Proteins are substances containing C carbon (51-55%), O oxygen (21.5-23.5%), H hydrogen (6.5 – 7.3%), N nitrogen (15.5 – 18%) and small amounts of sulfur (0.1 to 2.5%) and / or P phosphorus (0.1 to 1.5%), some may also contain traces of Fe, Cu and Zn. They represent the essential constituents of all cells. In addition to the plastic function, they expose the catalytic (enzymes constituents), regulating the chemical reactions that take place in the cell. From a nutritional point of view, they contribute to a greater extent, compared to other nutritive elements, to shape the organism and to supply the material for the productions (milk, eggs, wool, etc.). Therefore, animals need an adequate supply of proteins through nutrition; From the hydrolysis of proteins the basic units of proteins are obtained: the amino acids. The known amino acids are numerous, but those that become part of the protein composition are basically 20. The complex protein molecules present in the tissues and circulating liquids, in plants and animals, are all formed by a very high number of one or different amino acids and therefore the approximately 20 amino acids existing in nature, combining each other can give rise to a very high number of proteins, each with its own characteristics. Of the 20 amino acids that can make up the most diverse proteins, about 13 (non-essential or biosynetizable amino acids) can be synthesized by the animal organism; the other 10-12 (essential or abiosynthetic) must be given to them as they can not be directly synthesized by the body.
- L-CARNITINE important component for animal health; it has the fundamental role of transporting essential fatty acids from the cellular cytosol into the mitochondria, for the purpose of their degradation (beta-oxidation) and consequent production of energy in the form of ATP molecules. This energy is necessary for carrying out normal daily activities. L-carnitine can therefore also play an important role in the motility of spermatozoa in relation to its role in the energy metabolism of fatty acids, it also has a protective function of the joints and intervenes in normal cardiac functions. In particular, L-Carnitine can exert an action to support male reproduction with beneficial effects on spermatozoa in terms of count, concentration, mobility and integrity. The spermatozoa, to carry out their functions, require a lot of energy which is partly supplied by long-chain fatty acids. Therefore, a low availability of L-Carnitine can be a limiting factor in the ability of spermatozoa to generate energy.
- L-ARGININE amino acid precursor of nitric oxide (NO), which is produced by all the tissues of the body and performs fundamental functions of the cardiovascular system, of the immune system and the nervous system. In particular, arginine*1 is a source of nitric oxide useful for the process of capacitation (ability to fertilize) and for the acrosome reaction (changes of the sperm head that allow it to enter the egg to fertilize it) of the spermatozoa. A supplementation based on L-arginine can therefore be useful for supporting reproduction. Arginine helps to maintain excellent sperm mobility which requires the presence of putrescine, spermicidin and spermine, three polyamides in the production of which arginine plays an essential role. A very interesting study by Shafer et al (1997)*2 has shown that arginine also improves sperm morphology by reporting that the percentage of morphologically normal spermatozoa and progressive motility are directly related. Even in normal-fertile dogs with normal spermiogram arginine can have benefits in increase in sperm motility. This finding can be useful, for example, in subjects whose ejaculates are destined for conservation through refrigeration or freezing.
- TAURINE it is found as a free substance in animal tissues. Meat, poultry, fish and crustaceans are particularly rich; while it is completely absent in the plant world. In most of the mammals can be synthesized from methionine and cysteine but not in cats; moreover, since it has a much higher requirement than the other animals, it is very sensitive to a lack of it in the diet. For this, especially cats, must be fed with diets rich in taurine. In particular, for the reproductive function, a research by Cornell University has shown that laboratory mice fed with a taurine-free diet have a high probability of being sterile since their spermatozoa show important alterations, especially at the level of the tail. These changes disappeared after the administration of taurine in the diet.
The microelements are essential for animal feeding; Important aspect is that they can not be synthesized (unlike other nutrients) from the animal and therefore must be present in the ration in quantities sufficient to satisfy the needs. Minerals play a major role in the control of animal metabolism as constituents of the prosteical group of numerous enzymes. Moreover, some of them carry out enzyme activators functions and enter the genesis of hormones and vitamins.
- SELENIUM is a mineral with an antioxidant action. This action is due to the fact that it enters the constitution of glutathione-peroxidase, an enzyme that catalyzes the reduction reaction of glutathione, a powerful endogenous antioxidant. The deficiency of selenium can be concomitant with that of vitamin E, another molecule with an antioxidant action.
- ZINC is an mineral; distributed mainly in hairs, feathers, bones and teeth. It is absorbed (not all that contained in the ration) in the intestinal tract and high amounts of calcium inhibit its use. It participates in the activity of carbonic anhydrase, involved in gaseous exchanges between tissues; participates in the mechanism responsible for bone calcification, is involved in the activities of phosphatases, pancreatic amylase and insulin synthesis. Zinc is therefore essential for growth, for keratinization of the skin and hair, for osteogenesis and chondrogenesis and for the normal functionality of the testes and seminiferous tubules. The sperm contains high levels of zinc which is necessary for the synthesis of the membrane and the tail of the spermatozoa. An insufficient dietary intake of this mineral could therefore affect the normal maturation of spermatozoa with possible insufficiency of strength and motility. Furthermore, testosterone levels can also be affected by a zinc deficiency, since this mineral is also involved in the synthesis of these hormones. Zinc has a fundamental role in the regulation of hormones in the female reproductive system. In fact it is essential for the synthesis of estrogens and progesterone.
Vitamins are bioregolators of great importance as they preside, together with the hormones, to carry out all the physiological processes both directly and indirectly through enzymatic mechanisms. On the basis of solubility, they are classified as fat-soluble, which dissolve in fats and in apolar solvents; and water-soluble (they are not accumulated in the body, so it is essential to introduce them daily through the diet) which dissolve in water and in polar solvents. All vitamins are responsible for specific tasks and, their deficiency, can cause dysfunctionality.
- VITAMIN A (retinol) fat-soluble vitamin which plays a very important role in vision, bone growth and the maintenance of the normal functions of the immune system. Vitamin A is widespread above all in foods of animal origin, such as liver, spleen, milk and derivatives and eggs, but it is also present in fish and vegetable sources. Vitamin A also intervenes in the protection of the epithelia and is important for sight, as it is an integral part of rhodopsin of the retina. Another function performed by this vitamin is the epithelial-protective one; useful activity especially in the mucus secreting tissues of the digestive, respiratory and urogenital systems. But above all, vitamin A exerts a significant influence on reproduction.
- VITAMIN E Vitamin E (liposoluble) also called alpha-tocopherol (from the Greek: bring children) also called vitamin of fertility. Its function is antioxidant, that is, it has a scavenger effect against free radicals and various heavy metals such as lead and mercury. It is very common in the plant world, especially in the germs of cereals and related oils and in the green parts of all plants. In animal tissues, vitamin E is contained in small doses; except for the placenta and the hypophysis that are particularly rich. It performs important functions on the reproductive sphere, both male and female. This effect is not directly the expression of a biological mechanism carried out by the vitamin (whose fundamental task, in the living animal cell, is the physiological antioxidant “by excellence”, which protects vitamin A and saturated and unsaturated fatty acids from phenomena self-oxidation); it seems more like that carries out a preventive action against early abortion and an action against some forms of sterility. This vitamin also participates in synthesis and metabolic processes; it is endowed with surfactant properties and is indispensable for the genesis of many enzymes and coenzymes, for the synthesis of ascorbic acid and nucleic acids. It is also able to increase the body’s tolerance to toxic substances. Eventual symptoms of deficiency are resent on the genital sphere and may also be due to a lack of selenium or the presence of high amounts of fat, especially if rancid.
- FOLIC ACID Folic acid participates in the synthesis of some amino acids, such as methionine / homocysteine and glutamic acid, contributes to normal hematopoiesis or to the normal process of blood cell formation.
Folic acid is also very important for the proper functioning of the nervous system.
In the past, all the herbs and plants (annual or perennial trees or shrubs) used in the “workshops” of the apothecaries were called “officinals”. Today herbs and medicinal plants are those used to preserve the well-being of humans and animals; they can be used as such in the kitchen, as spices; in the preparation of herbal teas, or work with specific procedures for the production of food supplements, veterinary, cosmetics and other products. For each officinal plant, the part used (leaves, flowers, seeds, bark, roots, etc.) is called “drug”. The drug contains the phytocomplex, ie the set of active ingredients that characterize the properties of the plant, which can not be reproduced by chemical synthesis. The synergistic work of the active ingredients of the phytocomplex ensures the plant a series of contemporary actions.
- SPIRULINA ALGAE very rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins, known for its anti-oxidant properties. Scientifically known as Arthrospira, it lives mainly in sub-tropical fresh waters. It has a blue-green color and the typical spiral shape gave it its name. Considered one of the most complete foods on the planet, it contains all the essential amino acids, is composed of 60% proteins and has a high concentration of beta-carotene, vitamin B12, iron and minerals in addition to the rare essential fatty acid GLA (gamma-linolenic acid ). It therefore has a unique phytonutrient content; these phytonutrients can perform a beneficial function at the level of the immune system due to the richness of antioxidants, promote cellular health and, thanks to the contained chlorophyll, promote a detoxifying action. Spirulina algae is known for its chelating function (which “retains” heavy metals and promotes their elimination without these having their harmful functions).
- TURMERIC Curcuma longa, also called Indian saffron. From its rhizome the active principles such as curcuminoids are obtained, among which, the most active is represented by curcumin. The presence of minerals and vitamins in turmeric make it a powerful antioxidant, fighting free radicals.
- CINNAMON cinnamon has had a wide range of uses since ancient times and was considered a very valuable spice. The typical scent and flavor of cinnamon are characteristics due to an aldehyde contained in the essential oil that can be obtained from the maceration of the Cinnamomum bark. The most valuable spice is obtained from Cinnamomum zeylanicum, but another well-known and widespread type is the cinnamon of Cinnamomum cassia. In many cases, the commercial spice is of the last type or a mixture of different qualities. Cinnamon essential oil contains about 70% cinnamic aldehyde (cinnamaldehyde). In recent years the functions of cinnamaldehyde have been studied more in depth, especially in relation to the sphere of reproduction. Cinnamon is ultimately considered a powerful natural antioxidant, it stimulates blood circulation and contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.
- MELON The melon (Cucumis melo L.) is a plant belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family. Its origin is disputed, but the literature points to southern and eastern Africa. However, today it is found and cultivated all over the world. This plant uses the juicy fruit known for its nutritional and health properties. Fruits vary in size, shape and peel and are rich in flavonoids, alkaloids, terpenes and vitamin E. Various health properties have been attributed to the fruit pulp, including the antioxidant action and the draining action of body fluids and protective of the kidney functions. These actions are closely linked to the presence of vitamin E and to the high concentration of SOD (superoxide dismutase), an enzyme belonging to the class of oxidoreductases capable of neutralizing the superoxide anion with consequent antioxidant action.
*1 (O’Flaherty C. e al – L-arginine promotes capacitation and acrosome reaction in bovine spermatozoa. – Biochim Biophys Acta 1674.215-221, 2004)
*2 (Scafer S., e al – The influence of frequent semen collection on the semen quality of beagle-dogs.- Deutsche tierarztliche wochenschrift, 104 (I): 26-29,1997).
*3 Nutrition. 2011 May;27(5):582-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2010.04.002. Epub 2010 Aug 13. – Gad A.S., Khadrawy Y.A., El-Nekeety A.A., Mohamed S.R., Hassan N.S., Abdel-Wahhab M.A. Antioxidant activity and hepatoprotective effects of whey protein and Spirulina in rats.
*4 Advances in Health Sciences Research – Proceedings of the 1st International Conference in One Health (ICOH 2017) – Herawati Herawati, Aulia Firmawati, Dyah Ayu Oktavianie Ardhiana Pratama, Anna Roosdiana. Potency Combination of Curcumin (Curcuma longa Linn.) and Vitamin E Toward Estrogen and Progesterone Profile on Rat (Ratttus norvegicus) Mammary Cancer Model.
*5 Animal. 2018 Jun;12(6):1242-1249. doi: 10.1017/S175173111700235X. Epub 2017 Oct 26. – Sirotkin A.V., Kadasi A., Stochmalova A., Balazi A., Földesiová M., Makovicky P., Chrenek P., Harrath A.H. Effect of turmeric on the viability, ovarian folliculogenesis, fecundity, ovarian hormones and response to luteinizing hormone of rabbits.
*6 Biomed Pharmacother. 2017 Apr;88:52-60. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2017.01.054. Epub 2017 Jan 13. – Hosni A.A., Abdel-Moneim A.A., Abdel-Reheim E.S., Mohamed S.M., Helmy H. Cinnamaldehyde potentially attenuates gestational hyperglycemia in rats through modulation of PPARγ, proinflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress.
*7 Life SCI.2010 Jun 5;86(23-24):894-8.doi:10.1016/j.lfjs.2010.04.009.Epub 2010 Apr 25.-Iwaoka Y., Hashimoto R., Koizumi H., Yu J., Okabe T. Selective stimulation by cinnamaldehyde of progesteron secretion in human adrenal cells
A prospective pharmacological review of medicinal herbs, Cucumis melo and Berberis vulgaris, commonly used in the treatment of renal diseases in Pakistan Naveed Ullah, Abad Khan, Salimullah Khan, Waqar Ahmad
Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of a Cucumis melo LC. extract rich in superoxide dismutase activity Ioannis Vouldoukis , Dominique Lacan, Caroline Kamate, Philippe Coste, Alphonse Calenda, Dominique Mazier, Marc Conti, Bernard Dugas