|Nutritional supplements slow signs of aging in dogs
Nutritional supplements improve the memory, ability to learn, and cognitive function of old dogs, giving scientists a new approach to the neurodegeneration and cognitive decline common with aging in humans, as published in a recent study.
The team of scientists found that two antioxidant compounds, acetyl-l-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid, believed to slow mitochondrial decay in the cell, significantly increased the ability of older beagle dogs to learn new tasks.
This study was recently published in FASEB Journal, produced by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, by researchers from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, the University of Toronto, University of California/Berkeley, Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institue, and Juvenon, Inc. It builds upon a similar study that found that the energy level and activity of geriatric rats almost doubled when fed the same supplements.
In the current study, an inbred line of older beagle dogs were taught to find a food treat by identifying certain markers, such as a yellow peg. Applied scents on the markers to deter the dogs from using scent to find the food treats. Some dogs received the supplementation, while others did not. After 15 weeks, more than 80% of the supplemented dogs were successful, while only 50% of those not receiving supplements learned how to find the treat.
The researchers suggested in the study that long-term supplementation “may be effective in attenuating age-associated cognitive decline by slowing the rate of mitochondrial decay and cellular aging.” They hope to be able to enhance the functions of mitochondria in order to increase the mental energy in animals, and eventually humans.