What is protein?  It took a little digging to find out exactly what protein is.  I can you tell that protein rich food is digested in the body, broken down and then converted into amino acids.  Amino acids, also referred as building blocks, are chemical compounds comprised of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen.  There are 22 different types of amino acids found in the body.  All are needed for the body to function correctly.  Once digested to become amino acids they then reform into proteins.  (So there you have it a protein is made up of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and usually sulfur too!)  Proteins are reformed by the amino acids joining together to form numerous combinations of proteins that the body needs.  Confusing stuff!  Of the 22 different types of amino acids, the body can manufacture 14 and are therefore not necessary to be received from the diet.  However, that leaves 8 to 9 (depending on what article you read) that the body does require from a food source.  These 8 to 9 are essential to the body and are called “essential amino acids”.  Some foods (typically from animal sources) contain all 8 to 9 essential amino acids and are considered a complete protein.  Other groups of food have incomplete sources that you can mix and match to get to a complete protein status.  These food sources include fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts.  With that said protein is a part of every cell, tissue, organ and muscle in the body.  It is also found in enzymes and antibodies.  Important stuff!  Did I mention it plays a role in metabolism, digestion and the transport of nutrients and oxygen in the blood.  Dogs but not humans can convert protein into energy!


Protein - what is protein and why is it important for good health.

protein - definition of protein by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.


A vitamin is actually a small molecule.  A molecule is defined by google dictionary as “a group of atoms bonded together, representing the smallest fundamental unit of a chemical compound that can take part in a chemical reaction”.  The body cannot manufacture it; therefore it is necessary to obtain vitamin molecules from food sources.   Vitamins are either water-soluble meaning they leave the body through urine and need to be replenished frequently or fat-soluble meaning they are absorbed by dietary fat in the intestines and then stored in the liver to be utilized at a later time.  Vitamins play a crucial role in many chemical processes in the body.

-B1/Thiamin (water soluble): blood formation; metabolism of carbohydrates; nervous system; digestive system; plays a biosynthesis role with neurotransmitters; energy reproduction.

-B2/Riboflavin (water soluble): growth; red blood cell production; skin and vision.

-B3/Niacin (water soluble): digestive system; appetite; skin and nerves.

-B5/Pantothenic Acid (water soluble): growth and development; needed to make vitamin D and red blood cells.

-B6/Pyridoxine (water soluble): important as a co-enzyme; brain; metabolism; immune system.

-B7/Biotin (water soluble): vital for forming fatty acids and glucose, fuels for the body; breakdown amino acids and carbohydrates.

-B9/Folate (water soluble): cell growth and reproduction.

-B12/Cobalamin (water soluble): nerve function; energy metabolism.

-Vitamin A/Retinol (fat soluble) : antioxidant; eyes.

-Vitamin C (water soluble): wound healing; protects against cell damage; gums and teeth; eyes; immune system; absorbs Iron; anti-oxidant; develops and maintains connective tissue and bone structure.

-Vitamin D (fat soluble): bones and teeth.

-Vitamin E (fat soluble): antioxidant; aids blood clotting; wound healing; circulatory system.

-Vitamin K (fat soluble): essential for blood clotting; maintain strong bones.


What are vitamins and how do they work?

Vitamins - a guide to vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K.


Minerals are inorganic elements, essential to the body, found in soil and water. Plants take up minerals from the soil and water and then we (dogs and humans) absorb these minerals from the plant-based foods we ingest.  There are 16 essential minerals needed by the body.  Some are needed in large quantities, other in smaller amounts and still some only in minute quantities.  But they all play a vital role in the functioning of the body.  Listed are only those minerals found in nickyBONES Dog Biscuits.  Peruse the references for further study.


absorbs calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D; brain functions; cell membrane functions; anti-fungal.

-Calcium: electrolyte; teeth; bones; skin; removal of toxins from the colon.

-Chlorine: electrolyte; acid-base balance; blood; tissue, nerves; muscle; digestion; heart; water balance; cleanses the intestines and body of toxins)

-Cobalt: red blood cells and a component of Vitamin B12/Cobalamin.

-Copper: antioxidant; production of connective tissues and melanin.

-Iodine: growth and development; thyroid gland function which affects metabolism; hair; skin; nails; teeth.

-Iron: necessary to produce red blood cells; energy; metabolism

-Magnesium: electrolyte; relaxes blood vessels; bones and teeth; heart; muscle; regulates calcium levels.

-Manganese: antioxidant; nervous system; cholesterol; manufactures fatty acids; produces energy from proteins and carbohydrates.

-Phosphorus: body system functions, to include brain, heart and kidney; strength bones and teeth.

-Potassium: electrolyte; balance electrolyte and pH functions; heart; brain; kidney; muscle; wound healing; regulates blood pressure; nervous system.

-Selenium: antioxidant; immune system.

-Sodium: electrolyte; regulates blood pressure and blood volume; muscle and nerve function.

-Sulphur: helps every cell in eliminating toxicity; enzyme reaction functions; protein synthesis functions; skin, coat and nails and it what makes egg yolks yellow.

-Zinc: cellular metabolism; immune function; taste/smell; protein synthesis; wound healing; DNA synthesis; cell division.


Minerals - a guide to essential minerals including calcium, iron, zinc and potassium.

Essential Fatty Acids

-Omega 3: brain; vision; heart; anti-inflammatory; anti-coagulant; growth and development, especially nervous tissues; lipid levels; blood pressure and glucose metabolism.

-Omega 6: anti-inflammatory; heart; skin, coat and nails.

Other Definitions

-Alkali: a base that helps with pH balance by neutralizing acids.

-Align: viscous fiber that absorbs most nutrients in addition to toxins from the digestive tract, thereby blocking toxins from entering the circulatory system.

-Antioxidant: repairs and may protect the cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

-Arginine: a-amino acid thats helps improve blood flow through the vessels.

-Beta-carotene: precursor to vitamin A; antioxidant: immune booster; skin; vision.

-Choline: brain; nervous system; cardiovascular and liver functions.

-Cholesterol: wax-like substance, naturally produced by the body or obtained from a diet of animal products.

-Electrolyte: specific minerals in body fluids, to include blood, that carry an electric charge responsible for but not limited to metabolic functions and regulators of body fluid levels.

-Enzyme: a protein and a catalyst necessary to drive chemical reactions (needed to sustain life) to the speed needed for the chemical reaction to perform it job (often millions of times faster); perform major roles in metabolism and digestion.

-Fatty acids: building blocks of fats, both ingested and stored in the body.

-Free radicals: by-products of the oxygen process that can cause cell damage.

-Lignan: a phytoestrogen with antioxidant status and supports hormonal balance.

-Lutein: phytonutrient; fat-soluble pigment (cartenoid) that helps with vision and an antioxidant.

-Lysine: an essential amino acid responsible for tissue growth and repair.

-Melanin: naturally occurring pigment found in animals and plants.

-Mucilaginous Compounds: a sticky substance that better serves the digestive system in concern to detoxifying and eliminative functions in the bowel.

-p-Coumaric acid: polyphenol antioxidant that helps the cells fight oxidative stress.

-Phytoestrogen: a phytochemical that is antioxidant; supports hormonal balance.

-Phytochemical/Phytonutrient: a number of naturally occurring chemical compounds found in plants that can effect the body as antioxidants; as immune boosters; as an anti-inflammatory; antibacterial; or in cellular repair.

-Resveratrol: polyphenol antioxidant that has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties that aid the body in combating bacteria and fungi.

-Saponins: a phytochemical that has antioxidant status; may help immune system; may help positively impact cholesterol

-Saturated Fat: turns solid at room temperature; found in animal food products and some vegetables; raises blood cholesterol levels.

-Trans Fat: unsaturated fat, but raises bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowers good cholesterol (HDL); used to extend shelf life in processed foods.