How Gene Research Can Help Your Dog Lose Weight
It's easy to admit that people and pets are healthier when they eat nutritious food. What's exciting is that researchers are finding that well-balanced nutrition may even hold the key to how genes are expressed in the body.
What is Nutrigenomics?
Nutrigenomics (shorthand for nutritional genomics) is the study of how nutrients found in food can influence gene expression. Genes are essentially information found within DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) which is inherited from our parents — and our dogs from their parents. To be put to practical use in the body, this information needs to be converted into proteins.
By up-regulating some genes and down-regulating others, the body can alter the levels of the various proteins that are being produced at any given time. This process can be either beneficial or detrimental to the wellbeing of our dogs. For example, if all the genes that create inflammation are turned up high and remain that way, problems related to excess inflammation will follow.
Some pet food manufacturers are utilizing this information to formulate pet foods containing the nutrients that modify an individual's gene expression to be more healthy (i.e., turn down the genes that cause inflammation) and help improve the quality of life of pets who consume that food.
Can Nutrigenomics Help My Overweight Dog?
One major area nutrigenomics researchers are focusing on is pet obesity.
"By measuring traditional biomarkers and using genomics," says veterinary nutrition technician Kara M. Burns, "we may gain a better understanding of the mechanisms involved that can enable us to aid in the prevention and/or early treatment of obesity and obesity-related diseases."
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