Optimizing Ingredients

Masking the Bitter Taste of Soy Isoflavones Without Additives

In this article, guest contributor Doctor Phil Schoenwetter discusses the unintended consequences of hormone disruption due to spaying and neutering—and how encapsulated soy isoflavones in pet foods can restore bone density and strength in these dogs.

It is well recognized in human and veterinary medicine that a complete and balanced hormone status is required for optimal health, vitality, and longevity for people and animals. All mammals share the same thyroid, pancreatic (insulin), adrenal (cortisone) and sex hormones (estrogens and androgens), prolactin (milk production) as well as other hormones and basic physiology.

Humans are all too well aware of the impact of sex hormone decline associated with menopause and andropause (male menopause) and is a cause for great discomfort and accelerated aging for many of us sooner or later. Almost all hormones wear a number of hats (as it were) and actually perform a number of different important functions. This is especially true of sex hormones, as they impact much more than just the reproductive functions.

It is well known that sex hormone loss leads to bone thinning, skeletal diminishment and stature loss in both men and women. There is also increased inflammation in bones and joints, along with weakening of tendons and ligaments and muscle mass diminishment. Unfortunately the bones of the jaw and mouth are also weakened and teeth are less well anchored, leading to over 2x the incidence of periodontal disease and tooth loss in hormone-deficient people. The same is true for other mammals (pets included).

The consequences of sex hormone deficiency

Sex hormone deficiency heavily influences appetite and accounts for much of the weight gain in spayed and neutered animals, as well the in humans beginning in midlife. Spayed/neutered dogs and cats are particularly susceptible. There is also a slowdown of the metabolism, and brain and cognitive functions in all mammals due to the loss of sex hormone.

Studies have shown the benefits of hormone replacement for men and women in lessening the incidence of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in those who don’t sustain significant sex hormone declines. Most interesting are studies showing impaired coping and cognitive functions in spayed/neutered mammals compared to those that are natural (hormone-competent) of the same species.

The service life of Guide Dogs for the Blind averages seven years (selected breeding, spay/neutered, AND $40,000 in training fees). Half of the dogs go offline due to physical or muscular/skeletal issues, the other half to psychological burnout. Eye lens and retina thickness is impacted by sex hormone loss and restored with supplementation. Senility and dementia incidences are less in sex-hormone-competent mammals (both animal and human).

Urine and stress incontinence are other common consequences of sex hormone deficiency, especially in post-menopausal females and spayed dogs. Topical estrogenic creams are often prescribed women and antihistamine or similar medications given incontinent dogs. But hormone replacement for dogs and cats is almost never prescribed by veterinarians; the most cited reason regards the higher incidence of mammary tumors in natural vs. spayed dogs and cats. This is true. The same is also true of the incidences of androgens and prostate cancer incidences in human males.

Unfortunately, the majority of well-loved and (otherwise) cared for domestic household pets face the unintended consequences of significant hormone disruption due to spaying and neutering. The need for pet population control is compelling and unquestioned, but humans appear to have a mindset that ignores basic physiology in the pursuit absolute contraception. There is simply no reason to deprive their pets of sex hormone supplementation any more than there is to deprive a diabetic of insulin. We think “safe contraception” for humans, but only “spay or neuter” for our pets.

Great sums of money are spent on pet care for degenerative issues and mid- and later-life illnesses that could have been prevented or minimized by attending to their basic physiologic needs, nutritionally speaking.

The power of soy isoflavones to restore vitality

Enter Selective estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs). The predominantly Estrogen Receptor beta agonistic (ERb) effects of soy isoflavones have been extensively documented in over 1,000 papers and studies. The 3,500-year history of soy cultivation is an historical fact and all natural components of soy are generally regarded as safe (GRAS) by the US FDA.

Soy isoflavones that are extracted from the soy germ have little allergenic effect that soy proteins may have. Many studies have been reported in both medical and veterinary literature regarding the benefits of isoflavones substitution in spay/neutered mammals and sex-hormone-deficient humans. Many of these studies were tested on animals with an eye toward finding a less carcinogenic sex hormone substitute for human applicability. However, the animal studies also showed the benefits for hormone-deficient animals as well.

Isoflavones have been proven to restore bone density and strength in dogs, which benefits the skeleton and spine, mandible and alveolar bones. Simple restoration of hormone balance will prevent much of the mid- and later-year arthritis. This absolutely translates to less inflammation in the bones and joint spaces, periodontal disease and tooth loss in later years.

Isoflavones have also been proven to normalize blood pressure and promote circulation, helping to reduce the main cause of kidney and liver disease in dogs; to foster new neuron growth in several areas of the brain and not only limit cognitive loss, but in some cases actually improve cognition; and to enhance eye lens and retina thickness, which has the power to limit senility and apathy seen in many older dogs and promote more youthful and lively interaction.

ERb is present in the trigone and bladder areas and isoflavones have been proven to improve bladder control and function. This effectively translates to better urine incontinence control and better doggie odor.

Microencapsulation: the answer to the problem

Isoflavones will restore the full potential to spay/neutered dogs that sex hormones disrupt. The problem is, isoflavones taste terribly bitter and are rejected by humans and animals. This is why isoflavones are removed from most brands of soy milk. There is currently only one pet hormone substitute product on the market; and according to the manufacturer there is still a high rate of rejection in spite of using expensive additives and flavors. Additionally, using high rates of additives and flavors limit the mass incorporation of isoflavones in treats or pet food.

Microencapsulation is the solution. Maxx uses microencapsulation technology to mask the bitter taste of soy isoflavones, resulting in a high volume of active ingredient which, when incorporated into pet treats (biscuits), requires far fewer additives and flavors to achieve acceptance. Microencapsulation allows soy isoflavones to be part of the daily nutrition for spayed and neutered canines; these taste- masked soy isoflavones have applications in human diets as well.

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