Your Dog Probably Doesn’t Get Enough Vitamin D
Research is showing many of us don’t get enough vitamin D and that’s bad for our health. And now research is showing the same thing might be happening in our dogs.
In fact, 75% of dogs reportedly don’t have enough vitamin D.
So why is that a problem?
Vitamin D And Your Dog
We humans are lucky … we can get our vitamin D3 not just from diet, but from exposure to the sun.
But dogs and cats are different. They only get insignificant amounts from the sun and must get nearly all of their vitamin D from their diet.
There are two types of vitamin D: vitamin D2 (which primarily comes from plant sources) and vitamin D3 (which is the most usable form for dogs and comes mainly from fatty meats and liver).
When vitamin D3 is eaten by your dog, it needs to be converted into a usable form (which is actually a hormone).
Vitamin D3 is first absorbed through the intestines, then converted in the liver to 25-hydroxyvitamin D (or 25VitD). The active form of vitamin D that the body uses is 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, also called calcitriol.
Vitamin D is mainly responsible for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the body. This affects a large range of functions in the body.
Vitamin D toxicity is the result of too much vitamin D in the diet. Over the years, many commercial pet foods have added too much vitamin D to their foods and it’s caused illness and even death in the animals eating it.
If there’s too much vitamin D in the diet, then life-threatening levels of calcium (hypercalcemia) and phosphorus can occur. This result is hardening or calcification of body tissues. This often occurs in the kidneys gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the heart and its arteries. Kidney failure can occur within days if vitamin D levels are high enough.
Recently, there’s been a lot of attention to what insufficient vitamin D can do to our dogs. Because vitamin D controls calcium, too little vitamin D can often show up as bone deformities (rickets) and, as researchers are looking at now, even immune system dysfunction.
Here’s a list of research showing some of the diseases that are associated with low serum levels of vitamin D: vdilab.com/pdf/40_VitD%20-%20body%20of%20evidencev7.pdf
You might notice that six of these studies show a link between low serum vitamin D (which is the amount of 25VitD found in the blood of the test animals) and cancer. A lot of researchers have been spending their time on this relationship.
And new research shows that 75% of dogs don’t have enough 25VitD.
Is This The Reason Why So Many Dogs Are Getting Cancer These Days?
Should we pay attention to the low levels of 25VitD we see in dogs today? I think we should because human research is showing a similar association between vitamin D and cancer. They’re not yet finding a cause and effect relationship, but it’s worth paying attention to. The low levels of 25VitD in our dogs also reflects the state of the world they live in (and us too). Here are some other factors that are known to decrease the ability to convert dietary vitamin D to 25-VitD:
Factors that are known to decrease the ability to convert dietary vitamin D to 25-VitD:
Polyunsaturated fats can decrease the bioavailability of vitamin D
Fluoride (which is present in many pet foods and water supplies) decreases magnesium, which is an essential cofactor for vitamin D
Strong magnetic fields can reduce vitamin D levels
PCBs increase the risk of deficiency by 3%
Roundup (glyphosate, which is present in foods and the environment) decreases vitamin D
Flame retardants (which are 10 times higher in dogs than humans) inactivate vitamin D
Low magnesium in foods
Spay/Neuter (spayed females have 10% less 25VitD than intact females and neutered males have 30% less than intact males)
Kidney disease (prevents the conversion of 25VitD to the usable form of vitamin D)
Exposure to DDT and other pesticides
Certain drugs (as well as St Johns wort and mineral oil) can consume or block vitamin D
Most dogs today are going to be affected by at least two or three of these factors … at minimum.
How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Enough Vitamin D?
There’s no question the research showing an association between cancer and 25VitD is worth looking at. And we know your dog probably isn’t getting enough.
But how can you tell for sure?
The good news is you can do this by requesting this test from VDI Labs at your vet clinic. It typically costs less than $100 and it’s just a simple blood test.
But if you test your dog and decide to give him a vitamin D supplement that isn’t in a whole food form like salmon, then you’re probably not doing your dog any favors. A high calorie dog food should have quality ingredients.
I need to warn you about something before you give your dog a vitamin D pill to reduce his risk of cancer.
What to Do If Your Dog Doesn’t Get Enough Vitamin D?
So think about the food your dog eats …
… if he eats kibble, or if he eats a raw food with synthetic vitamin D (it will say vitamin D on the label), then we know he might not be getting enough.
Keep in mind that even raw foods can contain synthetic vitamin D. If it says vitamin D, it’s not natural.
And remember, if food manufacturers mess up and put just a little bit more vitamin D in the food, your dog can suffer kidney disease or failure (and lots of commercial foods have killed dogs due to vitamin D toxicity).
So here’s the best way I see to make sure your dog is getting enough vitamin D (and other important vitamins) in his diet and his body.
Feed your dog wild prey animals whenever you can. They will have more vitamin D content than their domestic counterparts.
Feed your dog grass fed, pastured animals. They’ll have more vitamin D than animals raised indoors.
Feed organic animals whenever you can. They’ll be less likely to be eating foods with glyphosate and other nutrient robbing ingredients.
Don’t feed commercial foods with synthetic (fake) vitamin D. If it says vitamin D on the label, it’s not vitamin D … it’s a fake, chemical isolate and won’t behave the same way (and can harm your dog if there’s too much).
Supplement your dog’s diet with either salmon or cod liver oil.
Test your dog for vitamin D deficiency if you can’t do all of the above.
Read the full article here: Dogs Naturally Magazine