by JOHNNY LOPEZ, PH.D.
When it comes to pet food, most people give little thought to the ingredients in the bag. Fortunately, in some pet foods, there’s a multitasking molecule—L-carnitine—that can do your animal a world of good. Here’s how:
Burn, Baby, Burn
L-carnitine helps transport fatty acids inside to the cell’s furnace (that is, the mitochondria), where they can be converted into energy for the body to use for breathing, eating, resting, metabolism, activity and so on. It helps pets stay lean and live longer, while also helping with extra energy.
Fat is good for the heart
An estimated 80 percent of the energy to run that vital organ comes from fat. Together, fat and L-carnitine can generate the fuel the heart needs to keep up with the daily beat. The largest concentration of L-carnitine resides in the heart and skeletal muscles. In order to maintain a healthy heart in all stages of a growing animal’s life, make sure the pet food that supports heart health includes L-carnitine.
Muscles need more than spinach
Skeletal muscles require constant energy—and there, L-carnitine plays an important role. It also helps optimize blood flow, which is controlled in and out of the muscles via clamps in the capillary beds. It’s important that these clamps remain open so muscles get the nutrients and oxygen they need. L-carnitine helps keep these clamps open, helping muscles with their maintenance, function and recovery. For senior pets, it can help maintain muscle mass.
Antioxidants: To serve and protect
The body continually produces free radicals, which can wreak havoc on it. When free radicals come into contact with cell membranes, they can cause cell death, loss of tissue integrity and a weaker immune system. One way to keep free radicals in check is with antioxidants, which the body produces to fight them. L-carnitine was recently shown to help the body crank out more of its own antioxidant defense by turning on its antioxidant genes. It helps the body produce its own defense to control free radical damage. L-carnitine also offers overall support of immune health.
Giving Them L-carnitine
It’s estimated the body can produce only about a third of the L-carnitine it needs—the rest must come from food and dietary supplements. That’s where a company called Lonza comes in. It’s recognized as the global L-carnitine expert and leader in the manufacturing of CarnikingTM—a special grade of L-carnitine developed for pets. Savvy pet parents look for CarnikingTM L-carnitine in pet foods used in weight management, in active formulas, and in foods designed to help support muscle development and function in animals of all ages.
You can get further information about L-carnitine and animal health from your veterinarian and online at www.carniking.com. - NAPSI
• Dr. Lopez received a master’s in animal science and a doctorate in monogastric nutrition from the University of Missouri.