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Inflammation: the root cause of your dog’s diseases.

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is an important part of the body’s innate immune system.

With a healthy immune system, the body perceives a threat from a foreign body like pathogens, harmful toxins or injuries, it becomes switched on to localise and remove the threat. This is achieved when immune cells produce specific inflammatory compounds that allow the healing process to begin1. This short-term immune response is known as acute inflammation and it includes common temporary symptoms like pain, heat and swelling. Once the threat has been eliminated, the immune response subsides, reducing inflammation.

Unfortunately, not all inflammatory responses leads to healthy inflammation.

Factors like a poor diet, specific medications and even genetics may impair the body’s ability to deactivate the acute inflammatory response once the initial threat has been disarmed. This causes ongoing, low-level chronic inflammation throughout the body.

When the immune system switches from short to long-term inflammation, the body’s ability to perceive exogenous threats become overactive, leading to the overstimulation of the immune system, reduction of the body’s immune tolerance and a decreased ability to fight a wide range of downstream inflammatory diseases.

In fact, it is becoming an increasingly popular notion that chronic inflammation is the root cause of all known diseases. In humans, research is revealing that certain cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease and many neurodegenerative diseases are all the result of an underlying chronic inflammatory state1.

Inflammation in our canine companions.

We share our lifestyle, environment and largely our diets with our dogs. They are also often exposed to the same immunity threats and inflammation symptoms as we are2. Sadly, because most dogs cannot communicate their specific discomfort, the clinical signs of inflammation in dogs often go unnoticed until specific downstream disease symptoms are diagnosed

Here are some of the common ailments linked to chronic inflammation in dogs:

  • Skin irritations:
    Canine Atopic Dermatitis (cAD), a pruritic, irritated, skin inflammation ailment, is a chronic inflammatory skin disease associated with a dysregulated immune response3. Symptoms are exacerbated by allergies, airborne irritants, secondary yeast, fungal or bacterial infections and dietary allergies4.
  • Upset stomach:
    Inflammatory bowel disease is characterized by a wide range of symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy, loss of appetite and abdominal discomfort. It is caused by the accumulation of inflammatory cells in the lining of the stomach and digestive tract, resulting in gastrointestinal inflammation5.
  • Cancer:
    The most common life threatening disease in dogs. Inflammatory cells that form part of the healthy immune system, produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can damage the DNA of healthy cells, inducing mutations that can ultimately cause cancer6.
  • Joint pain:
    Osteoarthritis is a progressive joint inflammation disease that alters the structure of joints. In severe cases, it decreases flexibility and causes pain during movement in the affected tissues 7.

How can I manage my dog’s inflammation?

To fight chronic inflammation, anti-inflammatory medications are effective at treating inflammation and its symptoms. However, it is not a safe, sustainable solution long-term. More holistic approaches to reduce inflammation are coming to the forefront through research focused on emerging natural therapies.

Gut Health and Inflammation: the chicken and the egg.

Over the past decade, the gut microbiome has become the focus of countless studies that have established its role in overall health.

The gut microbiome is the collection of millions of microorganisms that are present in the gut. It communicates the body’s health status to the brain, synthesizing appropriate compounds to remedy any threats to the immune system6. Therefore, it is not surprising that the link between gut dysbiosis and chronic inflammation can be a double-edged sword in disease prevention and treatment of humans and their canine companions.

Firstly, gut dysbiosis can cause dysregulation of immune signaling, causing chronic inflammation, that in turn leads to a range of diseases, as previously discussed. Secondly, inflammation further disrupts the gut microbiome which causes further gut dysbiosis. Although this chicken-and-egg conundrum remains unresolved, the downstream health repercussions are becoming clear9

For example, the skin ailment, cAD, is the result of a dysregulated immune response that causes inflammation. It has also been found that the gut microbiome of dogs suffering from cAD is altered compared to healthy dogs. Because gut dysbiosis, caused by inflammation, impairs the functionality of the gut-brain axis communication network, immune responses to remedy the state of inflammation are also affected3.

Remarkably, fecal transplants from healthy dogs were effective at healing cAD and the inflammatory state by restructuring and healing the gut microbiome profile of dogs with cAD10.

These findings propose that some diseases could potentially be effectively treated through gut health intervention alone. Therefore, a healthy gut microbiome should be considered a crucial part of our dogs’ immune system in limiting chronic inflammation in dogs.

Antioxidants as anti-inflammatories

As part of the immune system, free radicals like reactive oxygen species (ROS) are compounds that can fight harmful bacteria and infections. Conversely, antioxidant compounds have the capacity to quench the potentially harmful effects on normal cells.

Oxidative homeostasis is the sensitive balance between free radicals and antioxidants.

This balance can be compromised, either through excessive production of free radicals or depleted antioxidant levels. This leads to higher levels of chronic inflammation with countless downstream health repercussions

Therefore, special diets rich in antioxidants or antioxidant supplementation can be highly beneficial to maintaining oxidative homeostasis and managing inflammation levels holistically.

The anti-inflammatory superpowers of Lactoserum

What is Lactoserum?

Lactoserum is the new kid on the block when it comes to preventing and treating chronic inflammation, naturally. It has the ability to act as a complete nutraceutical, with gut-supporting properties and anti-inflammatory capabilities.

In truth, lactoserum is not a new product at all! It has been used for its health and beauty benefits for centuries, although the scientific foundation for its properties was not understood at the time.

In the cheese-making process, it is a natural by-product from when the curds are separated, leaving the rich bioactive peptides to drain in the form of whey. In more recent years, whey protein has become a household name in its more popular form, however, in its more natural state, lactoserum is of particular interest because of its unique protein content that includes a range of bioactive peptides and enzymes with remarkable health benefits

Lactoserum as a complete gut health therapeutic.

Lactoserum has its own microbiome that can act as a probiotic for dogs. Furthermore, lactose, the main carbohydrate in lactoserum, is an important prebiotic that serves as a nutrient source for the beneficial microbial strains in the gut11.

It is, however, its unique range of bioactive peptides that uniquely support the gut in several interconnected ways.

Some of these peptides act as natural antibiotics. For example, Immunoglobulins (Igs) specifically, act as natural antibiotics by binding the toxins produced by harmful gut bacteria. This alleviates the symptoms of infections like diarrhea and dehydration without traditional antibiotics11.

Another example, lactoferrin, is not only another prebiotic, but it helps shift iron availability to benefit positive gut bacteria, thereby also shifting the microbiome to a more positive microbial ratio.

By effectively supporting the functioning and ratios of the gut microbiome, the communication network via the gut-brain axis is able to more effectively regulate the immune system and limit chronic inflammation11.

Lactoserum supports oxidative homeostasis.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and some can support antioxidant activity in the body. Morespecifically,cysteineisakeyrate-limitingprecursortotheproductionofGlutathione (GSH) which is one of the most important role players in maintaining oxidative homeostasis.

Cysteine is present in high concentrations in lactoserum and research has shown that treatment with hydrolyzed lactoserum peptides could increase GSH levels by more than 60%, thereby dramatically increasing antioxidant activity12.

Lactoserum also contains lactoferrin which inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines13. Furthermore, Igs have the ability to bind viruses and bacteria, aiding in their destruction during an infection. These Igs comprise up to 15% of the components of lactoserum.

Given the availability of these and many other potent antioxidants in lactoserum, it can be utilised as an effective anti-inflammatory that can promote gut health and prevent downstream diseases, naturally14.

Wagawhey an all-natural inflammation-fighting super serum.

Wagawheyis a 100% naturally derived lactoserum powder containing all the enzymatic goodness to fight chronic inflammation in dogs.

From the initial stages of the cheese-making process, Wagawheyensures the integrity and stability of the renneting process to enhance the bioavailability of the enzymes in the lactoserum. Through this unique addition, the beneficial compounds are more readily absorbed by your dog’s intestinal tract.

The natural hydrolysis of the original whey protein is followed by dehydration for ease of use as a powder. The addition of clean, cool water activates the anti-inflammatory, prebiotic, and immune support superpowers of lactoserum for your dogs.

Take home message.

Your dog’s diet, infections, specific medications and even genetics can be the cause of chronic inflammation in your canine companion. This level of inflammation is the root cause of many ailments our dogs suffer from. Some of these include skin irritations, joint pain, certain cancer and stomach upsets like inflammatory bowel disease in the digestive tract

A healthy gut microbiome and oxidative homeostasis lie at the foundation of an effective immune system and the maintenance of healthy levels of inflammation. Therefore, the potential of supplements that support gut health and antioxidant levels should not be overlooked.

Lactoserum, commonly known as whey, naturally contains a range of bioactive peptides and enzymes that can dramatically improve your dog’s gut microbiome. It also provides anti-inflammatory compounds with the ability to help fight chronic inflammation, returning to levels of healthy inflammation.

Wagawheyis an all-natural lactoserum powder that contains gentle, but powerful bioactive enzymes that support gut health and immunity by managing chronic inflammation in dogs.

Researched and written by Kari du Plessis (Ph.D.) for Wagawhey.

Literature reviewed

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  10. Ural, K. (2022). Fecal microbiota transplantation capsule therapy via oral route for combatting atopic dermatitis in dogs. Ankara Universitesi Veteriner Fakultesi Dergisi, 69(2), 211–219. https://doi.org/10.33988/auvfd.822971
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