Beta-glucans’ effects on insulin-resistant obese dogs
Research shows beta-glucans may have a place in dog food diets formulated for weight loss.
Throughout the last decade, obesity has been growing into the main nutritional disease not only in humans, but also in companion animals. Over the years, studies have reported values between 20 to 40 percent with regards to obesity in the studied population (McGreevy et al., 2005; Gossellin et al., 2007). More recent studies have reported percentages of approximately 44 percent with regards to occurrence of obesity in dogs (Mao et al., 2013; Alonso et al., 2017), demonstrating a progressive and disturbing increase of this condition.
Pet obesity: A serious condition
Its development is directly or indirectly associated with increased risk of other conditions, such as cardiorespiratory, orthopedic alterations and metabolic disorders such as reduced glucose tolerance, type 2 diabetes in felines, hyperlipidemia (Gayet et al., 2004; Brunetto et al., 2011) and reduced life expectancy (Kealy et al., 2002).
The mechanisms involved in the development of many of the mentioned alterations rely on the characterization of adipocytes as members of an active endocrine tissue (Balistreri et al., 2010). Therefore, adipose tissue also participates in mechanisms of inflammation and immunity, with production and release of a wide range of pro-inflammatory factors such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and suppression of anti-inflammatory factors such as adiponectin as well as other cytokines.
Weight loss can reduce these changes, the severity of complications and even normalize the alterations acquired by overweight status. The success of treatment depends on the promotion of weight loss and effective maintenance of lean weight; thus, it is necessary to induce a negative energy balance state by means of caloric restriction (Cloetens et al., 2012; Floerchinger et al., 2015). Satiety plays a major role during this process concerning the animal and its owner, since the manifestation of hunger, which consequently leads the animal to seek and beg for food, often compromises the continuation of the program (Weber et al., 2007).