Functional food research
Functional Foods in Pets and Humans
ABSTRACT The role of functional foods in pet diet with a perspective link with human nutrition is the object of our study. Veterinary pet trials clearly indicated that functional foods provide health benefits when administered on a regular basis with adequate active principles in the context of a well balanced diet. Our work hypothesis is that domestic animals might be a suitable model to validate, in some human diseases, a specific food mediated approach for disease prevention and treatment, engaging the whole gut reactivity (ie, enteric hormones, chalones, cytokines, immune gastrointestinal system, lymph flow, and neurotransmitters) to rebalance the health endogenous environment. Objective: We evaluated and analyzed the role of functional foods in pet diet in order to extend the link of food consumption in human nutrition. Methods: We analyzed some specific nutrients in pets on the basis of historical literature reports claiming some effectiveness in cancer prevention. Other on going focused areas are metabolic and immunological imbalance and chronic joints inflammatory conditions. Results: Humans and pets might have a very intriguing borderline mutual benefit in the functional food area. The activation of the digestive system involves so many changes and modifications in gastrointestinal physiology and in biochemical parameters, such as glucose and insulin, that some striking effects on health maintainance and diseases prevention are expected. Conclusion: Based on the achieved information, we encourage the “humanization” of domestic animals as suitable models to study dietary interventions for disease prevention and treatment, keeping the concept that, being the human life span 7-8 times longer compared with the animals. Once, the efficacy of the functional foods can be in very short time transferred from the animals with undeniable advantage on the life quality and overall survival.