The other night I stumbled on an illuminating study conducted by Dr. Anne Hielm-Bjorkman (from the vet school in Helsinki, Finland), who also happens to be the leading researcher on the effects of raw diets for dogs. Her ground-breaking work has spanned over two decades.
In any case, the study I'm referring concerned homocysteine, a marker of inflammation and chronic disease in the body, and how different levels of it affected the dogs she examined, (four groups of dogs for six months).
Group 1 were former raw fed-dogs that were switched to kibble for the second half of the study, (the last three months). Group 2 were kibble-fed dogs that were switched to raw food for three months. Groups 3 & 4 continued eating their regular food (either dry or raw for the full six-month study).
Guess what? The raw-fed dogs fed raw that continued on the raw diet had the lowest homocysteine levels, at 0.17mM (a very favorable level). But the kibble-fed dogs that continued eating dry food had the highest levels of homocysteine, 10 times more than the raw fed group (1.57mM). Alarming!
That's not all: the dogs raised on raw food and switched to kibble had a 500% increase in levels of the disease marker in the body at the completion of the study (0.77mM). The key finding here is the fact that the kibble-raised dogs that switched to raw diets for three months had a dramatic decrease in the disease marker (0.3mM).
So don't let anyone tell you that raw diets are just the trend du jour, as per the study, it's far far healthier. I believe that this type of illuminating research will be a harbinger of dietary changes for cats and dogs, that eventually raw will replace kibble as the food of choice. It's about time!