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Does salmon and other fish oil deplete vitamin E in dogs?

I often discuss the benefits of a high omega 3:6 ratio for puppies and dogs, particularly through supplementation with salmon and other fish oils and the importance of using quality supplements


There has been some recent debate about whether these supplements may deplete vitamin E in dogs.


In this post, I delve deeper into this topic to provide you with more information on how to safely supplement your dogs and ensure they are receiving the nutrients they need.


It's worth noting that while there is a single small study (n=25) that suggests a slight reduction in vitamin E levels in young women who take fish oil supplements, this study has several limitations, including a small sample size, lack of controls, and no crossover design. Additionally, this effect was not observed in women over the age of 35 and not done at all in dogs. Therefore, it is not a particularly robust study and should not be assumed to be nutritional gospel.

I was unable to locate any studies on the effects of salmon oil and vitamin E in dogs. It is important to keep in mind that different species may metabolize nutrients differently, so it is not appropriate to assume that the results of a study in humans would apply to dogs.


However, let's consider the possibility that the use of salmon oil and vitamin E may be a concern for dogs. The real issue at hand is the potential for depletion of antioxidants in the body, rather than a specific concern with vitamin E. When fatty acids are oxidized in the body, it can lead to a depletion of any antioxidant, including vitamin E as well as others.


To address this issue, it is important to ensure an adequate intake of antioxidants in the diet.


Not all fish oils have preservatives. Most that do use tocopherols, which are a form of vitamin E.


The main functions of tophoperols are to protect the fish oil from oxidation, which can deplete vitamin E, and to provide vitamin E themselves. It is generally thought that a sufficient supply of antioxidants can help prevent health issues, though it is important to note that excessive intake of antioxidants can also be harmful and potentially lead to toxicity.


To ensure a balance, it is a good idea to use a variety of sources for antioxidants, such as a diet rich in antioxidant-containing foods and supplements like vitamin E and fish oil with a high omega-3 to omega-6 ratio that is already preserved with vitamin E.

Having a good supply of antioxidants should prevent any issues (not that there are even proven issues, but assuming there are, this is the way to avoid them).


I personally feed a food with added vitamin E and other antioxidants, I use a topper that is high in antioxidants, and I use a fish oil that has the highest omega 3:6 ratio on the market and is preserved with vitamin E (preventing oxidation even before it gets ingested).


While antioxidants are important, like many other things too much isn't always better. Antioxidant toxicity can happen, Vitamin E and A toxicities are rare, but possible. And excessive levels of antioxidants can negatively impact health.


Your best bet is to find food and supplements formulated by veterinarians and PhD animal nutritionists. A good food should have the antioxidants you need to keep your pet healthy. Not all food is, so this is definitely a question to ask when you look at a food.


If you aren't sure your food has adequate antioxidants, one of the best supplements is to simply give your dog a few raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries a day. One for a small dog, 3 for a medium dog, and 5-6 for a larger dog.


Feel free to drop me a line if you have questions about this other other pet nutrition topics.



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