Hind Gut Health supplements with Fibregenix
Compared to a few years ago there’s now a plethora of horse gut health supplements on the market. In fact, hindgut health is currently one of the hottest topics around. Most gut health supplements are in the form of yeast probiotics and prebiotics. Some are even live bacterial probiotics. But are they really useful or just another unnecessary expensive supplement? Can they do more harm than good?
Well, actually there are plenty of instances when gut health supplements are extremely valuable for a horse’s health. Good health always starts with a healthy gut. But how do you know which ones are really good and which are just a waste of money?
At Fibregenix HQ, in consultation with world-leading nutritional scientists, we’ve sourced those with the most robust scientific research and data behind them. After all, your horse is precious to you – so it makes sense to ensure he’s getting the maximum benefit to keep him in the peak of health.
WHAT ARE PROBIOTIC YEASTS?
The idea behind adding a probiotic yeast to a horse’s diet is to help improve fibre digestibility. However, it’s the specific strain of yeast culture and the level included that differentiates one from another. Live probiotic yeasts contain a thick cell wall. This allows them to travel through the horse’s digestive tract to the large intestine. Then they’re utilized and subsequently excreted, requiring daily supplementation to ensure replenishment in the large intestine. The key role they play in horse’s hindgut health is to help promote the production of bacteria which digest cellulose. Or in layman’s terms – improving fibre digestion.
GOOD, BETTER, BEST…
Live probiotic yeasts contain a thick cell wall which allows them to travel through the horse’s digestive tract to the large intestine where they are utilized and then excreted. Feeding a live yeast probiotic helps promote the production of bacteria which digest cellulose in the horse’s hindgut, improving fibre digestibility. They require daily supplementation to ensure they are replenished in the large intestine.
Some probiotics are good, some are better, and the best are very, very good. However, it’s the specific strain of yeast culture and the level included that differentiates one from another. The effectiveness of a yeast probiotic is only as good as how many yeast cells make it to the intestine intact and alive. The most effective have a special coating protecting them through the manufacturing process and transit through to the hindgut. Fibregenix contains Actisaf® which has the best data set for horses compared to all others. It’s recognised in over 100 countries worldwide as the benchmark for live probiotic yeast. Each micro-spherule contains over 40 million live yeast organisms. It’s highly resistant to the various steps involved in the feed manufacture.
Horses have evolved as monogastric hindgut fermenters That is, they ferment the fibre they eat at the end of the digestive system – the caecum and colon. They’ve evolved to consume small, fibre-rich meals on a continual basis. This is in direct contrast to the high starch diet of today’s modern horse which is difficult to digest. This is because horses don’t produce large quantities of amylase, an enzyme that breaks down starch into glucose.
Horse’s Hindgut Health – The Consequences of feeding a large starch meal
If a horse is fed small starch-rich meals, it’s unlikely that there will be any consequences. But if large quantities of starch are fed in any one meal, this gets pushed through the gut with increasing speed. Without having been broken down sufficiently by saliva or gastric juices, starch then reaches the caecum. It’s then fermented by bacteria producing lactic acid rather than beneficial volatile fatty acids produced from the fermentation of fibre.
When lactic acid is produced, the PH levels in the hindgut drop. Known as a state of hindgut acidosis, it results in many potential health issues. The low PH effectively kills off good bacteria that would normally digest fibre. This can lead to complications such as colic, caecal and colonic ulcers and laminitis. Studies looking at the effects of Actisaf Yeast found supplementation with the live yeast could double fibre digestibility. Most importantly, it also aids in reducing lactic acid accumulation (See figure 1 right). This helps maintain a more stable gut PH keeping it within the normal range (around 7). Therefore, this improves both the horse’s hindgut health and overall welfare of the horse.
MOS – WHAT IS IT?
MOS is short for mannan oligosaccharides. There are many different MOS products. Some are just crude cell wall preparations made from yeast leftover from yeast extract (the inside of the yeast). Another example is ground, dried brewer’s yeast. These basic yeasts have little or no data to support their use. Furthermore, they’re classified as feed ingredients, not additives, with no licensing required.
The Safmannan MOS product in Fibregenix is among the most effective and reliable. Significantly, it’s licenced and manufactured specifically for the feed industry and tested for it’s bacterial binding capacity.
HOW DO THESE HORSE GUT HEALTH SUPPLEMENTS WORK?
MOS products work by mimicking sites on the gut wall that pathogenic (bad) bacteria bind to. Once bound to the MOS, these bacteria are rendered useless and flushed out of the gut. MOS also provides a double benefit to a horse’s hindgut health by stimulating the immune system to provide support against infections. MOS products aren’t always necessary if your horse has a healthy gut environment. However, today’s modern competition horse is placed under a lot of stress.
Recovery from illness, training, travelling, competing, large amounts of hard feed. If your horse fits any of these categories, he will benefit from the inclusion of Safmannan MOS in his diet.
FOS PREBIOTIC – WHAT IS IT?
FOS stands for fructooligosaccharide. The specific FOS found in Fibregenix is a unique prebiotic comprising of solely short-chained fructooligosaccharide. Research has shown that harmful bacteria such as E. coli and Clostridium Perfringens cannot utilise FOS. And this means that beneficial species are able to competitively exclude them. FOS seems to be particularly useful when horses are suffering with diarrhoea, presumably because numbers of C. perfringens are reduced. FOS also provides an energy source for the beneficial bacteria already living in the horse’s hindgut. In turn, this creates a healthier digestive tract, unsuitable for the growth of potentially pathogenic bacteria.
HOW CAN THIS HORSE GUT HEALTH SUPPLEMENT BENEFIT MY HORSE?
Scientific support has proven that this specific FOS may:
Positively modify the gut microflora
Enhance digestive health
Reduce the risk of digestive upsets
Reduce putrefactive compound production
Strengthen the immune system
Improve insulin sensitivity in the obese horse.
Including both MOS and FOS prebiotics as part of Fibregenix’s horse gut health supplement provides a synergistic effect supporting overall gut health.
NUCLEOTIDES – WHAT ARE THEY?
Nucleotides are highly innovative when it comes to horse gut health supplements. They’re the building blocks for RNA and DNA. All feed contains a level of nucleotides. However in ingredients used for horse feeds they’re at low levels, with very low availability (around 5-10%). They’re also hard to digest due to their protein coating.
Very few companies are giving horse owners the added benefits from feeding Purified Nucleotides to their horses. Fibregenix is the first major feed balancer supplement company in Australia to include them. Prime Original, Platinum Pro and Lami Low-Cal contains purified nucleotides as part of the horse gut health supplement pack. This specific blend of purified nucleotides has a 95% availability rate to balance the limited levels available in the current diet.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF WHAT ADDITIONAL NUCLEOTIDES IN YOUR HORSE’S DIET CAN DO CLICK HERE.
Reviewed and updated April 2021