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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Geriatrics - Immunology - Nutrition

Feeding Healthy Beagles Medium-Chain Triglycerides, Fish Oil, and Carnitine Offsets Age-Related Changes in Serum Fatty Acids and Carnitine Metabolites
Published: Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Author: Jean A. Hall et al.

by Jean A. Hall, Dennis E. Jewell

The purpose of this study was to determine if feeding dogs medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), fish oil, and L-carnitine enriched foods offsets age-associated changes in serum fatty acids (FA) and carnitine metabolites. Forty-one healthy Beagles, mean age 9.9 years (range 3.1 to 14.8), were fed control or one of two treatment foods for 6 months. All foods were complete and balanced and met the nutrient requirements for adult dogs, and had similar concentrations of moisture, protein, and fat (approx. 7.4%, 14.0%, and 18.1%, respectively). The treatment diets both contained added L-carnitine (300 mg/kg) and 0.6% (treatment food 1) or 1.5% (treatment food 2) added fish oil. Treatment food 2 also had increased MCT from coconut oil, added corn oil, and reduced animal fat. Composition of serum FA was determined by gas chromatography of FA methyl esters. Metabolomic profiles of serum samples were determined from extracted supernatants that were split and run on GC/MS and LC/MS/MS platforms, for identification and relative quantification of small metabolites. Body composition was determined by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Among dog groups, there was no change in total-lean-body weight, or in serum total protein and serum albumin concentrations, based on time or dietary treatment. Serum concentrations of carnitine metabolites were decreased in geriatric (>7 years) vs. mature adult (=7 years) dogs, and supplementation with L-carnitine attenuated the effects of aging. The ratio of PUFA to SFA was significantly greater in mature dogs at baseline (P=0.05). Serum concentrations of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic FA increased in a dose-dependent manner. Dogs consuming treatment food 2 also had increased serum concentrations of lauric and myristic FA, and decreased concentrations of SFA, MUFA, and arachidonate (all P=0.05) and their PUFA to SFA ratio increased. In summary, dietary MCT, fish oil, and L-carnitine counterbalanced the effects of aging on circulating concentrations of these compounds.
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