Many dietary supplements are suitable for addressing similar health issues in humans and our special companion animals. Human and animal crossover health conditions span across the body, and may include issues such as stress and anxiousness, digestive health, skin health, and aging well. The delivery format might be different – we often take a capsule or a gummy, while our canine/feline companions often consume a powder sprinkled over food or in a chew – but the benefits are almost always the same. With over half of pet owners purchasing premium pet food, and 33% of pet owners adding supplements and vitamins to their pet’s diet (1), it’s clear that consumers are concerned about the health of their furry friends.
In this educational piece, we’ll focus on the safe, efficacious, and innovative human-grade ingredients that address animal health issues, recognizing that the quality and safety of these ingredients is of utmost importance to pet owners.
Stress and Anxiousness
Stress is experienced not only by humans but also by our companion animals. Dogs in particular have separation anxiety, noise anxiety, transport anxiety and experience other anxious conditions. Similar mechanisms are occurring on a chemical level in a dog as in a human during stressful situations. This means that many calming and relaxing ingredients work well for ourselves as well as for our pets. An example of such an ingredient is Suntheanine® L-theanine, a relaxation ingredient with a multitude of both human and canine studies. Suntheanine® crosses the blood-brain barrier fast and acts on the GABA receptors in the brain quickly – we can feel effects within 45 minutes. It is tasteless and odorless, allowing it to blend in with our pet’s food for ease of delivery.
Shoden® ashwagandha extract is another cognitive, stress reliving ingredient which takes longer to act but stays in the blood for over 24 hours, making a once-a-day serving to a companion animal a breeze. Shoden® contains the highest level of withanolide glycosides, compounds in the ashwagandha plant which behave like GABA and thus impact stress and relaxation. Interestingly, Shoden® works synergistically with Suntheanine®, resulting in increased GABA levels as well as mimicked action, leading to a multiplier effect – and a calm, comfortable companion animal.
A common issue of comfort for our companion animals is mobility throughout their lives. Our companion animals are very susceptible to joint and mobility issues, particularly in their hips and back as they get older. Most of the joint and mobility ingredients work well in both humans and animals, including a novel ingredient, MorActive® – a standardized extract from the moringa seed. This extract is low dose and has been shown in clinical trials to increase mobility and reduce pain, keeping our animals active and comfortable at any age.
Skin and Coat
As we humans are concerned about our skin health, we should be aware that the health of our animal’s skin and coat is also important. Dry, itchy skin, constant scratching, and poor coat quality can be a pain for animals and is hard for owners to watch. Fortunately, ingredients that benefit human skin health can also benefit animal skin health. KeroGLO®, an extensively hydrolyzed keratin, can be coupled with ElastaGLO®, a hydrolyzed elastin, which can help rejuvenate pet’s skin and fur, leading to a beautiful, shiny coat.
SunActive® IsoQ is a novel isoquercitrin precursor to quercetin made from rutin, a component of the flower buds of the Japanese pagoda tree. This highly bioavailable ingredient is converted to quercetin in the body, where it may help to reduce inflammation as well as the levels of histamine released in an animal’s body. It can help to relieve the itchiness, inflammation and discomfort from allergies that many pets experience.
Today, humans are facing a digestive tsunami – so are our cats and dogs. Our problem is related to the high levels of processed foods we eat – our companion animals have the same issue with the kibble they eat. Therefore, digestive health is top of mind for the whole family, including our pets. While there are many good digestive ingredients on the market, not all of them work for both humans and animals. A few of the more extensively studied ingredients for digestive health that are safe and efficacious for both humans and animals include Sunfiber®, a partially hydrolyzed guar fiber, ButyraGen®, a direct butyrate generator, and TriCelium™, a prebiotic mushroom blend.
Each of these digestive ingredients has their own particular benefit or feature. Sunfiber®, for example, is completely soluble in water with no taste, making it very easy to incorporate in a pet’s diet to increase regularity and provide fiber (which is lacking in most pet food). ButyraGen® is a unique butyrate generator that works well for humans, cats and dogs (but not horses, as horses don’t have the digestive enzymes necessary to activate the complex) to improve microbiome health and serve a variety of benefits across the body. TriCelium™ has been shown to generate short chain fatty acids suitable for digestive support as a prebiotic for us and our companion animals.
As humans and animals age, our eyes and sight begin to deteriorate. To protect against this, both need effective ingredients to slow age-related macular degeneration and other eye conditions. The advantages of our free lutein and zeaxanthin ingredient (Xanmax®) and our lutein and zeaxanthin esters (Optilut®) is that these products can be formulated in many different formats – oils, powders, beadlets and liquids making them suitable for a wide variety of applications. With these advantages, humans and animals can use the same formula, but in different formats and doses for different species (dogs, cats, horses, etc.).
Utilizing science that works for both man and animal is a great way to market dietary ingredients – this allows brands to offer solutions for both humans and animals, making it easier for consumers to get the supplements they need for both their two and four-legged family members. Consumers want to give the ingredients they know and trust to their pets and family; being able to select products that contain the same high quality ingredients they trust for their own health makes it even easier to give their pets supplements they know will deliver benefits. To view our full Animal Health Booklet, download it here.
- Pet Dietary Supplements market Size & Share Analysis – Growth Trends & Forecasts (2023 – 2028)
NutriScience Innovations develops and markets innovative ingredients for the dietary supplement and functional food markets. To learn more about our Animal Health ingredients, please contact [email protected].