*RenAvast (FROM tANYA'S SITE) * ------------------------------ RenAvast <http://renavast.com> was launched in the USA in summer 2011 and contains something called Avastamine (AB070597). Avastamine is said to consist of "naturally occurring biomolecules", which apparently means it is a proprietary mix of seven specific amino acids or peptides, though they do not state which ones.
Amino acids are the components of protein. Peptides are the molecules formed when two or more amino acids are joined together. There are 23 amino acids which cats need, and they can manufacture twelve of these themselves, but the other eleven must be obtained from food. Taurine<http://www.felinecrf.org/nutritional_requirements.htm#taurine>is one example of an amino acid which cats must obtain from food. Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine<http://www.vetmed.vt.edu/vth/sa/clin/cp_handouts/Nutrition_Adult_Cat.pdf> explains more about cats and amino acids. RenAvast is marketed as a dietary supplement. Dietary supplements do not need US Food and Drug Administration approval but the manufacturers make the bold claims that RenAvast "can halt the progression of chronic renal failure in cats" and that "unlike other products and drugs, RenAvast does not treat the symptoms of renal failure, it treats the cause." The FDA<http://www.fda.gov/Food/DietarySupplements/ConsumerInformation/ucm110417.htm#regulate> states that "a product sold as a dietary supplement and promoted on its label or in labeling as a treatment, prevention or cure for a specific disease or condition would be considered an unapproved - and thus illegal - drug." RenAvast is being widely promoted online. The marketing literature for RenAvast focuses heavily on a study published online by the manufacturers (rather than in a veterinary journal), AB070597 and its effect on declining renal function in felines<http://adminpilot.s3.amazonaws.com/renavast/files/2011/07/renavast-pdf.pdf>(2007) Archer J, published online. This reports on 19 cats who were given RenAvast over a two year period. Cats joined and left the study during this period so it is not known over how long a period the results for individual cats were measured. No cats in the trial were on sub-Q fluids or a prescription diet, but it is not known if they were receiving other treatments such as phosphorus binders or Azodyl. Many of the cats were in early stage CKD (Stage 2 of IRIS), and it is not uncommon for cats in this stage to survive for years. An unrelated study, Plasma amino acid profiles in cats with naturally acquired chronic renal failure <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9918157> (1999) Goldstein RE, Marks SL, Cowgill LD, Kass PH & Rogers QR *American Journal of Veterinary Research* *60(1)* pp109-13, found that CKD cats in all stages of the disease had lower levels of amino acids than healthy cats. However, they concluded "the magnitude of these changes is mild and of little clinical relevance." This is an older study, and it might eventually be shown that supplementary amino acids are in fact helpful to CKD cats, but currently there is no evidence that RenAvast is the miracle cure it claims to be. What do I think of RenAvast? My hunch is that RenAvast contains widely available and inexpensive unpatented amino acids packaged together and subjected to some clever marketing. If it only contains amino acids and peptides, it is probably not going to do any harm, but without knowing exactly what it contains, I cannot say for sure. It might be a good product, it might not, but it is unlikely to be as effective as its manufacturers claim, and it is certainly not cheap at over US$30 a month. Based on the information currently available, I would save my money and put it towards more proven treatments than RenAvast.
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