What Are Tocopherols?
Tocopherols are a preservative used in human and dog food to help minimize and prevent spoilage. Tocopherols are effective preservatives as they can inhibit the oxidation of fats which would cause them to go rancid.
Tocopherols are a type of E Vitamins that are found in vegetables, nuts, and fish. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association mentions that Mixed Tocopherols are a By-product of the soybean industry. They also imply that just because they are a by-product, they shouldn’t be dismissed or feared.
Tocopherols are often touted as a superior or preferred preservative for dog food as they are more “natural” and can provide some health from the vitamins they consist of.
While the benefits of Tocopherols may be limited, they are a big step up from some of the artificial preservatives whose long-term effects who unknown. Many believe that artificial preservatives can cause serious health issues or harm to dogs.
Tocopherols are not included in dog food to provide nutrition. They do not provide any notable portion of protein, fat, or carbohydrates.
However, as we mentioned above, Tocopherols are made up of E Vitamins which can provide some health benefits.
Vitamin E can help maintain a healthy immune system, improve skin health, and help maintain healthy vision. However, the quantity of Vitamin E found in Tocopherols is unlikely to be significant so one should not expect significant benefits.
Dog Food Brands That Use Tocopherols
A large variety of dog food brands make use of Tocopherols including some that would be considered premium or luxury. Examples include Orijen, Ziwi Peak, Earthborn Holistic, Victor, Wellness, Nulo, Merrick, Acana, and many more.
This is not surprising as many of these premium brands proudly state that they do not use artificial preservatives. As a consequence, they must turn to natural preservatives like Tocopherols to ensure that their products have a long and safe shelf life.
However, it is also important to note that there are alternatives to mixed tocopherols. Just because a brand does not use them does not mean they are using artificial preservatives instead.