I spent New Year’s Day making our incredibly beneficial truly pastured, traditionally rendered beef lard supplement, “White Gold”. We’ll have a fresh new batch available this Sunday for all those that have come to rely on it for their pet’s weight maintenance, joint health, improved mobility, immune function, and improvements with skin & coat issues. We offer this product in a few different formats: $9/0.5 pint freezer-safe glass jar; $18/pint. We also sell the cracklings produced from the rendering process which make for an incredibly high value (if not a bit stinky/messy to handle) delectable, nutritious treat for both dogs & cats $18/pint.
For the past year, I’ve been researching GMO-free, soy-free, ecologically produced, minimally or unrefined, food-based sources of vitamin E to include in our Formulas and sell to our members. Supplementing with a good source of natural vitamin E is important for those that regularly feed fish oil, fish and seafood. While our Formulas, Vitality Blend and Veggie Mix all include wonderful, organic, fresh, whole food ingredients that are high in natural sources of vitamin E, there are circumstances when a dog/cat may require an additional boost in antioxidants such as vitamin E – for example, when feeding lots of fish/fish oils, or if they are at risk for cancers, neurological diseases or struggling with inflammatory conditions such as allergies, itching, arthritis and some GI disorders.
If you regularly feed fish or fish oil to your dog or cat, it is vital to supplement with adequate amounts of natural vitamin E (400 IU vitamin E per every 1,000 mg fish oil is a good general guideline, or 200 IU vitamin E given twice a week when fish is part of the regular diet).
Fish oil supplements without added vitamin E and/or feeding regular or large amounts of fish/seafood to dogs or cats may cause a vitamin E deficiency.
In cats, especially those fed fish-based diets, vitamin E deficiency can be potentially fatal and may cause a condition referred to as Yellow Fat disease, Steatitis or Pansteatitis.
Deficiencies of vitamin E will cause cell damage and death in skeletal muscle, heart, testes, liver, and nerves. It is essential in keeping the cells of these organs alive and functioning. Vitamin E deficiencies have been well documented in both cats and dogs. ‘Brown Bowel Syndrome’ is the condition usually used to describe a cat or dog suffering from inadequate vitamin E. These animals have affected bowels which ulcerate, hemorrhage, and degenerate. In addition, the cells of the eyes and testes can also be affected.
While reversible through proper vitamin E supplementation, a deficiency in this vital nutrient can have serious health consequences and is not worth the risk!
Additional symptoms of vitamin E deficiency in may include:
– hyper sensitivity to pain
– lack of muscle tone
– skeletal problems
– muscle weakness
– leg/feet swelling
– weight loss (although no loss of appetite)
– premature aging (changes in coat color, for example)
Research on vitamin E is ongoing – currently, there are eight known forms of natural vitamin E found in nature and the best sources for this nutrient are all plant based. While grass-fed meat, liver and eggs may be the most biologically appropriate foods for our carnivores and higher in vitamin E than conventional meat/eggs, animal foods are generally a poor/low source of this antioxidant. Natural gamma tocopherol provides unique benefits including reducing inflammation, regulating factors that guard against certain cancers, and activating genes involved in protecting against neurological diseases and aging. It is absolutely critical that we provide dog and cat’s diets with adequate levels of natural vitamin E – particularly when we feed them fish oil or seafood/fish. This is why I provide a free bottle of PhysioLogics brand high gamma tocopherol with every bottle or bag of my Healthy Powder supplement, and why we add this supplement to our Formulas.
“Paleo” approved (“paleo” foods frequently translate nicely when making recommendations for carnivores like dogs & cats) whole food sources of vitamin E include spinach, turnip greens, chard, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, asparagus, collards, kale, broccoli, and brussels sprouts. Most vitamin E supplements are made from safflower or soy – which is increasingly problematic when considering GMO concerns, the serious environmental consequences of large scale soy and safflower production, as well as concerns with feeding soy to dogs and cats.
We include locally grown, fresh, raw certified organic spinach, turnip greens, chard, collards, kale, and pumpkin seeds in our Formulas, Vitality Blend and Veggie mix (the veggie mix does not include raw pumpkin seeds). As a fat soluble vitamin, food sources of vitamin E and vitamin E supplements must be combined with adequate amounts of healthy, stable, unrefined beneficial fat to allow for proper assimilation.
In the past, I would have recommended Wheat Germ Oil as a nice, food-based vitamin E supplement. Wheat Germ Oil was a great food based supplement when organic, cold-pressed and minimally processed – it is one of the foods highest in natural vitamin E. The problems I have with Wheat Germ Oil these days include how difficult it is to source truly GMO-free wheat products, and how damaging wheat production has become to the environment. In addition, wheat may be a health risk for many dogs and cats because of allergies and intolerances. Not to mention the problem that Wheat Germ Oil is not incredibly stable, and is highly susceptible to rancidity and oxidation (like fish oils). That means supplementing with these oils can actually be toxic and incredibly damaging (and why we strongly promote the alternative option of feeding whole fish/seafood rather than fish oils and/or using our White Gold, which is a far more stable EFA choice). While pre-GMO landscape, organic, cold-pressed, unrefined fresh Wheat Germ Oil was a wonderful and highly beneficial fat supplement during the spring and summer seasons, and provided a nice boost in nutrition for pregnant and nursing animals in the past, the agricultural landscape has changed during the past 10-15 years, and I can no longer recommend it.
After extensive research, I have determined that unrefined, organic Red Palm (fruit) Oil may be the best choice to replace my currently recommended high quality natural, gamma tocopherol vitamin E supplement. I first started researching and using Red Palm Oil with my birds many years ago. Red Palm Oil has been used for many years as a beneficial whole food supplement in avian husbandry – it has developed a reputation as promoting improved vision, cardiovascular function, skin & feather condition, coloration, immunity, and reproduction in birds and exotics. In birds, red palm oil has shown to decrease the desire to pluck or chew, allows feathers to grow in, reduce dust/dryness, and those feathers are strong and glossy. Recently, it has been touted as the latest superfood for humans and is being promoted by many natural medicine and nutrition researchers with promoters and advocates for this supplement from both the paleo and raw or vegan perspective.
While there are serious problems with palm oil production in some regions of the world, some palm oil production is a major threat to orangutans and, when refined, may be a risk to our health, there are a few stand-out choices for producers manufacturing a high-quality, ethical product without the environmental/ecological concerns. There are some exceptional brands offering organic, unrefined red palm oil that are working to protect the environment through sustainable production methods, and to provide for an improved quality of life and healthier local economies through fair-trade programs for the farmers producing their oil.
Our newest product – RED GOLD – combines truly pastured, traditionally rendered beef fat with organic, unrefined red palm fruit oil, organic fresh grated turmeric, and organic freshly ground black pepper providing a delicious food supplement with an incredible boost in nutrition; a unique source of vitamins and antioxidants. The cost is $10/0.5 pint and $20/pint jars. Yes, we have cracklings from this batch available, too!
Organic Red Palm Oil provides a unique selection of antioxidants and phytonutrients including six forms of tocotrienols/tocopherol (vitamin E), mixed-carotenes with high level of alpha-carotene (pro-vitamin A), plant squalene, phytosterol complex and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). These nutrients offer potent cardioprotection, neuroprotection, and skin nutrition, as well as having powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been shown that dietary red palm fruit oil, taken in moderation in animals and humans, promotes the efficient utilization of nutrients, activates hepatic drug metabolizing enzymes, facilitates the haemoglobinisation of red blood cells, and improves immune function.
Organic Turmeric is a best known as a delicious, richly-colored spice used in curries and mustard. Turmeric provides a generous dose of antioxidants and has impressive anti-inflammatory properties with a wide range of beneficial action on the body from several different compounds (curcuminoids, aromatic-turmerones and volatile oils). It is a well-tolerated, effective treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis and encourages healthy liver function. In a recent study, turmeric produced significant improvements in shortened duration of morning stiffness, lengthened walking time, and reduced joint swelling for arthritis patients. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric are also showing promise for this spice affording protection against neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Consuming the whole fresh root (rather than the powedered version or the isolated curcumin found in turmeric) is proving to be beneficial in healing neuological damage and regenerating stem cells in the brain. In order to allow for the proper absorption of the beneficial properties of turmeric, it needs to be consumed with fat — which is why adding turmeric to our fat supplement is such a great idea.
Organic Black Pepper is a natural, whole food source of piperine. Black pepper/piperine dramatically (up to 2000%) improves the absorption of the potent active chemical constituents found in turmeric. Don’t worry, although pepper can be a little bit spicy, the flavor profile of our Red Gold is mild and balanced so that your dog/cat should enjoy this addition to the diet. We’ve noticed that most dogs and cats absolutely love the taste of rendered beef fat/lard/tallow! If you are concerned about palatability, or you just want to stick to the original White Gold supplement, this remains an excellent choice for EFA supplementation to support and improve your pet’s health.
I hope you and your animals will enjoy abundant health with these two very good, high quality nutritive fat supplements!