Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: May 2002

Pet Nutrition

Pet nutrition, food allergies, plus…

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on January 2021.


Q: Why does the Life Extension Cat Mix contain arachidonic acid? I heard that it promotes inflammation.

A: Humans create arachidonic acid from linoleic acid (found in vegetable oil). Cats cannot create arachidonic acid from linoleic acid (they don't naturally eat vegetables). They are strict carnivores and must have animal fat in their diet to supply arachidonic acid directly. This is why Life Extension included it in the supplement. Studies show that arachidonic acid is very beneficial, not to mention essential, for cat nutrition. The source that is used in the cat supplement is egg yolk, a good source of essential fatty acids for the carnivorous cat. Many commercial cat foods contain very little meat, and hence very little of this essential nutrient.

Q: I am currently using the new Gamma E and CoQ10, both of which contain tocotrienols and palm oil. I am nervous about taking all of that palm oil-isn't it bad for you?

A: These two products do not contain any palm oil. The tocotrienols are derived from the oil and the rest is discarded. Unlike other sources of tocotrienols, palm oil yields much higher levels of the delta and alpha fractions. Studies suggest that palm oil tocotrienols are far more effective than tocopherols. Studies show that gamma- and delta-tocotrienols derived from palm oil exhibit a strong activity against tumor promotion [Int J Cancer 1994 May 15;57(4):529-31].

Q: Could the chelating properties of carnosine, over the long term, result in undesirable side effects such as zinc and copper deficiency?

A: Carnosine does not pull zinc and copper from tissues within the body and therefore long-term use will not cause a deficiency of these minerals. Carnosine chelates free zinc and copper from the synaptic junction within the brain. Copper and zinc are though to modulate synaptic transmission, but are rapid neurotoxins at the concentrations reached when they are released from synaptic terminals. The brain then must buffer these metals so they can perform their functions without neurotoxicity. Carnosine provides that buffering action and can rescue neurons from zinc and copper mediated neurotoxicity [Brain Res(2000 Jan 3) 852(1):56-61].

Q: My wife and I both take melatonin, DHEA and CLA. We want to be sure that we are taking a strong antioxidant. Are the above okay or do you have another product that would be more beneficial?


A: Melatonin is a good antioxidant, but different antioxidants have different properties and therefore work on various cellular sites within the body. Your best bet would be to take a wide mix, which includes vitamins A, B, C, E, raspberry extract, calcium D-glucarate, labiatae extract, bilberry, grape-seed, lutein and more. These are all potent antioxidants, antimutangenic agents. In addition, ingredients like the raspberry extract (called ellagic acid) and calcium D-glucarate prevent binding of carcinogens to DNA and reduce the incidence of cancer in cultured human cells exposed to carcinogens. Other documented benefits of ellagic acid include protection from radiation, wound healing and reductions in chemically induced liver fibrosis. You can get all of these supplements together in one formula called the Life Extension Mix. Besides being a basic multi-vitamin/mineral supplement, the Mix contains a wide variety of antioxidants that affords a considerable degree of protection against free radicals.

Q: I suffer from post-traumatic epilepsy (scar tissue on the right side of the brain), and currently take tegretol retard (400 mg, twice a day). I find that after drinking milk I feel light-headed-almost preseizure type sensations. Is this due to something in the milk?

A: Your reaction to milk could very well be allergies. Researchers have found that allergies can manifest in the brain and trigger seizures. Simply avoiding the offending food can decrease seizure activity. Interestingly, one of the common offending foods is milk. All people with epilepsy should undergo thorough allergy testing. For more information on epilepsy, please refer to the protocol on the website, If you are under a doctor's care, please inform him of any supplements or advice you receive from The Foundation.

Q: Given the recent evidence about the correlation between vitamin A (the acetate form) and osteoporosis, will the Life Extension Mix be changed to include an all beta carotene?

A: The study you are referring to implies that vitamin A in doses over 7,000 IU, taken without vitamin D, was linked to osteoporosis. The Mix contains only 5,000 IU of vitamin A and contains 300 IU of vitamin D. Given the fact that the sick and elderly have a harder time converting beta carotene to vitamin A and can become deficient, The Foundation does not plan to completely remove vitamin A from the Mix.