Dr. Elliott: What Are Vitamins?

Vitamins are essential for an animal's proper growth and overall health.

Vitamins are essential for an animal’s proper growth, reproduction and overall health. All living creatures need vitamins. Animals utilize vitamins to regulate chemical reactions in the body. These chemical reactions institute the process that form tissues and produce energy.

Vitamins are classified in two groups, water soluble and fat soluble. Water soluble vitamins consist of B and C vitamins, bioflavonoids, choline, biotin and inositol. They are easy for your pet’s body to assimilate and they begin working as soon as the digestive system absorbs them. These vitamins are not stored in the body like fat soluble vitamins.

Fat soluble vitamins (A, E, D, F and K) need proper fat assimilation to work. The intestines absorb these vitamins while the lymphatic system carries them to various parts of the body and stores them in the liver, reproductive organs and tissues. Fat soluble vitamins assist in the synthesis of enzymes and maintaining sound cell membrane structure.

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What happens if my pet lacks certain vitamins? Various problems will arise with these vitamin insufficiencies:

  • Biotin - Dermatitis, elevated blood cholesterol, appetite loss, hair,
    nails and skin problems

  • Choline - Nerve problems, weight gain

  • Folic Acid - Anemia, degraded immune system, nerve problems

  • Lecithin - Cardiovascular problems, poor digestion, liver problems

  • B1 (Thiamin) - Energy loss, brain-heart-liver trouble, gastrointestinal problems, edema, weight loss

  • B2 (Riboflavin) - Dermatitis, energy loss, eye problems, digestive disorders, nerves, anemia

  • B3 (Niacin) - weight gain, brain-nervous function, poor digestion and skin problems

  • B5 (Pantothenic Acid) - lack of metabolism, weak adrenal glands,
    low red blood cell count

  • B6 ( Pyridoxine) - Hormone imbalance, improper protein metabolism, immune system

  • B12-(Cobalamin) - Anemia, fatigue, good red blood cell count, energy, un-healthy cells

  • Vitamin C - Infections, weak tissues, slow wound healing,
    degenerative diseases, allergies, weak immune system

  • Vitamin A - weight loss, impaired glandular activity, poor vision, diarrhea, poor bone and tooth development

  • Vitamin D - Brittle bones, respiratory infections, bad teeth,
    constipation

  • Vitamin E - Sterility, muscular weakness, nerve problems, kidney malfunction

  • Vitamin F - Impaired growth, eczema, nerves

  • Vitamin K - Blood clotting, bone formation and density

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