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Nutrition: Is it a Factor in Bloat and Torsion? (Second of three parts)

by Linda Arndt

Torsion: Could it be an Electrical Short-circuit?

Could torsion be the result of an electrical problem within the body? Let's consider this possibility. First of all, 95% of the body's activities are run by minerals. As you sit there reading this article, you exude 11 million kilowatt hours per pound (some of us more) and if they could harness us we could fuel a large industrial city for a week!

Minerals are what spark our body's electrons and they are absolutely critical in the diet because they affect the electrical impulses and the body chemistry. Did you get that? Minerals are what effect the electrical impulses and the body chemistry.

As owners, we are told to feed our animals the same processed, pre-packaged food day in and day out. We have all seen the television ad from a large well known company that promotes this idea in selling their product. "Why, everything they will ever need is included in this one package." Of course, this short sighted theory assumes we all have the same dietary needs.

When an animal is not part of the food selection process and not allowed to hunt and scavenge, how can special dietary needs and cravings be addressed? The best example is the mineral and micronutrient issue, particularly the micro nutrients. There have been no minimum or maximum determined for most of the minerals and micro nutrients. Therefore, these components are simply "overlooked" or disregarded as being unimportant in a diet. However, it is these "essential" minerals and micro minerals that are the nutrients necessary to run the body's electrical and chemical system!

Although minerals were at one time abundant in our soil and transmitted into grains, fruits, grasses and vegetables, modern farming practices have depleted soils of these minerals. Herbicides, pesticides and mechanical leaching and intensive farming has leached minerals from the soil. We must then go to another source for high quality minerals, such as the cereal grasses and marine plants. Yes, kelp is good to use but is like a weed compared to seaweeds and blue green algae.

A Part of the Solution: Diet

In my previous articles and my lecture at the National I addressed the way in which I have incorporated whole food nutrients into the diet without significantly changing the protein/calorie content or disrupting the balance of the commercial food. I use the following products in small amounts to help accomplish this goal. It allows me to fill in the potential holes in the diet with a minimum of effort.

  • "Daily Greens Plus"
    • probiotics-friendly bacteria
    • digestive enzymes
    • vitamin C - non-acid type (fruits)
    • cereal grasses - (veggies)
  • "MSM"
    • nutritional sulfur (Important part in maintaining the electrical system.)
  • "Source"
    • micro nutrients (64 trace elements from marine plants Essential for normal growth and development and maintaining body chemistry and electricity.)

Then if your schedule permits I suggest incorporating some fresh fruits, vegetables and raw meat into their diet on occasion.

To order these three products: 1-800-937-1104

Part of the Solution: Sulfur/Micro minerals

I want to focus on the element of sulfur for a moment because I am astonished no one has looked at this potential connection to the problem of torsion. Sulfur is one of these critical nutrients yet is almost discounted by dog food companies, nutritionists and veterinarians. I believe nutritional sulfur, which can be obtained in a product called MSM, and the micronutrient minerals from marine plant, which can be obtained in a product called Source, may very well play an important role in the prevention of bloat and torsion.

There may be a possible connection between bloat and torsion and inadequate amounts of or an absence of sulfur and micro nutrients in the processed canine diet. This one mineral, sulfur, is of such great importance in body electricity and chemistry that I feel is an important piece to this whole picture. Most dog foods are low or absent in sulfur content in the nutritional assay and if they do put it back in the food it is in an amino acid supplementation. This mineral is really given no importance in light of the whole health picture yet here is some information about sulfur you will find very interesting.

Sulfur is a mineral and has the same toxicity as water. There is practically no research done on sulfur and nothing is assigned as minimum or maximum requirements by nutritional standards. The National Research Council (NRC) and Affco does not even list it as a nutritional requirement for the dogs/cats. You will not find sulfur in the vitamins you purchase either. Sulfur is fragile and lost during heat and processing.

Sulfur is important for the following functions:

  • electrical impulses
  • overall body chemistry and balance
  • tissue respiration
  • regulating growth patterns
  • protein and connective tissue (hips/elbows)
  • developing collagen (hips/elbows)
  • making bone
  • metabolism
  • fertility

Now if that isn't enough, where do you think sulfur is normally found in abundant raw meat! Yes, you heard me right, raw meat. Something we no longer feed unless we live in Europe, England, Australia and now many breeders in those countries have switched to processed foods. Sulfur is found in protein containing foods and in eggs, green vegetables, cereal grasses (barley, wheat, rye, grasses), alfalfa and fresh grasses (like the ones they tend to graze on in the yard, crab grass and young ragweed leaves, seaweeds and algaes), all things missing from most commercial diets.

Another interesting fact, nutritional sulfur (MSM) is used in horses to correct epiphyiutis, their equivalent to H.O.D. in over-fed yearlings, as well as in spondylosis and nutritional wobblers. Previously I discussed my recent experience working with another breeder and using MSM on a young puppy with wobbler-like symptoms. They saw a considerable improvement in just a few days.


It was explained to me that farm animals bloat when they consume a diet too rich in nitrogen in relation to the amount of sulfur in their diet. Grains/cereal products are high in nitrogen and ferment quickly and raw meats are high in sulfur.

Consider this:

  • Is it possible the relationship of grains to meat in a diet or how they are prepared sets up a condition which may promote bloating?
  • Why were the cases of bloat more frequent 10-15 years ago, when most of the foods were grain based?
  • Is this why dogs raised on a more natural diet of raw meats, tripe, innards and less grains, as in European countries, are less apt to bloat?

I believe one of the reasons we see less bloat and torsion these past few years is because dog food companies are improving foods by going to a meat-based food. The old-timers will remember one particular "yellow" grain based food, the one that went in "yellow" and came out "yellow", and seemed to sour and ferment within a matter of minutes if left standing with water on the food.

Linda Arndt
Blackwatch Great Danes
9000 E. Susan Lane
Albany, Indiana  47320

Part III will appear in the next issue

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