When it comes to dog supplements, ingredients matter. But something else matters just as much, if not more. That something else is your dog’s ability to access the nutrients from those ingredients.
Nutrients in dog supplements are less absorbable than nutrients found in food, which is why you often see supplements containing astronomical amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Manufacturers know the dog’s system will only absorb a small fraction of those nutrients when they’re delivered on their own.
Rather than looking for an overload of nutrients, you should focus on specific ingredients that help your dog’s digestive system tap into the essential nutrients the body needs. Those ingredients are called absorption enhancers and spoiler alert, three of the most powerful absorption enhancers are found in GlycanAid HA and GlycanAid Maintenance.
Dog Digestive System
Before we get into absorption enhancers, it’s helpful to understand how the dog’s digestive system works. The system is made up of all organs involved in eating and processing food, starting with the mouth.
Mouth: The first stage of digestion begins, with food broken down physically by the teeth and chemically by enzymes in the saliva.
Stomach: Food travels through the esophagus to the stomach, where stomach acid further breaks down the food.
Small intestine: Food leaves the stomach and enters the small intestine, where the majority of the nutrients are absorbed – or not. Nutrients are absorbed through the small intestine walls and enter the bloodstream, where they’re carried throughout the body.
- Microbiome: This refers to the collection of microbes in your dog’s digestive tract. Microbiome bacteria are vital for obtaining nutrients. The gut flora within the microbiome have the final say on what nutrients gets absorbed into the bloodstream and which do not.
- Gallbladder: Gallbladder bile neutralizes remaining stomach acid and binds food while it’s in the small intestine.
- Pancreas: Enzymes from the pancreas further break down food while it’s in the small intestine.
- Liver: Nutrients are metabolized by the liver after they are absorbed into the bloodstream.
Large intestine: Any substance that has no nutritional value, or that was unable to be broken down and digested, ends up in the large intestine. This is where any remaining water is absorbed into the system, and the waste formed into a stool and stored in the rectum until it’s released.
The more nutrients your dog can extract from the food, the more digestible the food is. Dog food is considered highly digestible when at least 82% of the food’s volume is absorbed into the system, producing a maximum of 18% waste.
That means if your dog ate 100g of food, a high-quality, highly digestible food would result in 18g or less of stool.
Dog Nutrition: Food vs. Supplements
Foods typically contain a complex collection of nutrients and micronutrients. Those nutrients and micronutrients work together to aid in the digestion and absorption of essential elements.
Many supplements lack that complexity, instead containing very specific ingredients that are not as readily absorbed without the extra help of an absorption enhancer.
The difference this makes can be seen when comparing an orange to a vitamin C supplement.
Orange vs. Vitamin C Supplement
An orange contains about 51mg of vitamin C. But that 51mg of vitamin C will be more readily absorbed by the body than a supplement containing, say, 1000mg of vitamin C. That’s because the orange has extra help, with more than 170 phytochemicals and 60 flavonoids that assist with the absorption of nutrients.
The vitamin C supplement may not have any helpers, resulting in a large amount of nutrients going to waste.
Effective Dog Supplements and Absorption Powers
To avoid a waste of nutrients (and money), you want to find dog supplements that contain components that help with the absorption of nutrients. As mentioned earlier, these components are called absorption enhancers.
Absorption enhancers: Absorption enhancers finish off the job, transporting the nutrients from the cells of the intestinal lining into the bloodstream. In addition to increasing the absorption rates of nutrients, they can also boost the effects of a nutrient and cancel out the effects of inhibitors.
Examples of powerful absorption enhancers include:
- Great Salt Lake Salts: This sea-mineral concentrate from Utah’s Great Salt Lake is a key ingredient for the effective absorption of vitamins and nutrients.
- MSM: Officially known as methylsulfonylmethane, MSM is sulfur that’s easily absorbed and serves as an essential building block for all cell membranes. In addition to rejuvenating cells and assisting with nutrient absorption, it’s also effective for relieving inflammation and pain.
- Vitamin C: This antioxidant protects against free radicals while assisting with the absorption of other supplement ingredients.
Other ways to enhance nutrient absorption:
Nutrient pairs: Nutrient pairs consist of two components that work together to unlock each other’s strengths. Examples include:
- Vitamin D and calcium
- Vitamin B-12 and folate
- Potassium and sodium
- Copper and zinc
Diverse ingredients: Supplements that contain different ingredients that work together can be more effective than those that contain stand-alone ingredients.
The Bottom Line
While quality dog food can supply a good amount of nutrients that may be readily absorbed, it may not contain all the nutrients your dog needs to live his healthiest life. That’s where supplements can help with dog nutrition, but only if you opt for supplements that actually work.
The most effective dog supplements will contain the nutrients your dog needs, along with components that help your dog’s system access those nutrients. Now that you know what to look for, you can narrow down your selection to supplements that have the right ingredients and proper absorption of nutrients for the most powerful results.
If you’ve found that other joint supplements have not helped your dog, give TopDog’s products a try, not only are they formulated by a veterinarian who understands the complexities of the canine digestive system but all our products are backed with a Money-Back 100% Satisfaction Guarantee meaning you can always shop worry-free.
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