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The best anti dementia preventative medication for your dog, AKTIVAIT Nutraceuticals chemical review.

Phosphotidylserine chemical symbol used for anti dog dementiaThe previous two articles looked at dog dementia and how to prevent or treat it with pharmaceuticals or Nutraceuticals. So I was wondering with what I feed my dog, how much more value another preventative medication might be now that he has hit a mature age. 

Here we reveiw the specific chemicals used in the most effective and popular anti dementia medication - AKTIVAIT

I feed my dog on a raw meat diet with 20% of high fibre premium pellets for intestinal health. To achieve aafco table minimum requirements (if you believe the tables and think that meat doesn't meet all vitamins and mineral requirements) I supplement my dogs diet with a high quality multi vitamin (which happens to be high in B, C and E vitamins, Selenium). What else should I do ... read on ..

I believe that the only true Omega 3 source to use with dogs (that is bio available) is that from animals. There is Omega 3 in beef and Roo is a great source, but I use fish Oil capsules that provide a high dose to reduce skin allergy issues and secondary infections of fungus and bacteria. He also gets the right amount of Omega 6 (sunflower oil) but I mention Omega 3 here, because the science articles also discuss its use in preventing dog dementia.

So the only naturopath chemicals it appears that I would be missing from my dog's current diet (that are in most premium nautrapath formulations, is flavonoids and carotenoids (except some might be in my dog pellets) and l-carnitine and dl-alpha-lipoic.  Below I look at the sources and reason that these chemicals are included.

It is the last chemical combination (l-carnitine and dl-alpha-lipoic) that I think might be of use as a supplement.  While the chemicals SAM-e and apoaequorin (from jellyfish) appear to have some promising actions, these chemicals tend to be stand alone supplements, not used in a cocktail of preventive drugs. And so your preventative costs would at least triple by buying three seperate products.

A little history on Apoaequorin. It was first discovered in 1962 as the protein in one species of  glowing jellyfish. This protein is responsible for binding to calcium ions.   While the original source was these jellyfish, scientists have now artificially synthesised in the protein in the lab. The age related and brain related value of this protein is that it is used to alleviate the consequences of impaired calcium homeostasis (the imbalance of calcium ions) that often cause mild memory loss associated with aging.

Another major chemical of interest as a preventer of dementia is phosphatidylserine (found in the anti brain aging brands AKTIVAIT and Senilife).

From my research it appears that these brands contain the most promising cocktail of brain ageing prevention drugs at a reasonable price (non prescription). The only issue for Australians is that for some reason they are not available here (in 2015). Below I will comment on the primary Aktivait active ingredients and what value they are said to provide to a dog.

AKTIVAIT active ingredients: MEDIUM and large dog capsules  PER CAPSULE

  • DHA/EPA 35mg, (active ingredients in Omega 3 fish Oil, very low levels compared to what I give)
  • L-carnitine 13.5mg, Alpha lipoic acid 10mg,
  • Vitamin C 20mg, Vitamin E 10mg,  (Already provided by multi vitamins, but not too high to cause toxicity)
  • N-acetyl cysteine 20mg 
  • Acetyl l-carnitine 5mg
  • Co Enzyme Q10 1mg
  • Phosphotidylserine 1mg.

NOTE: Capsules can be opened and mixed with food or given whole.

  • 10-20kg: One capsule per day.
  • 20-40kg: Two capsules per day.
  • >40kg: Three capsules per day.

What the brain preserving chemicals do for dogs:

Originally  Alpha Lipoic Acid and Acetyl-L-Carnitine were used to treat (improve) Vascular Function and Blood Pressure in Coronary Artery Disease Patients.  Mitochondria (known as the 'powerhouses of the cells' - these cell components generate the energy that cells need to function) - well when these components perform their function, they produces reactive oxygen as a 'bad' by-product, that may contribute to vascular dysfunction. Alpha-lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine reduce oxidative stress (removes the specific anti oxidant) and improve mitochondrial function.  

How Alpha Lipoic Acid and Acetyl-L-Carnitine help with an ageing brain: In experiments, the glutathione redox system was evaluated as a function of age in rat heart and muscle. A decline in reduced glutathione (GSH) levels is associated with aging and many age-related diseases. It is believed that " L-carnitine and DL-alpha-lipoic acid compensate for GSH depletion in protection against oxidative insults."

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N - ACETYL CYSTEINE (N-acetyl cysteine comes from the amino acid L-cysteine. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and this is a 'non essential' amino acid found in meat (non essential means that it can be created within a human or dog body from other chemicals).

" N-acetyl cysteine is used to counteract acetaminophen (Tylenol) and carbon monoxide poisoning. It is also used for chest pain (unstable angina), bile duct blockage in infants, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease), Alzheimer’s disease, allergic reactions to the anti-seizure drug phenytoin (Dilantin)."  "N-Acetyl cysteine, or NAC, is an altered form of the amino acid cysteine used in supplements. The body converts NAC to cysteine, which is then converted to glutathione, an antioxidant. NAC is not found naturally in food sources -  THIS MEANS that you have to buy a product that contains this artificially created version of cysteine if you want to get its benefits.

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Acetyl l-carnitine:  Animal-based foods are good sources of carnitine, including: Beef, Chicken, Milk, Cheese. " Most of the cells in your body contain carnitine, which your liver and kidneys make. Carnitine helps your cells produce energy. Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) is a form of carnitine that's available as a supplement." There are some diseases such as Alzeimers, diabetes, alcoholism depression, that are believed to be helped by increased doses of Acetyl l-carnitine  - hence its use as a supplement in many health areas, including drugs preventing dog dementia.

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Co Enzyme Q10: This chemical can be found throughout the body too. It is found in the heart, liver, kidney, and pancreas. It can be consumed in small amounts in meats and seafood, but like Acetyl l-carnitine, some people require a boost of the chemical to overcome specific diseases.

Co Enzyme Q10 can be manufactured by fermenting beets and sugar cane with special strains of yeast. Coenzyme Q-10 has been used in MANY health areas. From treating heart and blood vessel conditions such as congestive heart failure (CHF), chest pain (angina), high blood pressure, diabetes, gum disease, breast cancer, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, increasing exercise tolerance, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and Lyme disease.

How coenzyme Q-10 relates to helping dementia is that it reduces symptoms of mitochondrial disorders. Coenzyme Q-10 has also been experimented with to increase animal life spans. .. though this is unproved.

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Phosphotidylserine    The body can make phosphatidylserine, but gets most of what it needs from foods.  Phosphatidylserine is used to prevent Alzheimer's disease, age-related decline in mental function, improving thinking skills in young people, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, preventing exercise-induced stress, and improving athletic performance. (webmd)

CONCLUSION

AKTIVAIT is unavailable in Australia (2015) but can be bought online from the UK. Typical prices for 60 capsules for a mid to large dog tend to be around $80 AUD.

The active ingredients all seem to be things that have been useful in treating humans with Alzheimer's. And dog forums seem to universally praise the reversal of brain ageing effects or general keeping of brain health of their ageing dogs.

The main concern I would have is that are the amounts provided in each serve high enough to be effective, and are there any cumulative effects or side effects that should limit their use. 

Should younger dogs have a capsule every second day rather than daily?

The next article explores some of these questions as well as what massive price savings might be generated by buying the individual chemicals in bulk. As always, consult your vet before you do any such things !

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