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Joint Nutriceuticals

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A Nutriceutical has been defined as a supplemental nutrient with intake higher than the required daily amount, associated with a specific therapeutic effect.  With respect to those used for joint therapy there are many available and the therapeutic effect has been noted by many happy pet owners.

How often do we see dogs and cats getting stiffer as they age?  not jumping so much, not even getting up steps or up on their favourite chair.  The mobility of you dog or cat is dependent on it having pain-free joints.

The articular cartilage plays an important role in maintaining a normal joint function.  It provides the smooth, frictionless padding for bones to move on.  It is able to resist the compressive forces of weight bearing, especially important in large breeds and over weight dogs.  Cartilage is constantly being broken down and replaced, but as ageing occurs or the onset of arthritis then the renewal or the building of new cells slows down.  Cartilage can be likened to a sponge, which if left to dry out, becomes brittle, but when soaked in water, it becomes soft and spongy.  So too with cartilage, with the discovery that glucosamine and chondroitin can be taken orally, they can create a similar effect to soaking that dry sponge by helping the cartilage to maintain its high water content and to be spongy again.

It is a complicated process in the body how these two natural products provide the building blocks for new cartilage also stopping the destructive enzymes that break down cartilage.  This process has been going on fine in the young healthy animal but at a fixed rate.  As age creeps up or arthritis increases there is a need to increase the rate and so the process needs help from an extra source.  That extra source can be taken orally, but to be most effective needs to be formulated with other actives to ensure that the glucosamine and the chondroitin do not get filtered aeay by the digestive processes in the body, and also help make the biochemical conversion into the natural chemicals that actually do the work of repairing and rebuilding.

There are many products offering a natural alternative to drugs, many provide the ingredients that are now known to provide wonderful relief to dogs, cats and horses.  When selecting, it is important to read and note the ingredients and also the quantity of them provided in each dose.  For example some only contain shellfish, which does supply chondroitin, but does not have glucosamine.  These products may be cheaper but are not so effective.  It is possible to purchase glucosamine sulphate itself and try to persuade your pet to eat it, but without the correct additives very little will be arriving into the cartilage and therefore is a false economy. 

Dosing is important and working out the actual dose to suit the weight of your dog, cat or horse needs to be done as under dosing will not be effective and may make you think that this type of product cannot help.  Likewise with using products that are not correctly formulated or provide enough of the key ingredients of glucosamine and chondroitin.  For example a large dog will need 1500mg of glucosamine per day.  So check out the labels and check out the cost per dose, the more expensive products  may not necessarily be the most effective.  If you have trouble administering pills, there are some that can mix in with the dinner and taste good too.


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