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The role of functional foods in pet diet with a perspective link with human nutrition is the object of our study. Veterinary pet trials clearly indicated that functional foods provide health benefits when administered on a regular basis with adequate active principles in the context of a well balanced diet. Our work hypothesis is that domestic animals might be a suitable model to validate, in some human diseases, a specific food mediated approach for disease prevention and treatment, engaging the whole gut reactivity (ie, enteric hormones, chalones, cytokines, immune gastrointestinal system, lymph flow, and neurotransmitters) to rebalance the health endogenous environment. Objective: We evaluated and analyzed the role of functional foods in pet diet in order to extend the link of food consumption in human nutrition. Methods: we analyzed some specific nutrients in pets on the basis of historical literature reports claiming some effectiveness in cancer prevention. Other ongoing focused areas are metabolic and immunological imbalance and chronic joints inflammatory conditions. Results: Humans and pets might have a very intriguing borderline mutual benefit in the functional food area. The activation of the digestive system involves so many changes and modifications in gastrointestinal physiology and in biochemical parameters, such as glucose and insulin, that some striking effects on health maintainance and diseases prevention are expected. Conclusion: Based on the achieved information, we are encourage the “humanization” of domestic animals as suitable models to study dietary interventions for disease prevention and treatment, keeping the concept that, being the human life span 7-8 times longer compared with the animals. Once, the efficacy of the functional foods can be in very short time transferred from the animals with undeniable advantage on the life quality and overall survival.
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Vol. 12, No.3, 2014 • Intern J Appl Res Vet Med.
192
KEY WORDS: functional foods, nutrition,
prevention, treatment
ABSTRACT
The role of functional foods in pet diet with
a perspective link with human nutrition is
the object of our study. Veterinary pet trials
clearly indicated that functional foods pro-
vide health benets when administered on a
regular basis with adequate active principles
in the context of a well balanced diet. Our
work hypothesis is that domestic animals
might be a suitable model to validate, in
some human diseases, a specic food medi-
ated approach for disease prevention and
treatment, engaging the whole gut reactivity
(ie, enteric hormones, chalones, cytokines,
immune gastrointestinal system, lymph
ow, and neurotransmitters) to rebalance the
health endogenous environment.
Objective: We evaluated and analyzed the
role of functional foods in pet diet in order
to extend the link of food consumption in
human nutrition.
Methods: We analyzed some specic
nutrients in pets on the basis of historical lit-
erature reports claiming some effectiveness
in cancer prevention. Other ongoing focused
areas are metabolic and immunological
imbalance and chronic joints inammatory
conditions.
Results: Humans and pets might have a
very intriguing borderline mutual benet
in the functional food area. The activation
of the digestive system involves so many
changes and modications in gastrointestinal
physiology and in biochemical parameters,
such as glucose and insulin, that some
striking effects on health maintainance and
diseases prevention are expected.
Conclusion: Based on the achieved infor-
mation, we encourage the “humanization” of
domestic animals as suitable models to study
dietary interventions for disease prevention
and treatment, keeping the concept that,
being the human life span 7-8 times longer
compared with the animals. Once, the ef-
cacy of the functional foods can be in very
short time transferred from the animals with
undeniable advantage on the life quality and
Functional Foods in Pets and Humans
Alessandro Di Cerbo1*
Beniamino Palmieri2
Francesca Chiavolelli3
Gianandrea Guidetti3
Sergio Canello3
1AIRMO Research and Development Center, via Elba 28, 20144 Milan, Italy;
Tel. +393923731318, mail. Alessandro811@hotmail.it;
2Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Policlinico di Modena,
Surgery and Surgical Specialties department, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia,
via del Pozzo 71,41124 Modena, Italy; Tel. +390594222483, mail. palmieri@unimo.it;
3Sanypet, Bagnoli di Sopra, Padova, Italy; Tel. +390429785401,
mail. Sergio.sanypet@forza10.com, gianandrea.sanypet@forza10.com, frachiavolelli@gmail.com;
(*) corresponding author
Intern J Appl Res Vet Med • Vol. 12, No. 3, 2014. 193
overall survival.
BACKGROUND
Some foods and some
food components have
been identied as “func-
tional” because they
provide health benets
beyond the provision
of essential nutrients
such as vitamins and
minerals, when they are
consumed on a regular
basis at effective levels
as part of a varied diet.1
The role of functional foods in
human nutrition started with
investigations in dogs and cats
regarding nutritional genomic
and proteomic studies in
order to better understand the
metabolism, thus optimizing
companion animal nutritional
and health status.2 A human-
pet comparison with regards
to nutrition begins with the
observation that pet owners
provide their pets with alterna-
tive foods (such as natural
diets, raw food diets or and
vegetarian diets) as if they
were family members.3 This
evidence supports the concept
that pathophysiological studies
on pet nutrition and lifestyle
might provide a valuable
insight in preventing risks and
illnesses regarding the family
to whom the pets belong to.
Based on this nutritional
philosophy, we describe here
three examples of functional
foods giving remarkable ben-
ets to specic very common
dogs diseases, affecting the
human beings as well.
From the following pet
animals studies we support the
concept that a similar nutra-
ceutical approach might be
Figure 1. Food related atopic dermatitis in a dog. (A) Before
treatment with the nutraceutical product; (B) after 20 days treat-
ment.
Figure 2. Schematic representation of mean intensity symp-
tom trends at 0, 10 and 20 days of intervention; **p < 0.01;
***p < 0.001
Vol. 12, No.3, 2014 • Intern J Appl Res Vet Med.
194
advantageously extended in
the people market, being the
food itself a medicine accord-
ingly with Hippocrates ancient
greek doctor.
CASE 1 PRESENTATION
Atopic dermatitis (AD), a
chronic and relapsing com-
mon eczematous skin disease,
affects both humans and dogs
and requires a combination of
treatments. However, current
therapeutic options are unsatisfactory in
both species.
Seventy-one dogs of different breeds
(mean age ± SEM; 6.01 ± 0.11 yr and mean
weight ± SEM; 35.04 ± 1.04 Kg; 54%
males, 46% females) with clinical AD symp-
toms (ush, itch, dandruff, skin malodour,
dry fur, and skin lesions) were supplied with
a regular amount of nutraceutical product
over a 20 days period (Fig 1).
The food was a standardized mixture
of sh,4 potato,5 and natural compounds
(Aloe Vera,6,7 Arctium lappa,8,9 ,Malva
sylvestris,10-13 and Ribes nigrum14,15 named
FORZA10 Dermo ActiveTM. Dogs received
four veterinary inspections, before interven-
tion (time 0); after 10 days (time 10) and
at the end of intervention (time 20). Forty-
ve dogs (63.4%) were previously fed an
industrial diet: 22 (31%) a mixed one (both
industrial and home-made) and 4 (5.6%) a
home-made one.
Results clearly demonstrate that our
nutraceutical approach halved the intensity
of all investigated symptoms, related to AD,
within 10 days since the beginning of the
trial (Figure 2). After 20 days, the overall
intensity of each symptom wad dramatically
reduced.
CASE 2 PRESENTATION
The gures of human otitis externa are
supposed to be 4/1,000 persons annually in
USA.16 In the chronic expression, it affects
3-5% of the same population, 17-20 whereas
in the acute, which is unilateral in 90 % of
cases, it affects people ranging from 7 to 12
years and declines after 50 years.
The acute expression of otitis associ-
ated with local trauma, warmer tempera-
tures, high humidity, hearing aids, hearing
protector use, and swimming.21 The most
common cause of otitis externa is infection
(mainly bacterial and occasionally fungal)22
due both to increased ceruminal pH level,23
helping the microbial growth,18,21,22,24 and/or
an insufcient amount the same.21,22 Clini-
cal symptoms start with pruritus, pain, and
erythema. As the disease progresses to a
moderate stage, the erythema increases and
is followed by edema and otorrhea. The un-
treated disease progresses to a more severe
stage, the pain becomes intense, the lumen
of the canal obstructed, ending into auricular
cellulitis, parotitis or adenopathy with nally
conductive hearing loss.3,6.7 However otitis
externa is also one of the more frustrat-
ing pathology affecting also pets.25 Current
antimicrobial therapy rely on polymyxin
B and miconazole, which resulted to be
effective against the main bacterial patho-
gens (Staphylococcus spp, Pseudomonas
aeruginosa, Escherichia coli and Proteus
mirabilis).26-29
One hundred seven dogs of different
breeds (mean age ± SEM; 6.03 ± 0.15 yr
and mean weight ± SEM; 32.01 ± 1.17 Kg;
54.2% males, 45.8% females) with evident
clinical chronic otitis externa symptoms
received a regular amount of nutraceutical
food over a 30 days period (Figure 3).
The nutraceutical product consisted in
a standardized mixture of sh and natu-
ral compounds (Melaleuca alternifolia,
Figure 3. Food related otitis media in a dog. (A) Before
treatment with the nutraceutical product; (B) after 30 days
treatment.
Intern J Appl Res Vet Med • Vol. 12, No. 3, 2014. 195
Echinacea purpurea, Tilia platyphyllos
scapoli et cordata, Allium sativum L.,
Rosa canina L. and chelated Zinc) named
FORZA10 Oto ActiveTM. Dogs received four
veterinary inspections, before intervention
(time 0); after 10 days (time 10); after 20
days (time 20); and at the end of interven-
tion (time 30). Sixty four dogs (60%) were
previously fed an industrial diet:; 35 (32%) a
mixed one (both industrial and home-made);
and 9 (8%) a home-made one.
Our study clearly demonstrated that
clinical benets were achieved for each
symptom, except for auricular function,
within 10 days of dietary intervention.
Diet is a signicant therapeutic option
for dogs with otitis who become generally
quite aggressive and denitely refuse topical
treatments. The product that we used can
be considered a useful tool to manage such
inammatory condition (Figure 4).
CASE 3 PRESENTATION
Food allergic reactions, which may include
signs of cutaneous and gastrointestinal
disease, usually occur following ingestion
of the food allergen to which the individual
is sensitive, causing immediate and late-
phase reactions. Adverse reactions to food
(ARF) are known to manifest primarily with
gastrointestinal symptoms,30,31 and are also
associated with irritable bowel syndrome,
or might be a mechanism for symptoms in
a subgroup of aficted patients.32-34 Typical
signs of food-related gastrointestinal distur-
bances in humans, for instance, are emesis,
diarrhoea, abdominal pain, urticaria angio-
edema, asthma, rhinitis and, in severe cases,
anaphylaxis,35,36 and are usually treated
avoiding food allergens, although support-
ive medical treatment can be benecial for
severe reactions.37
Food allergies are known to cause both
Figure 4. Schematic representations of the trend of the symptoms intensity index at 0, 10, 20
and 30 days of intervention; *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001.
Vol. 12, No.3, 2014 • Intern J Appl Res Vet Med.
196
dermatologic and gastrointes-
tinal disturbances in dogs.33,37-
39 Most common food aller-
gens in dogs are lamb, poultry,
dairy products, egg, barley,
wheat, beef, and sh.40-43 The
gold-standard method to diag-
nose an adverse food reaction
consists in limiting the antigen
exposure for a 8-10-week
period, and then reintroduc-
ing the diet previously fed
to demonstrate a relapse of
symptoms.44
Both home-cooked and
commercial diets contain a
single source of protein and a
single source of carbohydrate,
which are usually not used in
maintenance diets thus reduc-
ing the probability that animal
had ever come into contact
with them before.45 A valid
alternative to novel protein
diets are the hydrolysed pro-
tein based ones, because they
are made of protein fragments
with molecular weights of
< 10 kDa that confer higher
digestibility and lower al-
lergenicity.46
Sixty dogs of different breeds (mean
age ± SEM; 6.08 ± 0.14 yr and mean weight
± SEM; 32.05 ± 1.12 Kg; 55% males,
45% females) with clinical gastrointestinal
disturbs (dehydration, appetite loss, regur-
gitation, emesis, abdominal pain, atulence,
borborygma, diarrhea, weight loss, stool
consistency, blood, and mucus presence
in the stool) were supplied with a regular
amount of nutraceutical product over a 30-
day period.
Results clearly demonstrated that the
nutraceutical product halved the intensity of
each gastrointestinal disturbances within 10
days since the beginning of the trial (Figure
5a-5b). Moreover, after 20 days, the overall
intensity of each symptom was dramatically
reduced.
CONCLUSIONS
The lesson of functional foods administra-
tion to the dogs might prospectively be
addressed to human beings in a very short
time. Chronic food ingestion might in fact
modify the genetic background and pre-
vent or treat many diseases, rather than
acute drugs administration attempting at
modifying the body imbalance due to the
illness process, without interfering with the
organism which is supposed to be simply an
innocent bystander.
Functional foods, on the contrary,
involve an active interaction between the
digestive apparatus and the defense against
pathogen agents or morbility causes on a
very much integrated basis. In fact, the gut
absorption is a complex effector pathway
with intrinsic healing properties related to
gut hormones liver and biliopancreatite
Figure 5a. Schematic representations of the trend of the
symptoms intensity index at 0, 10, 20 and 30 days of inter-
vention; *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001.
Intern J Appl Res Vet Med • Vol. 12, No. 3, 2014. 197
enzymes secretion haemodynamics, and
lymphodynamics modication namely to
microcirculation activity, gut cellular, and
soluble immune systems, cytokines, micro-
biota neural network and neutrotransmitters.
Such a complex involvement is quite
appealing for health restoration process and
our scientic strategy will go deep into this
fascinating potential based on the natural re-
sources of herbs plants, fruits and microbes.
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
AD = atopic dermatitis
ARF = Adverse reactions to
food
COMPETING INTEREST
We achieved from the Sany-
pet company the food for our
studies free of charge, but the
whole investigation has been
run without nancial support
exclusively as animal model for
future development of similar
nutrients in the humans.
AUTHORS’ CONTRIBUTIONS
ADC, FC, GG and BP con-
ceived of the study, and partici-
pated in its design and coordi-
nation and helped to draft the
manuscript; SC carried out the
animal food administration and
veterinary visits. All authors
read and approved the nal
manuscript.
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... Some scientific evidence has pointed out the efficacy of selected ingredients, as part of a commercially available diet, in relieving inflammatory conditions in pets by means of an immune modulatory and antioxidant activity [49][50][51][52][53][54][55][56][57]. ...
... An inflammatory condition can also occur during food allergy reactions, which usually takes place after the intake of a harmless dietary component [59]. Generally, food-allergic reactions in pets include cutaneous (flush, itching, dandruff, skin malodor, dry fur, and skin lesions) and gastrointestinal manifestations (dehydration, appetite loss, regurgitation, emesis, abdominal pain, flatulence, borborygma, diarrhea, weight loss, stool consistency, blood, and mucus presence in the stool) [56]. ...
... Based on these observations, we conducted two different clinical evaluations aimed to validate two different commercially available formulas for aforementioned dermatological and gastrointestinal issues. For instance, a mixture of fish, potato, A. vera, Arctium lappa, Malva sylvestris, and Ribes nigrum (FORZA10 Dermo Active TM ) resulted particularly effective in halving the intensity of cutaneous symptoms (flush, itch, dandruff, skin malodor, dry fur, and skin lesions) in 71 dogs affected by atopic dermatitis ( *** p < 0.001) [56]. On the other hand, a specific diet consisting of a mixture of milk enzymes, Origanum vulgare, chestnut, Plantago psyllium, MOS, FOS, electrolytes, and Rosa canina, significantly reduced the intensity of symptoms (dehydration, appetite loss, regurgitation, emesis, abdominal pain, flatulence, borborygma, diarrhea, weight loss, stool consistency, blood, and mucus presence in the stool) in 60 dogs with evident gastrointestinal issues ( *** p < 0.001) [56]. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Functional foods provide health benefits if consumed on regular basis. Some nutraceutical pet diets have been demonstrated to exert health benefits in vitro and in vivo resulting also palatable to the animals. The aim of this chapter is to provide an overall update of commercially available pet diets with proven efficacy against pathologies with an inflammatory background. Research on pet food is still scarce and biased. The ultimate success of functional pet foods will depend on delivering bioactive components in a predictable and assured manner to effectively reduce the risk of disease and/or support the body. Our investigations outlined the improved health status of sick dogs by means of a commercially available nutraceutical pet diet approach. Therefore, functional foods consumption should be more investigated in domestic animal nutrition in order to study dietary interventions for disease prevention and treatment.
... Due to the variability of the underlying causes, management of canine dermatological conditions requires a complex approach, usually combining different forms of interventions, such as allergen avoidance and/or specific immunotherapy, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory pharmacotherapy [9,10]. Alongside these traditional pharmacological therapies, in the last few years, nonpharmacological approaches have been put forward in the hope of reducing clinical signs of certain skin disorders, especially canine atopic dermatitis [11][12][13]; these have included the use of different natural agents and/or complementary feeds ( Table 1). ...
Article
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Nutritional supplements, also known as complementary feeds, are products administered with the aim of furnishing health benefits, regardless of nutritional needs. They have been used since ancient times in veterinary dermatology, and a number of studies have focused on investigating the health benefits of some ingredients found in commercially available complementary feed for dogs. The aim of this paper is to review the literature available on the use of nutritional supplementation for the management of canine skin diseases, critically appraising the clinical efficacy of such interventions and summarizing the current state of knowledge. This review highlights how these feeds can be considered useful in the management of dermatological disorders and outlines their beneficial effects in the prevention of dietary deficiencies and treatment of diseases, alone, or in addition to conventional pharmacological therapy. In recent years, nutritional supplements have found increasing potential application in veterinary medicine, and the scientific proofs of their beneficial effects are described in this review.
... The clinical picture is usually characterized by the absence of high temperature and general signs. Dogs and cats can live rather well with the pathology, with no particular signs of dehydration even in lack of parenteral rehydration [26]. ...
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