Nutrition is the Key To Reducing Dogs Inflammaging
Inflammaging represents a burgeoning field of study within veterinary medicine, reflecting its importance in the realm of human health research. Coined from the fusion of “inflammation” and “ageing,” this term encapsulates the chronic, low-grade inflammation that parallels the ageing process and is closely linked to the development of age-associated diseases in dogs (Franceschi & Campisi, 2014). This inflammation is not the acute, beneficial response to injury or infection but a harmful, persistent state that, over time, can erode health and function.
What Causes Ageing In Dogs?
Ageing in canines, like in all organisms, is a multifactorial phenomenon. Genetic predispositions provide a blueprint for longevity and disease propensity, but external factors such as diet, environment, stress, and lifestyle play substantial roles in shaping the ageing trajectory. A hallmark of ageing at the cellular level is mitochondrial dysfunction, which arises due to cumulative oxidative damage inflicted by reactive oxygen species (ROS). Additionally, ageing impairs stem cell function, crucial for repairing and maintaining tissues, leading to an inevitable decline in regenerative capacities.
Chronic inflammation in dogs can be driven by numerous stimuli, including persistent infections, ongoing exposure to environmental toxins, and chronic stress. This state is marked by the continuous release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, even when the initial triggering event has passed, and it is a core feature of diseases such as chronic kidney disease in dogs (S Perini-Perera · 2021). The immune system remains in an alert phase, damaging tissues over time and setting the stage for various age-related conditions.
Inflammation and Heart Disease:
In dogs, inflammation has been closely linked with cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that dogs with heart failure have elevated levels of circulating inflammatory cytokines. These cytokines are thought to contribute to cardiac remodelling and degeneration of heart valves, frequent issues in older dogs (Oyama & Levy, 2010).
Inflammation and Joints in Dogs:
Joint inflammation, or arthritis, is prevalent in ageing canines, significantly impairing their quality of life. The condition is characterised by the breakdown of cartilage, which cushions the joints, leading to pain and decreased mobility. Inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α and IL-1β are heavily implicated in the pathogenesis of canine osteoarthritis, contributing to cartilage degradation and joint pain. Pro-inflammatory mediators activate enzymes that digest cartilage and bone, exacerbating joint damage. Management strategies focus on reducing inflammation through nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), diet, and supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin (Vandeweerd et al., 2012).
Inflammation and the Brain:
Neuroinflammation is a hallmark of cognitive decline in ageing dogs. Microglial cells, the resident immune cells in the brain, become chronically activated in response to age-related neuropathological changes, releasing inflammatory cytokines that can contribute to neurodegeneration (Landsberg et al., 2012). This inflammatory milieu is associated with the development of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), which is akin to Alzheimer’s disease in humans (Fast et al., 2013). Antioxidants and behavioural enrichment are part of therapeutic interventions aimed at mitigating neuroinflammation and preserving cognitive functions in senior dogs (Chapagain et al., 2018).
Inflammation and Eyesight:
Inflammatory processes can profoundly affect canine eyesight, with conditions like uveitis and dry eye syndrome (keratoconjunctivitis sicca) being prominent. Chronic ocular inflammation can lead to reduced vision or blindness due to the development of cataracts, glaucoma, or retinal diseases. Elevated intraocular expression of inflammatory mediators like prostaglandins can lead to these deleterious changes within the eye (Gelatt et al., 2013). Treatment often includes topical anti-inflammatory medications, and in the case of dry eye, tear-stimulating drugs or tear replacement therapy (Sebbag et al., 2017).
By incorporating these subsections, the article on inflammaging in dogs will provide a comprehensive look at how inflammation influences various aspects of canine health as they age. The additional peer-reviewed studies offer a robust scientific basis for the information presented.
Inflammaging And Your Dog:
In dogs, inflammaging may manifest in multiple ways, from a decline in physical activity due to joint pain and stiffness to a dull coat and increased vulnerability to infections. A reliable marker of systemic inflammation is C-reactive protein (CRP), which increases in serum as dogs age, serving as an indicator of inflammaging (K Malin · 2022).
Symptoms of Inflammaging:
The spectrum of clinical signs attributable to inflammaging is diverse, reflecting the systemic nature of chronic inflammation. Dogs may exhibit reduced physical activity, weight gain, muscle wasting, and an uptick in cancer incidence. Behavioural shifts, including heightened anxiety and diminished social interaction, have also been correlated with chronic inflammation (Gruen et al., 2015).
The Causes Of Inflammaging:
Inflammaging arises from a complex interaction of factors, including a constant antigenic load that burdens the immune system, failing autophagy mechanisms, and immunosenescence – the ageing of the immune system. Together, these elements foster a pro-inflammatory milieu that is detrimental to health (Day, 2010).
Chronic Inflammation Pathways:
Within the tangled web of signalling pathways driving chronic inflammation, the NF-kB pathway stands out. Normally involved in immune response regulation, this pathway can become dysregulated with age, leading to the inappropriate activation of inflammatory genes (Lawrence, 2009). Additionally, adipokines produced by fat tissue in dogs can promote inflammation and disrupt normal metabolic functioning (Kleemann et al., 2009).
Various lifestyle factors can trigger or worsen inflammation, including poor diet, obesity, lack of exercise, ongoing infections, and chronic psychological stress. Each of these elements can initiate or amplify the inflammatory cascade and contribute to the progression of inflammaging.
Dysbiosis And Inflammaging:
The gut microbiome has emerged as a central player in overall health and disease, including inflammaging. An imbalance in gut bacteria, known as dysbiosis, has been linked to increased intestinal permeability. This “leaky gut” allows bacteria and toxins to enter the bloodstream, sparking systemic inflammation (Suchodolski, 2016).
Foods That Increase Inflammation:
Diets high in advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are associated with enhanced oxidative stress and inflammatory responses. Many commercial pet foods contain these AGEs. High-carbohydrate diets can also alter gut flora and encourage inflammatory states (Cai et al., 2014).
The Anti-Inflammaging Diet:
To counteract inflammation, an anti-inflammatory diet for dogs should include a balanced ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, abundant antioxidants, and prebiotics and probiotics to bolster gut health. Foods like marine algae and fish oils, blueberries, and fermentable fibres are known for their anti-inflammatory properties (Jewell et al., 2000).
Slowing Aging Down:
Combating the effects of ageing and inflammaging in dogs involves an integrative approach encompassing diet, exercise, and cognitive stimulation. Caloric restriction, while maintaining optimal nutrition, and tailored physical activity can delay the onset of ageing-related diseases and extend health span (R D Kealy 2002).
Inflammaging is a silent yet potent force in the ageing process of dogs, influencing the progression of multiple chronic diseases. A comprehensive strategy that includes diet modification, consistent veterinary care, and maintaining an active, enriched lifestyle for dogs is key in mitigating the impact of chronic inflammation. As research into inflammaging continues to expand, we anticipate novel insights and interventions that will enhance the quality and duration of life for our canine companions.
Nutrition’s Role In Slowing The Progress of Inflammaging
As has been demonstrated above your dog’s food and nutrition plays a significant role in accelerating or slowing the process of inflammaging.
A diet high in pro-inflammatory ingredients – saturated fats, Omega-6 and AGE’s and low in Omega-3, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients such as phytonutrients and polyphenols – will inevitably contribute to inflammaging greatly reducing their longevity and quality of life.
The role that antioxidants and anti-inflammatories play in supporting and maintaining your dog’s health and wellbeing across all their major organs cannot be overstated.
Bonza Bioactive Dog Food – Anti-inflammaging Support
Following is a list the anti-inflammatory ingredients in Bonza vegan dog food and how they contribute to inflammation reduction in turn supporting a reduction in your dog’s inflammaging.
DHAgold™ : This clinically researched ingredient, sourced from pure seaweed, contains a number of anti-inflammatory bioactive compounds such as omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) including DHA, EPA and DPA, chlorophyll a, β-carotene, astaxanthin and fucoxanthin, and as dietary ingredients, their extracts have shown to be effective in chronic inflammation-linked metabolic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and arthritis (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Olive Oil Extract: Olive oil is known to be a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), especially oleic acid, which have been shown to modulate immune response and exert anti-inflammatory effects. A study conducted by Beauchamp et al. revealed that oleocanthal, a component found in extra-virgin olive oil, inhibits the activity of cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes, much like the common anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen, thereby exhibiting anti-inflammatory properties (1). Other studies further confirm the beneficial effect of olive oil compounds, such as Oleuropin and hydroxytyrosol, in reducing inflammation (2, 3).
Pineapple: Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple, demonstrates anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It can reduce inflammation by modulating key pathways, including the COX-2 pathway and the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activation (1, 2).
Kale and Spinach: These vegetables are rich in carotenoids and other antioxidants, which neutralize harmful free radicals and help prevent the initiation of inflammatory pathways (1). Sulforaphane in kale reduces inflammation by blocking the activation of the NF-κB system (3).
Reishi Mushroom: This mushroom is loaded with anti-inflammatory compounds including triterpenoids, polysaccharides and peptidoglycans (1). Specifically, it inhibits the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and mediators, as well as downregulates gene expression related to inflammatory pathways (2).
Turmeric: The active component of turmeric, curcumin, has been widely studied for its potent anti-inflammatory effects. It inhibits the activation of NF-κB, a major cellular transcription factor that regulates the gene expression of various pro-inflammatory cytokines (4, 5).
Ginger: This spice contains gingerols and shogaols, which inhibit the production of nitric oxide, a compound that produces harmful free radicals. By doing so, ginger prevents the activation of NF-κB, thereby exerting anti-inflammatory effects (1).
Quinoa: Quinoa is rich in phytochemicals such as quercetin and kaempferol, which have anti-inflammatory properties. They inhibit the release of histamine from mast cells and basophils, leading to reduced inflammation (5).
Cranberry: Compounds such as quercetin, myricetin, and peonidin in cranberries show anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting the enzymes COX-2 and lipoxygenase, both involved in the inflammatory process (3).
Bonza anti-inflammatory vegan dog food also contains PhytoPlus™, a proprietary blend of herbs, botanicals and adaptogens that provide the health benefits that their powerful phytonutrients offer for your dog’s healthy, long life.
Bioactive dog food can play a significant role in reducing inflammaging for your dog.
- Franceschi, C., & Campisi, J. (2014). Chronic Inflammation (Inflammaging) and Its Potential Contribution to Age-Associated Diseases. Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 69(Suppl 1), S4–S9.
- Terman, A., et al. (2010). Mitochondria and Aging.
- A. Y. Abramov (Ed.), Advances in Mitochondrial Medicine.
- Y. O. Zubova (Ed.), Cell Biology and Translational Medicine, Volume 12.
- Brown, S. A. (2010). Oxidative Stress and Chronic Kidney Disease. The Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, 40(3), 573–592.
- Oyama, M. A., & Levy, R. J. (2010). Insights into Serotonin Signaling Mechanisms Associated with Canine Degenerative Mitral Valve Disease. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 24(1), 27–36.
- Klenner, S., et al. (2010). Assessment of C-reactive Protein, Haptoglobin, and SAA as Markers of Inflammation in Dogs. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 71(7), 812–819.
- Gruen, M. E., et al. (2015). The Use of Tricyclic Antidepressants in the Treatment of Behavior Disorders in Dogs and Cats. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 10(4), 307–317.
- Day, M. J. (2010). Immunosenescence and Vaccination in Dogs. The Veterinary Record, 167(22), 850–853.
- Lawrence, T. (2009). The Nuclear Factor NF-kappaB Pathway in Inflammation. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology, 1(6), a001651.
- Kleemann, R., et al. (2009). Obesity and Chronic Inflammation: A Pathophysiological Link to Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes.
- G. S. Hotamisligil (Ed.), Obesity and Metabolism. Frontiers of Hormone Research, vol 36.
- Karger. Freeman, L. M., et al. (2013). A Review of Adverse Food Reactions in the Aging Dog and Cat. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 27(S1), S60–S65.
- Suchodolski, J. S. (2016). Companion Animals Symposium: Microbiome and Gastrointestinal Health of Dogs and Cats. Journal of Animal Science, 94(6), 2247–2251.
- Cai, W., et al. (2014). Oral Glycotoxins Determine the Effects of Calorie Restriction on Oxidant Stress, Age-related Diseases, and Lifespan. The American Journal of Pathology, 173(2), 327–336.
- Jewell, D. E., et al. (2000). Effects of Serum Taurine and Other Nutritional Markers on the Longevity of the Aging Beagle. Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology (Tokyo), 46(3), 157–162.
References for Inflammation and Joints:
- Sanderson, R. O., et al. (2009). Inflammatory Cytokines in the Pathogenesis of Canine Osteoarthritis. Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 32(1), 1–15.
- Moreau, M., et al. (2013). Effects of Feeding a High Omega-3 Fatty Acids Diet in Dogs with Naturally Occurring Osteoarthritis. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, 97(5), 830–837.
- Vandeweerd, J. M., et al. (2012). Understanding the Pathophysiology of Osteoarthritis to Optimize the Use of NSAIDs for Veterinary Patients. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 53(7), 362–369.
Inflammation and the Brain:
- Landsberg, G. M., et al. (2012). Cognitive Dysfunction in Cats: A Syndrome We Used to Disregard. Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice, 42(4), 789–806.
- Fast, R., et al. (2013). An Observational Study with Long-Term Follow-Up of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction: Clinical Characteristics, Survival, and Risk Factors. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 27(4), 822–829.
- Chapagain, D., et al. (2018). A Preliminary Study on the Effect of Wobble Board Training on Cognitive Functions in Dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 205, 198–205.
References for Inflammation and Eyesight:
- Williams, D. L., et al. (2009). Ocular Immunology in Health and Disease. Journal of Comparative Pathology, 141(1), 1–16.
- Gelatt, K. N., et al. (2013). Veterinary Ophthalmology: Two Volume Set. Wiley-Blackwell.
- Sebbag, L., et al. (2017). Tear Film and Ocular Surface Changes in a Rabbit Model of Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca Treated with Cyclosporine. Veterinary Ophthalmology, 20(1), 11–20.