Earth Song Ranch Blog

Earth Song Ranch

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Pro-biotics... What You Don't Know and What Sets Ours Apart

Pro-biotics... What You Don't Know and What Sets Ours Apart

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

For a pro-biotic/pre-biotic supplement to do its job for a horses digestive tract it has to contain 20 billion to 40 billion CFU of multiple strains of bacteria (pre and pro biotics) to be effective at all in order to do its job!

There are so many companies who say “now with added pro-biotics” as a marketing tool or gimmick, just so you will buy their product, thinking you are saving money by not having to purchase a high potency pro-biotic supplement.  Many of them are the “big companies” like Purina and Nutrena et al, however you will not find a guarantee of the CFUs or even the names of those pro-biotics for the most part, and when you call to ask … well they “hem and hah” dance around it hoping you don’t know the questions to ask and there really isn’t enough added to make a difference just enough to say they “add them” to trick the unsuspecting consumer in to buying their concentrated chemical laden feed!

For a pro-biotic/pre-biotic supplement to do its job for a horses digestive tract it has to contain  20 billion to 40 billion CFU of multiple strains of bacteria (pre and pro biotics) to be effective at all in order to do its job!

I have written many articles for Natural Horse, Equine Wellness and Holistic Horse, as well as Horses Hoof to name a few, about Equine Pro-biotics over the years because it is a subject that now days has become popular because of Dannon’s Activia for people and now so many other products being marketed to and for people from the other major companies including Bayer!

Most of our immune health for not only ourselves but our horses, dogs and cats is found in a healthy digestive tract.  The horses digestive tract  is 100 feet long from the the mouth to the stomach to the rectum and everything in between!  If you go to our website, www.earthsongranch.com and view my many articles and podcasts you can read more about pro-biotics there too!

Earth Song Ranch has been a formulator and manufacturer of probiotic blends for horses, cats and dogs since 1998, well ahead of the curve/market, so we are not new to this market like so many others and we do know what works, we are here for the long run not just a marketing gimmick for the short term!  I am also an equine nutritionist, I own horses and I do walk my talk!

Although many people in the horse world use the term “pro-biotic” or say they feed them to their horse(s), they may not realize the major role these live beneficial organisms play in their horse’s health or that multiple strains are needed not just one strain. Pro-biotics boost our horse’s immune health, prevent some forms of colic, and may help our horses steer clear of equine ulcers. In fact, in her book, Equine Supplements and Nutraceuticals, Dr.. Eleanor Kellon, DVM, states “Pro-biotics improve digestion, protect against dangerous bacteria such as salmonella, and reduce gas accumulation.” 

Dr.Juliet Getty is also a proponent of supplementing horses with probiotics and believes that 20 billion CFU or above is what is needed, fed at the rate of 20 to 40 billion per serving they will promote health and intestinal well being in your horses and she also writes about them in her book “Feed Your Horse Like a Horse“.

These mighty microbes are definitely worth a closer look so jump on-board while we take a trip into the world of bugs — beneficial microorganisms, that is.

When a horse starts grinding food with his teeth, his mouth releases enzymes, and thus begins that mouthful’s approximately 100-foot journey through the digestive tract. The food mixes with digestive juices as it enters the stomach where digestive enzymes and billions of microbials begin their work. Although a horse’s stomach is relatively small compared to its size, it is tasked with initiating the breakdown of nutrients using digestive enzymes and stomach acids; very little absorption takes place there.

Instead, soluble carbohydrates, along with minerals, fats and proteins, are absorbed in the small intestine. Insoluble carbohydrates that are not so easily digested, as well as any undigested soluble carbohydrates, then pass to the cecum, the “fermentative vat”, before moving into the large intestine. A variety of live microbials in the cecum break down the remaining nutrients into a viable usable form — absorbable volatile fatty acids which the horse uses for energy and nutrients.

Without a strong army of beneficial intestinal bacteria, the food moving through the digestive tract is not “fermented” properly, and some remains undigested. When it hits the gastro-intestinal tract, this undigested food may lead to colic, bloat, or laminitis and increase the possibility of developing food-related allergic conditions.

Pro-biotic means “for life” (Greek). Pro-biotics are live microorganisms, usually bacteria, and are similar to the beneficial microorganisms found naturally in the body, especially the digestive tract. Also known as “friendly bacteria” or “good bacteria”, pro-biotics are either already present in foods or can be added to them. When introduced into the body, they work together with the natural bacteria to help the digestive and immune systems function properly.

Pre-biotics (“pre-life”) are basically “food for life” for intestinal bacteria, and pro-biotics to promote their growth and activity. Pre-biotics cannot be digested directly by the body, but are consumed by the beneficial bacteria in order to help them function properly.

Yeast (meaning “boil, bubble, foam”) are fungi. Fungi can be very beneficial organisms, not just decomposers and pathogens. There are many species. Yeast have been used throughout history for fermentation (conversion of sugar to carbon dioxide and alcohol) and baking. Adding yeast or yeast culture may assist your horse in breaking down the fiber in his diet.  Some species of fungi also provide valuable digestive enzymes including Amalase, Cellulase, Protease, and Hemiculase.

A Few of the Most Common Strains of Beneficial Bacteria

The various strains of lactic acid bacteria (one being Lactobacillus acidophilus) found in many forms are the most common type of pro-biotics used as feed additives, not only for horses but interestingly enough also for dogs and cats.

Some of the common strains of beneficial bacteria and what purpose they serve in the animal’s (mammal’s) digestive system are:

  • Lactobacillus strains: Produces lactic acid that keeps “bad bacteria” in check. Continued colonization by this bacteria helps to inhibit the growth of pathogens by competing for nutrients and promoting healthy pH levels. Produces specific substances that have been observed to inhibit the growth of some pathogenic microorganisms including Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Salmonella species..
  • Bacillus strains: Counteracts deadly bacteria that can cause diarrhea, they also help to ensure that the nutrients as well as vitamins and other supplements are getting in to your animals cells for better absorption, and guards the entire intestinal tract..
  • Enterococcus strains: help to keep bad bacteria in check and can help to prevent diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and may help to prevent colic in some situations..
  • Bifidobacterium strains: helps promote a healthy balance of flora in your animal’s intestine. What’s more, this organism is especially helpful for enhancing immune response and keeping things moving through the intestinal tract. (Note: “Bifidus regularis”, is a name which was created by Dannon, for marketing purposes, it is also known as Bifidobacterium animalisDN-1 73 010. This strain of probiotics is used exclusively in Dannon’s popular Activa products, which Dannon “claims” promote regularity in humans..

Numbers Count

The strength of probiotics is measured in Colony Forming Units (CFUs).

A CFU is a measure of viable (live) bacteria or fungi, with CFU/mL (per milliliter) for liquids, and CFU/g (per gram) for solids.. So when selecting a pro-biotic or yeast-based feed additive, to either reintroduce good microorganisms after a round of antibiotics, or just replenish beneficial gut microorganisms, read the labels, compare products, and find one that has the highest guaranteed CFU count of multiple strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast. CFU’s in the billions are required for the success of an oral product for horses..

The reason I am writing about this today is that we will have Equine Zyme back in the market place this coming week (1.15.14)— with 20 billion live naturally occurring microorganisms and 50 billion live yeast cells per 2 -1 ounce scoops, along with the Mannaoligosaccharides, a pre-biotic package and we have added more digestive enzymes for a total of 5 grams per two scoops, which no one else does in the market place to help your horse digest and absorb more of what you feed them!

The new blend is a rich dark yeast with yeast cultures and fermentation products that provide the various pro-biotics including Lactobacillus strains, the Bacillus subtilis strains, Sacchromyces cerevasis yeast, all naturally.