There are several edible species of seaweed including kelp, carragheen and laver (that the Welsh delicacy Laverbread is made from). It is commercially grown in seaweed farms all across the UK from the coast of Scotland to Cornwall, but why is seaweed so good?
Omega 3’s from fish oil
You will probably have heard that fish oil is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s are taken as joint supplements and for brain and eye health. However, fish don’t actually produce their own omega 3, they get their omega 3 from the macro-algae (seaweed) and micro-algae (microscopic phytoplankton) in their food chain.
Seaweed as a source of Omega 3
At Vet’s Kitchen we use marine micro-algae in our dry and wet dog food. It’s a great source of minerals and fibre but it also supplies the body with omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. DHA is essential for brain and nervous system development but also plays a key part in supporting the day to day functions of an adult brain. In humans, a plentiful supply of DHA in the diet has been proven to directly increase learning ability and a deficiency has been linked to impaired cognitive function.
The Science Behind It
DHA has proven useful for dogs too, with studies showing puppies that have DHA in their diet have an increased propensity to learn new things. For elderly dogs, research shows that a diet supplemented with DHA can slow down canine cognitive dysfunction (a condition similar to dementia in humans). One such study (Calcog Technologies, 2013) looked at a group of 8-10 year old dogs. Their diet was supplemented with DHA from micro-algae for 6 months. The group showed significant improvements in memory and visual performance compared to the control group. In addition to DHA, omega 3 EPA has shown promising results for dogs with heart conditions.
Seaweed in Vet’s Kitchen
When it comes to keeping the grey matter going, Vet’s Kitchen Senior Salmon & Brown Rice contains the optimum balance of natural functional ingredients including seaweed, essential for shaping your pet’s health.