The Phase II Response

The animal body has a unique mechanism for increasing its level of antioxidants under emergency situations. This process has been called the Phase II Response. When this mechanism is triggered, it can affect some 230 survival genes largely responsible for the production, use and recycling of cellular antioxidants and reducing agents. In other words, under certain circumstances animals have the ability to protect themselves from excessive oxidative challenges.

The triggering of the Phase II response is predominantly facilitated by the transcription factor Nrf2. Nrf2 is a powerful protein that remains dormant within each cell of the animal body, unable to operate until it is released by an Nrf2 activator. Once released it migrates into the cell nucleus and bonds to the DNA at the location of the Antioxidant Response Element (ARE), which is the master regulator of the entire antioxidant system.

The majority of survival genes induced by Nrf2 are glutathione synthesis, glutathione reductase, glutathione transferases and glutathione peroxidases, all of which play an important role in Canine & Feline stress resistance and cellular protection. Nrf2 also can inhibit 30 to 40 genes that are associated with many diseases including the age-related diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

Recently, science has demonstrated that a variety of phytochemicals including (Bacopa, Ashwagandha, Turmeric, Milk thistle and Sulforaphane) are all potentially powerful activators of the Nrf2 protein. While not necessarily rich in antioxidants themselves, these phytochemicals directly affect a dog or cat’s innate ability to produce vast new numbers of antioxidants.