Nutraceuticals in weight-loss diets.
With 28.7 percent of all adult American cats classified as "overweight" and 6.4 percent as clinically obese, things only get worse with age. Among cats between five and 11 years of age, fully 44 percent are either overweight or obese.
Just in time (we were about to have Frannie, the ShortTakes office kitty, fitted for running shoes) comes this report in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (Vol. 232, No. 11): "Nutraceuticals and dietary supplementation for the management of obese and overweight pets"
The study looked at everything from omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, amylase inhibitors and DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) to L-carnitine, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and dietary phytoestrogens. Some, such as diacylglycerol, make a computer's spell-checker burp. And not all, including the last one, have been tested on cats.
Here are three that do seem to help overweight cats: L-carnitine (added to a low-fat diet, it made weight loss significantly easier compared to low-fat food without the supplement); CLA (supplementation "helps repartition fat" to lean tissue) and phytoestrogens ("could help prevent obesity after gonadectomy").