Vitamin A (as Beta-Carotene)
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. Sources of vitamin A include organ meats (such as liver and kidney), egg yolks, butter, carrot juice, squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, peaches, fortified dairy products and cod liver oil. Vitamin A is also part of a family of compounds including retinol, retinal and beta-carotene. Beta-carotene, also known as pro-vitamin A, can be converted into vitamin A when additional levels are required. All the body’s tissues need vitamin A to support general growth and repair. Vitamin A helps to support healthy night vision, support normal bone growth, provides an antioxidant defense and promotes a healthy immune system.
Vitamin D3 † (Cholecalciferol)
Food sources of vitamin D are vitamin D-fortified milk (100 IU per cup), cod liver oil, and fatty fish, such as salmon. Small amounts are found in egg yolks and liver. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and supports the production of several proteins involved in calcium absorption and storage. Vitamin D works with calcium to promote hard, strong bones. It works to promote active transport of calcium into the extra-cellular fluid and in the kidneys, promotes calcium and phosphate uptake by renal tubules. Vitamin D also promotes the normal absorption of dietary calcium and phosphate uptake by the intestinal epithelium. It promotes healthy growth and repair of tissues, and supports overall skin health.
Vitamin E (D-alpha- Tocopherol Acetate)
The most valuable sources of dietary vitamin E include vegetable oils, margarine, nuts, seeds, avocados and wheat germ. Safflower oil contains large amounts of vitamin E and there are trace amounts in corn oil and soybean oil. Vitamin E is actually a family of related compounds called tocopherols and tocotrienols. The main health benefit of supplemental vitamin E comes from its immune-supporting antioxidant activity. It also supports normal healing and is known to promote cardiovascular health. Vitamin E is one of the most powerful fat-soluble antioxidants in the body. In turn, vitamin E protects cell membranes from free radical damage.
Calcium is found in milk, cheese, yogurt, corn tortillas, Chinese cabbage (Napa), kale and broccoli. Calcium is an essential mineral with a wide range of biological roles. Calcium exists in bone primarily in the form of hydroxyapatite (Ca10 (PO4)6 (OH) 2). Hydroxyapatite comprises approximately 40 percent of the weight of bone. The skeleton has an obvious structural requisite for calcium. The skeleton also acts as a storehouse for calcium. Apart from being a major constituent of bones and teeth, calcium promotes normal muscle contraction, nerve conduction, cardiovascular health, the production of energy and helps maintain a healthy immune system. It is also important to note that calcium and phosphorus work together. A proper ratio of calcium to phosphorus is necessary to support the body’s absorption of an adequate amount of calcium.
Phosphorus is found in virtually all foods because it is a structural component of all cells; the primary sources, however, are dairy, meat and fish. Phosphorus is an essential mineral, required by every cell in the body. Eighty-five percent of the body’s phosphorus is found in bone tissue. It is a major structural component of bone in the form of a calcium phosphate salt known as hydroxyapatite. Phospholipids are the major structural component of all cell membranes. Energy producing and storing molecules depend on phosphorylation, the addition of phosphate groups to a molecule (for example, ATP is an adenosine nucleoside with three high-energy phosphate groups attached – adenosine triphosphate). It also promotes the normal synthesis of nucleic acids.
Foods rich in magnesium include unpolished grains, nuts and green vegetables. Green, leafy vegetables are potent sources of magnesium because of their chlorophyll content. Meats, starches and milk are less rich sources of magnesium. Refined and processed foods are generally quite low in magnesium. Magnesium is a component of the mineralized part of bone and promotes the normal metabolism of potassium and calcium. It helps maintain normal levels of potassium, phosphorus, calcium, adrenaline and insulin. It also promotes the normal mobilization of calcium, transporting it inside the cell for further utilization. It supports the functioning of muscle and nervous tissue.
Magnesium promotes the normal synthesis of all proteins, nucleic acids, nucleotides, cyclic adenosine monophosphate, lipids and carbohydrates. Magnesium promotes the normal release of energy, regulation of body temperature and proper nerve function. It helps the body handle stress, and it promotes a healthy metabolism. Magnesium works together with calcium to promote the normal regulation of the heart and help maintain normal blood pressure. Importantly, magnesium also promotes the building of healthy bones and teeth, and promotes proper muscle development. It works together with calcium and vitamin D to help keep bones strong. Magnesium also promotes cardiovascular health by supporting normal platelet activity and helps maintain normal cholesterol levels.
Foods rich in potassium include fresh vegetables and fruits, such as bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, avocado, raw spinach, cabbage and celery. Potassium is an essential macromineral that promotes normal fluid balance. It also supports a wide variety of biochemical and physiological processes. Among other things, it supports normal nerve impulses, cardiac, skeletal and smooth muscle contractions, energy production, synthesis of nucleic acids, and helps maintain intracellular tonicity and helps maintain normal blood pressure. Potassium promotes normal muscle relaxation. It also promotes glycogen and protein synthesis. Potassium is an electrolyte that promotes proper heartbeat. Potassium supports the normal release of energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates during metabolism.
Potassium also supports the normal regulation of water balance and the immune system. Potassium supports the normal elimination of wastes. Potassium promotes normal healing and generally contributes to a sense of well-being. Potassium is stored in the muscles.
Niacin (as Niacinamide)
Niacin is found naturally in meats and meat by-products, and in smaller amounts in fruits, vegetables and grains. Niacin is not stored within the body, thus, it is important that a dog’s diet contain an adequate amount of niacin. Niacin supports the normal functioning of enzymes. Niacin promotes healthy teeth and gums and supports a healthy digestive system. It is important to note that dogs are omnivores, meaning that they are intended to eat a diet of meat and vegetables.
Iron is mainly found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, beans, peas, fortified bread and grain products, such as cereal (non-heme iron sources). Beef, liver, organ meats and poultry comprise the heme iron sources. The heme iron sources are more absorbable than the non-heme type of iron. Iron is an essential mineral. It is a component of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in the blood, and myoglobin, another protein that carries oxygen in muscle tissue. Iron promotes normal red blood cell formation.*
Iron supports many imperative biochemical pathways and enzyme systems, including those involved with energy metabolism, neurotransmitter production (serotonin and dopamine), collagen formation and immune system function. Iron has been found to promote normal oxygen transport, thus improving exercise capacity, stimulate the immune system, increase energy levels, and promote normal production of neurotransmitters and collagen.
Pantothenic Acid † (Vitamin B5)
Pantothenic acid is found naturally in raw meat and vegetables. Pantothenic acid is not stored within the body, thus, it is important that a dog’s diet contain an adequate amount of pantothenic acid. It is important to note that cooking and processing reduces the amounts of pantothenic acid available in food. Pantothenic acid supports the conversion of energy from carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Pantothenic acid promotes a healthy digestive system and a healthy coat.
Zinc is largely found in fortified cereals, red meats, eggs, poultry and certain seafood, including oysters. It is a component of multiple enzymes and proteins. It also supports the regulation of gene expression. Zinc is an essential trace mineral that has functions in approximately 300 different enzyme reactions. Thus, zinc supports almost all biochemical pathways and physiological processes. More than 90 percent of the body’s zinc is stored in the bones and muscles, but zinc is also found in virtually all body tissues. Zinc supports normal healing and the immune system, promotes a healthy prostate gland and supports healthy sperm quality. Because zinc is involved in such a great number of enzymatic processes, it has been found to support a large range of functions, including digestion, energy production, growth, cellular repair, collagen synthesis, bone strength, cognitive function and carbohydrate metabolism.*
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
Riboflavin is found naturally in organ meats such as liver, dairy products, dark green vegetables and some types of seafood. Riboflavin is not stored within the body, thus, it is important that a dog’s diet contain an adequate amount of riboflavin. Vitamin B2 serves as a co-enzyme, working with other B vitamins. It promotes healthy red blood cell formation, supports the nervous system, respiration, antibody production and normal growth. It supports healthy skin, nails, hair growth and thyroid activity. Vitamin B2 promotes the process of turning food into energy as a part of the electron transport chain, driving cellular energy at the molecular-level. Vitamin B2 supports the normal breakdown of fats while promoting the activation of B6 and folic acid. Riboflavin promotes cardiovascular health, vision health and healthy limbs.
Under some conditions, vitamin B2 can act as an antioxidant. The riboflavin coenzymes also support the transformation of vitamin B6 and folic acid into their active forms and for the conversion of tryptophan into niacin.
Thiamine HCl (Vitamin B1)
Thiamine is found naturally in plants, vegetables, fruits, milk, fish and other meats. Thiamine is not stored within the body, thus, it is important that a dog’s diet contain an adequate amount of thiamine. It is important to note that cooking and processing reduces the amounts of thiamine available in food. Thiamine promotes the normal function of muscle and nerves because it supports the conversion of glucose into energy. Thiamine promotes normal energy levels, supports nerve health and supports healthy muscle function.
Folate (Folic Acid)
Folic acid is mainly found in fruits and vegetables. Dark, leafy greens, oranges, orange juice, beans and peas are the best sources, as well as Brewer’s yeast, which supply additional B-vitamins. Folic acid plays a key role by boosting the benefits of B12 supplementation. These two B-vitamins join forces and work together in maintaining normal red blood cells. Folic acid promotes the normal utilization of amino acids and proteins, as well as supporting the construction of the material for DNA and RNA synthesis. Scientific studies have found that when working in tandem with folic acid, B12 is capable of promoting normal homocysteine levels. This works toward supporting a healthy cardiovascular, nervous and digestive system.
Vitamin B12 (as Cyanocobalamin)
Vitamin B12, a bacterial product is naturally found in organ meats, liver, beef, pork, eggs, whole milk, cheese, whole wheat bread and fish. B12 can only be found in animal products, with small amounts derived from the fermented soy products miso and tempeh and peanuts. It is essential that vegetarians consume a vitamin B12 supplement to maintain optimal health. Vitamin B12, when ingested, is stored in the liver and other tissues for later use. The synthetic form of B12, Cyanocobalamin is not derived from either plants or animals, and promotes the maintenance of normal functioning body cells, especially those of the nervous system (protecting the sheaths of nerve cells), bone marrow and intestinal tract. Vitamin B12 itself is responsible for maintaining optimum energy levels as it plays a vital role in the Krebs energy cycle.
† Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.