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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

 

Why is there such an interest in turmeric these days?

People living in a world with sophisticated medical approaches are living longer every decade. Yet, these extra years are now laden with chronic disorders, discomfort, and diseases—obesity, diabetes, dementia, heart disease, gut issues, osteoporosis, kidney disease, mood disorders, autoimmune diseases.  A causal factor in all these issues is chronic inflammation, silently eroding health over decades, then surfacing in midlife and beyond. The problem is not confined to humans, but rampant in all mammals—including our beloved companion, the dog.

The search for anti-inflammatory potions, safe for long-term use, has led to the chemical evaluation of natural remedies. No other ancient medicinal has been researched as long or as thoroughly as turmeric. Scientists have shown, time and again, that a whole food sliced—-chopped or ground—- and consumed on a regular basis, is the safest and most effective approach for daily use.

For nearly 4000 years, turmeric has been an integral part of traditional Asian medicine. Today, scientific studies are underway evaluating this underground plant stem (called a rhizome), ground into a bright yellow powder. Their findings?  The spice, Turmeric, is a potent source of anti-inflammatory proteins and other beneficial chemicals working against the causes of pain, gut discomfort, and disease. More than 300 compounds have been identified in turmeric, with attention presently on the healthful effects of the curcuminoids—concentrated in Turmeric Plus.

 

What is the difference between a spice and an herb?

A spice is any pungent aromatic plant substance, used whole or ground.

Example:

           tree bark (cinnamon)

           fruit (peppercorns)

           roots (turmeric)

           seeds (nutmeg)

 

Herbs are plant leaves and stems, fresh or dried, that add flavor.

Example:

           basil

           thyme

           oregano

           cilantro

 

 

*Is curcumin a vitamin or mineral? 

Vitamins and minerals are required for the basic daily functions of all cells. Beyond these life-supporting chemicals scientists have discovered thousands of additional elements in plant foods, called phytochemicals, that add protection against disease and pain. These phytochemicals are highly concentrated in herbs and spices. There are especially high levels of healthful phytochemicals in brightly colored herbs and spices, as in the orange-colored spice—turmeric.

Curcumin, the main ingredient in the curry spice turmeric, is a naturally occurring antioxidant with potent anti-inflammatory activity, as well as other protective properties.

In short, curcumin is a PHYTOCHEMICAL.

 

Why is the spice, turmeric, an important addition to the diet every day?

Beyond the proteins, carbohydrates, and fats provided by daily food intake, beyond the vitamins and minerals required for life (vita = life), turmeric is a concentrated source of unique healthful nutrients that support disease-free longevity in all species. This colorful spice has been the focus of extensive study in recent years to determine the chemical mechanism behind its potent anti-inflammatory activity.

 

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is a local, healing response by immune cells to tissue injury. The chemical process increases blood flow to the affected tissue and expands the size of local blood vessels to allow immune cells and a host of chemical mediators to remove toxic agents and damaged tissue.   

 

How do the immune cells communicate the need to activate or terminate an inflammatory immune response?

Immune cells communicate by producing proteins—called cytokines.  Cyto means cell and kine stands for protein. Like the words we use to communicate, cytokines are exchanged among the immune cells as signals for action (activating and sustaining inflammation) or signals to terminate the immune process (anti-inflammatory activity to block further inflammation).

The communication works similarly to the alphabet and words of language.  Our letters form words that have meaning. Similarly, the amino acid composition of each cytokine has a specific meaning to immune cells.

Humans can hear or read words and grasp the meaning of the communication. A cytokine produced by one immune cell can fit into receptors on other immune cells transmitting information that directs the cell to activate or terminate inflammatory activity.

 

Can the inflammatory response produced by the immune system malfunction?

Inflammation can acts as both a “friend and foe”. It is an essential component of immediate defense against toxic proteins and microorganisms (bacteria, virus, fungus, etc.). However, a small (2 to 3-fold) increase in the concentration of inflammatory proteins (cytokines) correlates with the risk of chronic disease. This mild, but continual, inflammatory process may accelerate both the expression of genes related to disease and the progression of metabolic imbalances that later surface as diseases, i.e., heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, dementia, gut issues, and others. 



What can be done to protect both body and brain against the silent influence of chronic, mild inflammation?

Lifestyle influences the activity of the immune system. Factors that increase inflammation include:

           — pollution in air, water, and food enhance inflammation.

           — excess body fat,

           — lack of exercise,

           — unhealthy foods.

Diet has a major effect immune system status and is a lifestyle variable that can work to protect one’s health or contribute significantly to disease.

Dogs consume food several times a day. The consumption of inflammatory vs. anti-inflammatory food impacts the balance of the immune system at every meal and snack. Beyond food, turmeric, a potent anti-inflammatory spice, supports immune balance every day.  The goal is simple: For more healthy years, silence inflammation every day!

 

How does turmeric fight the gut distress, pain, and chronic diseases that shorten quality years and the lifespan of your dog? 

Turmeric directly silences the chronic, low-grade pro-inflammatory cytokines that are activated by today’s unhealthy lifestyle: poor quality air and water, lack of exercise, too much or too little sleep, eating too much saturated fat, too little fiber, too many simple carbohydrates.

 

What is the dietary source of turmeric?

The rhizome, turmeric, is native to India from the plant, Curcuma Longa.  Turmeric is available for consumption as the fresh root or concentrated as a ground, dried powder.

 

If turmeric has healthful properties, what is the potential role of turmeric in protection against disease?

Clinical trials on turmeric, in humans and animals, are underway, focusing on its potential role against:

           direct inflammatory conditions, as in arthritis, bowel conditions, pain;

           inflammatory-related diseases, as in cancer, cardiovascular disease,                         dementia, mood disorders, diabetes, skin diseases.

 

Is turmeric safe to consume on a regular basis?

In a review of turmeric, released by the University of California in October 2016, turmeric has been found to be safe. However, it is always wise to inform your veterinarian before adding any supplement to the dog’s diet, especially if your companion animal is taking any medications.

Reference: University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Letter, Turmeric Comes on Strong; Volume 33, Issue 1, October 2016

 

How many healthful chemicals have been identified in turmeric?

Scientists have identified more than 300 compounds in turmeric. The healthful chemical group that has received the most attention is curcumin.

 

What are the beneficial chemical properties of the curcumin in turmeric?

Daily intake of curcumin works for your dog’s body and brain: anti-inflammatory power, antioxidant activity, antibacterial effects, and anti-cancer protection. Because the brain is 60% fat, the fat-soluble turmeric powder permeates and protects against the destructive effects of inflammation in the brain. Other curcuminoids, relatives of curcumin, have many of these properties as well.

 

Is there a recommendation from respected scientists concerning the consumption of curcumin?

Scientists from the University of California state: “Get curcumin from food sources”: eat the cooked or raw turmeric root, use the ground turmeric root as a spice in food or placed in a capsule for convenient consumption on a daily basis.

Reference: University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Letter, Turmeric Comes on Strong; Volume 33, Issue 1, October 2016

 

How is the curcumin in turmeric absorbed into the blood and tissues?

The curcumin in turmeric is a fat-soluble chemical. Consuming the turmeric powder or root with fatty food improves the absorption of curcumin.  Additionally, a pinch of black pepper greatly enhances both the bioavailability of curcumin and the conversion of curcumin to its active components by the liver.

 

What is the definition of bioavailability?

Bioavailability is the amount of a substance (in this case the curcumin in turmeric) that is absorbed from the intestine into the circulation. The presence of food elements (such as black pepper and the various nutrients in the turmeric root) improve the absorption of the active compounds in the turmeric root.

 

How does black pepper improve the bioavailability of the curcumin and other related curcuminoids in turmeric?

The chemical, piperine, in black pepper aids bioavailability in two ways:  (1) greatly improved absorption of the curcumin from the gut (2) enhanced conversion of the absorbed curcumin into chemical derivatives active in body and brain against pain and disease.

 

Are there sources of piperine in foods other than black pepper?

Long pepper, sometimes called Indian long pepper, has a taste similar to, but hotter than, that of its close relative Piper nigrum from which black, green and white pepper are obtained. All of these pepper varieties contain piperine. (Source: wikipedia.org)

 

How long do the healthful chemicals in turmeric stay active in brain and body tissues?

Nourishment of brain and body cells by food, even concentrated sources of food such as spices and herbs, is best attained by daily intake.

 

Why were three ingredients added to the ground turmeric in Turmeric Plus?

  • The fat in flax improves the absorption of turmeric from the gut.
  • The purified curcumin maximizes the anti-inflammatory activity of turmeric without removing the main ingredient, turmeric, with its natural chemicals that are necessary for full potency of the product.
  • The addition of black pepper provides the sole chemical, piperine, required for best utilization of the curcumin and the many other curcuminoids in turmeric.

The proportion of each of the ingredients in Turmeric Plus has been formulated to reflect the current research with canines.

References:

A combination cocktail improves spatial attention in a canine model of human aging and Alzheimer’s disease, Elizabeth Head, et. al., Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 32 (2012), 1029-1042.

Natural Standard Herb and Supplement Guide: An evidence-based reference. Catherine E.Ulbricht, PharmD.

The Pet Lover’s Guide to Natural Healing for Cats and Dogs, B. Fougere, BVSc

 

How was the dosage in Turmeric Plus calculated?

The dosage of Turmeric Plus is based on the weight of the dog. References for ideal amounts of turmeric recommended for dogs:

A combination cocktail improves spatial attention in a canine model of human aging and Alzheimer’s disease, Elizabeth Head, et. al., Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 32 (2012), 1029-1042.

Natural Standard Herb and Supplement Guide: An evidence-based reference. Catherine E.Ulbricht, PharmD.

The Pet Lover’s Guide to Natural Healing for Cats and Dogs, B. Fougere, BVSc

 

*How will I know if my dog is benefiting from Turmeric Plus?

Over the decades, the subtle effects of mild, but chronic inflammation on the body and brain contributes to the onset of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, gut issues, bone loss, and dementia. 

Science has demonstrated many ways to combat inflammation and reduce the risk of pain and disease in people and their companions: healthy food, vitamin/mineral supplementation, proper rest, stress management, and exercise. Recently the power of concentrated foods - herbs & spices - have been added to the list of protective practices that can add more healthy years.  Life offers no promises.  Healthy living means adapting practices that keep your brain and body cells balanced and protected against the elements that trigger discomfort and disease.

At the present time, the focus is on turmeric:

It is an important spice protective against the subtle inflammation that may             trigger disease-related genes any time in the life cycle of your dog.

If you are aware of the family history of your dog and there is chronic disease risk in the family, Turmeric Plus may extend healthy years. 

It is a therapeutic remedy for pain and other ongoing inflammatory symptoms.

If your dog is experiencing pain or has an ongoing inflammatory problem, Turmeric Plus has been proven to decrease discomfort and symptoms.

 

Doesn't a quality dog food contain everything my dog needs?

Beyond a dog’s daily nutritional needs of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals food, Turmeric Plus adds protection against the onslaught of subtle chemical factors that spark disease. Similar to the daily intake of food, Turmeric Plus is a lifetime approach to more healthy years.

 

*Is Turmeric Plus suitable for cats?  Other animals?

Turmeric Plus has been formulated and tested for dogs and cats. Studies show that the same dosage applies to both, in effect, a safe maintenance-level dosage for dogs and cats is 1/4 teaspoon per 10 lbs. of animal's weight per day (ideally split between 2 feedings, 12 hours apart).  Studies have also shown that turmeric is safe and effective on all mammals, which is why we launched our "Orange Equine" product for horses and other farm animals.

 

Is there a time I can or should stop giving Turmeric Plus to my dog? 

If your dog is under veterinary care for an acute problem, it may be recommended to terminate the supplement temporarily.

Examples:

Very high doses of turmeric can cause stomach upset and act as a blood thinner. Avoid turmeric/curcumin if your dog takes blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), is about to have surgery, is pregnant or has gallbladder disease.

Always inform your veterinarian when giving your companion animal any supplement.

 

What are the different ways to introduce Turmeric Plus to your dog?

If your dog eats wet food, mix it with the food. 

If your dog is fed dry food, you can sprinkle it on top of the food. If the dog does not consume all the product, spritz the dry food first with water, then add the turmeric powder.

There are two excellent way to enhance the overall anti-inflammatory activity of the supplement and improve acceptance:

A mixture of Turmeric Plus with plain low-fat or whole-fat yogurt.

The probiotic bacteria in the yogurt work throughout body and brain to diminish inflammation along with the Turmeric Plus.  Most dogs love yogurt!

A mixture of the supplement in oil.

If your dog loves fish, mix the Turmeric Plus in a small amount of fish oil and add it to the wet or dry food.  There are anti-inflammatory fats in fish oil, thus adding to healthy years. If your dog does not tolerate fish oil, olive oil is a good substitute. Oil from the olive is not anti-inflammatory, but adds needed stability to cells against inflammation.

 

If you stop giving your dog Turmeric Plus, would all the benefits be lost? 

The protective effects of the spice would not continue without replenishment.  The active chemicals denature over time.

 

When should a dog start taking turmeric on a daily basis to neutralize the inflammation that relates to discomfort and disease?

Puppies should begin supplementation as soon as possible. Inflammation has been noted in the human fetus due to the presence of inflammatory chemicals in the mother’s blood. Along with appropriate puppy food, Turmeric Plus helps to keep the fire of inflammation at bay for more healthy years. Consult your veterinarian for the proper time to begin supplementing your puppy.

 

Can your dog consume too much turmeric?

Balance and moderation is the key to health. It is hard to find any nutritional factor that is safe long-term when given in huge excess. Great qualities of water devoid of any electrolyte balance from the diet can result in muscle cramping and other symptoms; too much vitamin C can increase the risk of kidney stones… you get the idea! The amount of turmeric recommended in Turmeric Plus is well below the amount that could cause side effects.  

 

Is there a shelf life for Turmeric Plus?

Yes. It is recommended to use Turmeric Plus within one year. The golden flax in Turmeric Plus is a fatty substance. Fat gets rancid, that is, it breaks down in the presence of oxygen over long periods of time.

 

*How might Turmeric Plus be related to protection against canine dementia?

The brain has limited capacity to deal with inflammation. Turmeric Plus is a natural aid to control inflammation in the brain.

References:

A combination cocktail improves spatial attention in a canine model of human aging and Alzheimer’s disease, Elizabeth Head, et. al., Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 32 (2012)

1029-1042.

The effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer's disease: An overview.

Shrikant Mishra and Kalpana Palanivelu, Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2008 Jan-Mar; 11(1): 13–19.  doi:  10.4103/0972-2327.40220

WebMD Health News: "Curry Spice May Counter Alzheimer's."

 

How might Turmeric be related to protection against canine cancers?

Inflammation increases the mutation of cancer-related genes. The anti-inflammatory effects of Turmeric Plus may be protective against cancers, especially colon cancer, as the supplement reacts directly with cells in the gut.

A number of laboratory studies on cancer cells have shown that curcumin does have anticancer effects. It seems to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It has the best effects on bowel cancer, breast cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells.

Reference: Can turmeric prevent or treat cancer? | Cancer Research UK, Aug 6, 2015.

www.cancerresearchuk.org/

 

What are the effects of turmeric-based curcumin on the cardiovascular system?

Researchers in France fed 20 mice a diet supplemented with curcumin or a comparison diet not supplemented. After 16 weeks, mice fed on the curcumin-based diet had a 26% reduction in fatty deposits in their arteries compared to mice on the comparison diet. The herb appears to alter the genetic signaling involved in plaque buildup in blood vessel walls.

Reference: Presented at the American Heart Association's Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Annual Conference in Las Vegas, July 20-23, 2009.    www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20090720/curcumin-may-prevent-clogged-arteries