Why Your Pet’s Heart, Brain and Nervous System May Need Extra B Vitamins, No Matter What Kind of Food You Feed

If you buy commercial pet food, the label really doesn’t tell the whole story about what’s inside. The words ‘complete and balanced’ provide no guarantee that the food actually contains enough of these essential heat- and light-sensitive vitamins to last the lifetime of the product. And surprisingly, making your own pet food may not ensure adequate levels either.


Imagine what your health – both physical and mental – might look like if you ate the same food, especially if it was out of a bag or can, at every meal, day in and day out for months or years.

You might survive, but do you really think you would be getting all the nutrients your body needed to truly thrive?

That’s exactly your pet’s situation when you buy commercially processed pet food.

dog and cat
Any type of pet food can be low in important heart, brain and nerve nutrients

If you feed your pet kibble (in my opinion, the epitome of junk food) or even canned food, you may be shortchanging your pet of important nutrients.

Certainly some manufacturers today strive to produce relatively healthy pet food. But if it comes in a can, box or bag, it still must be processed.

And that includes exposure to high heat, light, air and storage time, all of which can have disastrous effects on certain nutrients. By the time your pet gets to eat these processed products, they could have been manufactured as long as 2 years ago!

I realize not everyone has the time or inclination to make their pet’s food at home. But even though it remains my top choice, the best raw homemade diet can still be short on essential vitamins.

So, no matter what you’re feeding your pet, there’s something you need to know. Especially if it’s commercially prepared food...

Three words printed on that bag, can or box may be giving you false reassurance as to what’s inside.

The ‘Complete and Balanced’ Pet Food Scam: How You’re Likely Being Misled

dog food
An AAFCO feeding trial tells you nothing about how that food will influence your pet's long-term health or nutrition

Many veterinarians insist that the only way to ensure proper nutrition for your pet is to give them a commercially prepared pet food that says ‘complete and balanced’ on the label.

What exactly does that mean, and does it really cover all the bases for your pet’s health and well-being?

To claim it’s "complete and balanced," a dog or cat food must either:

  • Meet one of the Dog or Cat Food Nutrient Profiles established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)
  • Pass a feeding trial using AAFCO procedures

For a product to meet one of the AAFCO nutrient profiles, it must contain every nutrient listed in the profile at the recommended level.

To pass a feeding trial, the protocol only requires a six-month period and can involve as few as eight test subjects. The trial determines whether a formula can sustain life in test participants.

Interestingly, only six of the eight animals need to finish the trial, and if weight and certain blood tests are normal, the food is deemed “complete and balanced!”

In my opinion, six pets still alive at the end of a six-month period is hardly a valid test for a “complete and balanced” pet food formula.

Because these feeding trials are so short and don’t measure food digestibility or nutrient absorbability, you don’t get any reliable information about the risk of nutritional deficiencies or overdoses over a longer period.

And feeding trials tell you nothing about how the food could potentially affect your pet’s long-term health and longevity!

What the AAFCO – and Many Traditional Vets - Aren’t Telling You About Pet Food Vitamin “Enrichment”

Let me tell you a little known truth behind this AAFCO compliancy... There’s not a lot of solid science supporting it. AAFCO recommendations are more of an industry standard, but not necessarily a well-researched scientific standard.

cat eating
Your pet can benefit from nutrients complete with their co-factors

The AAFCO’s nutrient profiles are only minimum standards. They don’t address the quality of ingredients or the digestibility, palatability or bioavailability of the nutrients, much less optimal nutrient recommendations.

The quality of the nutrient and how it is processed are important factors when looking at how well your pet can actually put that nutrient to work in his or her body.

When a nutrient or vitamin is separated or isolated from its food source, it’s viewed as a chemical isolate.

Isolated vitamins provide the basics for your pet, especially if they are carefully designed.

But what concerns me the most about some not-so-carefully designed isolated nutrients is the use of “feed grade premixes.”

Neither “food grade” nor human grade, these inexpensive feed grade “premixes” are mixtures of isolated synthetic vitamins and minerals. These are what most manufacturers use in their pet foods. The majority of these feed grade premixes come from China and from questionable sources.

One Vitamin Family That Your Pet Can’t Thrive Without

B vitamins are essential for dogs’ and cats’ health.

pet kibble
High-temperature processing and storage can damage B vitamins in kibble

These water-soluble nutrients are required for your pet’s healthy normal:

  • Nervous and immune system function
  • Growth and development
  • Energy production
  • Cell metabolism
  • Organ and tissue health
  • Muscle, coat, skin and eye health
  • Appetite and digestion

B vitamins act as coenzymes and play a key role in the metabolism of carbohydrate, protein and fat. When their supply is limited, the central nervous system can be the first to be affected.

I want to point out that there is not just one B vitamin, but rather a complex of many B vitamins, each playing different or complementary roles.

Like a well-oiled machine, B vitamins work together to support energy production and the health of your pet’s brain, liver, muscle, nervous and immune systems, skin, coat and eyes.

There’s one pitfall of B vitamins that can leave your pet especially at risk... Unlike fat-soluble vitamins and the one exception, vitamin B12, excess amounts aren’t stored in your pet’s body. Rather, they pass through via his or her urine.

This means your dog or cat must get the entire B complex of vitamins through diet every day. And your pet needs them in the right proportions to each other.

For that reason, I recommend a vitamin B complex rather than individual B vitamins.

Some of the Most At-Risk Vitamins – B Vitamins!

B vitamins are susceptible to damage from various sources: heat, light, oxygen and acid and alkaline solutions, as well as storage.

Considering the harsh and high-heat processing methods used to create all the varieties of pet foods available today – pelleted, extruded, freeze-dried, semi-moist, baked, canned and even frozen – it’s no mystery that commercial pet food may be deficient in B vitamins!

Here’s a guide to the B vitamins your pet needs each day and the minimal amounts required for health, how they can be damaged during processing and storage, and the important roles they play in your pet’s well-being:

As you view this chart, I invite you to ask yourself two questions: “Could my pet thrive if these important vitamin functions were compromised?” and “How would a shortage of these vitamins impact his (or her) health?”

B Vitamin Recommended Adult Daily Intake Susceptibility to damage during processing and storage Important Functions
Thiamine (Vitamin B1) .01 mg/lb. Sensitive to heat, oxygen, humidity, and light, and very sensitive to alkaline pH Essential for metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, energy metabolism for nervous system and muscles and healthy appetite
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) .05 mg/lb. Sensitive to humidity and light Essential for growth and muscle development, eye health and a healthy coat
Niacin (Vitamin B3) .12 mg/lb. Stable Essential for the proper function of enzymes, a healthy appetite, and a healthy nervous system, skin, nails and GI function.
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) .1 mg/lb. Sensitive to heat and humidity A structural element of many coenzymes, plays a central role in energy metabolism and the synthesis of sex hormones
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) .01 mg/lb. Very sensitive to heat, and sensitive to humidity, light and acid pH Essential for the body’s utilization of protein and the synthesis of neurotransmitters
Folate (Vitamin B9) .002 mg/lb. Very sensitive to heat, acid pH and light, and sensitive to humidity Required for the production of red blood cells in bone marrow
Biotin .001 mg/lb. Sensitive to humidity and light Supports healthy normal growth, digestion, muscle function, healthy skin and hair and cellular health
Cobalamin (Vitamin B12) .00025 mg/lb. Sensitive to heat, oxygen, humidity, and contact with iron or copper Supports protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, GI and nervous system health, immune function and the healthy production of red blood cells

The B vitamins most at risk of losing their vitamin activity due to processing are in this order (from worst to best): Pyridoxine (B6), Thiamine (B1), Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Niacin, Biotin, and Riboflavin (B2).

5 Major Pet Food Recalls for Thiamine Deficiency Since 2009

Thiamine deficiency continues to be a significant problem in commercial pet foods, and surprisingly, even in home-prepared diets.

There have been five major pet food recalls in the U.S. since 2009 because the food was found to be deficient in thiamine, one of the most important B vitamins. And those are just the ones that were discovered!

Your dog or cat absorbs thiamine or vitamin B1 through their small intestine, so gut health plays a crucial role in determining how much your pet can absorb.

Because thiamine is essential for carbohydrate metabolism and energy production, tissues with high energy requirements like the brain, nerves and heart are at particular risk when the diet is low in thiamine or absorption is lower.

thiamine deficient cat
Cats require three times more thiamine than do dogs, which puts them at greater risk of deficiency

Cats require three times more thiamine than dogs do, making kitties especially sensitive to thiamine loss in food.

Signs of deficiency can take days or weeks to show up and can present themselves as vomiting, appetite and weight loss. But because most vets believe commercial pet foods are “complete and balanced,” a thiamine deficiency is rarely suspected.

If your pet eats a canned food diet, he or she may be at risk of a thiamine deficiency because of the high heat used for processing.

Kibble and other dry foods can also lose thiamine content from high heat processing and exposure to air and humidity, and most importantly, time.

The longer the food sits on the shelves or in the freezer, the more thiamine degrades.

Pets fed home-prepared diets may be even more susceptible to a thiamine deficiency, especially if the food contains carbohydrates or doesn’t contain good sources of supplemental thiamine.

Could Extra B Vitamins Make Your Pet Less Attractive to Fleas and Other Biting Pests?

If your pet struggles with fleas or other biting pests, you may find that extra B vitamins (especially thiamine) can help.

Experts believe B vitamins may make blood less attractive to fleas.

dog scratching head
B vitamins may help make your pet more resistant to fleas

While certainly not the most important reason, it’s just one additional rationale to add B vitamins to your pet’s diet...

So what’s the best source to add?

Since most B vitamins on the market today are from feed-grade mixes of isolated synthetic nutrients, I prefer using a natural source of B vitamins like raw meat or a B vitamin complex supplement that I know contains co-factors and enzymes.

Of all the B vitamins, thiamine is the one that is most difficult to get from food in sufficient quantities. And because thiamine is so easily destroyed by heat, oxygen and alkaline pH, I like to supply supplemental amounts.

Brewer's yeast, which is high in B vitamins, is often recommended to boost vitamin B levels, but I don’t recommend using it.

Many pets have allergies that can be made worse with yeast.

Not Your Ordinary B Vitamin Complex...

vitamin b complex for dogs and cats

As I said earlier, carefully designed isolated nutrients provide the basics for your pet.

But what if you suspect your pet has a deficiency and needs more?

If your pet is one of the many who may need more B vitamins because of a deficiency, then a vitamin B complex may be your better choice.

My Organic Vitamin B Complex for Dogs and Cats is a complete complex of the eight major B vitamins in their ideal proportions. Organically bound to a natural complex, these B vitamins contain their co-factors and coenzymes to optimize their bioavailability.

Because they are biologically active, this complex of vitamins can go to work in your pet’s body right away. Plus, they last longer than typical isolated vitamins.

Your pet’s metabolism and health depend on the completeness of nutrients. Vitamins don’t exist as isolated compounds in nature. They depend on their co-factors and coenzymes to interact with other vitamins. This is particularly true for B vitamins, as their coenzymes are involved in all metabolic processes.

The unique patented formula PANMOL® provides the complete complex of B vitamins and a multitude of organically bound and biologically active B vitamins that you would normally only find in wheat germ or whole grain cereals.

Yet, compared with whole grain, the concentration of B vitamins in my Vitamin B Complex is a hundred-fold higher!

How can this be so, you may be wondering? The secret is the plant matrix used to create them…

Bioavailable and Biologically Active B Vitamins – Grown in an Organic Plant Complex

I was very excited when I discovered this process was being used in Europe to create B vitamins of exceptional quality.

We’ve partnered with a lab in Hamburg, Germany that’s using an innovative, patented process that they’ve developed to create bioavailable and biologically active B vitamins in a matrix of quinoa sprouts!

PANMOL® B-Complex is a complete complex of the 8 major B vitamins, produced from Certified Organic quinoa sprouts.

Let me explain how they’re doing this...

Hamburg, Germany laboratory
The vital phytosubstances for my Vitamin B Complex are grown in Hamburg, Germany

They start with bioidentical B vitamins and organic quinoa seeds, ancient gluten-free seeds that are closely related to spinach and beets.

The B vitamins are added to the water used for sprouting the quinoa seeds. During the sprouting process, the seeds take up the vitamins from this nutrient-rich “broth.”

When the sprouts reach the ideal stage, they’re harvested and powderized.

The end result is a B vitamin complex that:

  • Has the B vitamins organically bound to the plant for food-based benefits
  • Contains the eight familiar B vitamins and a multitude of well-balanced and biologically active B vitamins complete with co-factors and coenzymes
  • May be better absorbed in your pet’s body than regular isolated synthetic B vitamins

By using a patented stage-by-stage procedure, this lab has been able to develop a concentrated and complex life source of micronutrients that, until now has never been achieved in biological research.

Can you see why I’m so excited about these B vitamins? There’s simply nothing else like them on the market!

And now we’ve taken our Organic Vitamin B Complex for Cats and Dogs to the next level and made the product USDA Certified Organic!

Your Pet Can’t Ask for Them, So It’s up to You to Take the Lead...

As I’ve shown above, it really doesn’t matter what you’re feeding your dog or cat...

Even if you’re preparing your own homemade pet food, it may be low in B vitamins, especially thiamine.

And of course, if you’re feeding your pet food out of a bag, box or can, there’s a good chance it’s low in one or more of the important B vitamins.

Do you really want to take a chance with your pet’s most vitamin B-sensitive organs and systems like their heart, brain, muscular, endocrine and nervous systems?

I don’t believe it’s worth the risk, especially now that there’s a simple way to supplement with a complete and bioavailable vitamin B complex.

As an added bonus, my Organic Vitamin B Complex for Cats and Dogs contains organic beef bone broth for irresistible flavor. Just measure out the perfect amount with the enclosed scoop according to your pet’s weight!

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  1. 1. I’m already giving my pet some supplemental B vitamins – is there any danger in providing more?

    B vitamins are water soluble, which means they aren’t stored in the body (except for B12) and any excess is excreted in your pet’s urine. Your pet’s body will utilize only what is needed.

  2. 2. You warn about feeding cats and dogs starches and grains. What about the quinoa seeds in the Vitamin B Complex?

    Considered holy by the Incas in ancient times, quinoa is a pseudo-grain, unlike wheat. Although we cook quinoa like a grain, it is actually a seed. It contains no gluten and isn’t a common allergen.

    As for quinoa’s carbohydrate content and antigens, the sprouting process uses up the organic quinoa’s pro-inflammatory sugars and eliminates antigens. The finished sprouted quinoa powder with the organically bound B complex vitamins is very different from quinoa flour, which still contains antigens and carbohydrates.

  3. 3. Are the vitamins in the Vitamin B Complex synthetic like other B vitamin supplements?

    Our lab starts their patented process with bioidentical B vitamins, but that’s where the similarities end.

    During the sprouting process, the B vitamins become organically bound to the organic quinoa sprout and incorporated into the plant. The B vitamins are now complete nutrients with coenzymes and co-factors to provide the potential for improved absorption, unlike typical B vitamins.

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