The search for quality nutrition that can help lead to a long, healthy life is a reality for humanity, and therefore for pets. Developing foods that are increasingly specific to the realities and health conditions of dogs and cats is a great ally in the search for their well-being and longevity. Despite being a current trend, the relationship between nutrition and health has been addressed for thousands of years. Hippocrates said in ancient Greece, “Let food be medicine, and medicine be food.”. In this context, functional ingredients are gaining more and more space in pet formulas as well as in our diets.
Hydrolyzed chicken protein is a functional component that results from enzymatic hydrolysis. Softer conditions for this type of processing, such as lower temperature and pressure and very fast drying, preserve the nutritional richness of the raw materials. Besides, the use of the enzyme, in its optimal conditions of activity, cleaves peptide bonds, generating peptides of low molecular mass with high digestibility, which are known to have various vital activities in animal organism.
Utilizing appropriate processes and selected enzymes, the bulk of the protein content in hydrolyzed chicken protein production is in the form of small peptides with less than 3 kDa of molecular mass – the range considered to be the greatest biological activity.
Figure 1. Molecular mass distribution of chicken protein hydrolysis of BRF components
Anti-hypertensive effect on animal organism
Hypertension is common in elderly cats, affecting 13% of healthy cats 9 years of age or older (Conroy et al. 2018). Because hypertension is frequently associated with underlying disease, its prevalence is as high as 87% among cats with Co-occurring disorders (Acierno et al. 2018). Enzymatically hydrolyzed proteins can be applied to diets to treat and prevent high blood pressure, with the advantage of being a natural molecule without the unwanted side effects of many of the medications used to correct this disorder.
Blood pressure is usually controlled by inhibiting the activity of ACE. ACE is responsible for the conversion of angiotensin I to angiotensin II, which is subsequently associated with arterial constriction and stimulation of aldosterone secretion, which in turn stimulates sodium retention and consequent hypertension.
An in vivo study with 8 healthy cats, comparing two equal energy and isoprotein diets, one made from hydrolyzed chicken protein (CPH) from BRF components, and the other with a conventional poultry meal, showed that cats fed CPH tend to have more activity lower serum ACE than those fed a conventional poultry meal (126 vs 142 U/L, p = 0.09), and coming to the conclusion that inclusion of hydrolyzed chicken protein in extruded diets of cats may cause ACE inhibition, Avoid high blood pressure for animals².
Figure 2. (a) Serum angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activity and (b) aldosterone concentration in cats fed diet poultry meal (PBM) or hydrolyzed protein chicken guts (CPH). (Source: adapted from Miltenburg et al., 2020)
The in vivo results of this study confirmed the in vitro findings previously conducted by the same authors, in which hydrolysis of chicken protein produced by components of BRF inhibited 90.4% of ACE2, indicating a great potential for its anti-hypertensive activity.
Hydrolyzed chicken protein as a hypoallergenic ingredient
Food allergy, also called food anaphylaxis, occurs in 10% of dogs and cats with skin diseases and corresponds to about 5% of allergic cases, and constitutes the third allergic dermatopathy of the nature of dogs and cats.
Most of the allergenic protein components are known to have a molecular mass above 10 kDa. The intensity of hydrolysis in the process of producing chicken protein hydrolysis of BRF components generates peptides of up to 3 kDa (Fig. 1), smaller than the size of the allergens, thus reducing the likelihood of diets designed exclusively with this component as an allergen-inducing source protein in animals.
increase in digestion
In the animal organism, peptides have different absorption pathways than amino acids and can therefore be fully absorbed by intestinal cells, without suffering from hydrolysis by endogenous enzymes. These alternative absorption pathways may speed up the absorption of hydrolyzed protein diets, increasing their digestibility and decreasing the amount of fecal matter these animals have.
This effect can be observed in a study of 15 adult dogs fed two equal energy and iso-protein diets, with one control diet made of traditional low-ash chicken gut flour and the other incorporating 4% hydrolyzed chicken protein (CPH). The inclusion of CPH from BRF components increased the apparent digestibility coefficient of nutrients in the diet, as well as reduced faecal dry matter by 12% (p < 0.05)³.
Table 1. Apparent digestibility coefficient (%ADC) for nutrients and metabolizable energy (ME, kcal/kg) for diets and fecal characteristics of dogs (source: adapted from Carvalho et al., 2019).
dad Averages followed by distinct letters differed by Tukey’s test (P < 0.05).
Fresh, traceable and sustainable raw materials
The function of a hydrolyzed product is the result of a combination of factors, such as the type of enzyme, the intensity of hydrolysis, the type and freshness of the raw material, processing conditions, molecular mass size, and amino acid sequence in the composition. Peptides, among others. Taking into account all of the functional benefits verified above, it is important to note that not all hydrolyzed proteins will ensure the same performance in feed. Therefore, it is necessary to check the scientific references and results of each specific ingredient.
Another relevant factor in choosing the best suppliers is to choose those who have a clear traceability process from the beginning to the end of the production chain, so that one can be sure of the quality and safety of the product, besides giving priority to the suppliers who work with fresh raw materials which maintains the high quality of the final product .
Much is already known about the benefits of applying hydrolyzed chicken protein from BRF components to dog and cat diets, such as its hypoallergenic application, improved digestibility, and bioactivity as an anti-hypertensive. In the common goal of promoting the health and longevity of our four-legged friends through the best diets available, the use of this functional ingredient stands out for being a product with proven functionality and guaranteed quality.
Carvalho, P. G. B.; Martins, A.P.; Komarchowski, A.; Kyle, GCB; Bastos, T. S.; Souza, C. M. M.; Felix, Ananda Portela . Digestibility and palatability of hydrolyzed chicken protein in dogs. In: XVIII Congresso CBNA pet, 2019, Campinas. XVIII Congresso CBNA Pet. Campinas: CBNA, 2019.