feline Herpes
Recently we learned of a pet parent who has a cat with feline herpes virus, also known as “feline viral rhinotracheitis," the most common cause of upper respiratory disease in cats.¹ She was treating her cat with the amino acids L-lysine and Taurine, as well as a B6 vitamin complex. Sadly, her cat is now in renal failure, most likely due to the toxicity of too many synthetic supplements.
L-Lysine is an essential amino acid which has been shown to suppress viral replication and inhibit cytopathogenicity.² Supplementing with L-Lysine is a common treatment for feline herpes in the US. What most pet parents don’t know is that this amino acid, like nearly all vitamin, mineral, and amino acid supplements, is chemically-synthesized and carries potentially serious risks. A review of the Material Safety Data Sheet on chemically-synthesized L-lysine made by Science Labs shows the man-made supplement has an LD50 of 11400 mg/kg.³ This is the amount required to kill ½ of the test rats in a clinical trial. Before you dismiss this as unlikely to cause problems, remember that many of the recent pet food recalls have been due to potential adverse consequences of excess man-made nutrients that are routinely added to most pet foods.
More is NOT Better with Man-made Pet Nutrients
For most people, it is tempting to believe that if one is good, two is better. While this may be true for nutrients derived naturally from food, it is not the case with man-made vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other artificial nutrients for pets. More chemicals are not better for pets.
Most pet guardians don’t realize that added vitamins, whether given separately or put in pet foods, are very common sources of hidden ingredients and contaminants that are harmful to animals. Man-made Vitamin B (chemical name Pyridoxine HCl), like what the pet parent in the example above gave her cat, also has an LD50,4 meaning too much can kill. Nearly all man-made nutrients, even those routinely added to pet foods, are manufactured in and imported from China, a country not known for its safety record with respect to pet food ingredients.
Added Taurine to Cat Food or as Supplement
Another nutrient the pet-parent above gave her cat was taurine. Taurine is an amino acid, one of many that the body uses to build protein. Taurine contributes to a cat’s health in a number of ways, including supporting vision, digestion, and heart function. But cats’ bodies are unable to make taurine, so they must get this important nutrient from their diet.
Cats in the wild obtained plenty of natural taurine from the prey they hunted and consumed. However, man-made taurine added to most cat foods or given as a supplement, is a chemical. It takes only 5000 mg of chemically-synthesized taurine to kill a mouse,5 only 0.176 of an ounce. You can avoid this health risk for your pet by choosing a cat food with high levels of meat, poultry and organ tissue ingredients and no added taurine.
Real Food Best Source of Nutrients for Pets
Whether you are trying to improve a particular condition in your pet with a specific nutrient or simply want to ensure optimal health for your cat or dog, the best source for all nutrients is natural, whole food, not a chemistry lab. Whether you feed raw, canned or dry formulas, most commercial pet foods contain the necessary vitamins and minerals for the use indicated. However, nearly every one of them accomplishes this by adding dozens of synthetic vitamins and minerals. Not Nature’s Logic. The company makes the only full-line, commercial pet food with no chemically-synthesized vitamins, minerals or other nutrients. Our high-protein, low carbohydrate diets are made from whole food and 100% natural ingredients. For more information please visit www.natureslogic.com.