Do Certain Foods Treat Disease?

Medical experts and nutritionists continually encourage people to eat more of certain food types to promote general well-being and overall health. For example, broccoli, green tea, and tumeric are recognized for providing health benefits to humans. Emerging scientific evidence shows that some foods can help to treat and even prevent certain conditions, not only for humans but for our pets as well.

Nutrigenomics is a relatively new science that explores the interplay between genetic make-up and how the nutrients found in certain foods could assist in the prevention of specific diseases. The application of nutrigenomics allows scientists to gain a better understanding of genetic disease.

To date, approximately 450 canine genetic diseases have been identified, which vary according to breed.* Nutrigenomics has great potential to improve not only the health of our pets but also our own well-being, from disease prevention to, in some cases, prolonging life expectancy.

Professor John Innes, from the University of Liverpool's Department of Veterinary Clinical Science, believes the application of nutrigenomics through genetic research marks the beginning of a new way forward in the treatment of many chronic conditions, without the need for invasive surgery or the side effects of drug therapy.

"The science of nutrigenomics gives us great insight into understanding how and why certain canine breeds are predisposed to particular conditions and gives us one more tool in our ongoing quest to treat and prevent illness," said Professor Innes.

"We know that the progression from a healthy state to a disease state occurs through changes in gene expression, which can be affected through ingestion of dietary factors, and the introduction of pet foods based on these findings is an important step in helping to further explore the concept of nutritional therapy in the treatment of debilitating human and canine diseases," he added.

The Technology Behind Hill's® Prescription Diet® Canine j/d™

Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc. has for the first time utilized the theory of nutrigenomics combined with clinical studies on the product to develop a new food for dogs, Prescription Diet Canine j/d. This unique food contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), an omega-3 fatty acid found in high concentrations in fish oil that has been demonstrated to alter the action of a degenerative enzyme that causes cartilage degradation.

"The actions of the EPA in Canine j/d help dogs run better, play better, and rise more easily. In addition, dogs experience less stiffness and more ease of movement," said Dru Forrester, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM, scientific spokesperson, Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc.

Evidence-based Nutrition: Research and Clinical Studies

Canine j/d was developed based on more than 10 years of research including several recent clinical trials with more than 500 dogs. In one study, eight out of 10 dogs fed Canine j/d experienced improvement in weight-bearing ability. Conclusions were based upon extensive research from four clinical studies with more than 50 practicing veterinarians, including one university study and three practice-based studies on client-owned dogs. Feeding periods in the studies ranged from three to six months.

Nutrigenomics looks set to transform pet and human nutrition therapy as we know it. It is hoped that further exploration may one day lead to the cessation of certain genetic diseases in both the human and pet populations.

*Swanson KS et al. Nutritional Genomics: Implications for Companion Animals. J. Nutr. 133:3033-3040, October 2003.

For more information about nutrigenomics and Canine j/d, please visit

About Hill's Pet Nutrition

Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc. manufactures Science Diet® brand pet foods, sold through veterinarians and finer pet specialty food stores, and Prescription Diet® brand pet foods, therapeutic pet foods available only through veterinarians. Founded more than 50 years ago by one veterinarian's unique commitment to pet nutrition and well being, Hill's follows its mission to help enrich and lengthen the special relationships between people and their pets by producing the most scientifically advanced, highest quality pet foods available.