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Just as with human healthcare, veterinarian health practitioners now view nutritional prevention and treatment as the best approach to health. That’s because nutritional approaches to wellness engage the pet’s most powerful defense against disease and most powerful resource for recovery from illness and injury; the immune system.

Research is increasingly declaring what many veterinarians have suspected for years, that the main cause of pet illness and delayed recovery from illness or trauma is a weakened immune system. The immune system was designed to be naturally activated by specific nutrients, many of which are woefully absent in processed pet foods. So it’s no wonder that many pets suffer from skin conditions, joint pain, obesity, digestive issues and even cancer. There are serious gaps in pet nutrition that must be filled in order to activate a pet’s immune system. While there is a place for pharmaceuticals in the treatment of injuries and disease, many pharmaceuticals have a toxic effect and tax a pet’s system, weakening their immuno-response.

At Bixbi, we believe it’s better to avoid the need for pharmaceutical interventions as much as possible by filling in nutritional gaps to activate the pet’s natural defenses and healing response. Artificial ingredients, such as those found in many pet foods and snacks, register as foreign substances and trigger a toxic or allergic response. This can cause inflammation in the joints, skin, and intestines and can overwork the liver and kidneys. The results may include physical discomfort, digestive irregularities and a taxed immune system, leaving a pet vulnerable to illness, injury and a slow recovery.

Following is a glossary of terms that will help you understand typical pet health issues and to navigate the nutritional gaps that cause them. We hope this information will help you make informed decisions regarding your pet’s diet. By filling in what is typically missing, you can increase your pet’s quality of life and increase its lifespan.


The immune system’s exaggerated reaction to a normally harmless substance. When the body reacts to a substance as foreign or poisonous it releases chemicals (histamines, which in turn trigger other biological reactions) to fight the supposed invasion. Symptoms can include itching, sneezing, chronic inflammation, nausea or vomiting. The immune system can be chronically over stimulated by allergies, degrading its ability to fight illness or to heal traumas.


Specific vitamins (such as vitamin C and vitamin E) and plant and animal compounds (bioflavonoids such as grape seed extract, quercetin, coenzyme Q-10, ginkgo biloba) that maintain pet health by cleaning up the products of cell damage, or oxidation. Antioxidants also decrease various chemicals (histamine, interleukin, tumor necrosis factor) that cause cell damage. Because antioxidants minimize damage to cells, they are useful whenever disease is present and immune support is needed.


Beta-glucan is a clinically proven biological defense modifier (BDM) that activates immune response while modulating its function so that it is neither over nor under stimulated. Balanced immuno-response of this sort is ideal for health. Beta glucan is ingested primarily through macrophage and dendritic immune cells to yield therapeutic healing effects generated by the immune cells. For many years, glucans have been of interest to researchers for their immune-enhancing properties, particularly their ability to activate macrophage immune cells, NK-Cells, T-Cells, and B-Cells including selected cytokines and complement. Poly-branched B-1,3-(D)-Glucans are naturally occurring polysaccharides (some with B-1,6-(D)-glucose side chains) that are integral to certain mushrooms.


Also known as chondroitin sulfate, chondroitin is a naturally occurring compound found in cartilage. When chondroitin is present in the body, researchers believe, it promotes healthy joints by warding off the effects of damaging enzymes, increasing water retention, and enhancing the elastic properties of cartilage.

Full Spectrum

Full-spectrum supplements are made from whole foods, not extracts or highly processed reductions. Full spectrum supplements are so named because they contain the full range of nutrients inherent in the original food source; as such, they are resistant to oxidation, can withstand heat and cold and still retain their beneficial properties, and are naturally nutrient rich.

Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

HA is critical for healthy joint function, removes waste from cells lacking blood supply and helps the body retain fluid (h20). It is found throughout the body, especially in the synovium, the vitreous humor of the eye, the cartilage, blood vessels, extracellular matrix, skin and the umbilical cord. HA is also a key component of hyaline cartilage, which gives the body structural strength and flexibility. A deficit of HA can lead to weak and malnourished cartilage (and other non-vascularized body parts) and painful joints.


Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your dog or cat’s thyroid gland fails to function properly, either due to inflammation or aging. Although hypothyroidism is not a life threatening disease, it can decrease the quality of life for your dog or cat through its associated symptoms (hair loss, weight gain, aggressive behavior). Most cases of Hypothyroidism stem from the animal’s own immune system attacking the thyroid gland. This condition is known as autoimmune thyroiditis. The thyroid initially fights back by secreting even more of its only weapon, the thyroid hormone. But in untreated cases, the battle is usually lost as the thyroid is overwhelmed by the attacks of the immune system.


L-Ergothioneine is a powerful antioxidant found in high concentrations in mushrooms. Researchers have found that shiitake, oyster, king oyster and maitake mushrooms contain higher amounts of ergothioneine than any other food, with up to 13 mg in a 3-ounce serving. This equals forty times as much as is found in wheat germ.

Natural Killer Cells

Natural killer cells play a critical role in host rejection of tumors and virally infected cells. They are, in other words, cells that help destroy diseased cells in the body to protect against their spread. Certain nutritional therapies are thought to stimulate the production of these helpful cells.


Special complex carbohydrates (highly concentrated in mushrooms) that activate the immune system. Polysaccharides activate macrophages and T-lymphocytes, stimulate interferon (a cellular protein produced in response to infection which acts to inhibit viral growth), and enhance cell-mediated immune response. They are non-toxic and clinically safe.

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)

Pantothenic acid B5 is necessary for various biological processes in mammals. Pantothenic acid is utilized in the formation of coenzymes A and 4-phosphopantetheine, both of which are critical for hundreds metabolic reactions. These processes include energy production, fatty acid catabolism, fatty acid synthesis, cholesterol, phospholipid and steroid-hormone production. It is a part of critical heme (hemoglobin) and acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter) synthesis, stimulates manufacture of antibodies and promotes wound healing.
The pantothenic acid vitamin also helps the body in absorbing and properly utilizing the other vitamins in the body, such as vitamins B6, B12 and C, so it is important for food synthesis and digestion. Digestion is also aided by B5’s assistance in breaking down carbohydrates, fats, lipids and various amino acids.
B5 also helps produce vitamin D naturally; pharmaceutical vitamin D administered separately, as opposed to produced naturally, can lead to excessive dosing which is dangerous for pets.


Phyto-sterols and -sterolins are biologically active fat molecules isolated from plants and mushrooms. Clinical studies show that they significantly modulate the effects of the immune system, keeping it in homeostasis (the ideal state for immune-response). 
Without sterols/sterolins, the immune system may become too stressed to produce enough invader fighting T-cells or may overproduce the cells responsible for auto-immune response.

Synovial Fluid

Synovial fluid is the lubricating fluid that surrounds joints and reduces friction between cartilage surfaces. Synovial fluid also provides cushioning and helps keep the joint sterile, nourished and healthy. Normal human synovial fluid contains 3-4 mg/ml hyaluronic acid, a polymer of disaccharides composed of D-glucuronic acid and D-N-acetylglucosamine joined by alternating beta-1,4 and beta-1,3 glycosidic bonds. Hyaluronan is synthesized by the synovial membrane and secreted into the joint cavity to increase the viscosity and elasticity of articular cartilages and lubricate the surfaces between synovium (the sac around the joint containing synovial fluid) and cartilage.


T-cells are a category of white blood cells called lymphocytes or leukocytes that help maintain the body’s immune responses by seeking out and destroying invading pathogens.

Trierpenes / Triterpenoids

Triterpenes function as precursors to, or precipitants of, certain steroidal hormones when consumed by animals. Medicinal triterpenes have been found useful in antiviral treatments for HIV, herpes and other virus strains. Some triterpenes are indicated in hepatoprotective (protecting liver function) and anti-carcinogenic therapies.

According to mushroom researcher and cultivator Jeff Chilton: “These compounds have been the primary focus of research due to their ability to inhibit tumors in laboratory test animals. Mushroom polysaccharides act by enhancing host defenses rather than directly killing tumor cells. For this reason they are called host defense potentiators (HDP).”

Mushroom Glossary

Not all mushrooms are created equal! The hundreds of varieties of mushrooms vary widely in terms of the specific nutrients they contain and their concentrations. Bixbi selects only mushroom varieties that are nutritionally potent and 100% non-toxic, regardless of dose.

To get the most therapeutic value out of mushrooms, concentrates from various species must be carefully combined so that their nutrient content is broad based for immunity activation and properly balanced for specific therapies. The mycelia* of certain exotic species provide the best nutrient composition for both pets and people; a description of the nutrient components of those species follows.


Lentinan is a branched beta-glucan present in mushrooms (shitake) that is used as an anti-tumor polysaccharide. It is used clinically as a part of human cancer treatments and is indicated as an immunity booster for HIV patients and those suffering from or vulnerable to influenza. Clinical trials have shown increases in white blood cells as a result of lentinan therapy.
Lentinan has been used in human gastric cancer patients to grow reticular fibers in tumor sites. Reticular cells are immune cells that have the ability to ingest(phagocytose) bacteria, particulate matter, and worn out or cancerous cells. When lentinan was administered, not only was there a proliferation of reticular cells in gastric tumor sites, but many T lymphocytes (another type of immune defender) were drawn to these cancer sites with the result that the cancer cell nests were fragmented and destroyed.


The Mycelium is the mostly underground part of the mushroom consisting of a web of threadlike hyphae. The hyphae are immersed in nutrient sources, emitting enzymes to breakdown those nutrients, and ingesting the processed nutrients to the mycelium and the fruit body of the mushroom (the visible, aboveground part of the mushroom). Because mycelia are, in a sense, closer to the action as far as digestion goes, they have the highest concentrations of mushroom nutrients and are therefore the part that is harvested for supplements.

Maitake (Grifola frondosa)

Polysaccharides, both alpha- and beta-D-glucans, with 1,3 beta-D- glucans and 1,6 beta-glucans appearing to be most active. Maitake can contain up from 10 to 50% beta-glucans on a dry weight basis. Vitamins B1, B2, C and D2 (ergosterol), Niacin,Potassium, Magnesium, Selenium, Calcium, Phosphorus.

Turkey Tail (Coriolus Versicolor)

Polysaccharide-K (PSK), polysaccharide-P (PSP), coriolan, triterpenoids, sterols.

Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis)

Cordycepin (3-deooxyadenosine), cordycepic acid, sterols: ergosterol, polysaccharides.

Beech (Hypsizygus tessellatus)

Polysaccarides, L-Ergothioneine, sterols, ergosterol, provitamin D2.

Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)

Potassium, niacin and B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus; vitamins A, B1,2,6,12,C,D2,E and K; niacin; pantothenic acid; iron

Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

Polysaccharides (many forms & derivations), erinacines, ericenones, ergosterol (provitamin D2).

Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus)

B1, B2, B3, phosphorus, calcium, iron.

Agaricus Blazei (himematsutake)

Polysaccharides (wide range of alpha- and alpha-D-glucans), beta- and beta-D-glucans, proteoglucan, riboglucans, anti-angiogenic compounds, ergosterol (provitamin D2).

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)

Polysaccharides, beta-D-glucans, ganoderans, triterpenes (ganoderic & ganoderenic acids), ergosterol (provitamin D2), coumarin, triterpenoids.

King Trumpet (Pleurotus eryngii)

Polysaccharides (beta-1,3-D-glucan, pleuran), pleureryn, l-ergothioneine, chelated selenium, lectins , peptides (pleurostrin).