I’ve said before that the root cause of abnormal function in the body is actually low-grade chronic inflammation. This is well known as a cause of cancer.
There are several provocations for this inflammatory state. Almost all involve a permeable gut lining made weak and full of holes. This happens when artificial, indigestible food and toxins literally tear holes in the lining. Once the gut is damaged, the toxins pour into the bloodstream. Naturally the immune system goes nuts defending the body against these intruders. It sends out the signal to the body to start inflammation everywhere, as this is the body’s way of killing intruders!
This is called leaky gut syndrome. It’s an epidemic now for both people and animals. And it’s thanks to our cheaper-food-is-better-food and take-a-pill-for-every-ailment culture. The high level of toxins in our air and water also play a role. Every system of the body may be affected, depending on genetics and lifestyle. The joints are especially vulnerable since they’re numerous, full of protein-filled fluid and in constant use. Other internal organs may suffer quietly, but until the damage gets bad enough, your pet may not feel it.
Chances are good that when you discover a consistently warm hock or stifle, or when that occasional limp becomes constant, it’s not just wear and tear.
What can you do? Anti-inflammatories and pain relievers for joint pain in dogs will reduce the symptoms for a short time. But (and this is important) in the end they’ll make the chronic inflammation worse. Popular supplements like chondroitin and glucosamine might help, but only in the case of true osteoarthritis due to wear. Even in this case, a portion of the arthritis is still likely autoimmune-mediated and therefore treatable by healing the gut. With probiotics and prebiotics.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live organisms that provide health benefits. These good bacteria are found in your pet’s gut, in fermented foods and in supplements. Certain yeast species are also considered probiotic.
Beneficial bacteria have a few key jobs in your pet’s body. They help:
• Digest food
• Produce key vitamins (including vitamin K and B vitamins)
• Produce serotonin and influence mood
• Produce enzymes
• Reduce the gut pH
• Crowd out harmful bacteria
• Produce fatty acids that discourage the growth of harmful bacteria
• Support the immune system
What Are Prebiotics?
Bacteria eat exactly what your dog eats. But beneficial bacteria love one food in particular… fiber. There are two important sources of fiber for your pet’s gut bacteria.
Soluble fiber is called soluble because it forms a hydrated mass with water. Soluble fiber is almost completely fermented in the colon by the bacteria living there. It’s one of their main sources of food. Examples of soluble fiber include:
• Pectin from fruit
• Beta-glucan from mushrooms
• Seaweed and chlorella
• Guar gum (extracted from guar bean)
• Methylcellulose (a chemical compound extracted from cellulose).
• Certain herbs such as; fennel, chicory root, yucca and marshmallow root