Influence of Diet on Genetics
It is probable that many factors in the environment all play their own role in determining whether genetic susceptibility to specific diseases ever develop into
actual problems, and one of these factors is the diet an individual has.
Genetic defects affect the way the body process’s nutrients, as they have the ability
to block and prevent the body being able to access and assimilate the whole range of nutrients it needs.
In some cases, where treatment for genetic disorders is carried out without further investigation, further ‘knock-on’ affects can happen also;  i.e. treatment for copper storage disease consisting of the drug Penicillamine which binds copper, also binds
zinc, thus resulting, over a period of time, in zinc deficiency.
It is difficult, and can even be dangerous to some dogs health for all to be given identical diets, or for owners to believe that one diet can, or does, fit all.
A study done in the U.K. demonstrates this as it highlights that there is statistical variation between dogs and their needs, based on their individual genetics.
With a group of 7 dogs of the same breed, sex and age, it showed that 1 in those 7
will need about 25% more calories than the average, and 1 in those 7 will need about 25% fewer calories than the average - thus it is right that dogs be treated as
individuals with individual needs where diet is concerned.
More than 200 congenital or genetic disorders have been reported in dogs and some
of these have an effect on the way the body is able to process nutrients.
Differences can be seen perhaps more clearly in the obvious differences between different breeds in dietary needs;  i.e. many pet dogs are fine and show no ill effects when eating meat which has been frozen for long periods, however, in this same situation, sled dogs in the Antarctic developed scurvy, a condition which was rectified upon giving them extra supplements of vitamins to prevent the decrease of plasma concentrations of vitamin c in their diet so obviously needed in higher amounts by
their bodies due to the genetic disposition and way they have been bred for the work which they do.
If we can treat our dogs as individuals and give them the diet most suited to them as an individual, this is going to play a large role in their general overall health, as a
large part of the immune system in in the gut and digestive system.
A strong immune system will play a large role in determining health and susceptibility
to disease.
Vitamin C therapy is another area where many dogs show improvement in health.
Wendell Belfield DVM has studied the effects of vitamin C therapy for dogs and
believes that a number of pet diseases are actually not genetic, but due to a diet deficiency in vitamin c.
Some of these diseases include:
Hip Dysplasia
Spinal Myelopathy
Ruptured Disc
Vital Disease
Skin Problems
This does make sense as vitamin c plays an important role in bone and cartilage metabolism.
Unlike humans, dogs can manufacture their own vitamin c, but it is clear to see how, dependent on their genetic background, they may not be able to manufacture, or ’hold-onto’ enough, and the quality of the diet and ingredients given will play a role in determining the quantity and quality of the vitamin c that they can manufacture.
It is easy to see how in this day and age with all the pollution, stress, environmental irritants etc. that dogs may actually also need extra vitamin c to what their bodies would manufacture.
In ‘The Best Friends Animal Sanctuary’ in Utah, over 100 case studies were evaluated, using varying strengths and combinations of mineral ascorbates, ascorbic acid and microcrystalline cellulose during a 6 month period.
78% of the study dogs receiving Ester-C calcium ascorbate showed improved mobility within 4-5 days. These improvements also deteriorated rapidly upon the
discontinuance of the Ester-C.
We also need to consider that generations fed a diet lacking the correct nutrition and balance for that individual will pass on weakness thought to be genetic but actually possibly caused through deficiencies.
Now, ponder that there is no independent body or organisation who regulates petfood manufacturers to make sure of the quality of ingredients they are using, or that they are 'getting it right' for our dogs needs nutritionally............this is why I like a
natural diet - I control the freshness and quality of food my dogs get, and I look to mother nature and follow the example given there as closely as possible - as do hundreds, thousands of others who feed their pets natural diets - and guess what - we enjoy healthier pets, who live into ripe old age and need fewer vets visits during that time.
Most people whose dogs are changed over to a biologically appropriate diet, inline
with what nature dictates for the anatomy they have, show great improvements
within week/s of changing !
Copyright - J. Arnold 2008

Website Builder provided by  Vistaprint