Natural ingredients for healthy digestion
Many foods are not completely digested and absorbed from the gut. The food material which remains with in the gut can start to ferment and produce gases such as ammonia, which have unpleasant odours... many pet owners will be familiar with these smells unfortunately! These food debris can also interfere with absorption of other nutrients from the gut by blocking access to the absorptive surfaces, including the small "fingers" which line the intestines called the ‘villi’. The villi increase the surface area available for absorption of nutrients, but when they are covered in non-digestible food, they cannot do this.
Yucca schidigera is a plant extract which physically ‘cleanses’ the lining of the small and large intestines. It is not absorbed into the body when it is swallowed so remains within the bowel, where it binds to residual food and gas debris. It acts like an “intestinal broom” and carries the bound food remnants and gas out of the body. Removing this waste means that there is more surface area of the gut available to absorb nutrients, especially micro-nutrients, from digested food. This means your pet can obtain more nourishment from its food, especially when it is a high quality preparation such as Tucker Time. Your dog will produce smaller and more naturally consistent stools with far less smell.
Prebiotics are defined as ‘non-digestible food ingredients which, when fed to an animal, beneficially affect that animal by selectively promoting the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of microflora in the colon, and thus improve the animal’s health’. Microflora are the bacteria and yeasts which live in the digestive system. All dogs have them (and so do all humans). They are very important not only for gut health, but for overall body health too. There are both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria which live in the gut and the balance between these is important. The good bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, help to digest food, absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar, manufacture vitamins and play an important role in immune function. They also compete with the bad bacteria, such as Salmonella or E.coli, for food and space and some species can produce certain fatty acids which have an antibacterial effect against the bad bacteria. These pathogenic (aka ‘bad’) bacteria can damage the villi and reduce nutrient absorption if allowed to proliferate. But the action of the good bacteria keeps their numbers in check and prevents them overgrowing and causing digestive upsets.
The chicory plant (Cichorium intybus) carries a special ‘secret’ under the soil: its root contains a prebiotic fibre called ‘inulin’. It is a fructo-oligosaccharide, or ‘FOS’, which is a special type of soluble fibre that resists digestion by an animal’s body in the stomach and small intestine and reaches the large intestine (colon) intact. In the large intestine, the ‘good bacteria’ present are able to ferment this sugar, and break it down into smaller molecules (called short chain fatty acids, SCFAs) which they can use as a food source to help them proliferate and grow. The bacterial cells convert these SCFAs into ketones, which can then be used directly by the cells lining the colon as an energy source, to keep them nourished and healthy. So it is a win-win for inulin! It keeps the microbiota healthy and the gut cells healthy.
The third component of our gut health trio primarily acts as a prebiotic also. But rather than feeding the good bacteria, this benefits the gut through removing the bad bacteria and modulating the immune function. It is an extract of the outer cell wall of the yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The active component is a non-digestible functional carbohydrate known as a mannan-oligosaccharide, or ‘MOS’. This active portion is able to bind to (or ‘adsorb’), inactivate and remove 'bad’ bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella from the digestive tract. This enables the 'good bacteria', Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus, to flourish by reducing their competition. The enhanced levels of the beneficial bacteria aids in overall gut health, digestion, micro-nutrient synthesis and absorption. It has been demonstrated that dogs fed diets containing this yeast extract digest nutrients from their food much better and produce stools with less unbound water, an improved consistency (firmer), and less odour due to reduced ammonia.
An important secondary beneficial effect of S. cerevisiae yeast extract is that it helps stimulate the animal’s immunity – in the gut and the rest of the body, for improved overall health and resistance to disease.
There is also some good evidence that FOS’ and MOS’ work synergistically together. By including both inulin and S. cerevisiae together in the Tucker Time formulations, it promotes a much healthier balance of good bacteria versus bad bacteria in the gut, compared with using either ingredient alone.
The result of this triple combination of digestive health ingredients for your dog is:
- improved digestion of food
- increased absorption of nutrients
- smaller, well-formed, less odorous stools.