Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, June 2018

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NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK ■ 55 JUNE 2018 needs of their animal friends in the best way possible." Top Challenges As in the human supplement market, clean-label trends are putting pressure on pet health supplement brands to reformu- late. According to Majeed, consumers want to know exactly what goes into the supple- ments they feed their pets, and are looking for brands that can put that information right on the label. Specif cally, Majeed sees demand to eliminate artif cial colors and f a- vors, grains, gluten, and corn from pet prod- ucts. "Suppliers need to ensure that their in- gredients are free from all of these," he says. Jon Getzinger, chief marketing of cer at Puris (Minneapolis, MN), is also seeing trends from the human supplement market bleed into the pet sector, especially trends towards using less corn and soy, and beef- ing up formulations with more protein. He has noticed that ingredients like Puris's pea starches, which would not have been top of mind for pet formulators in years past, are in- creasingly in demand as alternatives to corn starches. But, with better ingredients comes a bigger price tag, and that's one of the biggest chal- lenges that Getzinger sees in the pet market today. T e solution? "Talented marketers are f nding ways to pass along these additional costs to purchasers by properly position- ing the end products as premium," he says, which also increases margins. Another possi- ble solution to of set rising costs is bundling ingredients from the same process—for in- stance, pea proteins, starches, and f bers. T is helps suppliers "spread overhead across all the products, and not just the protein," says Getzinger, which results in "not only lower overall costs, but provides a great story for consumers tracing our ingredients from the U.S. farmer to their pets' dinner bowl, while sustainably using all parts of the pea and not just the protein." T e key for this, explains Bill Bookout, president of the association the National Animal Supplement Council, is for brands to reach out to consumers directly to tell their stories and, therefore, justify pricing. Selling products through a veterinarian's of ce can build advocacy, but it adds a layer between the company and its consumer. "I've always been of the opinion that the company that reaches out and educates the end user will be successful at the end of the day," he says. Another challenge still facing this sector is determining the correct dosage for animal products, says Dockery, as even within the same species of animal there can be dras- tic dif erences in size. "T is is particularly true for dogs," she says, "where the weight can vary by more than 100 pounds between breeds." T e only way to combat this chal- lenge, she adds, is to be knowledgeable in the physiology of the animal and also know "how to adjust dosing to be the safest and most ef ective, particularly when formulating for animal species in which there is a large vari- ation in size." T e way forward is through animal re- search that not only tests for safety in lab animals, but also tests for ef cacy in the com- panion animals that will ultimately use the product. And many brands and suppliers are beginning to do so. Recent Research AstaReal Inc. (Burlington, NJ) recently pub- lished a study examining whether a nutri- tional antioxidant supplement could improve visual function in healthy dogs 1 . A total of 12 Beagles, ages six through eight with normal eyes, were randomly assigned to receive a feeding regimen for six months either with or without supplementation. What research- ers found was that, compared to the control group, dogs that took the antioxidant showed improvement in retinal function and signif - cantly less decline in refractive error. "Dogs, like humans, experience retinal and lens func- tional decline with age," says Karen A. Hecht, scientif c af airs manager at AstaReal. "Antiox- idant supplementation as demonstrated may be benef cial and ef ective in the long-term preservation and improvement of various functions of the canine eye." In 2017, new research from Lonza (Ba- sel, Switzerland) demonstrated the positive impact of L-carnitine in the performance and recovery of working dogs 2 . A total of 96 Labrador Retrievers were given 250 mg of Carniking L-carnitine once daily for up to 14 weeks. Along with exercise, supplemen- tation was shown to improve activity, body composition, and recovery markers. Specif - cally, the dogs gained lean muscle mass, were more active during test sprint and endurance runs, and had a lower creatinine kinase level (a marker for muscle damage). According to Aouatef Bellamine, senior scientif c manag- er at Lonza, this data is promising for senior pets, in particular, among whom muscle per- formance is an unmet need. Maintaining physical performance was also at the center of a canine study recently published in Veterinary Medicine: Research & Reports, which examined the ef cacy of Stra- tum Nutrition's NEM eggshell membrane 3 . Fifty-one privately owned dogs having mild to moderate persistent sub-optimal joint function ( for example, dif culty in getting up from a lying position, a noticeable limp, im- paired gait, dif culty in climbing stairs, etc.) received either oral NEM at a dose of 6 mg/lb or placebo once daily for six weeks. Researchers found that supplementation with NEM signif cantly reduced joint pain and improved joint function rapidly, and demonstrated a lasting improvement in joint pain, leading to an improved quality of life. Moreover, a profound chondroprotective ef- fect was demonstrated following six weeks of supplementation with NEM. T ere were also clinically meaningful results from a brief re- sponder analysis, demonstrating that a signif- icant proportion of treated dogs may benef t substantially from NEM supplementation. References 1. Wang W et al. "Antioxidant supplementa- tion increases retinal responses and de- creases refractive error changes in dogs." Journal of Nutritional Science. Published on- line May 10, 2016. 2. Varney JL et al. "Utilisation of supplemented L-carnitine for fuel ef ciency, as an antiox- idant, and for muscle recovery in Labrador retrievers." Journal of Nutritional Science. Published online April 3, 2017. 3. Ruf KJ et al. "Ef ectiveness of NEM brand eggshell membrane in the treatment of sub- optimal joint function in dogs: a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study," Veterinary Medicine: Research & Reports, vol. 7 (August 2016): 113–121 Melissa Kvidahl is a freelance journalist and copywriter specializing in the health and wellness industry.

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