Dog Food Advisor › Forums › Diet and Health › Chicken and Inflammation
February 2, 2023 at 2:19 pm #185991 Report AbuseMutts and CatsParticipant
I have a dilemma about the inflammatory properties of chicken and would like to get some thoughts on that. I’m particularly hopeful that Aimee might weigh in.
When one of my dogs started having health problems recently, inflammation was identified by a holistic vet I consulted with as being the potential cause. Chicken was what that vet was particularly focused on, so I eliminated all chicken from his diet and started doing research.
I did find that I agree with the fact that chicken is quite high in Omega 6 fats, compared to other meats (except pork is just as high) and I do believe in the inflammatory powers of Omega 6’s, so I have kept him off of chicken and also started avoiding foods with a high Omega 6 content (and high 6:3 ratio). Just recently I started reintroducing chicken in small quantities with no noticeable reaction. I’ve pretty much concluded that he is not allergic to chicken, but wonder how valid it is to minimize the amount of chicken he gets, from an inflammation perspective.
I welcome all thoughts. Particularly you Aimee.February 7, 2023 at 1:48 pm #186053 Report AbuseaimeeParticipant
Hi M & C,
I posted this same reply in the raw thread from which it originated. But answering here as well
If I had to name one area in nutrition that makes my head spin the most it is fatty acids. This is my understanding, but keep in mind my simplification of a very very complex topic may be incorrect, is that omega 6’s on their own are not inflammatory, but that they can be used as a building block for the body to make mediators of inflammation both pro and con.
Linoleic acid (LA) is an Omega 6 essential fatty acid (EFA) made by plants and is vital for skin health. Corn and soy are good sources, so animals raised on corn and soy like poultry and pigs can be good sources of this EFA.
Arachidonic acid (AA) is an omega 6 made by animals from LA. and is the primary building block for the production of inflammatory mediators. Dogs make AA from LA, cats cannot, so it is essential in this species, one reason dogs are classified as omnivores while cats are classified as carnivores.
The Omega 3, alpha linolenic (ALA), is made by plants and is the counter partner to linoleic acid (Both have 18 carbons). EPA and DHA are Omega 3’s made by algae,,but can also be made from ALA by some animals. The ability to do so and how efficient that process is differs among species.
. Here is where I’m not confident in my understanding but I think that when other structural FA are in short supply, cell membranes become saturated with Omega 6’s at levels near their dietary requirement. Meaning that higher levels of Omega 6 in the diet do not necessarily mean higher levels of Omega 6 in the membrane. Supplementation with Omega 3 is done to provide a different set of building blocks so that instead of the cell membrane being made with all Omega 6 it is made with omega 6 and omega 3. Now when Cox or Lox enzymes are present less inflammatory compounds will be produced.
So my understanding is that the key to decreasing inflammation is to provide Omega 3’s in the diet to meet the levels on a metabolic kg body weight basis that have been shown or believed to be beneficial for the condition you want to address and then because the Omega 3’s and 6’s compete for the same enzyme and metabolic pathways, control omega 6’s. so that the 6’s do not outcompete the 3’s for access to enzymes.
With that as a background I find the statement that chicken is inflammatory, baffling. Chicken can be a good source of LA, an EFA, and while LA can be converted to AA which then can in the presence of COX/LOX becomes a mediator of inflammation, on its own I don’t see it as a de facto source of inflammation. Nor do I understand the assessment that your dog is likely allergic to chicken based on a physical exam in the absence of any typical GI or skin signs.
In general, what I find in the holistic field is that a mustard seed of truth morphs into a sweeping overgeneralization which is then presented as fact. That is how I view this bit of information you were given.
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