Essential phosphorus

Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for cats. It is a key component of skeletal health and is involved in several metabolic processes. This mineral is naturally occurring (organic) in many of the ingredients used in commercial pet food.

Organic phosphorus is found in protein-rich sources like meat, fish or bone meal, and in plant ingredients like wheat or bran. Inorganic phosphorus is added to the diet to balance mineral content or for other technical properties such as pH stabilisation, processing, or palatability.

 

Safe upper limit?

There is currently no established safe upper limit for dietary phosphorus. However, research has demonstrated that excess inorganic phosphorus can have a harmful effect on cats with existing renal disease. Recent studies suggest there may also be a link between high dietary inorganic phosphorus and renal function in healthy cats.

In response, the European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF) has added a specific footnote regarding recommended nutrient levels for cats as it pertains to inorganic phosphorus: High intake of inorganic phosphorus compounds (such as NaH2 PO4) may affect indicators of renal function in cats (Alexander et al. 2019, Dobenecker et al. 2018a, Dobenecker et al. 2018b). More research is needed to clarify potential risk.

 

New palatants

The Pet Food Industry recognises that palatants are a main contributor of inorganic phosphorus in finished cat food. It is also acknowledged that it is quite a challenge to lower the level of phosphorus while maintaining the palatability required to ensure cats receive the vital nutrients they need. Scientists at AFB succeeded in developing new feline palatant solutions to address the challenge. These products contain lower levels of inorganic phosphorus while also maintaining or increasing palatability.

In addition to the health benefit of contributing less inorganic phosphorus, these palatants can provide other advantages to pet food manufacturers with formula flexibility that enables potential cost savings.

 

By: AFB International

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