It is now understood that mineral levels, and their ratios, (the balanced or imbalanced relationship of minerals to one another) are ultimately what determine your dog's performance capabilities. Performance limitations are the consequence of biochemical imbalances and toxic body-burden. Optimum performance can be achieved by correcting biochemistry and endocrine function. The levels of nutrient (and toxic) minerals have an impact on how well biological processes function. Canine physical and cognitive abilities can be improved.
In wild landscapes, native grazing and browsing animals roam across a diverse habitat consisting of thousands of plant species. These plants are growing on many varieties of soil that have been affected by different geological influences such as glaciers, flooding and volcanic activity. Various and diverse climates also add to these varieties. These influences all affect the mineral composition of the soils, which in turn affects the mineral composition of the plants growing in whatever region they inhabit. These plants and the insects that eat them are then eaten by the small, foraging animals such as fowl, mice or rabbits. These animals are then eaten by wild dogs. This extremely diverse variation of nutritional origin then provides these wild dogs with a wide variety of trace minerals which are needed for healthy growth, physical, cognitive and emotional growth, immune system function and development and cellular functioning through proper energy production.
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. Roger Caras
The behavior, diets and physiology of dogs changed from that of their wild counterparts in response to the selection pressures of a new ecological niche—a domestic association with human beings. The modern working or companion dog does not have access to the variety of nutrition wild dogs biologically developed eating. The variety of nutrition in the foods domesticated dogs receive, even if it is home made from natural ingredients, lacks the necessary trace minerals and nutrients.
Our foods are grown on depleted and toxic soils and our feed animals are fed these foods and grasses. They have limited access to any variety of wild foods, thus their flesh is limited in trace minerals and nutritional elements. Toxic chemicals applied to the soils are also in the plants that are eaten, and thus in the animal flesh. The same applies to any grains that are added to the dog foods. Not only are grains frequently toxic, they are also a biologically incorrect food for dogs that is often indigestible.
Commercial food processing adds more toxic elements to the dog food. The chemicals and machinery used in processing the food add contaminants at various levels and amounts, without regulation. The packaging and preservatives also offer an array of toxic chemicals and contaminants to most commercially processed foods. What is the most common result of combining nutritionally depleted food with a toxic environment? A well fed yet malnourished dog, who expresses varying degrees of health problems. Over time the animal will develop devastating illnesses such as cancer, which is a leading cause of death in dogs.
The knee-jerk response of the dog food industry to this issue is to add nutritional supplements to their products. Unfortunately, this kind of approach to supplementation provides a standardized dosage. Also of concern is the sourcing of the supplements, because the raw sources of various vitamins and minerals differ widely in quality. We now understand that individual dog's vitamin and mineral needs are unique. And a working or performance dog has even higher nutritional demands. Their bodies are frequently under much higher levels of stress than a standard companion animal. The bottom line is that your dog may not be getting enough, or even any, of some of the nutrients needed to address the demands their biology is being placed under. Your animal also could be getting too much of some nutrients, which in itself will create mineral imbalances that can lead to an array of health problems.
Many health problems associated with undernutrition and toxicity are frustratingly difficult to diagnose, much less to treat. The good news is that a mineral balancing and nutritional program prescribed from an appropriately analyzed hTMA result can solve this problem.
Dogs are my favorite people. Richard Dean Anderson
There is huge variety in the types of working dogs and each specialty places different biological demands on your dog. Understanding your dog's nutritional needs, and having a way to assess their biochemical nutrient values and heavy metal burden and toxicity are essential for optimizing their performance.
The following list is useful in helping us to understand the various kinds working dogs, their specialized skills, and the types and levels of demands placed on their performance.
The use of nutrition for improving animal performance has, until recently, been used mainly for livestock and racing dogs and horses. Typically, its application has been directed at attempting to correct or prevent deficiencies of vital nutrients. Today, leading nutritional science focuses on the biochemical balance of essential nutrients; the most important of which are the trace elements (minerals).
Trace elements are more important than are the vitamins, in that they cannot be synthesized by living matter. Thus they are the basic spark-plugs in the chemistry of life, on which the exchanges of energy in the combustion of foods and the building of living tissues depend. Dr. Henry Schroeder, The Trace Elements and Man
Nutrient interrelationships are complex, every vitamin and mineral affects several other vitamins and minerals in an interconnected, intricate, ever-changing web of association (synergism and antagonism). For example, calcium is known to antagonize zinc, thus a high intake of calcium depresses intestinal zinc absorption. Iron and copper are synergistic because sufficient copper is required for iron utilization in the red blood cells. Nutrient elements have important functional effects on the endocrine glands. As with mineral and vitamin synergisms and antagonisms, endocrine synergisms and antagonisms exist also. Through the release of chemical messengers (hormones), the endocrine glands control the stress response. Hormones affect how nutrients influence basic cellular functions; absorption, excretion, transport and storage. Nutrients influence hormones also. Trace nutrient minerals are involved in hormone secretion, activity of the hormones, and target tissue binding sites. Mineral concentrations within the body affect the functioning of the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands. If the levels and/or ratios of these minerals are suboptimal, cellular function (hormone production and release, detoxification and renewal, performance and energy production) is compromised.3
Providing cells with elemental nutrients at optimal levels and ratios, enables them to perform this infinitely complex dance of life. Extensive tissue mineral research has led to significant advancements in the understanding of nutrient mineral interrelationships. This knowledge also can be applied to vitamin and endocrine interrelationships, resulting in a comprehensive, integrative approach to nutritional therapeutics.
EXAMPLE: The thyroid gland is responsible for the rate of sustained cellular energy production and release. This graph reflects thyroid activity within the normal range. The adrenal gland produces a number of vital hormones, many of which have an effect upon energy production. This graph reflects low adrenal activity.
A nicely balanced P.A.T. would appear on the graph showing all three bars extending the same length. Ideally, all three bars would extend to the mid-way point (indicated by the red line) however, seeing all bars lining up vertically anywhere within the box is acceptable. It is the relative BALANCE between the three bars that is most important.
The endocrine index is a graphic presentation of the pituitary-adrenal-thyroid relationship, or axis (P.A.T.). These endocrine glands influence energy production on a cellular level and ultimately the health and performance of the dog. Ideally, there should be a balance within the P.A.T. The levels need not be at the ideal range as this range is used only as a reference point. However, they should be balanced above, below or at the ‘ideal’ point. A major deviation between the P.A.T. axis can be indicative of a tendency or trend toward an adverse health condition. In the performance animal, a major deviation of the P.A.T. axis is reflective of an adverse affect upon speed and/or stamina.
The calcium/phosphorus ratio (Ca/P) represents dominance of the anterior or posterior pituitary.
The adrenal cortex produces mineralcorticoid hormones. A primary function of these hormones is to regulate the electrolytes sodium and potassium. The sodium/magnesium ratio (Na/Mg) is an indicator for adrenal function. A high Na/Mg ratio indicates increased adrenal expression (hyperadrenal) and a low Na/Mg ratio indicates low adrenal function (hypoadrenal).7
The calcium/potassium ratio (Ca/K) is an indicator for thyroid function. Potassium is necessary for sensitizing the tissues to the effects of thyroxine (T4). Studies have shown that in hypothyroid states, the intestinal absorption of calcium increases with lower than normal calcium excretion via the kidneys. A low Ca/K ratio, indicates thyroid dominance (hyperthyroid) and high Ca/K ratio indicates low thyroid expression (hypothyroid).
The increased, or hyper, functioning of the thyroid and adrenal glands occur in the alarm stage of stress (i.e., flight of fight). This state may become chronic and ultimately lead to under function, or hypothyroid or hypoadrenal states. This is a sign of poor immune and stress response, both of which can lead to degraded performance and illnesses of all types. Achieving and maintaining a balanced P.A.T axis will optimize your dog's cellular energy function and help provide emotional stability through effective and appropriate hormonal responses.
PERFORMANCE EVALUATION: This performance index graph reflects the domination of the thyroid gland over the adrenal glands. This is indicative of the tendency toward good endurance over longer distances, or for longer periods of time. However, as a result of thyroid dominance over the adrenals, speed, quickness and/or power over short periods of duration or distance may be negatively affected.
The performance index graphically displays the relationship of the energy producing glands (thyroid and adrenal) on speed and endurance. Performance indicators include the relationship between sodium (Na) and potassium (K). These two electrolytes are affected by various hormones secreted from different layers of the adrenal cortex. The Na/K ratio is an indicator of how well your dog is responding to stress.
Generally speaking, if the sodium is too elevated relative to potassium there would be a fast burn of energy over short durations. So a high Na/K ratio would give you a little more speed, but for a shorter length of time. A low Na/K ratio would slow the burn, meaning a little less speed, but for a longer length of time, meaning more endurance.
The ability to function optimally at the cellular level has a direct impact on overall cognitive, emotional and physical performance. An impoverished endocrine response ability results in a myriad of symptom clusters.
Symptoms are then given a diagnostic label by the obsolete medical paradigm. Labels include general anxiety or separation anxiety, depression, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, dermatitis, and on and on. New labels are concocted with great frequency. Many of these labeled symptom clusters are manifestations of the same underlying condition — the inability to produce cellular energy or respond to stress effectively. The solution lies in understanding and addressing this root cause, not symptomatic whack-a-mole.
In multi-cellular organisms (such as dogs), adaptive capabilities are at their best when cells are functioning at optimum levels. Mineral levels and ratios, must be properly balanced for a cell to function optimally. Because we live in a world with magnified environmental and social stressors, maintaining balance (adaptation) is an ongoing challenge. High-level resiliency is indicated by a balanced endocrine index, preferably close to the ideal middle of the chart.
How you choose to optimize performance will depend on your dog's needs. Working dogs have different performance needs based on the type of work they do. Here are examples of the three basic optimization strategies:
Ideal Balance. Optimized performance for most dogs is indicated by both endurance and speed being close to ideal on the performance index.
Endurance. Optimized performance for a long distance sled dog is indicated by endurance being slightly dominant over speed.
Dogs face increased exposure to heavy metal toxicity for a number of reasons. Heavy metals are heavy, thus when put into the air from industrial smoke stacks, car exhaust and other sources, they settle on or near the ground. Dogs live their lives at this level. They literally roll around and rub it right into their skin. Then they lick themselves and each other, ingesting even more. On top of this, there is the pet food industry. This industry has very little regulation or oversight, and most pet foods are loaded with toxins, both from the foods used to make them and from the industrial machinery used to process them. This toxin burden is then intensified in utero, thus increasing the toxic body burden with each generation.
Your dog's toxic body burden can be identified with hTMA screening. The hTMA nutritional balancing protocol safely replaces toxic heavy metals with biologically preferred minerals. It does this by providing the specific nutrients needed to optimize your dog's unique biochemical profile. The dog's cells and organs are provided with essential nutrients in the balanced ratios that they evolved with. This molecular-level optimization enhances their ability to better manage the persistent toxic exposures they experience daily, allowing the cells to perform effective detoxification. This optimized nutrition also meets the increased nutritional demands that are placed on a working dog from the stresses encountered in their work.
Dog's are naturally fast metabolizers, which is why they grow and develop quickly. By balancing your dog's metabolic rate, you will slow down the aging process, allowing you to have as much time together as possible.
hTMA provides detailed information about your dog's energy availability and performance capacity. By using hTMA nutritional balancing to rebalance and optimize biochemistry, you can provide your hard working canine with the ability to realize their full performance potential and maximize their physical and emotional health.