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Every Time You Feed Meat You Also Feed Creatine


Bob Fritz, Animal Naturals

What does this popular performance supplement have to do with feeding your dog a natural diet? More than you might think......

Look inside pro training rooms, talk to serious athletes, read sports science journals and you'll see Creatine (cree'-ah--tun) being discussed. And with the trickle down effect, performance dog fanciers are asking questions as to whether this supplement might improve their performance.

In dozens of well-controlled scientific and medical studies, Creatine has been shown to fuel muscle energy, boost power performance and enhance recovery. Creatine has a strong safety record as well.

I feel qualified to speak about Creatine and dogs. I helped formulate and introduce the first commercial Creatine products for athletes for UNIPRO 15 years ago. I also began testing Creatine supplements on dogs at about the same time.

What is Creatine? First, what Creatine is not. Creatine is not a kooky California fad, or the latest health nut potion. Just the opposite, Creatine is a scientifically validated food supplement. Moreover, Creatine is a more than a supplement; it is actually a lost nutrient from the wild food chain of wolves and wild dogs.

Creatine is a natural element of the wild food chain. Creatine is stored mainly in muscle and in nerve tissues in both humans and dogs.

The canine body obtains Creatine in two ways. First, after eating protein, the dog’s body links two amino acids to form Creatine. In this way, the canine body makes its own Creatine. The second way dogs obtain Creatine is from the protein foods they eat. Creatine is naturally occurring in the canine diet in meats. After eating meat, some of the Creatine is absorbed. So the dog obtains Creatine two ways. First, the body makes some of its own. Second, Creatine is extracted from the meat dogs eat.

The First Clue  In 1832, French researchers noted muscle tissue from wild foxes contained about ten times the Creatine as the same tissue of caged foxes. Since it appeared both fox groups received approximately the same diet, it was concluded physical activity accumulated Creatine in muscle tissue. In other words, wild animals, because they're forced to move for survival, store more Creatine than sedentary animals.

Wild vs. Supermarket Meats Other researchers examining the relationship between domestic and wild animals within the same species have noted striking differences in lipid content and profile depending on whether the animals are fed wild or domestic diets. This difference within the same species, influenced solely by diet, suggests that there are significant but subtle differences in wild and domestic meats.

One of the most important differences in wild and domestic meats appears to be Creatine content. Although more research remains to be conducted, it can be said that all meat is not the same. Clearly, meat is much more than a mere vehicle for dietary protein.

Based on studies by Mesch and other researchers, it appears that wild dogs can "wolf" up to several kilos of fresh wild meat at a sitting. Since muscle tissue is the primary repository of Creatine, it can be reasonably said that wolves consume relatively large amounts of Creatine when lucky enough to make a kill, or scavenge. Based on French research, this wild meat may contain more Creatine than domestic meats. At any rate, dogs enjoy meat and will eat large amounts at almost any opportunity. With every bite of meat they take, Mother Nature makes sure they get Creatine, too.

It can also be said that dogs are evolutionary-designed to consume not just meat, but also the Creatine within the meat as part of Nature's wisdom. Interestingly, the first major Creatine study in America was conducted on dogs in the early 1920's at Cornell University. Scientists found a sharp rise in protein/nitrogen retention when exogenous Creatine was supplied in the diet. Increasing protein retention is important because it is stored in muscle tissue, and less is lost through the kidneys.

But unlike meat, and especially wild meat, commercial dog food contains very little Creatine. This may be one reason why meat diets, most recently advocated by Dr. Billinghurst, and others over the years, report meat-based or meat-supplemented diets as providing more health benefits than dry commercial dog food alone.

The lack of Creatine in commercial dog food, and the replacement of it in meat, may be a part of Nature's wisdom of feeding meat to dogs. So when you feed meat, you provide much more than just protein and amino acids; you replace "lost" wild nutrients missing from commercial dog food. Science is just now beginning to understand "why" meat is so beneficial and productive to dogs. One of these "lost" factors lost in modern foods, but contained in meat, is certainly Creatine.

So when you feed meat to your dog--especially raw meat-- you're also supplementing Creatine because Creatine is built into the molecular structure of meat-part of the package. It's clear that Creatine intake is NOT new for dogs. Actually, the absence of Creatine is new. Until commercial dog foods came into being, dogs consumed Creatine in the meat they ate from our plates. With modern dog foods, Creatine intake virtually stopped.