Your pet's digestive system is essential to their health. In fact, it works around the clock to digest food to fuel the body, absorb vital nutrients, and prevent dangerous toxins from entering the bloodstream.
Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders affect the stomach and intestines causing inflammation, reduced digestion, and poor absorption of nutrients. And since the digestive system is so integral to overall health, these disorders can severely impact your pet's life.
Owners of pets with GI disorders are routinely advised to feed a healthy, low-fat diet to prevent strain on the digestive system. But did you know that coconut oil is a healthy fat that can actually be beneficial formany GI disorders?
In this post we'll explain how the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can help pets suffering from two common GI disorders we're often asked about by pet owners; pancreatitis and protein losing enteropathy (PLE).
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas – a gland located next to the stomach. The pancreas produces enzymes that aid the digestive process. When it becomes inflamed, digestive enzymes can leak into the abdominal area causing inflammation of internal organs, infection, and even death.
There is some debate on the causes of pancreatitis in pets, but high-fat diets are often singled out as a contributing factor for older, overweight, or inactive animals. Low-protein diets, certain medications, trauma to the pancreas, and underlying health conditions such as diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have also been linked with the condition.
Pets with pancreatitis lack sufficient pancreatic enzymes to break down fats, and cannot absorb them efficiently. That's why most types of fats should be strictly limited in their diet. About two-thirds of the fats in coconut oil are MCTs. Unlike other types of fats, MCTs do not require pancreatic enzymes for digestion. This means that coconut oil is well tolerated by pets with fat malabsorption issues.
MCTs are a useful source of calories, and can provide energy for pets on a low-fat diet. Feeding coconut oil to pets with pancreatitis helps regulate their blood sugar levels and can enhance the absorption and bioavailability of fat-soluble foods, medications, and vitamins. This is especially beneficial for pets that cannot tolerate other forms of fat in their diet.
Hyperlipidemia is a common condition characterized by elevated levels of lipids (fats) in the blood. The most important types of lipids are cholesterol and triglycerides. Abnormal levels of these lipids in the bloodstream can lead to health complications for your pet. Pancreatitis is one condition that can be caused by hyperlipidemia. And since MCTs can help reduce triglyceride levels in the blood, coconut oil can reduce the risk of pancreatitis developing.
Protein Losing Enteropathy
Protein losing enteropathy (PLE) is a condition that results in excessive protein being lost from the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms can include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. In extreme cases the condition can be potentially life threatening.
Pets with PLE are usually prescribed diets with minimal fat and a sufficient amount of high-quality protein to help treat the condition. But removal of fat from the diet can result in weight loss and malnourishment.
Because MCTs are efficiently converted into fuel for immediate use by the body, coconut oil can be added to the diet to replace lost calories. The MCTs in the oil can also help your pet's body absorb essential vitamins and nutrients from food and supplements.
Most pets love the taste of coconut oil, so you shouldn't have much trouble getting them to eat it! If your pet enjoys the taste, allow them to eat it whole – directly from your fingers or a spoon. If your pet is one of the few that dislikes the taste of the oil, it can be easily mixed in with their food.
When first introducing your pet to coconut oil, start with a very small amount and increase gradually. Some pets – especially those not used accustomed to much fat in their diets – may need a while for their digestive systems to adapt.
Not All Fats Are Bad
There are two kinds of saturated fats: medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) and long-chain triglycerides. MCTs – the type of fat in coconut oil – are far healthier due to the way they’re processed in the body. There are very few dietary sources of MCTs, but the richest source by far comes from virgin coconut oil.
The bodies of humans and animals process MCTs differently from long-chain fats that must be mixed with bile released from the gallbladder and acted on by pancreatic enzymes in order to be broken down in the digestive system.
MCTs don't need bile or pancreatic enzymes to be processed. Once they're ingested and reach the intestine, they diffuse into the bloodstream and are transported straight to the liver – where they're naturally converted into energy-providing ketones.
CocoTherapy coconut oil is a therapeutic-grade oil that contains a high percentage of the MCTs that support digestive health. Our high-quality, virgin coconut oil is true cold-pressed below 115 F, using only 100% organic, non-GMO and non-hybrid coconuts. Unlike most other coconut oils on the market, CocoTherapy therapeutic-grade oil contains higher levels of MCFAs and Lauric Acid than grocery store brands, specifically 64% MCFAs and 53% Lauric Acid content. It is commonly used as a supplement to maintain overall health.
If your pet is suffering from a GI disorder, consider adding CocoTherapy coconut oil to their diet to increase calorific intake and speed up absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, nutrients, and medications.
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