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Healthier Joints Through Advanced Nutrition

Bob Fritz, Animal Naturals

By supplying natural building blocks that make up connective tissue, science gives you the power to help heal and prevent canine joint pain. And because this research-proven strategy is 100% natural and safe, it can be used year round!

Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49ers, holder of just about every receiving record in football and maybe the best ever at his position, recently made a truly amazing comeback from a crippling injury. Lessons from his incredible return can help your dog prevent injuries, and help heal much faster if they do occur.

Jerry received a knee shattering injury the first game of the season. His knee was bent out to the side at an impossible 45 degrees. It was sickening even to see on replays. So badly torn were his anterior ligaments that his retirement was predicted. Nobody who made a living playing sports at his level could possibly come back from such an injury and play at his high standards, especially at his age -- so the experts thought. But Jerry Rice had other plans.

Jerry swore that not only was he not retiring, he would play football again. And not play next year, but this year. Even bolder, he said he would play great. Jerry claimed to have a "secret nutritional weapon" used in other miracle comebacks to help re-grow his damaged connective tissue. 15 weeks of rehabilitation after his injury, he came out on Monday Night Football and stunned the world with his performance. It was as though he was never injured! The same "secret weapon" of Jerry Rice and today's other elite athletes can now be a powerful tool in your dog's joint health program.

Of course, dogs don't play professional football. However, they do place enormous pressure on their joints, and the incidence of joint injury is on the rise. Based on human studies, it has been determined that a 75-pound dog running normally on a flat surface places a load of over 200 pounds each time a foot strikes the ground. Running down hills or jumping increases these forces even more. Given this, and the fact that today's dogs are bred and fed to be bigger, faster and stronger, it's clear why the frequency of joint injuries is growing.

Until now, treatment for these joint problems, aside from surgery, has been Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), and corticosteroids such as dexamethazone. Clearly, these are synthetic drugs with powerful side effects that are effective at treating the symptoms of inflammation. However, drugs have never been able to solve the underlying connective tissue cause of pain and swelling. That's because these drugs are mostly masking agents, not healing agents.

New, and Better Than Drugs The new safe and effective nutrients that Jerry Rice and so many pro athletes take to help joint problems is now available to serious dog enthusiasts. These exciting all-natural substances offer many of the anti-inflammatory power of dangerous drugs. But unlike drugs, it appears they may be able to actually help solve the actual underlying connective tissue problem, and are safe for year-round use.

These joint support factors are the opposite of drugs. They're 100% natural substances already produced by the body as building blocks of connective tissue. As animals age or are stressed such as during intense training, production of these joint support factors may not be able to meet demands. Taking in these nutrients in supplements, therefore, is a kind of safe and natural replacement therapy to restore normal, healthy levels.

There are two major "chondroprotective" substances that have been proven highly effective in both treating and preventing joint injury and pain. Both are explained below.

#1 Chondroitin Sulfate Chondroitins are a vital component of cartilage, which in turn is part of the connective tissue system in the body. Cartilage helps to support and shape tissues and is also found in joints and between vertebrae in the spine. Think of cartilage as the shock absorber system of the canine body. Every time your dog moves -- and especially jumps -- cartilage helps absorb the shock.

As a dog ages, the water content of cartilage decreases, causing a decrease in joint mobility and a greater risk of nagging injuries from workouts. Ask anybody working older canine athletes and they'll confirm this. Joints and connective tissue can also be affected by major injuries like ACL blowouts and/or arthritis. Chondroitins are also found in the walls of blood vessels and are important at maintaining circulatory health.

Recent studies have shown Chondroitin supplementation to be effective at not just healing connective tissue injuries, but actually preventing injuries. Preventing injuries is much smarter than trying to treat joint damage after it's occurred.

Chondroitin is naturally produced in the body, and production tends to fall as dogs get older. Taking in Chondroitin orally is backed by research. It is well absorbed and a significant increase in plasma (blood) levels occurs after intake. The first pass through the liver metabolizes a good portion of the Chondroitin sulfates into smaller molecules, but a significant amount remains intact to reach connective tissues where it does its joint support job. The superior form of Chondroitin is the sulfate.

#2 Glucosamine  The second major joint support weapon in injury prevention and treatment is Glucosamine. Glucosamine is an amino sugar necessary for the formation and health of connective tissue. Glucosamine is naturally produced in the body by the interaction of glucose with the amino acid glutamine to form Glucosamine with the help of the enzyme Glucosamine synthetase.

Glucosamine is a component of glucosamine-glycans (muco-polysaccharides) and glycoproteins, which are integral parts of virtually all cell membranes and connective tissues. Glucosamine has many roles in the formation and integrity of tendons, skin, eyes, spinal fluids, bone, ligaments -- even heart valves. A loss of Glucosamine from tissue can result in early breakdown of cells, a loss of cellular functions, the weakening of connective tissues and loss of flexibility.

Like Chondroitin, Glucosamine production reaches a peak during teenage years and young adulthood, but declines later.

Research shows taking in supplemental Glucosamine in oral form is highly effective. Most of the research on Glucosamine has been done over the past ten years and shows great promise in the prevention and treatment of certain degenerative conditions and joint injuries. Canine athletes, injured and older dogs will find important benefits from Glucosamine intake, such as maintaining connective tissue strength, preventing injury, improving flexibility and reducing inflammation. A number of medical studies since the 1980's have shown that oral use of Glucosamine sulfate decreases pain and even improves joint mobility in severely arthritic patients, without negative side effects.

In addition to the above mentioned 100% natural joint support factors, other useful compounds are N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG), vitamin C in the form of Ester C, willow bark extract, quercetin, among others.

Summary Until now, dogs with joint injuries or chronic joint pain were treated with powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that often caused serious side effects -- or even more joint damage -- especially during long term use. These drugs help alleviate the symptoms of joint pain, but do not treat the underlying cause. Moreover, these drugs are ineffective at preventing injury.

Special 100% natural joint support factors are now available to dogs without prescription. These safe and effective compounds can be taken orally to improve the health and integrity of connective tissue including tendons and ligaments, bone, heart valves, and spinal discs. The main joint support factors are Chondroitins, Glucosamine and n-acetyl Glucosamine. Pharmaceutical grade support factors offer 3 crucial benefits to today's dogs:

Help treat chronic (ongoing) joint pain.
Help heal injuries after they occur.
Help prevent injuries in the first place.

References  Setniker, I. Antireactive properties of "chondroprotective" drugs. Int. J. Tissue React., 14(5), p.253E1, 1992.
Setniker, I. Antireactive properties of glucosamine sulfate, Arznei. Forsohung., 41(2), p.157-61, 1991.
Oonte, A., et al. Biochemical and pharmacokinetic aspects of oral treatment with chondroitin sulfate, Arznei, Forschung., 45(8), p.918-25, 1995.
Conte, A., et al. Metabolic fate of exogenous chondroitin sulfate in man. Arznei, Forschung., 41(7), p.768-72, 1991.
Reichelt, A., et al. Efficacy and safety of intramuscular glucosamine sulfate in osteoarthritis of the knee. Arznei.
Forschung., 44(1), p.75E80, 1999