Vitamin C in Pet Foods

Articles have been published in the past claiming that supplemental vitamin C has been clinically tested and proven to cause liver and kidney problems in dogs. A quote from the article states, "The different dietary forms of vitamin C like: ascorbic acid (in an ‘L’ form), sodium ascorbate or calcium ascorbate are all synthetic water soluble forms. They end up in the dog’s kidneys where they change the uric pH while waiting to be discharged from the dog’s body. This change in the natural pH within the kidney puts additional stress on them and can cause many problems." (Cusick, The Animal Advocate)

The critical point to keep in mind with regard to potential toxicity of any substance is that the dose makes the poison. Even water and oxygen, certainly "essential" nutrients, are toxic at high enough dosages. Vitamin C can also be toxic if overdone. For example, Teare, et. al. used 1200 mg of vitamin C daily (25-50 mg is sufficient for beneficial effects) in dogs to induce toxic results.

Using massive doses of vitamin C to achieve toxicity is very misleading and irresponsible. The public looks to scientists for honest, fair, informed, and balanced (not sensationalized) direction. As mentioned earlier, any substance used at extreme levels over a long period of time may cause organ damage, as well as other health problems. It should be noted that prey animals contain vitamin C at higher levels than what is found in Wysong pet diets. Thus, Wysong doesn’t use toxic levels of vitamin C in its pet foods.

Dozens of reports in the scientific literature demonstrate that vitamin C, at moderate levels, may benefit those species, which are able to synthesize it on their own (this includes mammals – i.e. dogs, cats, and humans). Not only is it beneficial metabolically in dozens of ways, but it also helps to regenerate a variety of internal antioxidant systems. Further, vitamin C (natural and synthetic) is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that it is not stored in body tissue. Excess vitamin C that is not used by the body (animal or human) is excreted via the urinary system. It is one of the safest vitamins known to man.

The natural vitamin C found in Wysong diets is used primarily as an antioxidant. Vitamin C, when used as a food antioxidant in home-prepared or commercial pet foods, is effective, safe, and very important. It is a preferred substitute for chemical preservatives such as BHT and BHA, which have been linked to health problems. The danger that arises from oxidized fats and free-radical pathology is far greater than any conceivable harm from the low levels of vitamin C used to prevent it.

Is the resolution of how to best feed a pet dependant upon who can cite the most scientific references, or what the National Research Council guidelines say, such as, "pets don’t require vitamin C"? Certainly not.

Knowledge continually grows and changes. We are not at an endpoint in any of the scientific disciplines, and the field of nutrition is no exception. Each time guidelines are determined, all previous nutritional information regarding specific dosages, etc. become obsolete. Nutrient levels are determined by research in which only one nutrient is varied in what is believed to be an adequate diet. However, every time a new minimum or maximum level is determined, it means all the previous tests using this nutrient at its previously believed "correct" level are invalid. The notion of a definitive set of levels for nutrients at any one point in time, other than when bias becomes fact, or people need nutritional demons to vanquish, is not possible.

Wysong disagrees with the reductionistic approach to nutrition and health. This is the approach taken by the majority of the food industry. Nutrition is not reducible to milligrams, IUs, and micrograms. Instead it is holistic.

Nutrition is individual. Every organism is genetically unique. Further, it is not within the capability of science to determine with exactness what the requirements are for whole populations, species, breeds, etc. To suggest that anyone can do so is misleading. The same can be said with regard to what is toxic for a particular species, and at what levels.

Arguments that pets don’t need vitamin C are pure guesswork, not science. A ubiquitous vitamin, such as vitamin C, that is increasingly being shown to exact dramatic preventive and therapeutic effects is indeed likely required in spite of an unrealistic and exaggerated "study" that seems to show the contrary.

The Wysong Optimal Health Program™ is a "recipe" for life based on the belief that all creatures will experience their best potential when they live as closely as possible to their genetic, archetypal expectation. Natural forms of nutrients are different from the synthetic forms because of their complex interrelationships with other beneficial biochemicals. Wysong believes this is important and it is the reason that totally food-derived vitamin C supplements for animals and humans are offered.
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