Taurine: Some FAQs for Our Customers
Posted on May 01 2019
Last year the FDA announced that it was investigating a link between the heart condition dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs consuming grain-free diets. Dogs with DCM presented with low levels of taurine in their blood, sparking concern about a connection between grain-free diets, low taurine, and wellness. As a result, many of our customers have been asking about taurine in our Longevity Raw products. We hope to alleviate your concerns by answering a few important questions.
What is taurine?
Taurine is a non-essential amino acid for dogs and for adult humans, meaning that both species can manufacture taurine from the sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cysteine. For cats and human infants taurine is an essential amino acid that must be consumed through their diet as they lack the ability to manufacture it.
Why is taurine important?
For pets, taurine can protect the liver against free radical damage; improve the body’s immune response; control diabetes; strengthen the heart; and protect wellness of the eyes and vascular system, among other benefits.
What are the sources of taurine?
Meat, eggs, and seafood are the richest source of taurine. Taurine is not found in plant foods. Longevity Raw is a frozen raw pet food whose primary ingredients include meat, fish, and organs – all rich natural sources of taurine. The building blocks for taurine – cysteine and methionine – as well as taurine itself are present in meat. However, cooking meat degrades taurine by as much as 50%. As such, a raw diet such as Longevity will offer the highest taurine availability.
What is the connection between grain-free foods and taurine?
The FDA is currently investigating if there is a connection between grain-free foods, low taurine levels, and CMS. There is a question of insufficient biosynthesis in certain breeds (American Cocker Spaniel, Scottish Terrier, Dalmatian, Boxer, Newfoundland, Portuguese water dog, English setter, Alaskan malamute, Golden Retriever, and Doberman Pinscher) eating “no grain“ dog foods that have potatoes (sweet or regular), peas, lentils, chickpeas, beans, or soybeans as major components. However, the lack of grains is not necessarily the issue. Meats, eggs, and seafood also lack grains and yet are rich in taurine. The starches used in grain-free dog foods – potatoes, peas, lentils, chickpeas, beans, or soybeans – are species inappropriate for both cats and dogs. While they may serve a pet food company as starchy fillers, we suspect that they may also contribute to the interference of taurine biosynthesis in the body. We are awaiting the results of the FDA study to see where the true connection is.
Are Longevity Raw foods good sources of taurine?All Longevity Raw pet foods have meat, seafood, and organs as primary ingredients and are thus wonderful sources of taurine. Our products are grain-free as well but use no starches or grains to bulk up the food. Dogs can easily synthesize the necessary taurine from these ingredients and our cat food products all exceed the AAFCO minimum of 0.50 gram of taurine per 1,000 kcal. Rest assured that the species-specific formulations of Longevity Raw more than adequately address your pet’s taurine needs.