Feeding a Dog for Healthy Muscles
Continuing our series on foods that support a healthy body, today we are focusing on the nutrients that are required to support healthy muscle function. As most of us know, protein and the building block amino acids that protein is made of, are the foundations for muscle growth. However, there are several vitamins and minerals that are needed to ensure proper muscle function, without which a dog’s nervous system would go awry as would the dog’s ability to contract their muscles appropriately.
Some of the key nutrients that are needed by dogs to support a healthy muscular system are listed below.
Vitamin E. The major fat soluble antioxidant, Vitamin E helps with energy metabolism, promotes tissue repair and increases cellular activity overall. As a result, Vitamin E is crucial for proper muscle function in a dog’s body.
Diet’s deficient in Vitamin E can lead to many muscle and connective tissue disorders including a degeneration of muscles and weakness in tendons and ligaments (which could lead to tearing). Vitamin E deficiency can also cause irritability and other neuromuscular disorders. Low levels of Vitamin E are also associated with cardiac disease in dogs.
Foods high in Vitamin E that are present in some dog food recipes include spinach, kale, broccoli, and nuts,
Thiamin (Vitamin B-1). Thiamin aids in energy and carbohydrate metabolism and supports nerve integrity and energy reactions at the cellular level. Thus, thiamin is crucial in order to support a healthy muscular and neurological system in a dog.
Dog’s eating a diet deficient in thiamin are often eating a high carbohydrate diet. Symptoms include slower growth and even weight loss, irritability, and noticeable muscular weakness.
Foods containing abundant thiamin that are included in some dog food recipes include organ meats (e.g. liver), fish and pork, and peas.
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B-6). Biologically, pyridoxine is necessary for a body to maintain the muscle tone of the involuntary muscles which are crucial for sustaining life. Pyridoxine also supports overall nervous system function, lipid (fat) metabolism, and other key cellular functions.
Diets deficient in pyridoxine can lead to anemia, muscle twitching, and a generally slower immune system.
Foods high in pyridoxine and that are included in some dog food formulas include fish, poultry and beef, sweet potato, and spinach.
Inositol (Vitamin B-8). Inositol acts as the main instigator of the energy generating ATP processes. It aids in the utilization of glycogen which allows the body to energize when the muscles need the energy.
Diets deficient in inositol can lead to muscular pains and even muscular dystrophies. Diabetes is also linked to insufficient inositol.
Foods high in inositol and that are included in some dog food formulas include beef, liver, leafy vegetables, and nuts.
Calcium. Besides supporting bone health, calcium is crucial for proper muscle contraction and nerve transmission.
Calcium deficient diets can lead to an improperly functioning muscular system, a degraded nervous system, increased secretions (e.g. saliva, tears), and of course, weak bones.
Foods high in calcium and that are included in some dog food formulas include sardines and salmon, green leafy vegetables including kale, dandelion greens, and broccoli, as well as nuts and seeds, including almonds and pumpkin seeds.
Choline. Choline is a vitamin like compound that is used by the body to produce acetylcholine, which enables the brain to communicate with the muscles and make them contract when needed. Without choline, acetylcholine cannot be produced and the body cannot function normally. Choline also helps in the process of breaking down fat for energy.
Without choline, the body would not be able to move. Besides proper muscle function, insufficient choline is linked to liver disease and mental degradation (memory loss, dementia).
Foods high in choline that are present in some dog food recipes include organ meats (e.g. liver), spinach, cauliflower, and nuts.
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