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Krill: Nature’s Superfood for Combating Chronic Inflammation in Pets

Blog overview

Pet owners are increasingly concerned about their pets' health and well-being, and often seek ways to ensure that their pets live long and healthy lives. However, pets are active creatures, and like humans, they are exposed to lifestyle health conditions.


During times of intense physical activity or when suffering from conditions such as obesity, skin disorders, allergies, mobility issues, and more, the pet’s body is exposed to strain and stress in the form of inflammation


Inflammation - good or bad?

Not all inflammation is necessarily bad. Inflammation is, in fact, a protective process initiated by the pet's immune system after the body identifies something potentially dangerous to its health. “Defense” cells are sent to the affected area and their purpose is to kill and remove harmful components from the body, repair the damage, and help the body return to its normal state.

So, in this case, inflammation is restorative. As long as the inflammatory response remains limited over time and resolves the issue, it is a good defense mechanism for the pet's health. 

However, there is another side of the inflammation coin. When inflammation fails to resolve the issue and instead persists over time, it becomes a health problem. These types of chronic inflammatory processes are usually seen in all the conditions mentioned in the illustration below, and they can play a major part in illness progression.

Chronic inflammatory conditions

How chronic inflammation affects cats and dogs

When an inflammatory process is ongoing and “defense” cells are actively killing unwanted substances, healthy cells and tissues are also harmed in the process. If the immune reaction is short, as in hours or a few days, the restoration phase will repair all cell damage.

In chronic situations, the body tissue is harmed by “defense” cells over time, and the restoration phase is not initiated. Therefore, in addition to killing harmful substances, the immune system is harming the pet's bodily tissue and eventually its overall health.

Read more: Basic nutrition of the dog: hydration in dogs


Can chronic inflammation be reduced or stopped?

There are pharmaceutical medications available for treating severe inflammatory processes. However, they often come with potential side effects and limited usage over time. As an alternative, or as the main treatment in less severe cases, anti-inflammatory functional nutrients can benefit the pet's diet, without the harmful side effects. 

The best example of anti-inflammatory functional nutrients is the marine omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These fatty acids can reduce inflammation through a variety of mechanisms, for example, by giving rise to signaling molecules (such as eicosanoids and resolvins) that act inflammation resolving. They also support the immune system in multiple ways.

Marine omega 3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation in pets

Read more: How important is the right omega-3 in a pet's diet?

Other nutrients that help reduce inflammation in pets are antioxidants.  Antioxidants are perhaps best known for their ability to protect body cells from being harmed by free radicals. This is an important feature since high activity, obesity, and various illnesses create a lot of free radicals in the body. 

However, antioxidants may also have the ability to block the production of substances that increase inflammation (pro-inflammatory mediators). By this, they help fight inflammatory activity and support a healthy pet.


Keeping pets healthy with dietary functional nutrients

Antioxidants, combined with the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, form a strong anti-inflammatory defense against inflammation processes in the pet's body, whether high-performance activity, obesity, allergies, gastrointestinal disorders, mobility issues, or others cause this response.

Therefore, including these nutrients in a pet’s diet as a general prevention strategy or as part of a treatment is a non-invasive, natural, and easy way of keeping cats and dogs healthy. Krill, a source rich in some of the most effective nutrients against inflammation, can contribute to this defense.

Krill is a superior source of omega-3s because its key fatty acids, EPA and DHA, are mainly bound to phospholipids. In other sources of omega-3, such as fish oil, the omega-3s are delivered in triglyceride form. These two chemical forms make all the difference. Omega-3s from triglyceride (TG) must first be re-built into phospholipids (PL) before they can be incorporated into cell membranes where they serve their anti-inflammatory effects. 

Read more: Why are phospholipids important for pets?


Krill is a superior source of omega-3s

It has been shown that omega-3 in TG form is more easily metabolized and used as energy source versus omega-3 in PL form. Therefore, vital omega-3s from TGs will be lost before reaching the cell membrane. Omega-3 PLs, due to their chemical composition, are less available as energy and more efficiently incorporated into cell membranes where they can help reduce inflammation and positively influence health. 

Krill also contains the natural and powerful antioxidant astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is more than 100 times stronger than the antioxidant vitamin E and protects all body cells from oxidative damage by free radicals. When krill is provided in a pet's diet, astaxanthin can be integrated into the immune cell to protect it from damage, as well as efficiently block the negative impact of pro-inflammatory components. 

Read more: Why krill is the hero ingredient in pet food


Krill - the perfect inflammation-fighting ingredient in pet food

The high content of superior phospholipid omega-3 and astaxanthin makes krill the perfect inflammation-fighting ingredient in pet food. Since inflammation is a condition many pets will encounter throughout their lifetimes, krill should be considered at different inclusion rates in a broad range of diets, serving as an effective strategy to ensure the long and healthy lives of pets.


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Blog overview